Author Topic: Time to buy a "new" car?  (Read 1066 times)

baloncesto

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Time to buy a "new" car?
« on: April 05, 2019, 12:38:39 PM »
My car recently was having some troubles, so I took it to a shop (I am not a car person in the slightest). They said the valve cover basket was leaking oil and oil was filling the spark plug cylinder holes. To clean it all up and get it back to normal would be $800. The car is a 2001 Nissan Altima with ~180,000 miles.

Any recommendations? Time to buy a "new" car?

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 01:22:44 PM »
My car recently was having some troubles, so I took it to a shop (I am not a car person in the slightest). They said the valve cover basket was leaking oil and oil was filling the spark plug cylinder holes. To clean it all up and get it back to normal would be $800. The car is a 2001 Nissan Altima with ~180,000 miles.

Any recommendations? Time to buy a "new" car?

not really a hard job. I'd expect a head gasket to cost that plus some but a valve cover gasket and the inner spark plug seals are all right on top. That quote seems insane based on this you tube tutorial. Parts should cost you around 30 bucks with new spark plugs/gasket kit. Labor maybe a hour and a half (I could do it in about 45 minutes). That price is insane. Get it qouted somewhere else over the phone (google and pick the best reviewed shop/ask around). Call and say I need a the all the valve cover gaskets (including spark plug gaskets) replaced and some new spark plugs.  Shouldn't be anywhere near 800.

https://www.carparts.com/details/Nissan/Altima/Replacement/Valve_Cover_Gasket/2001/GXE/4_Cyl_2-dot-4L/RN31290001.html?showfitment=true gasket kit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4 youtube how to

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 01:24:12 PM »
I can't tell you whether or not it's time, but I can tell you how I would think about it. I have a rule-of-thumb for how much I want a car to cost me in depreciation, fuel, and maintenance over the life of the car: about $0.15/mile. So, assuming you get 25 MPG and pay about $2.50/gallon for gas, the car is costing you about $0.10/mile. If you make the necessary repairs, the car would need to get you another 16,000 miles with no additional repairs for it to be "worth it" from my perspective (I'm assuming depreciation costs are nil at this point).

So, what condition are your tires in? Are you about to spend another $400 on rubber? What about the battery? If you think it's reasonable that you could go another 16,000 miles after the repair, then I'd pay it. (Or maybe you get better than 25 MPG, in which case, do the math yourself). Otherwise, I'd start shopping for something new. Or do the repair yourself, as zooch suggested.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 01:45:52 PM »
My car recently was having some troubles, so I took it to a shop (I am not a car person in the slightest). They said the valve cover basket was leaking oil and oil was filling the spark plug cylinder holes. To clean it all up and get it back to normal would be $800. The car is a 2001 Nissan Altima with ~180,000 miles.

Any recommendations? Time to buy a "new" car?

That quote is insanely high for what that is (not really a hard job). I'd expect a head gasket to cost that plus some but a valve cover gasket and the inner spark plug seals are all right on top. That quote seems insane based on this you tube tutorial. Parts should cost you around 30 bucks with new spark plugs/gasket kit. Labor maybe a hour and a half (I could do it in about 45 minutes). Get it quoted somewhere else over the phone (google and pick the best reviewed shop/ask around). Call and say I need a the all the valve cover gaskets (including spark plug gaskets) replaced and some new spark plugs.  Shouldn't be anywhere near 800.

https://www.carparts.com/details/Nissan/Altima/Replacement/Valve_Cover_Gasket/2001/GXE/4_Cyl_2-dot-4L/RN31290001.html?showfitment=true gasket kit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4 youtube how to

robartsd

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 04:19:17 PM »
not really a hard job. I'd expect a head gasket to cost that plus some but a valve cover gasket and the inner spark plug seals are all right on top. That quote seems insane based on this you tube tutorial. Parts should cost you around 30 bucks with new spark plugs/gasket kit. Labor maybe a hour and a half (I could do it in about 45 minutes). That price is insane.
Sounds like this should be $100 (low end rural) to $300 (high end urban) - it's not time to find a new car; it's time to find a new shop.

Blueberries

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 07:38:47 AM »
As someone who made an $800 repair three months ago on a 150K mile vehicle, I'm now finding myself looking at a $1200+ repair.  I'm done.  I'm aggressively looking for a new vehicle.  For me, when the pricey repairs start to happen with more frequency, it's the death knell. 

You really need to decide for yourself what you're comfortable with.  There is always someone more frugal who will tell you what to do with your life.  Who cares.  It's your money, your choice(s), and you know your circumstances best. 

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 08:20:58 AM »
Iím of the view that most repairs are cheaper than replacement. If itís a repair that is going to cost you more than the vehicle would cost you to replace, then of course get rid of it. The problem for me is when the repairs are over say a third of the value of the car. Is it just one more problem in a long list of problems? Is the car otherwise reliable?Is owning the car even necessary?

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 08:40:13 AM »
Iím of the view that most repairs are cheaper than replacement. If itís a repair that is going to cost you more than the vehicle would cost you to replace, then of course get rid of it. The problem for me is when the repairs are over say a third of the value of the car. Is it just one more problem in a long list of problems? Is the car otherwise reliable?Is owning the car even necessary?

I'm on the fence here. Depending on how long you've owned the car/maintained it/know the history I generally don't have a issue with a higher repair now and then (especially on proven platforms-toyota/honda etc). Some cars i would throw away once they started going (chevy cobalts, pontiacs, chryslers etc). I do know my insurance alone on a newer car in  michigan would be 100$+ a month more vs plpd alone on a beater. 1200 savings a year will buy a new engine/trans for my 2004 civic-and those parts aren't going every year hah.

AlotToLearn

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 05:18:31 PM »
How much do you have saved for a "new" car?

ApacheStache

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 05:31:29 PM »
I've spent well over $800 on ridiculous tax, title and registration fees when purchasing a used vehicle. Not to mention my car tabs and auto insurance increased after buying a newer vehicle. If the vehicle is other wise in good enough shape and you only use it for basic needs, I would make the repair and see if they can bring down the price a little bit.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 07:30:59 PM »
I've spent well over $800 on ridiculous tax, title and registration fees when purchasing a used vehicle. Not to mention my car tabs and auto insurance increased after buying a newer vehicle. If the vehicle is other wise in good enough shape and you only use it for basic needs, I would make the repair and see if they can bring down the price a little bit.

I guess you could say that car ownership is a scam. I really need to get rid of one of ours and not replace it.

RWD

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 07:39:34 PM »
Valve cover gaskets are a common maintenance item that say nothing about the reliability of the vehicle on the whole. Replacing them is typically really easy and cheap. The quote you got is way too high, as previously mentioned. I would not ditch a car over valve cover gaskets alone.

Blueberries

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2019, 06:16:40 AM »
Several people are commenting on the pricing.  The replacement of this item will highly depend on the vehicle and/or engine.  Some are very simple to do and some are very, very complex as every wire, hose, etc. could be covering it.  My vehicle went through this and I planned to do it myself, but I realized mine fell into the latter category.  On the Nissan the OP has, it won't be simple, which is why he's being charged $800.

Edited:  OP, I'm wrong here.  I was basing this on my vehicle and should've looked further.  As pointed out by another person, there is a YouTube video showing your specific vehicle and it looks very simple.  Get more quotes.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 08:20:07 AM by Blueberries »

RWD

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2019, 06:30:38 AM »
Several people are commenting on the pricing.  The replacement of this item will highly depend on the vehicle and/or engine.  Some are very simple to do and some are very, very complex as every wire, hose, etc. could be covering it.  My vehicle went through this and I planned to do it myself, but I realized mine fell into the latter category.  On the Nissan the OP has, it won't be simple, which is why he's being charged $800.

RepairPal says this job should cost $57 to $86 on a 2001 Altima. That is for parts and labor combined. $800 is just ridiculous for that job.

baloncesto

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2019, 07:06:13 AM »
Update - Took it to different shop and got quoted $400. Also found out that I need new tires, which would be another $400-500 depending on where I got the tires. Haven't decided what to do yet. It seems a little silly to spend $800-900 on a car that is worth $1,000 at most. But I also recognize that I could get it fixed and possibly get another ~70,000 miles out of it. Or I could get it fixed and then it could crap out in a few months.

RWD

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2019, 07:25:24 AM »
$400 still sounds high to me. Are you opposed to trying to do it yourself? Typically a job like that only requires basic hand tools and should only cost $30 or so in parts. If your alternative is essentially junking the vehicle it's worth a shot and would be a good learning experience.

Every vehicle needs tires, they are a wear item. If you don't replace them yourself then any prospective buyers are going to discount their offer by roughly the cost of the tires.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2019, 07:32:02 AM »
Several people are commenting on the pricing.  The replacement of this item will highly depend on the vehicle and/or engine.  Some are very simple to do and some are very, very complex as every wire, hose, etc. could be covering it.  My vehicle went through this and I planned to do it myself, but I realized mine fell into the latter category.  On the Nissan the OP has, it won't be simple, which is why he's being charged $800.

This is a insanely simple job to do. There's like 12 screws and a hose clamp. Pop old gaskets out. Wipe everything down. Pop new ones in. Put back together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2019, 07:35:21 AM »
Update - Took it to different shop and got quoted $400. Also found out that I need new tires, which would be another $400-500 depending on where I got the tires. Haven't decided what to do yet. It seems a little silly to spend $800-900 on a car that is worth $1,000 at most. But I also recognize that I could get it fixed and possibly get another ~70,000 miles out of it. Or I could get it fixed and then it could crap out in a few months.

literally watch this video. It's not something you have to be mechanically inclined like setting a timing belt or something to do. It's not close to a $400 job. Maybe $50-80 WITH labor unless you DIY. Tire's aren't really a repair item-just standard wear. To scrap a car because it needs new tires is silly. How's the actual tread depth? Most auto places will try to sell you on this and that vs what you actually need and the fact that they've marked up a 30 minute gasket job to 400$ tells me they're not above it.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4

mountain mustache

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2019, 07:36:36 AM »
I just spent $1800 on repair for my 2003 Honda Element with 188,000 miles. Why? Because over the past 6 years I've owned it, I've spent little to no money on maintenance, aside from regular little things (oil change, etc). It has 0 engine type issues, but the suspension was toast (brakes too) after almost 200k miles of being beat up...I thought a lot about looking for a new, used car, but in the end I plan to drive this car at least until 250k miles, because I know it can make that, and that's at least 7-8 years for me. Also I love my car, I hate car shopping, and I really want to see how many miles I can get on this car without any problems.

RWD

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2019, 07:37:37 AM »
Instead of thinking about whether the repair costs exceed the value of the vehicle you should be thinking about how expensive it is to continue operating.

Tires are probably costing you 1 or 2 cents per mile. I assume this is the first time the valve cover gaskets have been replaced so even at $400 those are only costing 1/5 cents per mile. Neither of those items indicate upcoming reliability issues with the vehicle.

Now if the vehicle is smoking, there is abnormal ticking coming from the engine, you see oil mixed with your coolant, or some other ominous signs then you need to be worried about how much of a money pit the vehicle is about to become.

That said, it could very well be that your best financial decision is to replace it with a newer car. Depending on how much you drive the fuel savings alone of a more efficient car could be worth the additional cost. Note though that buying a newer car does not guarantee your maintenance costs will go down (unless you get one with a warranty).

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2019, 07:38:22 AM »
$400 still sounds high to me. Are you opposed to trying to do it yourself? Typically a job like that only requires basic hand tools and should only cost $30 or so in parts. If your alternative is essentially junking the vehicle it's worth a shot and would be a good learning experience.

Every vehicle needs tires, they are a wear item. If you don't replace them yourself then any prospective buyers are going to discount their offer by roughly the cost of the tires.

It requires like 3 tools and 30 minutes. It seems OP is going into these mechanics and saying "this is the job-I was quoted 800 what can you do?" to get a $400 quote plus the tire up-sell VS calling in and just asking how much they'd charge to swap the gaskets. What they need is a honest mechanic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4

Blueberries

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2019, 08:16:40 AM »
Several people are commenting on the pricing.  The replacement of this item will highly depend on the vehicle and/or engine.  Some are very simple to do and some are very, very complex as every wire, hose, etc. could be covering it.  My vehicle went through this and I planned to do it myself, but I realized mine fell into the latter category.  On the Nissan the OP has, it won't be simple, which is why he's being charged $800.

This is a insanely simple job to do. There's like 12 screws and a hose clamp. Pop old gaskets out. Wipe everything down. Pop new ones in. Put back together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4

I stand corrected - his is an Altima, and it looks easily accessible on that video.  Not every vehicle has an easily accessible gasket cover, though in this case, it sounds like his mechanic is overcharging him.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2019, 08:39:13 AM »
I just spent $1800 on repair for my 2003 Honda Element with 188,000 miles. Why? Because over the past 6 years I've owned it, I've spent little to no money on maintenance, aside from regular little things (oil change, etc). It has 0 engine type issues, but the suspension was toast (brakes too) after almost 200k miles of being beat up...I thought a lot about looking for a new, used car, but in the end I plan to drive this car at least until 250k miles, because I know it can make that, and that's at least 7-8 years for me. Also I love my car, I hate car shopping, and I really want to see how many miles I can get on this car without any problems.

There's a lot to be said about cost averaging/knowing your car. I just dropped $1000 in my 04 civic with 150k and 500 in quality tires last year. Yeah it sucks but a timing belt/water pump/camshaft sensor/motor mount etc are just things that have to be done. I could not have purchased a car I trusted/knew the history on/any of that for $1000. Even if the engine went these cars are so cheap a new one would be $1200 or so installed? At some point you can just tell but for the most part I consider 1000 for another 40-50k a steal.

zoochadookdook

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Re: Time to buy a "new" car?
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2019, 08:43:49 AM »
Several people are commenting on the pricing.  The replacement of this item will highly depend on the vehicle and/or engine.  Some are very simple to do and some are very, very complex as every wire, hose, etc. could be covering it.  My vehicle went through this and I planned to do it myself, but I realized mine fell into the latter category.  On the Nissan the OP has, it won't be simple, which is why he's being charged $800.

This is a insanely simple job to do. There's like 12 screws and a hose clamp. Pop old gaskets out. Wipe everything down. Pop new ones in. Put back together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7MGR_qh5L4

I stand corrected - his is an Altima, and it looks easily accessible on that video.  Not every vehicle has an easily accessible gasket cover, though in this case, it sounds like his mechanic is overcharging him.

Oh there's terrifying gaskets out there. The navistar truck valve cover gaskets are $500 and have the freaking injectors/pressure sensor BUILT IN. It's one of the worst things I've ever seen.