Author Topic: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?  (Read 4391 times)

KiwiSonya

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Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« on: November 05, 2014, 01:40:05 AM »
Hi, I'm new to all of this but loving it so far. We are trying to demolish our home loan and hopefully by developing my frugality muscles we can do this in the next year or so. We have 2 preschool kids and luckily live close to all our local amenities and a bus ride to work for my husband. Our car is a 2003 mazda 6 bought when we wanted a family car but is now approaching 125,000 miles and is starting to have maintenance issues. It also gives us a very unfrugal 19mpg. My husband drives it a couple of hours a week for music rehearsals and we try to limit ourselves to one trip over the weekend. I don't really want to buy a new (to us)car as I want to put every penny toward debt repayment.  But I also don't want to sink money fixing up a car that's not worth it ( air con not working and with xmas road trip coming my non Mmm hubby wants it fixed and not by him).  A bit of research suggests that we could sell ours for $5-7k and a decent Yaris or other Mmm recommended car can be bought for $8-10k here in New Zealand. Anyone have any advice for a newbee?


lemanfan

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 02:20:15 AM »
You alternate between saying "we" and "I" - is hubby on board? 

Air Con is one of the things that's not normally DYI in my neck of the woods (environmental regulations vs the cooling media).  How bad is the heat where you live?  Impossible to live without AC in the car?

If you drive few miles in the year (which is sounds like you do), the mileage is less of a concern.  Personally I would probably try to keep the current car - 125k miles shouldn't be the end of a Mazda and "better the devil you know".


Thegoblinchief

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 07:20:02 AM »
I'm generally a fan of keeping the older car around. Not sure what gas prices are in NZ but it takes an awful lot of miles in the States to financially justify a more efficient vehicle when it also costs more.

Pulling this number out of thin air, but I'm guessing you'd need to be driving in excess of 10,000km to think about it, especially if you have other pressing debt which needs addressing.

If the AC just needs recharging, that can be a DIY project depending on your local laws, but even having it professionally fixed isn't too expensive unless you need something serious like a new compressor.

wtjbatman

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 07:39:15 AM »
I'm kinda-sorta in the same situation. I drive a ten year old Ford Mustang, and although I love the car (convertible!), there is nothing mustachian about it. I've had to drop some money on maintenance recently, and the gas mileage I get is just terrible. And the trunk is tiny, I'm lucky to fit all my groceries if I do a lot of shopping. The fiance also would like me to buy a different vehicle.

However, I switched jobs about 4 months ago, and now drive 5 miles round trip instead of 60 miles round trip. With that little bit of driving, one tank of gas lasts forever, even with the 15mpg I get in town. The car is also paid off, and at this point my insurance is relatively cheap (MMM convinced me to shop around and my insurance dropped from $130 a month to $40). And when I need to travel farther (random work trips, or road trips), I just take my fiance's much newer Ford Fusion which gets 35mpg.

I'd say that for now, I'm going to keep my older and less fuel efficient vehicle. It's paid for, it doesn't have any serious mechanical issues, and my fiance's newer and more fuel efficient vehicle is available when needed. Based on that I would recommend you do the same. Keep the older vehicle for now. It doesn't sound like you do enough driving to make it worthwhile to purchase a new vehicle just yet.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 05:06:00 PM »
I will never understand why people start thinking about getting rid of a perfectly good car because they don't want to sink money into maintenance "issues".  These aren't issues - they are just maintenance.  It's almost guaranteed to cost less than a new car would.  Calculate the fuel costs and factor that in.  You'll probably find the break-even point on a used Yaris to be several years into the future.

Fuzz

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 07:02:28 PM »
The best thing you can do is reduce the miles you drive.

If you drive 1000 miles at 19 miles to the gallon, you're burning 52 gallons. At $3.50 gallon that's $145.

If you drive 1000 miles at 35 miles to the gallon, you're burning 28 gallons. At 3.50/gallon that's $100.

So you drive what 500 miles a month? You made it sound like less than 125/miles a week. Anyway, you would save $45 every two months by trading up in fuel costs.

Make some assumptions. Do some math.

My thought is that Japanese cars made after the late 90s are reliable enough that you aren't going to have significant maintenance costs until you put another 50K miles on the car.

KiwiSonya

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 07:31:30 PM »
Thanks Lemanfan, thegoblinchief,wtjbatman, retireabroadat35 and fuzz, great advice. Here in Wellington our climate is very mild but we're heading to hotter climes for the summer. I could survive without aircon but hubby more temp sensitive. I'm keen to try the spray bottle approach to keeping cool.  Round trip will be about 1200 miles. Probably not worth fixing for this distance and 2 weeks of comfort. Cheapest option is probably to keep the windows open even though that will increase fuel consumption.  Will see how much a fix costs and then decide. Thanks for the wisdom of retaining the old car. Lots of people we know drive newer cars but most have added the cost to their mortgage.  I'd like to pay the mortgage off first and then buy our next car with cash ( or maybe just keep driving the mazda until it dies). Two weeks into my mmm journey and I have just bought a second hand bike and trailer so the car will be getting even less use
 Many thanks, Sonya. P.s Hubby not really on board yet. He has been working crazy hours and we've hardly seen  him. My mmm motivation is to get him some freedom to spend more time with me and the kids

homehandymum

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2014, 07:38:15 PM »
No advice about the car itself, but to provide a number for US MMMers weighing in, gas prices here in NZ astronomical.

Just over $2 per Litre at the moment.  So... about $8 per gallon.

yes sirree Bob.

[edited to add - I double-checked price as I drove past a petrol station today.  $2.10 per L, so closer to $8.40 per gallon :)  ]
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 11:19:32 PM by homehandymum »

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 10:50:51 PM »
Just over $2 per Litre at the moment.  So... about $8 per gallon.

That does help provide context, thanks.  The only other time I've seen fuel prices like that is in Italy where fuel was around 1.80/l which was about $8.85/gallon at the exchange rate at the time.  Meanwhile gas in USA right now is around $3/gallon.

The car is a 2003 model with 125,000 so if we just divide 125,000 by 11 years, that's an average of 11,300 miles a year.  However I agree with what Fuzz said about how the OP makes it sound like they drive far less than that now.  "A couple hours a week" at 40mph could mean more like 6000 miles a year, where the gas savings might be around $1000/year with the Yaris.  Then again, you can probably get a Yaris with working A/C and it should certainly save you money in the long run.

As for the comment about driving with the windows down costing you MPG, it's minimal really.  Like 5-10% more drag or something at normal speeds.  Compared to the $1000 it might cost if the A/C system needs a total overhaul, using a little more fuel on one roadtrip by putting the windows down is nothing.  It sounds like your ideal desire is to limp the Mazda through another summer & winter and be paying down other debt in the meantime, yes?  So that you would be in a better position to replace the Mazda in November 2015, ahead of your summer there?

KiwiSonya

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2014, 12:09:11 AM »
Thanks Homehandymum, I had no idea we were being so ripped off with petrol prices here in NZ. I guess it's shipping it halfway around the world and steep taxes that do it. Thanks Sid Hoffman, for the first 3 years of its life it was owned by an insurance salesman in a remote location and he did the first 65 miles. It has taken us 8 years to do the rest. I think driving through the summer  with the windows down and replacing once we can pay cash seems most sensible. I will try and use the bike as much as possible and the car as little in the meantime.  Thanks for all the advice.  You guys are great! Sonya

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2014, 05:30:08 AM »
Thanks Homehandymum, I had no idea we were being so ripped off with petrol prices here in NZ. I guess it's shipping it halfway around the world and steep taxes that do it. Thanks Sid Hoffman, for the first 3 years of its life it was owned by an insurance salesman in a remote location and he did the first 65 miles. It has taken us 8 years to do the rest. I think driving through the summer  with the windows down and replacing once we can pay cash seems most sensible. I will try and use the bike as much as possible and the car as little in the meantime.  Thanks for all the advice.  You guys are great! Sonya

I thought they used metric in NZ? What's with the miles? :)

By the way, chances are it'd be more due to higher fuel taxes. It's a bit cheaper on this side of the ditch (about $1.40-1.50AUD a litre here in Melbourne, so $1.55-1.70NZD). I was in NZ a few months back, so I kinda know how pricey most things are there :)

19MPG? What's that in litres per hundred? That sounds a fair bit worse than it should get (driving style? city traffic?).

So, about 96000km in eight years, or 12000km a year. The combined fuel consumption of the 2003 Mazda 6 is 9.5L/100km (auto) or 8.9L/100km (manual, figures from Redbook (Australian one has more info)). If we assume that you would get 10L/100km in normal driving (as the figures are usually optimistic), and if a Yaris gets 7L/100km in the same driving, you're saving 360L of fuel a year. At $2.10 a litre, that's looking at $756pa in fuel saved.

Now, if you assume that a car with busted aircon and over 200,000km is going to get toward the lower end of that price range (say $5500), and a replacement costs $9000, you've got a $3500 changeover cost.

All else being equal, it'd take almost five years to make up the difference. Of course, if the Mazda requires any more maintenance between now and then that the Yaris doesn't, it'd narrow the gap somewhat. Likewise would other some other, cheaper cars (eg: Mazda2/Demio, something like this maybe?). The gap would be widened if you trade it in at a dealer who offers you SFA.

Have you had quotes to fix the aircon?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 05:41:34 AM by alsoknownasDean »

horsepoor

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Re: Wait till inefficient car dies or buy more efficient one?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 06:27:20 AM »
Thanks Homehandymum, I had no idea we were being so ripped off with petrol prices here in NZ. I guess it's shipping it halfway around the world and steep taxes that do it. Thanks Sid Hoffman, for the first 3 years of its life it was owned by an insurance salesman in a remote location and he did the first 65 miles. It has taken us 8 years to do the rest. I think driving through the summer  with the windows down and replacing once we can pay cash seems most sensible. I will try and use the bike as much as possible and the car as little in the meantime.  Thanks for all the advice.  You guys are great! Sonya

I thought they used metric in NZ? What's with the miles? :)

By the way, chances are it'd be more due to higher fuel taxes. It's a bit cheaper on this side of the ditch (about $1.40-1.50AUD a litre here in Melbourne, so $1.55-1.70NZD). I was in NZ a few months back, so I kinda know how pricey most things are there :)

19MPG? What's that in litres per hundred? That sounds a fair bit worse than it should get (driving style? city traffic?).

So, about 96000km in eight years, or 12000km a year. The combined fuel consumption of the 2003 Mazda 6 is 9.5L/100km (auto) or 8.9L/100km (manual, figures from Redbook (Australian one has more info)). If we assume that you would get 10L/100km in normal driving (as the figures are usually optimistic), and if a Yaris gets 7L/100km in the same driving, you're saving 360L of fuel a year. At $2.10 a litre, that's looking at $756pa in fuel saved.

Now, if you assume that a car with busted aircon and over 200,000km is going to get toward the lower end of that price range (say $5500), and a replacement costs $9000, you've got a $3500 changeover cost.

All else being equal, it'd take almost five years to make up the difference. Of course, if the Mazda requires any more maintenance between now and then that the Yaris doesn't, it'd narrow the gap somewhat. Likewise would other some other, cheaper cars (eg: Mazda2/Demio, something like this maybe?). The gap would be widened if you trade it in at a dealer who offers you SFA.

Have you had quotes to fix the aircon?

Hmm, yeah... for a 1,200 road trip, you can probably get better than this.  Do some Googling for tips on more fuel-efficient driving.  I'm guessing for a longer trip you could get more like 25 plus.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 06:29:48 AM by horsepoor »