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04-07-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
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At what point do you shoot the horse ?

Well I am talking about horse power that is (Cars). I generally driver older cars. I also now have kids that drive so of course we are dealing with more older cars.

I generally fix a lot of crap on these older cars (let me rephrase that - I pay someone to have it fixed). Overall it is a reasonable strategy for us. We do have one vehicle (the wifes ha!) we bought new (last one was '06) for the 'reliable' factor, although I have taken many older vehicles on some long trips without issue.

Anyway - I have never had a decent method as to when not to do the $2k repair and just shoot the damn thing. It's a gut feel more often than not. Sometimes I do and get another 2 - 3 years out the car, sometimes not so lucky and I just get another one and start the cycle all over, it like a real game of chance haha.

Just curious for those that have a similar strategy what are your criteria for time to put her to pasture and start over?

04-07-2010, 02:06 PM   #2
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I put down my most recent car not too long ago when I went on vacation and it wouldn't start when I got back. I realized that in addition to the obvious fix it needed, in the near term it would also need new tires, new struts, a windshield repair, some body work, an automatic window fixed, etc etc etc. Not worth it at all for a '91 Civic.

So I sold it for peanuts and bought a '95 Celica for $2800, which is now already in the shop.
04-07-2010, 02:28 PM   #3
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Have always been a fan of keeping the damn things new Dave. When farming we had a 'fleet' of cars, utes, trucks, tractors, harvesters etc and the policy was to keep them up to 2,500 to 3,000 hours and then trade away before they started costing money in repairs. On the odd occsaion I broke this rule and hung onto something I generally regretted it as the breakdowns started and the bills kept rolling in.

But....

If older works for you, stay with it. In this day & age "older" doesnt necessarily mean trouble...the trick is to pick the right one.

Having said all of that....Anne & I were only discussing recently how happy we are with the Ford Escape and I surprised her by saying that I would probably trade it once the shift is complete and (if/when) we get out of here...on another one....thus keeping it new, with (hopefully) a minimal change over figure.

Talking of shifts, I get some keys tomorrow, which means your room is ready.

Cheers mate.
04-07-2010, 02:35 PM   #4
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Dave, I'm pretty sure Consumer's Union and others publish "formulae" to determine when you're throwing good money after bad - I can't point to a specific source, but you might do a bit of googling and find some. It seems to me that paying a high percentage of the car's cash value wouldn't make sense, but other than that I guess gut feel is the way to go. My wife has a 10-year-old Honda Accord V-6 (worth about 6 grand I'd guess) - I doubt that I'd pay for a new transmission or engine, but since the car serves us well (big trunk and "beater" applications) and because we've owned and kept it maintained since it was new, I'd probably spend 3 or 4 hundred bucks on it rather than replace with another "beater" with an unknown history (please don't tell my wife I called it a beater).

Jer

04-07-2010, 03:27 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
Well I am talking about horse power that is (Cars). I generally driver older cars. I also now have kids that drive so of course we are dealing with more older cars.

I generally fix a lot of crap on these older cars (let me rephrase that - I pay someone to have it fixed). Overall it is a reasonable strategy for us. We do have one vehicle (the wifes ha!) we bought new (last one was '06) for the 'reliable' factor, although I have taken many older vehicles on some long trips without issue.

Anyway - I have never had a decent method as to when not to do the $2k repair and just shoot the damn thing. It's a gut feel more often than not. Sometimes I do and get another 2 - 3 years out the car, sometimes not so lucky and I just get another one and start the cycle all over, it like a real game of chance haha.

Just curious for those that have a similar strategy what are your criteria for time to put her to pasture and start over?
$2,000 in repairs per year is cheaper than 12 monthly payments for a new car. If you are still paying off that old car - then not so good.
04-07-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
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It takes a LOT of repair bills to equal the cost of monthly payments. That said, at least with monthly payments you know ahead of time when the bill is coming due - repair bills are always an unpleasant surprise.

As SpecialK says, the worst is both a payment and repair bills. So, buy a used car for cash and keep it until you're just sick of repairing it. Or buy brand new, take good care of it, and keep it for 20 years (my choice.)

People rarely get rid of cars they like.
04-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #7
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Grant great to hear the room is ready ...expedia here we come

Jer your secret is safe with me haha - I have seen some of they cars you dirve .... you are allowed one 'beater' haha and me I would probably buy a new tranny for that Accord if the body , etc was in good shape. (Unless you want to lend me your Porche )


I don't generally compare blue book value with repair costs. It's really like others have alluded to what it's worth to you and what it cost to replace. I have purchased two new vehicles in my life and the truth be told not sure I would ever do that again. They depreciate so quickly and well the maintenance is low , however the initial cost is high. And oh yeah all the older cars are bought for with cash.

I also consider yeah , it's bought and paid for , throwing another $2k into it , is less than $200/mo - what can you get for $200/mo ? A lease ? (which unless you can write that off is a waste of $$ IMHO) - then I always figure ok what would it cost to replace it and then yeah we have the unknown factor what is going to break down on the one you just bought ? .

I treat my cars well. Once I own them they are cared for , however getting a used car is a gamble for sure ... that is where I tend to probably put money into an existing car I have had a few years cause I know what I have done to it.

Anyway there are some interesting comments. I decided to sink amount $1k into my daughters '92 Caddy as it's a big ass safe car for one , some of it is regular maintenance (Tranny flush , breaks so not real repairs per say) and I am pretty sure it will last her until she gets out of University at that point my repair bill should stop ..at least for that beast


Last edited by daacon; 04-07-2010 at 05:06 PM.
04-07-2010, 06:36 PM   #8
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I like to buy new and keep forever. We bought a 1990 Ford Ranger extended cab that we just recently gave to my brother because he needed a vehicle. It served us through 2 kids. We finally had to upgrade because the kids outgrew the jumpseats. I now have a Subaru outback that is paid off and I don't plan to get rid of it anytime soon. Actually I couldn't afford another car payment, that insurance bill for a teenage driver is outrageous. My hubby decided after 18 years he deserved a new truck so he has gotten himself a Tacoma.
It is amazing what routine oil changes and maintenance will do for a vehicle.
04-07-2010, 06:40 PM   #9
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When the cost of the next repair is greater than the Blue Book value, it's time to donate it to a worthy charity offering a big tax deduction.
04-07-2010, 06:56 PM   #10
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1995 Geo Tracker here that I bought 4 years ago for $1,500 after turning in the last of FIVE expensive leases.

Needed a water pump after time, did a lift, new tires, breaks, but nothing major. And if I had to put a grand into it to keep it going, I would. Only 126,000 miles.

Of course, the thing is so small and dangerous that I could be killed at any minute, even hitting a short curb, but a buck's a buck, and this car is a bargain.
04-07-2010, 08:08 PM   #11
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I disagree with the repair and blue book value comment but hey that's just me and I understand where you are comming from.

I also agree regular oil changes and maintenance adds years perhaps a decade(s) to the life of a vehicle (plan to keep the 06 for a good many years).

I wll probably be getting another vehicle in the fall or early 2011. Not sure what (am not really a car guy just need something functional) - although part of me wants to buy something just for me so we'll see what happens
04-07-2010, 08:11 PM   #12
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I disagree with the repair and blue book value comment but hey that's just me and I understand where you are comming from.

I also agree regular oil changes and maintenance adds years perhaps a decade to the life of a vehicle (plan to keep the 06 for a good many years).

I wll probably be getting another vehicle in the fall or early 2011. Not sure what (am not really a car guy just need something functional) - although part of me wants to buy something just for me so we'll see what happens

Aside from high price of a new car it's the payment thing I hate. Have not had a car payment for the last two years and love it. With one kid in University and another going soon ..... it's just not a priority.
04-07-2010, 08:47 PM   #13
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Well I've almost always bought new and held them for 9-10 years. First exeption is my 89 Van. Chevy. Finally took it off the road. The only time it cost me money was for steering pumps and starters. But I can't blame that on the vehicle. These things just weren't designed to be parked in water. Tranny rebuilt at 120,000 and a fuel pump in November 01. Which led to the 02 Dakota. Even that has been relatively repai free at 120,000. Only used I bought was in 08. Got the 2000 Sebring convertible. Paid 3,000 for it and so far have put another 1000 into it.
Haven't had a car payment in a few years though and that feels pretty good.
04-08-2010, 03:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
I disagree with the repair and blue book value comment but hey that's just me and I understand where you are comming from.
Had a '69 Chevy 1/2 ton PU (250/6, longbed stepside, compound low differential) bought surplus from the Forest Service in '77, ran it until '99 when it just leaked in too many places, especially after the head-on near Death Valley. (A narrow twisty ravine. I stopped; the other guy didn't.) It was reduced to a garbage scow for dump runs. Sold it for US$100, including garbage.

Bought a '87 Land Bruiser 4x4 wagon (FJ65 I think) new, ran it till '99 also, when it threatened to become expensive. Sold it on the Web for 3/4 the purchase price; a guy flew from Puget Sound WA to Santa Rosa CA to get it. More power to him.

Bought a '85 Dodge Dynasty in '89 (CHEAP!) for a commute car, ran it till '99 also -- another head-on, not our fault. A towed car's wheel fell off and hit the grill at speed. Yay for airbags! Ralph Nader is a life-saver! Donated it for a tax break.

Replaced all the above with a '96 Ford Exploder which I still drive, sometimes long distances. (And we bought garbage service; no more dump runs.) The 4x transfer is shot and the electrical is weird, but it's probably good for a few more years. But it's not going to Guatemala again, I don't trust it for that.

So we bought a '09 Nissan Murano cheap, and it's probably good for a decade or more. Hopefully. It's already been to Puerto Vallarta, Tequila, Taxco, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Chihuahua. We just can't stuff as many avacados into it as the Ford.

There were a couple others in there we bought used / cheap; maintained well, ran till they died, kissed them goodbye. Unless it's a classic (like the Land Crusher) it's just not worth pouring money into. Use it thoroughly, let it go.
04-08-2010, 06:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
. . . .

Jer your secret is safe with me haha - I have seen some of they cars you dirve .... you are allowed one 'beater' haha and me I would probably buy a new tranny for that Accord if the body , etc was in good shape. (Unless you want to lend me your Porche )

I don't generally compare blue book value with repair costs. It's really like others have alluded to what it's worth to you and what it cost to replace. I have purchased two new vehicles in my life and the truth be told not sure I would ever do that again. They depreciate so quickly and well the maintenance is low , however the initial cost is high. And oh yeah all the older cars are bought for with cash.

I also consider yeah , it's bought and paid for , throwing another $2k into it , is less than $200/mo - what can you get for $200/mo ? A lease ? (which unless you can write that off is a waste of $$ IMHO) - then I always figure ok what would it cost to replace it and then yeah we have the unknown factor what is going to break down on the one you just bought ? .

I treat my cars well. Once I own them they are cared for , however getting a used car is a gamble for sure ... that is where I tend to probably put money into an existing car I have had a few years cause I know what I have done to it. . . . . . .
Whew - thanks, man, for keeping my secret safe; I don't want a dented head!

Regarding when to continue to put cash in an older car, the answer is probably situation specific, and may be hard to generalize (despite the formulae I've seen). It just occurred to me: Click and Clack - who do the wonderful Car Talk on NPR - have addressed the question vis a vis various models; here's a link to their website if you want to sort though it:

Car Talk. Car tips, advice, and troubleshooting.

I've also read analyses on whether to buy new or used, and - again - the answer is situational and depends on a number of factors. I've done both - but I tend to buy cars with my heart as much as my head, so I'm not a reliable source of advice.

I'm with you on paying cash. I've never financed a car in my life, even when I was a poverty-stricken grad student.

Jer
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