I’m a working musician from NYC. I have a conundrum.
Since 1998 I’ve owned a 1989 BMW E30 ‘vert, which has served me well as a touring artist — it just hit 160k, most of those miles mine. However, all those miles have come at a price, between 40k timing belt changes and other occasional maintenance items, I wind up putting roughly $1500 into it every two to four years.
But I’ve always loved it, and it never let me down, until recently.
I currently have three cars and I feel a hankering to buy a fourth. My wife has bought into the idea, now it’s just a matter of what to get.
– Five kids between the ages of 5 and 15…
Thanks for sending along your email address, and for you all that you do to demystify the process of buying and owning cars. I find myself in a unique situation, and I would like your thoughts.
My wife is considering taking a job that is 135 miles away from our home. She will commute up once and return 3 days later. We have 3 young kids, and they attend a school that is about 15 miles from home and a similar distance from my office. Should she take the job, I will be in charge of picking them up 3 days a week, in addition to dropping them every day already.
A reader writes:
I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 coupe which, up until last fall, had been a pretty decent car.
I really enjoy your articles. Thank you.
I have a question about fleet cars. I was driving to a meeting in one of the fleet cars my employer has. Nothing special, a late model Ford Fusion . And I was thinking is this a better deal to buy when they get rid of it than another used car? Then I realized that people who use a car that doesn’t belong to them trash it. So I thought, “No way!”
Then I realized that the same people who don’t take care of it, aren’t the same people who maintain it. So are fleet cars a better deal then non fleet on the market? After giving them a good cleaning does it not matter one way or the other all other things being the same?
Yummy Food + Fire Hydrant Red = A Dog’s New Best Friend
We own a pet supply delivery business and use two vehicles. A 1995 Toyota Tacoma with 360,000 miles, and a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica with less than 20,000 miles.
Guess which one has given us more problems?
1999 Buick Century: Where Automotive Novocaine Meets Ambiguous Androgyny.
I just graduated from college this past December and found a wonderful job at my old alma mater.
The good news? I can walk to everywhere I need to go. My work, two nearby parks, the supermarket, and to most of my friend’s apartments and townhouses. I’m living an ideal life at this point.
Which brings me to the big question. Do I even need a car?
We want to go on a road trip this summer.
There are four of us. Myself, my wife, a teen and a tween. The wife and kids are thin and I’m about average sized.
Why do I mention this?
We are looking at getting a normal-sized vehicle that can potentially sleep four. A minivan, crossover, or even a large SUV would be perfectly fine for us. We think that there will be times when we can’t use a tent, and I would rather get away from the overpriced state parks if it’s at all possible.
Our budget is $10,000. We don’t want anything funky to maintain. For us that means no VW vans. We will consider most anything else. All domestics and imports are on the radar so long as they allow us reasonable sleeping quarters for our family.
When I peruse the websites of some of my local yards, it seems like some of these cars have very little damage but some insurance adjuster has written them off based on whatever metric the company uses.
I’m an experienced shadetree mechanic and it seems like getting a 3-4 year old car for 30% of its original MSRP would be a screaming deal, and since warranty coverage is no longer an issue, it comes down to diminished value on the salvage title. I tend to keep my cars for 8-10 years so who cares.
Here’s where my doubts creep in.
If it was such a great idea, I would have surely read more about it. In the case of this one nearby yard, they have a huge collision repair facility. So why aren’t they repairing and flipping these cars? Googling doesn’t provide a whole lot on the pros and cons, just on the procedural aspects.
Any experience or stories ?
I have three choices for a “New or Used?” column today.
#1 Is a real estate agent from San Francisco who is looking at spending $13,000 on her next ride. She needs something ‘nice’ to shepherd around her clients.
#2 Is the owner of an Acura RSX Type-S that has 108,000 miles. He is looking at whether to spend about $1500 in new tires and suspensions components. Or whether to blow the budget and spend $40,000 on something new.
#3 Is Baba Booey