By on November 9, 2016

money

Brian writes:

Hi Bark,

I’ve been a TTAC reader for a couple of years now and you seem to be the guy for the right advice here. The wife’s six-year-old CUV with 160,000 kilometers is showing signs of a problem that the dealer couldn’t reproduce, but said will cost upwards of $1,800 for parts (if I am right about it). This is after a different repair last year that cost over $2,000. I am wondering if now is the time to replace the car while it still has some trade value. My wife’s argument is that a repair still costs less than a year’s worth of car payments, but my counter is that a predictable car payment is easier to deal with than an unexpected large repair bill. This is especially true given our first child is due very soon.

I understand some people are serial leasers, but we tend to keep our cars well beyond warranty. So, when is the right time to replace a car?

Thanks‎!

160,000 kms? Hold up — let me get my Canadia-to-Trump calculator. Whoa — that’s only 96,000 miles! Which FCA CUV does your wife own?

I kid, I kid. But this is a great question that deserves a solid answer.

You may remember a post my brother wrote over a year ago entitled “You Gotta Be Rich To Own A Cheap Car.” One of the most popular posts in our recent history, it outlines all of the issues that having an unreliable car can cause somebody on a budget. I could recap all of that, but you’re better served to just go read it and come back.

Back? Okay, good. So let’s talk about when you should pull that trigger. Ultimately, that decision lies with you and your comfort with risk — but this is an advice column, so I’m prepared to give you some guidance.

First of all — do you want a new car? People often forget this part of the equation. If you want to buy a new car, if you want the sight and smell of new metal in your garage, then we can find ways to help you justify it. Trust me, I’m the king of rationalizing financially questionable behaviors.

I assume that you’re writing to me because you’re asking for permission to buy something. So let’s figure out how you can give it to yourself.

  1. Two expensive repairs a year could total as much as $3,000-4,000. That’s money you’re throwing down a hole that you’ll never get back — you’re not retaining anything in value by spending that money. Your car’s black book value assumes that it’s working perfectly.
  2. The expenditures are random and unpredictable. So if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, like apparently 289-plus delegates worth of people in America are, it’s much harder to come up with $1800 at once than it is to pay $300 a month for which you’ve made room in the budget. I honestly don’t know many people under the age of 40 who have that kind of a rainy-day slush fund. Or many people over 40, for that matter.
  3. You’re going to be genuinely mad every time that you have to write a check for a repair. Would you rather be spending that money in anger or in happiness with your new car?
  4. Who wants to pay money for a car they’ve already bought outright? Isn’t the point of owning a car to eliminate/reduce payment obligations?

Okay, so there’s four reasons to buy new. Here’s something you weren’t expecting, though — four reasons to keep it.

  1. You hate yourself.
  2. You like abdominal/chest pains.
  3. You’re putting all of your money in the artificially low stock market today.
  4. I can’t come up with a fourth reason.

Seriously, man — go get your new car. Don’t worry about breaking down with your newborn in the car, or your wife breaking down when she’s nine months pregnant. If you can fit your new car into your budget, I say do it. After you’ve talked the missus into it, write back to me with advice on what to get (leader in the clubhouse: Ford Escape).

Bark M. is an enabler. Write to him with questions about bad decisions that your wife won’t like at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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107 Comments on “Ask Bark Brief: Should I Buy New Or Keep On Fixing?...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Add in: Are the safety components failing?

    I’ve had two moments where I’ve shot the old horse and purchased a new-ish car instead of an older used car. In both instances, it was when the failure was catastrophic enough that I could have died without divine intervention.

    When your steering fails at 75 mph on an expressway curve and you stomp the brake, dodge the other traffic as you cross three lanes, and you come to a stop comfortably just before the 100 ft drop, replace it with something new.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Or, replace whoever is inspecting the vehicle regularly.

      • 0 avatar
        DearS

        I only buy used cars and take them to my long time trusted mechanics.

        I buy cars that will cost me $1200 per year to own in terms of depreciation and cost no more then $900 in repairs per year, for a total of $2100 a year to own including depreciation. That is about as good a deal as one could expect in my experience.

        I set set aside $75/month for repairs and expenses. If I expect a car to last 10 months, than I would be willing to spend $750 on repairs.

        I set aside $100/month for the payment/price of the car. So I buy cars that cost no more than $175/month to own.

        Example:
        Used CR-V that costs $4800 would need to last me 4 years while not costing more than $3600 in total repairs. Or I need to buy a car that is more reliable and still a great price or just pay more.

        What is the budget? Are there better deals out there? What are you willing to risk?

        • 0 avatar
          Conslaw

          @DearS
          Your strategy is a great one for a person who drives no more than average. For a person who drives more than that, the strategy can still work, but you have to raise your repair budget. You also have to have a rainy day fund and/or some credit to pay for large repairs. If you buy a used CR-V for $200my seat of the pants estimate is that it is 50-50 whether it will cost more than $3,600 in repairs. That price will put you into a
          2005 or so with 150,000 miles, already 4/5 used up.

          • 0 avatar
            DearS

            @Conslaw
            I believe you are right. A CR-V does not depreciate as much as the average car, so I could not afford one usually.

            I paid $5200 for my 2003 Accord with 78k miles which means it is about 5/13 used up at 15,000 miles/yr till 180,000 miles.

            I expect to pay $4800 for a reliable car with about 120,000 miles, which is not too hard to find in New England.

        • 0 avatar
          spuy767

          I’ve been buying Old Buick LeSabres for ten years now, and I can safely say that they have been far and away the cheapest things to own that I’ve ever had. In that last ten years, outside of wear components and maintenance, I may have spent $1000 keeping them running. Most expensive single repair was the rear shocks in my 2000 which were about about $250 because I had to replace the air compressor which had burned up because of running constantly for a year before I bought it.

          I would highly recommend one for anyone who is looking for inexpensive, reliable transportation, and isn’t bothered with looking cool. Keep up your maintenance and they will run for a very long time.

  • avatar

    I would find a different mechanic. Seriously 6 year old car with 100k miles? I’ve never had a car that new. I drive 20k miles a year on 11-15 year old cars I have never spent more then 1,500 in a year on repairs, in the 15 years of doing it. It may just be me but every time I run the numbers I save more then half what it would cost me to lease or buy a versa by driving old cars.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      No kidding right. Our two primary DD’s are either within 2k or 11k of 100k on the odo and both are rounding the corner of 9 years in service. To really add to the horror, both are domestic, and one is a FCA product for EFF sake. How can a 6 year old car cost 2k a year to fix?

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah one of mine is a 16 year old Dodge with 160k miles on. Grand total of repairs in the almost 8 years I have owned it? less then 2k.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          What kind of Dodge, though?

        • 0 avatar

          You got me thinking so I did the math. I drive a ’98 Stratus. It was my wife’s car until she became disabled. It’s now our only car. It’s only got 200K on it as it wasn’t driven much prior to my beginning to commute to work again. Without counting oil changes (I change my own oil) it’s cost me $211/yr in repairs/tires/etc., add oil in it’s possibly right around $280/yr. That’s not counting replacing the air filter which I don’t keep track of like I do repairs done by a shop.

          It’d be fun to figure out what my ’84 Charger cost over the 406K I put on it. Alas, I do not have those records as they went with the gentleman that purchased the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Paragon

            THX1136, unlike you and me and a few others on here, seems that relatively few people know that some people drive their Chrysler products well beyond 200K miles; there are people with 300K mile cars, 400K mile cars, etc., including Mopar vehicles with over 1 million miles. I recently saw there’s a guy with a 2005 Neon which hit 500K miles three months ago, and he’s still daily driving it.

            Had to comment as I’m DDing a 1998 Stratus, also. Bought it with only 111K miles 7 months ago and am only up to 120 K miles, while averaging 33mpg. Thoroughly cleaned the interior and exterior about 3 or 4 weeks ago and it looked almost like new. No rust nor any scrapes or dents.

            Anyway, the reason for this comment is to demonstrate you don’t have to drive a Toyota or Honda to easily go 250K to 500K or more miles. Regular inspection of fluids and other components is the key to staying on top of things to enjoying a long life. So…I’m saying nobody has to put up with monthly car payments and new-car insurance unless they really want to. If you can afford a $300 or more per month car payment, start setting that money aside in a savings account for the next unpredictable car repair.

            Incidentally, I put over 220K on my previous DD, a used, 1999 Stratus. So I already have a history and familiarity with these cars. It required ONLY normal maintenance, and was completely reliable.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Kind of why I say Chrysler/Fiat reputations are mostly undeserved any more.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          We have 190k on our 2000 5.2l SLT+ owned since 2002. We have a little more than that since a lot of the belt driven stuff has been replaced plus the radiator. The A/C system has been nearly all replaced by now, aside from the general plumbing. Need to replace the O2 sensors now. Still cheap for the 14 years we had it and the 12 years it has been paid off. My wife loves it and is having a hard time with it getting old. There are a couple rust spots from a deer impact she wants to get fixed. We know a guy :) for that. Still gets close to 20mpg highway but she drives it mostly in town for a 14mpg average.

      • 0 avatar
        slap

        “and one is a FCA product for EFF sake.”

        A 9 year old FCA product? No, Fiat didn’t get ahold of Chrysler until 2009 or so.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      That’s what I’m screaming.

      If this guy wants a new car and wanted Bark to justify it for him, he now has that.

      If I had a car under 100k that had be persistently troublesome, I’d probably dump it and go new if I could afford it.

      That said, my daily is an old Taurus with 227k on it. Its easy and cheap to fix and maintain myself (the few fixes its needed thus far). I do realize it is on borrowed time, having had nothing rebuilt and currently sitting well past its original projected useful life expectancy.

      But, that assumes I’m like Bark, and wouldn’t want to continue repairs on a decades old car. I’m not. Bark, I like you and enjoy your writing, but that doesn’t mean we always will agree. :)

      Since I like my car, my plan is to continue fixing whatever wears out or fails for as long as I can. I intend on rebuilding the suspension, adding four wheel disk with an all new brake system, and I’ll rebuild the powertrain when/if it fails. There is extremely little rust (none from salt, only minor issue in the trunk, behind the tail lamps, about 1.5″ worth). There are dings and dents, but not bad ones and all fixable.

      This is to be an extremely long-term car assuming I don’t wreck it or it doesn’t burn or get blown away in a hurricanado.

      I will eventually increase my fleet (which may include something brand-new at some point), so when/if things go wrong, I can drive something else while its repaired. Or, just switch off for the halibut. I like driving it, but sometimes you want something different than what you’ve daily driven for 4-5 years exclusively. It had 181k when I bought it, we’ve been through a lot together. Its never left me stranded on the side of the road. Not that it couldnt, I mean I realize how old it is with the mileage it has, but it runs/shifts good, gives me a solid 300 or more miles to a tank, and uses only about a quart of oil every 3-5k miles. I do long(er) interval oil changes because I use top quality synthetic blend oil and a good filter, and I check it often. I have faith that if I had to leave out for Seattle (3000 miles roughly) tonight in it, I wouldn’t worry (it would become due for an oil change during the trip). In fact, I just put new front tires on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      Indeed the number of kilometers and the amount of trouble do not match, but it’s possible that the hard Canadian climate is killing a poorly assembled car. Salt is getting into electrics or something. And it may be a Touareg or Outlander for all we know. They simply do not live as long as a common RAV4 or CR-V.

  • avatar
    deanst

    With a baby on the way, the last thing you want in your life is worrying about whether you can rely on your car. I was faced with a similar decision when I had smaller kids – a minivan with low mileage, but needing a few $1000 in repairs. The optimum choice for me was to time the new car purchase to take advantage of huge savings on year-end auto sales. Saving $8000 on a new car takes away the financial pain from selling a relatively new car “before its time”.

    Go to unhaggle.com – savings of $6000 + are available on Escapes, Rogues or Santa Fe Sports.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Sometimes new cars don’t work out that well on the reliability/time in shop front. :-/

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah new cars don’t guarantee your not stuck on the side of the road just that you wan’t have to pay for it. I know multiple people who had less then year old cars give up on them (one was a Toyota even) but yes it is less likely.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Don’t ask Dave how he knows…

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          How does Dave know?

          All kidding aside, as we have seen with the recent statistics from Consumer Reports, there are some new vehicles that are a better risk than others. The advantage to a new unit is the warranty. That can be extended. Those predictable costs can be factored into one’s budget.
          A cost benefit/deficit ratio to repairs does exist. One way to get a feel for future repairs is have a trusted independent shop inspect it with the expressed point of finding out what is wrong with it and what may soon go wrong. Another way is to do research from sites like CR for common problem areas.
          The very fact that “Brian” is worried and asking for advice means he is worried. That alone should be good enough reason to get a new vehicle.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    So if you’re like everybody else and have no emergency fund to speak of and live paycheck-to-paycheck, load up on additional debt!

    The financial advice here is bloody terrible.

    OP, here’s an unusual idea: cut your lifestyle to NOTHING for a year and stash money in an emergency fund. If you have a decent income you’ll have 10-15k in no time.

    If you can wait that long, re-assess your car situation once your emergency fund is in place and you’ll find the debt proposition to be much more difficult to justify.

    Just don’t do what everyone else is doing. For your family’s future, please don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      Oh look, another financial Philistine.

      I’m not going to comment on your personal finances. But most folks arent living paycheck to paycheck with no savings because they charged up a trip to Vegas one time too many.

      Kids cost money. Schools cost money. Healthcare really costs money. These expenses aren’t negotiable, and nowadays a middle class combined household might cover the basics with pennies left over.

      If you have spare income to the degree that an “emergency fund” is achievable in six months, you need a budget – not debt relief.

      • 0 avatar

        LS1 what you say is very true but how is adding debt and monthly payment going to help that more then keeping an old car around?

        • 0 avatar
          LS1Fan

          Basic situation.

          Take a standard lease for a standard car. $200 monthly for 36 months. Since unscheduled maintenance – like a busted water pump- is covered in the lease warranty , cost of transportation (excluding insurance , fuel etc) is a flat $200. No more ,no less.If a repair costs more then one days worth of time you get a loaner.

          Let’s look at a used car. Monthly payment is zero- but the down payment is obviously substantial ($5000 +) and for the dealer to sell it used they have to price it above wholesale value ,so you’re already upside down before even driving it.Paying cash doesn’t solve this equity problem.

          Next , the unpredictable nature of repairs means you might make it 10 years and only change a light bulb….or it may grenade the rod bearings two months into owning it. If that happens you’re out the initial 5k and the cost to fix it- which depending on the car will probably be another $2500 at minimum. Because you’re buying used, brand reliability is only marginally helpful. A used Lexus that’s been used for burnout practice won’t last as long as a babied 2.7L Sebring .

          Speaking of 2.7L FCA products, there’s a LOT of time bomb cars out there. We know about them because we’re car geeks. The single mother working 60 hour weeks at the local lot won’t know the used FWD “creampuff” STS she’s bought to “avoid debt” will fail a head gasket and cost $6k to fix.

          I doubt Dave Ramsey will pass those calls on his talk show.

          • 0 avatar

            I just question the averages. I have seen several studies and economists study keeping a car vs buying new and the almost always find the repair more cost effective. My own personal experience over 100’s of thousands of miles as well as family doing the same is that the used car is still cheaper. I mean yes you run the risk of having a tranny or engine blow early on in ownership but even then on average it should work out. I have replaced transmissions and engines on cars back in the day and the numbers still worked out. $2400 a year in lease payments is a base line you have to add in sales tax and either property tax or registration in some places that won’t effect in others it makes new leased cars very expensive. Here in CT I could buy a 5k car every two years and drive into the ground and sell it for scrap and still be better off then with a new lease.

            Also keep in mind it’s a small percentage of the population with good enough credit to pull a nice lease or finance deal. Most will end up with some money down.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            LS1FAN…help me out. Which lease were you referring to that was $200 a month with no money down. that is a rare deal. Most have cap cost reduction of 3k or so.

            Who says someone has to buy for straight cash for 5k? Why lease for your fictional $200 a month when you can buy a rental rocket camry with low miles for 14k. That yields less than a $300 stroke if you have good credit and we all know that car will last a lifetime if taken care of.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Throwing more debt on that pile doesn’t help things long-term.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I’m inclined to side with LS1Fan on this. It appears that the “OP” feels that he needs a vehicle. We must then assume that is a given. 6 yrs old with 160,000 km on the clock indicates that it probably was just paid off. (assuming payments). That would tend to indicate that there is already a built in payment schedule existing in the paycheque to paycheque lifestyle.
        Saving and building an emergency fund is a wise idea but not if that emergency fund turns into your “fix POS” fund.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I can’t come up with a fourth reason.”

    How about if you can fix your own vehicle?

    Granted in this particular case I’m guessing the new baby will severely limit the DIY time.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Assuming stuff on a 2010 car is fixable by a layman…

      • 0 avatar

        You tube. Not much out there someone hasn’t tried to fix on their own.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yup Youtube is the DIY’ers dream. Even as a retired professional I go straight to Youtube before doing much diagnosis or starting a repair. If you’ve got a mainstream vehicle there is almost always a video of how to do the most common things that you are likely to need to do. The information often exceeds what you’ll find in most commercial service information. Youtube will tell you about that hidden screw and even what tool you need to do it while the commercial info will tell you to remove 7 screws but not where in the hell that 7th one is hiding.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Yep, Youtube is a boon to anyone who tried to fix his car. Operative word, though: “tried.”

          There’s stuff anyone can fix. I’ve saved a boatload of money on things like window regulators, and such.

          But if it was something safety-related like a brake job…I’m sure I could *probably* do that, but honestly, I’d rather let a pro handle it.

          And when the transmission shoots craps, or major engine work is needed…I’m thinking this guy is going to be SOL because the Youtube video will tell him to take the car to an actual mechanic.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No you’ll find videos of how to r& that trans or replace the head gasket too. Of course a lot of those are accompanied by the fact that it took them 2 weekends, or more, to make it happen.

            Certainly many of those things are out of the comfort zone for many people or just way beyond their abilities and resources.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            Funny I am the exact opposite. I will happily replace brakes but I take it to a shop for window regulators.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Funny you mention youtube.

          A local shop in my town had a sign in front of their business thanking YouTube DYI videos.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Got to be careful on there – for every 10 good videos on fixins, there’s a bad one by Jim Alabama who don’t know what the heck he’s doin’.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Not sure what brand of CUV we’re talking here, but I used to own a 7 year old CUV, essentially a brand new car in my opinion, with oen of them magical slushboxes that shift whenever it pleases, and lights and wipers that would also randomly do stuff without my interference or guidance. This was basically the base model so other gadgets were scarce, but still too many for an old man like myself (35/36 at the time) It also cost me over 300 a month just standing there, most of which didn’t make up for the depreciation it suffered during my ownership. I sold it, and bought a 13 year old CUV with cash instead. I can’t even begin to explain how good it feels to not pay every month for a car that is supposed to be mine.
    Offcourse, it’s a japanese brand so mechanical problems should be rare, it will rust and depreciate, but I bought it for less than what a brand new one depreciates in 2 years, so if I figure in the montly payments, servicing etc. I can literally scrap it after a year and still end up saving money compared to owning a brand new car. And, as it’s a manual I don’t plan my own suicide every time I drive it. It even looks better than the later generations of the same model.
    Also, depreciation may not care about service or repair parts, but you can often do an upgrade instead of a repair. Like adjustable Konis instead of stock dampers etc.
    PS: I can actually work on my own car, and I usually have enough savings to buy a new crappy car/washing machine/Laptop etc., and I don’t even have a credit card…(but I know I could save a lot of money if I could be bothered to get one)

  • avatar
    Henry Leung

    I faced a similar dilemma when I had a 2007 Subaru Legacy Spec. B (Turbo) with 190K Km on it. I had spent $3.5K on repairs in 1 year, and $2K each year before that. Not bad, but I could see all sorts of things needing maintenance in the next couple years (turbo, differentials, electronics, shocks, etc).

    I ended up selling it used and buying a new $30K car. Seems like a huge hit upfront, but car ownership is about overall cost; if you don’t buy a lemon or the worst depreciating cars on KBB, I think you’ll come out ahead.

    Also, I have two young kids; there definitely is an intangible satisfaction of not having the chance of your used car break down on you on the side of the road.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m with Bark. Lease something like an Escape or any Hyundai (which they’re giving away right now, BTW) on the cheap, sell the old car outright, and bank the cash. You’ll need it for that baby. If nothing else, it’d be a fine start for a 529 plan.

    A six-year-old CUV with that kind of mileage should be worth a decent amount of money.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    This post is sure to disappoint the “debt free jihad” crowd.

    One: by definition we are car enthusiasts. If you weren’t , right now you’d be reading a comment from TheTruthAboutTupperware. Changing water pumps and fixing accessible parts for us at worst is a minor annoyance. Some of us weirdos actually like wrenching on broken cars (see used BMW owners).

    The rest of the human driving population isn’t so optimistic. For those well adjusted folk buying used to avoid spending money is the mobile version of “penny wise and pound foolish”.

    Instead of paying a fixed cost of transportation via leasing a new car at an inexpensive monthly rate, they’re accepting random and expensive breakdowns with unknown costs.

    With a kid in the mix the answer is a financial and logistical no brainer. Lease something cheap , boring and reliable ; owning an older car should only be done by the enthusiastic and the foolish. Or maybe they’re one and the same when it comes to cars……….

    • 0 avatar

      It depends if he has the free money in the budget or not. For me with kids I would much rather have less monthly payments then more and a back up account.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “This post is sure to disappoint the “debt free jihad” crowd.”

      It’s designed to trigger them. Bark always recommends to buy the new car. You can bet on it.

      I do too, for my own personal gain. But depreciation costs more than car repairs.

      • 0 avatar
        LS1Fan

        Only if you plan on keeping it long term.

        For the purposes of Casual Transportation -not a vehicle you want to pass on to the kids because You Like It- leasing ensures a fixed cost of transport with the lowest probability of time disruption.

        Being promoted at work because you didn’t miss a sick day is a value add to your paycheck the Ramsey-ites don’t mention. Not missing your kids event because you weren’t under a 10 year old VW changing a tie rod is another value add not mentioned in the slick speeches.

        • 0 avatar

          Your still going to a dealer to negotiate and buy your going back for service your worried about damage to the car that will cost you, your worried about going over miles. It’s not the huge time savings really. When I buy a used car I hand the guy cash after a test drive and leave in less then a half hour usually. Service work done in the driveway instead of being late for work dropping of the car or missing the kids on Saturday morning. All this plus 1000’s a year in savings.

          Look if you have the money buy a new car and enjoy yourself but don’t try to paint it as financially sound.

          • 0 avatar
            LS1Fan

            Not everyone has the skill and /or resources (lift,tools,garage,etc) to reap the benefits of buying used.

          • 0 avatar

            All my tools are from 15 years ago when I was a wrench (only for about 4 years before I went in to office jobs). But most of what i do could be done with less then 100 bucks worth of stuff from Harbor freight and a $20 bluetooth scantool. I have no lift no garage just a driveway and a shed. Of course I’m a glutton for punishment and once changed a throw out bearing on an XJ in -10 degree weather on a gravel driveway in Maine.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Even if you have the skills and tools to fix a used car one has to look at down time and arranging alternative transportation.
            When I wander around my neighbourhood virtually everyone is a 2 vehicle family. You can’t assume that the second vehicle will cover everything when you are in the carport fixing the other. If my wife and I work similar shifts we will share a ride but our shifts rarely line up. Kids need transportation and that often means travelling in different directions at the same time.
            One cannot assume that everyone is fine with having a vehicle sit in the yard for a few weeks while you repair it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In many places you would not be allowed to have such a broken vehicle in your yard either. The HOA would have swift consequences ready for you.

          • 0 avatar

            Down time can be an issue. My Daily driver Volvo was out of commission a couple days having the cam seals done this year. Other then that I haven’t had a repair take a car out of commission more then a few hours in years. Most repairs are done when I have time on the weekends. I borrowed a car from a retired relative during the Volvo issue, and times before that I used to always have 3 cars. But really I could have taken Uber or a Taxi to work those couple days and my wife could have kept driving if we had too.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Preventative maintenance is key. Regular maintenance visits to the mechanic for oil changes with a multi point inspection will ensure that a vehicle never leaves you stranded. Plans for alternate transport can be made ahead of time. And even if it does break down once a year, does that justify the expense of a new vehicle?

          What I’m hearing is yes. I’m not surprised though, a lot of people make decisions based on that fear every day. The truth of the matter is that a 10 year old vehicle today can serve as very reliable low cost transport. But as Bark says, then you’ll have to drive a 10 year old car, which is more to the crux of the decision of buying new.

      • 0 avatar

        Depreciation is also the price of a warranty. The fantasy, especially if you have a questionable car, is a car with 100% uptime. To see what really goes on out there, reddit’s “just rolled into the shop” is very instructive to those of us who take the wheels off to clean calipers or have ANY idea what goes on under the hood.

        If you buy new, you are “owed” that 100 percent uptime, to the extent that the dealer will give you another car while yours is at the shop.

        I had a lovely SAAB 9-3 that would occasionally leave mom and kids (small at the time, now both drive) in a parking lot. Whatever intermittent problem could not be found…we got a new car.

        You only have a dealer saying $2k worth of work. What is being repaired ? Is it a weak point of the car ? We need to know more.

        There is much to be said for a car being a fixed cost in your budget, just for peace of mind, and no, many folks don’t know which end of the wrench to use, and don’t want to…but for this guy, I’d get a second opinion as to what money eating parts need fixing…..and need to evaluate the overall vehicle. Shocks and bushings and end links ? Brakes and discs ? Wear parts or stuff that should just work ?

        This is one of those planned obsolence questions that must be well researched in the proprietary archives of every car company.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Did someone say used BMW owner?
      I’ll be putting in a new(ish) power steering pump on Friday (Thanks Vets!) and an actual new CCC when it arrives in the mail. #blessed

  • avatar
    mtmmo

    The future couldn’t be any brighter. Go buy or lease yourself a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The future couldn’t be any brighter.”

      Ironically, given that this guy in Canada, I think you’re right on target.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        What about the high unemployment and increased demand on the healthcare system that will surely be caused by all those people moving to Canada because Trump got elected?

        • 0 avatar

          As crazy as it sounds they seem more serious this year. A friend of mine just called this morning to get a quote on converting his Nova Scotia summer home into a year round house by adding insulation, he’s semi retired and is seriously thinking of moving full time.
          A relative who was casual shopping for a house on PEI supposedly put in an offer this morning when he heard the election results, will have to ask him this weekend if it’s true.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            What I’m waiting for are the responses from all those celebrities that essentially threatened their fan base that there were going to move if you didn’t vote for Hilary.

            I expect silence from that crowd and doubt there will be a moving truck showing up at their place anytime soon.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Scoutdude – we plan on billing Trump once we build our own wall ;)

      • 0 avatar
        mtmmo

        Canada and Mexico’s future just got a lot brighter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an uptick in new car sales and leases over the next 12-18 months.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “I honestly don’t know many people under the age of 40 who have that kind of a rainy-day slush fund. Or many people over 40, for that matter.”

    Wow, that’s bananas. How could somebody live like that?

    I suspect that many of these people could carve out a $2k slush fund in a year just by canceling their cable TV and eating out less.

  • avatar

    Yeah my parents neighbor never turned a wrench in his life until a few years ago. He decided he wanted to keep his sebring convertible forever and has been doing all the repairs himself now and it has 200k miles on it. All with just you tube and harbor freight tools.

    Also look at some of the forums on one there was a guy who was an accountant who did the valve body on his 5 speed auto Volvo in his driveway. took him a whole weekend but still $400 valve body vs $4500 rebuilt tranny.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s great when people think they can get solid advice on their car and the issues around it -without- providing details on what the car is.

    Is it a 100k CR-V, which means you have a bad mechanic?
    Is it a 100k LR3, which means $2,000 in repairs is expected/reasonable?

    You won’t get good car advice on a car site when you ask a car question and don’t mention what CAR you’re in. You’ve been reading here for two years and you don’t know This One Simple Trick yet?

    Come on.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The time to get rid of an old car is when it begins to cost more than a new one. Repair costs are the big item for an old car. Insurance and registration should be cheap. The costs for a new car are the monthly loan payment, which you should no longer have on your old one, insurance, which will be higher, and registration, which usually will be higher. The hard part of the calculation is estimating future repair costs on your old car. Your mechanic should be able to give you some idea of what you would be facing.

    It’s worth remembering that repair costs don’t occur every month but loan payments do. I think repair costs should be measured in months rather than dollars. That is, how many months of loan payments does it take to equal a repair? When you get to the point of a 12-month repair more than once a year, it’s already past time to dump the old one.

    • 0 avatar
      krohde

      Yep… this ^^^

      Here’s what I do that I think helps with questions like this. My wife and I have a 2008 Mazda3 hatch and a 2011 Mustang GT. Both have about 110K miles and both get driven approx. 15-20k per year. For 2 years, we were paying $912 a month for the two cars combined (bought the Mazda used after a drunk driver totaled my wife’s previous car). Got them both paid off last year and now, we still take the Mustang’s monthly payment ($554) and put it into a savings account. That savings account gets used some for car maintenance and (hopefully) more for saving towards the inevitable down payment when we get a new car. Beyond that, we save $200 a month that truly is for maintenance, given we’ve figured out that each car costs an average of $2,000 – $3,000 per year to maintain each car (this includes all planned and unplanned maintenance, tires, personal property tax, etc. – everything but gas). I realize not everybody can save $750/month like we’re doing, but saving SOMETHING monthly helps make repairs easier to handle.

      I track all repair work for each car in a Google Spreadsheet that lets me truly see how often we’re doing repairs and how much we’re spending, versus the more anecdotal “Honey we’ve taken this thing to the shop 3x this month – it needs to go!”. And we track all the fuel expenses using the Gas Tracker (Fuelly) app.

      With all that info, I’m able to truly look at all the costs, at what’s maintenance versus repairs of things that actually broke, etc. and determine when’s the right time to buy a car. And, for me, I don’t think it’s worth the new car until the annual cost of ownership is over $4,000 or so, which is a starting point for what a good new car would cost for a year ($350/month loan or lease). I’d make an exception to that rule if A) the car was truly becoming unreliable (i.e. leaving her on the side of the road) or B) the body was deteriorating from rust to the point where the car has little value left.

      The downside of all this is that I truly know what I’ve spent to own our cars. For example, my Mustang – I bought it used in 2011 for $29,500. Had it for 5 years now and driven in about 96,000 miles. Between the car, insurance ($6,000 over 5 years), fuel ($13,884 so far), and maintenance ($15,314), that car’s true cost is now over $65,000. And this car has not been bad, reliability-wise – that’s just what it costs to own & keep a car running, IMO. I think a lot of people would make different decisions about their vehicles if they actually kept as detailed of data as I do.

      The insurance and fuel costs are what they are – a new car or the existing would both cost approximately the same. It’s that $15,314 in maintenance that makes me wonder if I would have been better off trading it after 3 years and making payments again. There’s certainly an argument to be made for doing that. One thing in favor of keeping the car is that it’s still worth approximately $12,000 so that brings down that 65K overall cost significantly.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’d really like to see a break down of that $15k worth of “maintenance”. How much of that would be the same with a new car, like oil changes, or more, like personal property tax?

        • 0 avatar
          krohde

          Here you go: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13DTaSrN8a0PNH7CI1ytJ7yp3qwPNq2v26w0iqiVaiEA/edit?usp=sharing

          High-level breakdown:
          – Personal Property Tax: $2,992
          – Tires (includes buying the winter tires/wheels I have for it): $3,557
          – Repairs: $4,078
          – Regular Maintenance: $4,678

          On the regular maintenance, the costs could definitely be lower – it’s a car I love, so I put high-end parts on it (Koni dampers, Stoptech rotors, full synthetic oil changes + K&N oil filters, etc.). If I always did the cheapest option out there, I could have saved a significant amount. Same thing with the tires.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            So at least some of that is by choice and you would probably do the same for another similar car.

            However if you were willing to accept the car as is you could probably get out in 3 years w/o buying tires, brakes or any repairs that you pay for.

            In most states that newer, more expensive car will cost you more in personal property taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Kendahl – that is basically how I look at it combined with risk of loss or risk of downtime.

      • 0 avatar
        krohde

        @Scoutdude – not sure what you mean by get out in 3 years but yeah, the property tax goes down each year. First year it was just over $1,000 and now it’s under $600.

  • avatar
    segxr7

    I compromised by getting a 1-year-old car. Saved me $5000 and it still has most of the factory warranty left. It even has some remaining new car smell.

    There’s a lot to be said for peace of mind too (especially with a kid on the way!). The odds of a 2015 Honda leaving me stranded are pretty slim, and even if it does, it won’t cost me anything and the dealer will provide a loaner. Coming from a 2002 X-Type, that was a revelation.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m with Bark. I suggest buying instead of leasing, since you like to keep vehicles a long time. Perhaps a Hyundai/Kia product, used, which still gives you more warranty than other cars do when new.

    Your relatively low mileage – and the make – don’t matter to me. An unreliable car can be built by any mfr.

    My wife is car agnostic, but she is VERY passionate about them not breaking down on her, which some of our cars have done in the past – once when she was pregnant. You don’t want that worry.

  • avatar
    thelastdriver

    I love to make fun of people whining about their car payments. Having a small fleet of vehicles and wrenching on them during weekends serves me just fine and “keeps it interesting”.

    Cheaper too! Significantly cheaper. Brakes? $40 and and two hours! Exhaust flex part? $100 and another two hours. Struts? $89/corner for prebuilt ones.

    I’ll occasionally pay for a repair if I figure it’s going to eat into a work week. Timing belt and water pump? Fuck no — I’ll pay $400 for that.

    TCO for this ’98 Corolla has been about $2800 over two years. This includes buying the car, license, title, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Only thing not included in that number is gas. Because gas.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, but then you’re driving a ’98 Corolla.

      • 0 avatar

        Thats true. I hate those late 90’s corollas but they make great daily drivers (had one for about 6 months back in 2007). My Volvo I’m in a little over $5000.00 over 32 months so far. I could sell it right now for $2,500.00 That’s $2,500 driving a loaded European car for more then 2.5 years. Not too bad. Only thing I’m really missing from a modern car is Bluetooth.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “Yes, but then you’re driving a ’98 Corolla.”

        WGAF? Obviously not this guy.

        He gets a car that works for him, and can spend his money on other things that presumably matter more to him.

        Perhaps even have the amazing luxury of a low 4-figure slush fund. Which is now apparently an accomplishment, somehow.

        • 0 avatar
          thelastdriver

          You mentioned low 4-figure slush fund. Remember in my original post I said “small fleet of vehicles”?

          Yep, that’s pretty much the case. I recently invested in yet another sub-100k mile Camry Wagon. A bit rusty but manageable for an ’89. 2.5L V6 and all the LE options — except leather. It still smells new, everything works, and the interior is spotless. And I have a parts car.

          In Cleveland that generation Camry would literally rust apart after a few salty winters. That’s what the Corolla is for. With the shitty 3-speed slushbox and 13″ wheels (VE “you’re poor and didn’t want to buy Korean” model only) it can still smoke most modern cars off a light… Up to 40mph. It’s an “intern’s car”, “I’m driving a Maytag!”, or “Rolling Refrigerator”. And it’s white. And the previous owner committed suicide.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    If I wanted to read stupid political jokes, I could’ve gone to any one of the news sites and read them there. Your attempts, Mr. Bark, are not smart, funny or timely. Stick to what you may or may not know – cars.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    • When your repair bills come close to what you would pay on an auto loan each year, maybe it’s time for a new car.
    • When your car drinks more gas in a day than its newer version does in a week, maybe it’s time for a new car.
    • When your wife/girlfriend refuses to ride in the car because it looks like a Ramblin’ Wreck, maybe it’s time for a new car.

    I agree that it needs to be your own decision, Brian. But sometimes you have to look beyond just the financials to the image you present to your friends and neighbors. Yes, even an older car can be kept in pristine appearance, but even that can cost more than its worth if it’s simply no longer reliable or needs constant mechanical/cosmetic repairs.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Can’t believe nobody guessed it’s a dodge journey yet.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, Bark has certainly provided the OP with a rationale for buying a new car . . . if that’s what he wanted to do.

    Leasing a new car has the one advantage of simplicity and predictability. Two major car expenses are rolled into one, fixed number: depreciation and repairs.

    The problem people have with going the other route are four:

    1. Depreciation is a hidden cost and is hard to calculate, but it’s real. The nice thing is is that as cars get older and more miles, annual depreciation becomes smaller.

    2. The success of the “repair” strategy depends in large part on having access to a competent, honest repair facility. That’s often easier said than done. As others have noted, the OP’s repair facility seems a little dubious.

    3. The financial discipline to set aside each month a sum that would equal the avoided car payment (whether lease or financed), which would mitigate or eliminate the “shock” of major repairs, assuming one’s budget is “tight.”

    4. The predictability and hassle factor of having a repair queen. Having transportation that can’t be depended upon to meet your basic transportation needs is a big problem; it can jeopardize your employment. And, if you don’t have backup transportation for when yours is in the shop, then that’s a problem, too.

    Finally, there’s an unstated attitudinal problem here. If you’re in the position where your budget is tight and your car is essential to get you certain places daily (like your job), then what you need is a transportation appliance; and you should do your best to calculate the price (cost, in this case) of that “appliance” and buy the cheapest whatever it might be.

    As for the shadetree mechanics here, puleeze, get serious. Even if it works for you, that’s not a solution for the average person, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone. I’ve been doing increasingly ambitious things for more than 50 years, but I started out with people’s discarded lawn mowers, which I rehabilitated and got working for my little lawn mowing business that I had as a young teen-ager, moving up to air-cooled VWs in my early 20’s. So I never made a mistake that was catastrophic or wasn’t pretty easily fixable. Lots of younger, non-suburban (or rural) people don’t even have a place to do this kind of work. Hell, I gave up changing my own oil a decade ago when I couldn’t find a place to dump my waste oil responsibly. You think a service station that’s in, among other things, the oil change business is going to accept your waste oil so you can do it yourself? Think again.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “Hell, I gave up changing my own oil a decade ago when I couldn’t find a place to dump my waste oil responsibly.”

      Every Autozone, Advance, etc in the country accepts waste oil for recycling.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I gave up changing my own oil when someone stole my 1987 Cutlass Supreme. At least the filter was easy to access and you could drain the pan and the filter without getting oil all over the front suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “that’s not a solution for the average person”

      I agree. I wouldn’t tell my grandmother or the “average person” to break out the tool box. However, TTAC is an enthusiast website, so I don’t think bringing up DIY is crazy seeing how I bet 30%-50% of us partake.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “The problem people have with going the other route are four:”
      — I can agree with that.

      1. Depreciation is a hidden cost and is hard to calculate, but it’s real. The nice thing is is that as cars get older and more miles, annual depreciation becomes smaller.
      • But for some, depreciation is a non-factor because they tend to keep the car for an extended period of time. For example, typically I keep my car for no less than eight years, though there have been exceptions. As such, if that car has been reliable, then its trade-in value means little to me UNTIL I choose to trade. Admittedly I got lucky as my 9-year-old Jeep Wrangler paid fully half of the retail price of my brand-new Jeep Renegade and eliminated the Daimler-caused maintenance headaches I’d been getting from just trying to keep that Wrangler road worthy. I expect to see that Wrangler kitted out and lifted to a fare-thee-well within two years and very probably with a massive V8 under the hood.

      2. The success of the “repair” strategy depends in large part on having access to a competent, honest repair facility. That’s often easier said than done. As others have noted, the OP’s repair facility seems a little dubious.
      • Agreed. You want a shop you can trust and not all shops are trustworthy.

      3. The financial discipline to set aside each month a sum that would equal the avoided car payment (whether lease or financed), which would mitigate or eliminate the “shock” of major repairs, assuming one’s budget is “tight.”
      • This one comes in as to whether you can get a trustworthy used car or not. My own father used to say, “If it’s on a competitor brand’s lot, don’t trust it. In my own case, not even that worked as the majority of the cars I’ve bought ‘used’ have been money pits. I almost never buy used any more.

      4. The predictability and hassle factor of having a repair queen. Having transportation that can’t be depended upon to meet your basic transportation needs is a big problem; it can jeopardize your employment. And, if you don’t have backup transportation for when yours is in the shop, then that’s a problem, too.
      • Absolutely! Buying new gives you the comfort of knowing the first several years of service is paid for, given maybe a certain deductible should you choose to add an extended service contract. This means your repairs will not be unexpectedly high even after the regular warranty runs out, though admittedly it does add to the monthly payment of the vehicle to a greater or lesser extent depending on the length of term you choose. Buying used, an unexpected repair could mean $2000 or more lost when you can least afford it. And repair costs are only going up. The longer you can avoid those high repair bills, the better off you are, especially when raising a family.

      “Finally, there’s an unstated attitudinal problem here. If you’re in the position where your budget is tight and your car is essential to get you certain places daily (like your job), then what you need is a transportation appliance; and you should do your best to calculate the price (cost, in this case) of that “appliance” and buy the cheapest whatever it might be.”
      • Here I would point out what my Father-in-Law once told me about some friends of his. Their daily commute was in excess of 70 miles per day and what they chose to do was purchase a low-cost new car for most of the reasons I mention above. By the two of them carpooling in that one car, they suffered almost no repair costs while, because they chose to go short-term loan (three years) they paid it off before it got to the point it would need repairs, meaning that as long as the car remained reliable, they continued driving it. When it began to need repairs, they sold it and purchased a new model under the same conditions, paying cash up front by putting their ‘car payment’ into the bank after paying off the loan of the previous car. The car they chose was the lowest-optioned one they could find at the time and it served their needs perfectly.

      Now, most people wouldn’t go to that extent but if you ARE one of those who needs daily reliability just to get back and forth to work and you don’t mind missing out on the luxuries for a single-purpose vehicle, then you might want to consider if you want a ‘utility’ car that can take the workload off the other one (any more a family really needs two vehicles) or a one-car-does-all at higher cost. If you can cut down the mileage on the older vehicle, it may serve long enough to let you pay off the newer one and then purchase a better one for your wife and kids.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    I say go for the new car. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be an SUV, just a sedan that will accept car seat(s). Why do so many who have to ask a question have to mention there’s “one on the way”? What’s that supposed to have anything to do with asking the question?

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I’m a “keeper,” too. I think the shortest time I’ve kept all the cars I’ve owned (excluding a 1968 Karmann Ghia that I bought in 1972, which I sold when I went to work in Houston in 1973 because it couldn’t be air conditioned) was 6 years (Mazda RX-2, 1987 Mustang GT). Typically I’ve been keeping them for 10 years. Oddly, the cheapest car I’ve had was my BMW Z3 3.0, which I kept for 12 years. Bought it as a CPO in ’04; sold it in ’14 for $8,000 less than I paid for it. Great car.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    “One on the way” means an approximate total outlay of an additional $400,000 over the next two decades. If your wife stops working, your stress level will increase tremendously.
    We still don’t know what the car in question is. That little tidbit of information would be very helpful.
    Shopping around for a better mechanic would be a very wise thing to do, but I’m not the first one here to say that. Getting a $2,000 estimate to fix a noise that they can’t even reproduce is a crock. They are looking at you like the Quickie Lube salesguy does when you are there for the 19.99 oil change, plus whatever urgently needed and overpriced garbage they can add on.
    I would suggest taking your car to a good independent mechanic and ask him to take an hour to inspect it as if you were considering it as a used car to buy. He just might find that noisy bit of plastic that somehow got wedged behind the radiator fan.
    If your car is any good, you’re at about 50% of its life expectancy, maybe even less. Other than changing the timing belt, you should either know how or learn how to do the basic maintenance – fluid and filter changes, rotate tires, inspect the brakes, grease the hinges, even wipe a little Rain-X on the windows. You’ll be pleased to see how much money you won’t be wasting at the dealership service window, and your car will be better cared for.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I really don’t get the angst here. A six year old car with less than 100K miles on it is not by any rational standard “old”. It’s paid for – keep the darned thing and fix it! If you don’t have the cash, use a credit card and pay it off over a few months. It’s still *vastly* cheaper than a new car. And stop taking out of warranty cars to the dealer, for God’s sake. Dealer shops are horrible treadmills, and rarely have really good people working there.

    So many people are penny-wise and pound-foolish. Or just plain stupid, see yesterday’s election results for a prime example of that.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I kind of dropped out for a bit so didn’t know this question was posted. Thanks for all the input.

    Car in question is a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD Limited. Going price for a similar one around here according to Autotrader is $10K. Equivalent new one with the same features would cost about $35-40K.

    If my research is correct, the repair looming over us is a $1795 part, plus an hour labour. Our local mechanic checked and can’t find any rebuilt ones. Since the problem can’t be reproduced at will (yet) I’m obviously reluctant to replace the part without knowing that it is really the issue.

    Our car payments finished last year and were not a burden to us, but babies are expensive as well, plus as someone pointed out, my wife won’t be working for at least a year.

  • avatar
    noelleo2112

    Or just buy some tools, be a man and do your own work. I have owned my 7th generation civic since new and it has been the best car I have ever owned. It just had its very first problem ever at 230000 miles, it blew a head gasket on cylinder one into the water jacket, cost me less than 300 bucks to fix, it’s more of a question of how bad do you want it? Or would you rather have a car payment every month of your entire life? The wifes 2011 civic has 3 more payments left and I plan on going car payment free for at least a few years and paying cash for the next used car or engine/transmission for my old Honda. Do the math, if we bank that 300 a month car payment for 2 years thats over 7000 bucks, I can buy another used vehicle for myself if needed for way less than that.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      You just can’t go wrong with a Civic. I’m on my 3rd one and will buy a 4th. So low in cost to buy and as well maintain, and even easy to resale it later. Such a great commuter car!

  • avatar

    When I sold my Civic off (for a profit) last year, I went out and got a 1996 Aerostar XLT that I named Arthur for the lulz and because I love minivans for cheap ($550). At the time, I didn’t drive much, so like the Civic, it sat in front of the house most of the time.

    Fast forward to a month into owning it, and an unfortunate tangle with two cars meant that Arthur was destined for the junkyard in the sky.

    This left us with only one car…a 2003 Toyota RAV4L with 162,XXX (now 165K) miles on it.

    Initially, I was going to replace Arthur with a new(ish) car myself, and almost pulled the trigger on a new Accord Sport, but decided not to because I wasn’t in love with the car enough to keep it for three years (lease).

    Instead, having a wife, 1.5 year old son, and a nine year old dog who isn’t as agile as she used to be meant that I wasn’t going to put them through having to tough it out in the RAV for a few more years. So we decided to resume our search for a family rig, which ultimately led to us getting the 2016 CRV EX-L AWD. I’m glad that we did, because we wound up moving from Portland to Dallas a few months later. Even driving the RAV from Portland to Salt Lake was a special kind of hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone (in-laws picked it up and drove it the rest of the way to Dallas).

    Moral of the story: when it comes to your family, get them the best option that you can afford. They deserve it.

    PS I’m truckin’ along in the RAV, which serves as my work commuter now. I’ll drive it for a couple more years, then get something else.

  • avatar
    binksman

    +1 on buying tools .

    1. Even if its in the driveway in the winter, working on the car gets you away from the housebound wife and kid. I love my family, but I appreciate the alone time I rarely get to work on something.

    2. Positive feedback from fixing something is a big motivator to continue working on that knowledge and skillset.

    3. Once you learn how to fix your stuff, you pass that knowlodge and skills onto your kids. Teach your kids how to change flats, replace brakes, and diagnose automotive problems would prevent them from having to worry as much about the problems you have now. To this day, my sister thanks me anytime she has a car problem because I taught her how to change her own tire rather than change it for her, even though it was rainging :)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Am I the only one that thinks its odd both OP and Bark never addressed the make/model of the car?

    This is kinda, um, an important part of the conversation.

  • avatar
    thattruthguy

    Writer: “My car has 300,000 miles on it, and is on fire. Should I replace it?”

    TTAC commentariat: “Are you some kind of Rockefeller?”

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