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Discussion Starter #1
How much would you spend on a used car?

I paid $4780 for a 2003 outback 2.5L 4cyl with 80k miles. I have $4000 in it.
 

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What you put in should be factored against what it would cost to replace the car today in your neighborhood.

If you are drowning in decent used cars, don't spend much. If they all cost more and have more miles and problems than yours, or there just aren't any, then don't feel bad about spending more.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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If it's not still on the new car dealer's lot, it's a used car.

...so, what's your question?

Looby
 

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Your post is pretty vague. What is your intent?

A car that is easily replaced shouldn't become a money pit. At some point you need to just trade the darn thing on a newer car or on one with lots less wear and tear on it.

OTH, an unusual, limited production, or hard to find vehicle that you really like is worth spending a significant amount of cash to keep running. Like my son's '91 Coupe quattro or my '96 LX450... Money pits indeed! LOL!

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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If I was driving an older car that was starting to experience problems I'd ask myself two questions.

1. Do I love the car?
2. Will it cost less than a down payment on a new car to fix whatever is wrong with it?

If your answer to both of these questions is, yes, then it makes more sense to keep the older car. If you can get it close to new over the course of 4 years at $2500 each year then you're only out $10k making the car you love as good as new.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your post is pretty vague. What is your intent?

A car that is easily replaced shouldn't become a money pit. At some point you need to just trade the darn thing on a newer car or on one with lots less wear and tear on it.

OTH, an unusual, limited production, or hard to find vehicle that you really like is worth spending a significant amount of cash to keep running. Like my son's '91 Coupe quattro or my '96 LX450... Money pits indeed! LOL!

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
I'm wondering if I should keep the car or buy something else that requires less maintenance.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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financially, it is almost always cheaper to repair the car you have than to replace it. compare the cost of the repair to how much you can sell the broken car for plus the repair cost. and then see what kind of car you could buy for that money. in that situation it is almost always cheaper to repair. used cars come with unknown issues and almost always need SOME repair.

however, money may not be the only consideration. if your 17 year old daughter is driving the car, especially at night alone, reliability may be more important than the cost.

but in your situation, if you drive the car 90k miles, the current high cost of owner ship will be dramatically lessened.

in my opinion, when we buy a car we are buying miles. some of us buy luxury miles, while some buy truck miles, while some buy off road miles.
 

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Your question, al be it vague, is not an easy one to answer since the question (as I see it) as to how long you should keep (fixing) a used car is based on a number of factors.

a.) how much you know about the car
b.) how much history you have on the car
c.) how much cash on hand versus monthly discretionary money is available to you
d.) mechanical skill/knowledge/willingness to learn
e.) many other things I won't delve into

How much you know about the car
If you are the original owner of the car, you know (or should know) everything about the car. You know how it drives, how it feels, what it sounds like, what it looks like, what it's hit and what it smell like. You might have become (and therefore be careful about) accustom to certain sounds and smells but you general have the best understanding of what is going to go next. And you can base your repair and replacements on that knowledge - planning ahead. In this situation, you drive/repair the car beyond the point of those repairs costing more than the value of the car. You basically drive it until it becomes illegal to drive it (rust or unable to fix electrical issues that might leave head, brake lights, or other safety related features from operating).

If you aren't the original of a vehicle and you can't seem to "catch up" to the issues you are having. Then you have no choice but to get rid of it when/before the next repair is of a value greater than the car's worth.

How much history you have on the car
As stated before, if you are the original owner, you should have all this as I am referring to the actual mechanical history - not the experience or sensory knowledge as in my previous point. So as an original owner you will know what mechanical issues have been dealt with and therefore can better establish (if not already) a long term preventive maintenance plan.

However, if you are not the original owner you may not have a complete record of the vehicle maintenance that has been done. Even if you have a ton of receipts in the glove box, you can't always be 100% sure of it. You don't know the mechanics that worked on the car, you didn't interact with them so you can't be 100% confident in the work they did - you HAVE to assume the worst (to protect your investment in this car).

Obviously, the more repair history you have the better - unless it's history is shady and not just filled with a bunch of Jiffy Lube oil change receipts - and even then you may be scared to see a bunch of them.

How much cash on hand versus monthly discretionary money is available to you
If you vehicle is coming into disrepair more and more frequently then you need to look at the amount of cash you have for these repairs - depending on my previous two points you should have an understanding as to what might or is likely to still go wrong. If you are saving $100 and pretending it is a car payment and are putting it in a savings account dedicated for the car (like many financial planners would suggest but no one realistically does) then you can transition into a car payment easier. If you haven't but just have a good regular savings account then its going to boil down to the first two scenarios.

Cash on hand can be used for repairs or a down payment. Available monthly funds, or the ability to make room for one, will make it easier - if not force you - to give up on the car, regardless of what my first two points yield.

Mechanical skill/knowledge/willingness to learn
If you are mechanically incline or willing to become (with some variable costs related to errors you make) then you're back on the side of keeping a car until it dies. If you have two left thumbs and have only "popped the hood" so the AutoZone employee can top off your windshield wiper fluid, then you might lean more toward selling/replacing the car.

Personally
I prefer to buy and drive until they die. The only real legitimate reason for someone with that mindset to replace an aging, well-maintained vehicle would be to take advantage of new safety standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've decided that I'm going to just keep the car until it requires a major service (in my case, that would be engine replacement and/or a new transmission). I've already had most of those other high dollar items replaced already. A local mechanic said after all the work he's done to it, it should last another 80,000 miles. He did say that I would be back at some point for Head Gasket work.

Right now, I'm going to start looking for another vehicle, preferably one that is pre-certified, has a detailed maintenance record, and is no less than 5 years old. I saw quite a few mint dealer loaner cars up for sale with less than 45k miles. But before I jump into anything else, I'm going to do some more hunting.
 

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Depends on the car.

Plain vanilla car which had 1000's made? Keep it running as long as you can without big expensive repairs sure always cheaper to do that if you know the history of the car to start with. Used car bought with no idea about its past generally not a good idea to start pumping money into it especially if there are lots of them out there that could be far better cared for.

A car that holds strong value isn't built by the 1000's and has a specific following or sub culture that keeps its value strong yes almost always especially today worth repairing correctly and keeping in prime condition.
 

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BobfromVienna.... just wondering when did you buy the car and what repairs was done that cost you 4000 when the car has only 80K miles.

My Gen1 Outback was mostly routine maintenance for the first 100K miles. But then, it is a 2.2L MT with oil changes every 3-3.5K miles.
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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What VALUE in a car means to you

I agree with many sides of what has already been posted. I still have a modified 2000 Jeep Cherokee w/170,000 miles on it that I have owned since it was new. Later in it's life, At 100,000 I dumped $2,600 on suspension/steering and @ 130,000 another $2,000 general and drivetrain. The current value of the vehicle is about $2,800 w/mods at best. To me it is priceless, can't be replaced for less than double digits $$$. I can jump in it at any momment and drive it ANYWHERE with confidence.

My latest purchase is a true labor of love. I purchased a 2006 OBK XT LTD with 65,000 miles for $16,000 in December w/good snow tires. I was psyched. My intent was to purchase a vehicle to drive for a year or two, put in only gas and maint...AND trade in on my My new 4-Runner. (Which, I didn't want to drain my saving to buy in December) Good call, lost my job in March.

Well, at some point I will post the whole story to the forum, but , long story short...I have spent close to $4,000 right away fixing-the-broken or degraded, upgrades instead of stock repairs, a few mods. So much for a prudent economical "newer' car. My good deal has now yurned into a bad investment...or has it.

To ME...it so worth it to keep the car you have learned. My XT is now BOMBER!!! Sure, there are many things that will still at some point cost me more money. But It's the overall value of the car to me that's important. Plus, doing all of the work myself, I KNOW it is done right. Will I keep the XT I just built or sell it at some point for a huge loss on paper??? Maybe, maybe not. When my 4yr old daughter says...Daddy, I want to drive through the field...can we keep the Jeep "Forever"?...you tell me the meaning value.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
BobfromVienna.... just wondering when did you buy the car and what repairs was done that cost you 4000 when the car has only 80K miles.

My Gen1 Outback was mostly routine maintenance for the first 100K miles. But then, it is a 2.2L MT with oil changes every 3-3.5K miles.
Most of these replacements/services weren't required yet, but I decided, instead of waiting for them to be necessary, that I would just replace them now while I have some freed up income.

Replaced Timing Belt
Replace Belt Tensioners
Replaced Idler Pulley (Upper/Lower)
Replaced Thermostat
Replaced Water-Pump
Replaced Oil Pump Seal
Replaced Camshaft Seal
Replaced Muffler (with Gasket)
Clean IAC Valve
Clean MAP Sensor
Replaced Transmission Fluid
Replaced Rear Differential Fluid
Replaced Cabin Filter
Replaced Engine Coolant & Inspect Cooling System
Replaced All Axle Boots
Replaced All Wheel Bearings
Replaced Brakes, Pads, Rotors, Shoes
Replaced Catalytic Converter
Replaced Oil and Oil Filter
Replaced Fuel Pump and Filter
New Tires, Alignment
Upgraded the suspension with Coil Overs
Replaced Head Gasket Seals
New Sparks Plugs

What drove the costs up were due to labor fees, without labor costs, I would have saved roughly $1500.
 

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I'm wondering if I should keep the car or buy something else that requires less maintenance.

a new Outback is around 25K, thats 5K a year for 5 years. Before the 5 years is up, you might have to do repairs. If you think the car is reliable, and like the car, repair it.

5K a year buys a lot of maintenance even if you have pay someone.
 

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I agree with many sides of what has already been posted. I still have a modified 2000 Jeep Cherokee w/170,000 miles on it that I have owned since it was new. Later in it's life, At 100,000 I dumped $2,600 on suspension/steering and @ 130,000 another $2,000 general and drivetrain. The current value of the vehicle is about $2,800 w/mods at best. To me it is priceless, can't be replaced for less than double digits $$$. I can jump in it at any momment and drive it ANYWHERE with confidence.
I'm sorry for drifting off topic - but that sounds just like my LX450 - I have way, WAY more cash and uncounted labor hours invested in it than I would ever get out of the sale, but it is a perfect expedition vehicle. I could get maybe $8K for it, but I have it insured for an "agreed value" of $25K. There was no extra charge for the coverage, but my agent took pics documenting the condition and (extensive) accessories. I also have to keep it garaged or the limit will default to Blue Book value.

My son's old Audi is worth maybe $2500 Blue Book, but to a collector it is worth lots more, so it is insured for an agreed value of $10K.

http://autos.aol.com/article/insurance-standard-vs-agreed-value/

My insurance is Encompass, and the old one I left for excessive rate hikes, Safeco, had the same feature. You might check with your company or switch to get this coverage. "Some restrictions may apply."

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter #17
a new Outback is around 25K, thats 5K a year for 5 years. Before the 5 years is up, you might have to do repairs. If you think the car is reliable, and like the car, repair it.

5K a year buys a lot of maintenance even if you have pay someone.
When you put it that way, it does make sense to keep the car.
 

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Every car is different. Every owner has different feelings toward their cars. The value of any car is based on the owner's value of the car.

Example, my VDC sold new for just shy of $33k (USD). I bought it for $3k off the lot last January. I then repaired a few things and made some changes. Book value today from Edmund's is $5k private party. This does not account for the modifications and that it is still, as far as I know, the only one of its kind. But, even discounting the mods, I spent an additional $4,000 on the car within 2 months of purchasing it with a trans rebuild, struts, stereo, windshield repair, tinting and a few minor glitch fixes. And that's what I paid without a labor charge, except the transmission which was done at a tranny shop since I don't have a clean room. Total cost in the car is about $17k. Less than a new car, about the same as a 5 year old 2.5.

The one I am working on now is a 2000 LSi I got for $500. When I am done, I'll have about $2200 total for what I know it needs now. Edmunds puts it at about $3500 for the Austin area. But, am I concerned with Edmund's? No, because I set a value on the car and anyone interesting in purchasing the car will have their own value to set on the car that may be higher or lower than mine. A third person would have a totally different perspective.

I'm not selling either. My value for these cars is higher than anyone is probably willing to pay and besides that, I like them. One was customized for me, by me. The other sat 8 months waiting on me. Come to think of it, the VDC sat on the dealer lot for 2 months before I just happened across it. So, in a way, they are both for me.

And aside from all this, I KNOW Subarus go several hundred thousand miles with care and maintenance and WILL pay themselves off with the comfort, safety, reliability and pure joy in operation.

What's yours worth to you?
 

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That's how it popped up on the VIN search. Several after I saw it the first time. We will have to ask Subaru. First time I've seen it. Been waiting for someone to catch it and maybe explain it. I haven't inquired to Subaru yet. I've only had it since Friday last.

Here's the rundown:

2.5 (EJ252), MT, Pwr windows, locks and driver seat, am/fm/casette, cd changer (I haven't counted speakers or looked to see if there is an amp under the seat-doubtful), "wood" dash, cloth seats, 4 wheel disc, ABS, manual AC, Fog Lights, DRL, auto off headlights, 16" alloy wheels and cruise control. I think I got it all. The basics.
 
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