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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 02:15 pm
Crunchy Cookie
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Default At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've always
thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just asking
for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to casually
say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The engine and
transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much does
rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 02:35 pm
Stephen Bigelow
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

crossposts snipped

"Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:YhO_b.391899$xy6.2203355@attbi_s02...
> And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?


It's you.


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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 02:57 pm
Brian Bergin
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

"Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com> wrote:

|I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've always
|thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
|it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just asking
|for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
|konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to casually
|say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The engine and
|transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much does
|rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
|And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?
|

Don't know about anyone else, but my wife and I had an '84 Honda Civic that had
262k on it when we sold it to a friend in 1997 and the only major non-scheduled
work it had done on it was a clutch at 250k (that replaced the original clutch
that came in it when my wife's Dad bought it new in '84). The alternator did
go, but that was after she and I had it out in the floods caused by a hurricane
and it shorted out. We know the current owners and at 20 years old it has over
400k on it and still runs great. My thoughts:

Change the oil
Change the trans fluid
Change the filters (oil, air, fuel, etc...)
Change the spark plugs (& wires when needed)
Change the timing belt
Change the radiator fluid
& drive it right and it will last a long time.

The problem with any used car that you don't know and trust the previous owner
is you have no idea how it was driven. Even "certified" used cars cannot have
everything inspected. They cannot be removing the transmission to see what it
looks like and I doubt they even do compression tests, though I'm willing to be
corrected on that. Buy from a reputable dealer who will backup the sale with
service and I'm guessing your ok.

As for that '84 Honda, it's worth about $20 (based on the gas in the tank), but
it's A/C works and it still gets 35mpg. How'd have thought 20 years ago that in
2004 that car would still be running!

Current cars: '04 Xterra XE V6 w/ 1,060 miles on it
'97 Outback Sport w/ 106k on it - still running great and driven
60 miles/day up and down a 2000' elevation to and from work.

Just my thoughts...

Thanks...
Brian Bergin

I can be reached via e-mail at
cisco_dot_news_at_comcept_dot_net.

Please post replies to the group so all may benefit.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 03:06 pm
FearTurtle 2
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

Depends on whether you can work on your own cars or not. I can't. So I try
to keep my cars 7-10 years. Usually after that the car starts nickel and
diming the owner to death. With the price of cars, you have to keep them
that long because who can pay for a new car every 2-4 years.

If you can work on cars, then minor problems can be fixed rather easily and
keep the car on the road.

Kevin

"Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:YhO_b.391899$xy6.2203355@attbi_s02...
> I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've

always
> thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old.

If
> it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just

asking
> for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars

start
> konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to

casually
> say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The

engine and
> transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much

does
> rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
> And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?
>
>




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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 05:00 pm
Peter Hill
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 20:15:52 GMT, "Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com>
wrote:

>I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've always
>thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
>it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just asking
>for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
>konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to casually
>say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The engine and
>transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much does
>rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
>And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?
>


For me it's not a question of is it worth keeping but what can I
replace it with?

Requirements.
1: sleek 3 door fastback coupe. To prevent argument over term 'sleek'
the overall height + height of bonnet - height of wheel arch (both in
line with front wheel axle) must be less than 1.45m (57in).
2: 0-60mph less than 7.5 sec.
3: be able to get a 26in frame racing bicycle in the back without
having to take the front wheel out. (will go in Micra/March if you
take wheel off)
4: 2+2 with ample rear leg room for adults for short trips. Unlike my
neighbours Jag XK8, his daughter has to take the train.
5: Light weight - kerb less than 1250Kg (2755lbs)

Current car
1: total 55.8in
2: 7 sec (6.9 on some quotes)
3: Yes x 2
4: Have had self, 19 year old Nephew (large), Sister in Law (large),
15 year old Niece and 10 year old Niece in car - with complaints about
rear headroom in center on hump.
5: quoted at 1170Kg.

If I wanted to be really demanding I could throw in RWD.

--
Peter Hill
Spamtrap reply domain as per NNTP-Posting-Host in header
Can of worms - what every fisherman wants.
Can of worms - what every PC owner gets!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 05:22 pm
Joseph Oberlander
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

Peter Hill wrote:

> Requirements.
> 1: sleek 3 door fastback coupe. To prevent argument over term 'sleek'
> the overall height + height of bonnet - height of wheel arch (both in
> line with front wheel axle) must be less than 1.45m (57in).
> 2: 0-60mph less than 7.5 sec.
> 3: be able to get a 26in frame racing bicycle in the back without
> having to take the front wheel out. (will go in Micra/March if you
> take wheel off)
> 4: 2+2 with ample rear leg room for adults for short trips. Unlike my
> neighbours Jag XK8, his daughter has to take the train.
> 5: Light weight - kerb less than 1250Kg (2755lbs)


Sounds a lot like a Matrix.

> If I wanted to be really demanding I could throw in RWD.


Tricky I also have no love for FWD.

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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 05:32 pm
Joseph Oberlander
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?



Crunchy Cookie wrote:

> I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've always
> thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
> it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just asking
> for trouble, right?


That's true for most cars. Some are better, though, and you can double
that estimate. I'd have no problems buying a 15 year old Merdedes 500
series sedan, for instance.

> What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
> konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to casually
> say between 100K and 200K;


Don't know. GM engines tend to last about 150-200K miles before a
rebuild is required.(roughly 12-15 years) My Volvos both had over 200K
on them and ran perfectly well when I got rid of them.

My dad's old 1979 Olds Cutlass is still trudging around Pasadena last
I heard. It's cheaper to keep a car running than get a new one in
almost every instance, so few cars actually "wear out" - the owner just
gets really tired of it.

> The engine and transmission rebuilds are the only really huge
> items, right?


Pretty much. First off, get a manual transmission. You can
get 3-4 clutch jobs for what an antomatic will cost you,
plus you can push-start the car to get it to the mechanics
AND you can technically use it without any clutch at all
if you know the gear ratios and rpms they line up at.

An automatic just dies. Then it's a rock that needs to be
towed for a $1600+ repair. The "auto-sticks" and other
nonsense aren't manuals either - what you need is something
with a clutch pedal.

> How much does
> rebuilding those cost?


I know of a place that will rebuild a GM engine for roughly
$1500-$1800 to work like new. All new sensors, modules,
rings, gaskets - the works.

That's the least expensive quality place that I know of in
S. California. Most places charge a lot more than that,
so if you can get a good engine/transmission combo, the
car will last longer than you will

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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 05:54 pm
Stewart DIBBS
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Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

"Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:YhO_b.391899$xy6.2203355@attbi_s02...
> I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've

always
> thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old.

If
> it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just

asking
> for trouble, right?


Well, maybe. If you keep fixing the stuff that breaks, theres a lot of
duplicate labour. Lets say you find a really straight 91-93 model whatever
with 200K+ on the odometer, but thats run a big end bearing. You might pay
$200 for it ($100 more than a wrecker would). Lets assume that it a manual
transmission model, as manuals will keep on running unless something relly
catastrophic occurs. (If an automatic breaks, its expen$ive to fix, and can
break again a year later).

Drop the whole engine and trans out, rebuild an engine, split the trans case
and have what ever needs fixing fixed, new clutch, new radiator. Replace all
the suspension bushes, shocks and do the brakes. Replace the exhaust system
if it needs it. Replace the front door hinges so the doors don't rattle.

Lets say all this costs $4500. Yes, its a big job, but done all at once the
labour (most expensive item) is minimised.

You have a car that will last for years more service, barring accidents.

Stewart DIBBS


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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 05:56 pm
Stephen Bigelow
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?


"Joseph Oberlander" <josephoberlander@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:FaR_b.8292$aT1.4230@newsread1.news.pas.earthl ink.net...
>
>
> Crunchy Cookie wrote:
>
> > I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've

always
> > thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years

old. If
> > it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're

just asking
> > for trouble, right?

>
> That's true for most cars. Some are better, though, and you can double
> that estimate. I'd have no problems buying a 15 year old Merdedes 500
> series sedan, for instance.


Oh yeah. As long as the cams are already done, right?


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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 24 Feb 2004, 06:05 pm
Caroline
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: At what point does a car become not worth keeping?

1.
Here's an interesting way to help decide when to buy a new car: Put together a
spreadsheet for your car's costs. Every month, record the dollars you pay for
car parts, car repairs, and car maintenance. Maintain a running total of $ paid
in another column. The running total must include the initial purchase price of
the car. Every month, divide the *total* you have paid for the car and its care
(over its lifetime) by the total months you have driven it. You may also compute
the $/mile, too. Initially, the dollars/month is very high, because the initial
cost of the car dominates. But then naturally the $/month immediately declines
for at least several years, as the initial cost is naturally "amortized" over
the car's life. Also the costs of parts, repairs, and maintenance in the early
years are minimal. Eventually, the $/month will flatten or even start to rise.
This is about when you know you should start shopping for a new car. Of course,
if you get sick of running the car to the shop all the time, this is another
good reason to get rid of the old car. If you have poor records, you could still
start the calculation today. The cost still should be declining every month, or
else you're due for a new car. (This approach is courtesy of a senior citizen
acquaintance of mine. I'm still mulling over its usefulness given the time it
takes, but so far it seems sound.)

2.
I disagree with your statement that one might as well buy a new car if one is
considering a fairly new used car. Car's depreciate very quickly (like the
instant you drive it off the lot, to use a hackneyed phrase). If one is not
going to keep the car for at least about ten years, he more economic choice
between a new car and a recently manufactured used car is the used car. If one
is going to keep the car for over ten years, buy new, so you know the car's
history well. If one is going to keep a car ten years or more, the difference in
price between new and used tends to be trivial.

3.
Certain Toyota and Honda models that are properly maintained will easily go over
200k miles and ten years in many climates. Other manufacturers' cars are now
lasting this long, but Toyota and Honda are still ahead of them, from what I've
read.

4.
As another poster said, a lot of the cost analysis depends on how much work you
do on the car yourself. Also, if one does a lot of one's own car repairs, I
think the spreadsheet approach above isn't very useful. My senior citizen friend
said I could consider converting my hours of car labor to $ and run the numbers
this way. This is an idea, but I also think it's pretty obvious when one who
does one's own maintenance is having to do more than they want.

5.
I'm on my second alternator for my 1991 Honda Civic, 150k miles, bought new. I
think the first died around 106k miles and 8 years, with mostly Northern climate
driving (which I think wears the battery and thus charging system more). Maybe
check Consumer Reports April car issue for whether electrical problems are worse
on Japanese cars. But I'm almost positive they're no worse on Honda and Toyota
than on other makes of cars, as it would be something I'd have noticed in my car
buying studies by now.


"Crunchy Cookie" <LSC400@Yahoo.com> wrote
> I thought I'd get a little cost/benefit analysis discussion going. I've

always
> thought the best used-car deals were ones between, oh, 2 and 8 years old. If
> it's too new, you might as well buy new, but if it's too old, you're just

asking
> for trouble, right? What's the average (range of) mileage where cars start
> konking out to a higher expense than their value? Most people seem to

casually
> say between 100K and 200K; most consider 200K to be a long life. The engine

and
> transmission rebuilds are the only really huge items, right? How much does
> rebuilding those cost? Anything else to watch out for?
> And is it me, or do Japanese car alternators die really easily?




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