Roosh V Forum
When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Printable Version

+- Roosh V Forum (https://www.rooshvforum.com)
+-- Forum: Main (/forum-1.html)
+--- Forum: Life (/forum-14.html)
+--- Thread: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? (/thread-43218.html)

Pages: 1 2


When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-10-2014 09:36 PM

I've got old ass Toyota Celica with 165K on it, no car payment in years. Looking at my records over the last 3 years, I put around $1K a year on average to keep it running properly.

I'm wary of plunking down a bunch of cash to buy a new car for several reasons

1) I just negotiated a remote work agreement so I no longer have a commute (won't be putting a ton of miles on it anymore)
2) I'm doing some side business that requires a decent about of cash on hand to invest in inventory
3) I'm want to maximize my savings - I was a broke dick for most of my 20s and now I'm finally doing alright and playing some catch up, maxing the fuck out my 401K/IRAs.

But at what point are you paying more to keep the old car than you would with the higher depreciation/lower maintenance of a newer car?

Based on the basic math I've done in my head - if even if I buy slightly less of a heap than I currently have - say I invest $10-15K into a no frills used car- whether I finance that purchase or pay cash, either way I'm thinking I'd be losing around $1K /year in depreciation, and I would STILL have some maintenance expenses on top of that.

At the moment I'm leaning with just keep stacking cash for now, but curious as to what other frugality-oriented guys on here think - is there anything I'm not taking into consideration (aside from aesthetics)


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Gorgiass - 12-10-2014 09:46 PM

By far the most expensive vehicle I (co)own is a company 4 year old Freightliner Sprinter. Mercedes turbo diesel powertrain but there's always some POS emission component or something else breaking, and the paint job is already rusting through worse than other 20+ year old Toyotas I own. We dump thousands into this heap every year. Just because a car is newer is no guarantee you'll be saving money on it. The newest personal vehicle I own is a 2000, although the '04 era Lexus are at a pretty tempting pricepoint lately. A socket set and Haynes manual will also pay dividends.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Ensam - 12-10-2014 09:53 PM

Sounds like you're thinking about it the right way.

It's largely a judgement call. Many Toyota engines will easily go 400,000 miles. With a solid car like that the yearly maintenance costs will probably never rise above the depreciation you'd pay on a new(er) car. It's also a known quantity - you know what you've fixed and that it was done properly.

Figure out which car you'd replace it with if it were to die tomorrow and how much that car would cost you per month (payment + insurance + depreciation). Then just set that much money aside every month and when your current car finally does die you'll probably have enough money to just buy the new car outright.

I've never owned a car less than 10 years old and never stopped driving a car before it was 20 years old.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - ms224 - 12-10-2014 10:16 PM

Drive it till the wheels fall off

Is the 1K parts or do you pay for labor?

$500 on ebay/cl will get you a lot of nice used tools


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - samsamsam - 12-10-2014 10:32 PM

You are thinking of it the right way. Just do maintenance and safety repairs. Cosmentic, etc forget it. Learn how to do simple things like changing the cabin air filter. That saves 50 bucks, window wipers, etc.

I have a used car and budget $100 bucks per month for repairs, luckily it averages about 50 bucks. I do 4 oil changes a year and I have to fight my mechanic to do certain repairs. Meaning, he thinks the brakes would be fine until the next servicing but I'd rather do it now. That sort of stuff.

If you want, take the savings of not getting a newer car and invest it,travel, etc.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - RoastBeefCurtains4Me - 12-10-2014 11:34 PM

Here is my best solution for buying a car. Choose an older classic car type. For example, I currently have 2001 Mustang GT convertible.
Look on cars.com or similar site, and look over a wide area. In my case, I am even willing to travel to get the right car, but you can limit your search to within a couple hours drive. You will find a lot of cars with high mileage and other signs of significant wear. However, you will find some cars with extremely low miles, in mint condition, for a good price. For example, I got my 2001 Mustang with 50,245 miles, in mint condition, for $7500.

I have since found a number of good deals like this for things like a Jeep Cherokee, older style Chevy Suburban, Camaro SS 2002, Nissan 350Z, etc. If you are willing to travel, you can get the absolute best deals. Locate a mint condition, low miles, classic automobile for a good price, call and have a service check out the car to verify its condition, fly out to buy the car, then drive it home.

After I got my mustang, I saw a 2003 Supercharged Cobra with 390 HP and only 20000 miles, for $14,000, in Schenectady, NY. You can't beat a deal like this.

Anyway, you don't need to spend $15K to get decent reliable wheels. Use my system and get a classic, mint condition, low mileage car for cheap!


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - The Beast1 - 12-11-2014 09:30 AM

Ugh I used to own a Saab that was a nightmare to maintain. After 100,000 miles I started having to replace electrical components that ran to the tune of 300-400$ per piece. On my much older mid 80s Merc diesel, I was only replacing rubber parts that were ~20-50$ a piece but a pain in the @$$ to get to. Anything mechanical was puttering along fine even when I sold it. I was a DIYer so this was a fun experience to learn how to work on a car. I have a large collection of tools that make me pretty self sufficient for all sorts of DIY stuff. The Saab was comparatively easier to maintain but the parts were significantly more expensive and required the dealer to perform "software" changes the like.

On that Honda, parts are probably pretty easy to come by not to mention the 4 cylinders are stupid easy to work on and have comfortable engine bays to get in and out of. My only complaint is the lack of clearance off of the ground.

Personally, with my background in shade tree mechanics I would save up $10,000 and buy a showroom kept mid 80s Mercedes diesel that has 100k miles. The vehicles if they were properly maintained will run without any major mechanical issues to about 350,000. Then rubber components start to get dicey. Rubber gets brittle after all that time. That OM617 diesel engine and transmission will run to about 500,000 miles before needing a rebuild. These cars became the world's taxi fleet. You can still see the 240D N/A variant running around in the 3rd world.

It's sad that cars aren't made like this anymore.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-15-2014 05:37 PM

Damn, this is worse than I thought. My mechanic (who is a trustworthy guy) said my clutch is totally worn out and liable to break down any moment, that it won't make it to Arizona (I was planning on driving the car across country). Parts are $440, but estimated 14 hours of labor means I'm looking at like $1.9K total, just for the clutch. And no matter what I already need another $500 in engine-related repairs to get a emissions waiver.

This car blue book value is only worth like $2.5K. So the repairs basically cost as much as the car. This doesn't seem worth it. But I feel between a rock and a hard place. I was planning on driving to AZ next Friday (I'm in Maryland). So I have time pressure involved - never a good situation for buying anything. Are there any good sites/articles out there on how to buy a car from a dealer and negotiate the best price?

I won't even need a car that much once I get to AZ. I'm working from home. I'm honestly wondering if I'd be better off with just using Uber/Lyft to get around rather than putting money into a car. Between depreciation on a newer car or maintenance expenses of an older car, the numbers I've run it seems like no matter how you cut it you are looking at minimum of $300 per month, before gas. I know that you can obviously find good deals with person-to-person, but I don't have that kind of time to shop around now.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - iknowexactly - 12-15-2014 06:22 PM

Old 4 cylinder manual toyotas are the answer just keep fixing stuff until the engine blows.
Anything expensive ( struts etc) last for many years, so you know it's fixed.
Get one just past the year they changed the AC coolant so you can easily fix the AC if it goes.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - AntiTrace - 12-15-2014 06:35 PM

remember that even if your not a car guy, which I understand because if your not raised around or have a decent set of tools and a garage a lot of intermediate maintenance is excruciatingly difficult, you can always but the parts yourself and only pay labor.

I had a recent exhaust job, fuull exhaust replacement. I tried to do it myself but due to lack of time, and a few fucked up air tools combined with rusty bolts, i wasnt able too. Labor at the shop was around 300, as opposed to paying 1700 for the whole quoted job. parts cost me 700. so my total expense was 1000. savings of 700 by doing nothing than buy the parts i needed myself.

the beauty of that is that it takes barely any knowledge to buy your own parts. If have zero experience you can get a quote at a shop, walk into an autoparts store and say I need these parts, and then bring them to shop. You'll lose the shop guarantee on the parts, but most manufactures pick that up. In all reality, the chance of getting a bad part and it failing within warranty period is slim anyways.

so with no auto experience, if you can manage to purchase your own parts, your saving money.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-15-2014 06:44 PM

^^ Agreed on paying for parts, which I will certainly do going forward. In this case my mechanic said that he's only marking up the cost of the clutch kit by $50 to help me out. He's a trustworthy guy that I've known for years, he would not just say that if it wasn't true. The labor is the killer with the clutch. He said it possible might be able to do it quicker like 10 hours instead of 14, but unexpected things come up, so they might not.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - el mechanico - 12-15-2014 06:57 PM

Mechanics mark parts up because they are a retail outlet and the scumbag part stores will price match so the reason we mark up is simple..

NO BUSINESS SELLS ANYTHING THEY BUY FOR WHAT THEY PAY FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The benefit for you guys though is that if a part fails the LABOR AND REPLACEMENT IS FREE if not you're dealing with a shady place.

Also. There's a shitload of variables ordering parts. Once your car is apart and you bought your shit wrong online you have a serious problem. Don't try to undermind pro mechanics just find a good one and they will treat you good.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-15-2014 07:07 PM

So I guess the thing I'm struggling with is $2.5K blue book, $2.5K repair bill. That's roughly $200/month annualized - add other repairs I'll likely need probably more like $250-$300/month for this year of the car's life. But no depreciation. It's been about 1K/year the past 3 years.

I guess I should just look at it that I've crossed over into the territory where a newer used car would barely be any more with depreciation+maintenance, take my time and shop around for a great deal my next car once I get to Arizona at my leisure. Which due to the weather used cars tend to be in better condition anyway.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Ensam - 12-15-2014 07:19 PM

I don't think BB value should factor much into your decision at this point. If you were to purchase another car in a similar condition you'd be facing a different set of maintenance problems. As others have said with Toyotas once something is fixed, it's fixed. So the $2500 repair will last you another 150,000 miles. A few years ago I spent $2k to fix my car which at the time was only worth about $1500. It was a bit of a calculated risk but my car is still humming along and hasn't needed anything major since.

Your basic assessment is right, it costs me about $300/month to own my car (insurance/maintenance/consumables ex fuel). A newer car is going to be less maintenance but more insurance so it's still a bit of a wash for me.

Edited to add: The one big risk of spending more money to repair your car then it's worth is if someone else totals it. Insurance is only going to pay out the BB but at this point you're break even so that risk is pretty minimal.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Engineer - 12-15-2014 07:38 PM

I'm a little suspicious about "not getting you to Arizona", because highway miles = zero wear on the clutch. Is it actually slipping when you drive it? Did he do the test where you leave it in gear and see that it stalls the engine? Or did he look at the thickness of friction material remaining thru some access port? I hear you saying he's trustworthy, but it wouldn't hurt to ask why. If he's basing that on mileage alone you may be in good shape. Do the stall test yourself, it's not hard. Let the clutch out while it's in second with the e-brake on and the engine should stall.

Normally I'd say junk it if the repairs are more than the market value. A yard will give you $400, maybe you can sell it on the street for a little more since it's still running.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-15-2014 08:11 PM

(12-15-2014 07:38 PM)Engineer Wrote:  Do the stall test yourself, it's not hard. Let the clutch out while it's in second with the e-brake on and the engine should stall.

Normally I'd say junk it if the repairs are more than the market value. A yard will give you $400, maybe you can sell it on the street for a little more since it's still running.

Thanks for your insights. He said that he drove it out on the highway to test the clutch, but didn't elaborate. What you are saying about the clutch and going cross country makes sense since I'm not going to be shifting on the highway. Also interesting is I just took it a week ago to the dealership for a free inspection, and they found a bunch of other issues but didn't mention a word about the clutch.

Stall Test: I wasn't really understanding what you were saying so I googled it - does this article describe accurately? http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060304/news_lz1dd3click.html - the part about "finding something stationary" seems odd.


Oil analysis can help - SlickyBoy - 12-15-2014 09:00 PM

(12-10-2014 09:36 PM)poledaddy Wrote:  But at what point are you paying more to keep the old car than you would with the higher depreciation/lower maintenance of a newer car?

There is something to be said for keeping a POS car with a gazillion miles on it that is still reliable and relatively cheap to fix. Old Toyotas and *some* mercedes benz cars fall into this category, especially the tank motor diesels of the 1980s (those fuckers are indestructible). You're also right to figure in financing, depreciation, higher insurance and maintenance costs on a "trouble free" new car.

Assuming you ever have the oil changed on that old Toyota, the next time you do, grab a sample of the old oil and send it off to have an analysis performed. Blackstone labs are the people I've used for years.

One sample can reveal how much wear and tear is happening in that engine, the presence of anti freeze (meaning imminent problems with the cooling system, silica (sand) from operating with shitty filters or in a dusty environment, heavy metals from the crankshaft and other parts wearing down, etc. They compare these figures with what the averages should be for your engine and provide statistics and commentary. It can also let you know how long you can really go between oil changes before the oil itself is truly worn out (hint - it is usually much longer than the 3,000 mile figure everyone thinks is mandatory). One test is about forty bucks; I do it every oil change but that's just me. You can do it just once and still get good info.

Use this test to help you decide how many more miles may be left in it and therefore whether or not it is worth keeping.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Engineer - 12-15-2014 09:15 PM

(12-15-2014 08:11 PM)poledaddy Wrote:  
(12-15-2014 07:38 PM)Engineer Wrote:  Do the stall test yourself, it's not hard. Let the clutch out while it's in second with the e-brake on and the engine should stall.

Normally I'd say junk it if the repairs are more than the market value. A yard will give you $400, maybe you can sell it on the street for a little more since it's still running.

Thanks for your insights. He said that he drove it out on the highway to test the clutch, but didn't elaborate. What you are saying about the clutch and going cross country makes sense since I'm not going to be shifting on the highway. Also interesting is I just took it a week ago to the dealership for a free inspection, and they found a bunch of other issues but didn't mention a word about the clutch.

Stall Test: I wasn't really understanding what you were saying so I googled it - does this article describe accurately? http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060304/news_lz1dd3click.html - the part about "finding something stationary" seems odd.

Yes, that is about the same thing. Mech, any thoughts?


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - el mechanico - 12-15-2014 09:24 PM

Yeah take it to someone who knows you trust. Stall test? If you can't tell if a car has a junk drivetrain auto or standard you're retarded.

I love you all though so just ask.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-15-2014 09:42 PM

(12-15-2014 09:24 PM)el mechanico Wrote:  Yeah take it to someone who knows you trust. Stall test? If you can't tell if a car has a junk drivetrain auto or standard you're retarded.

I love you all though so just ask.

obviously I'm retarded with cars so you got me - it's a manual. I am inclined to trust my mechanic. But does it seem odd that he's expecting the clutch to fail on a cross-country highway trip when I'm not going to be doing a lot of shifting.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Fujiwara - 12-15-2014 09:52 PM

You mighy not ve doing a lot of shifting, but there may be hills or long inclines, or 5th gear highway passing that may contribute to its failure with that kind of mileage

I would much rather take care of something like that prior to the trip, and then forget about it, then deal with a failure that leaves me on a highway shoulder at least 75 miles from any unfamiliar country town i'd rather not have to stay in, while i wait for emergency repairs from someone that neither knows me or will ever see me again.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Gorgiass - 12-18-2014 07:55 PM

When a clutch is really on its way out if you put it in 5th at low speed, or any gear lower than you should be in and floor it, the clutch will slip - the engine will rev faster than the car is accelerating. If your clutch is good it will have enough spring force to maintain pressure as the crankshaft tries to turn faster than the friction from the road wants to let it.

I wouldn't go to anyone who told me it took 14 hours to change a clutch, I can do my Toyota clutches in less time than that in my driveway. Although if your passenger CV shaft has an intermediate bearing those can be a hassle. Either way, 2k for a clutch is unheard of in my area. Shop around if you're not inclined to DIY.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - poledaddy - 12-18-2014 08:26 PM

^Thanks for the tip on it not being as much labor as he's making it out to be. The thing is, the clutch kit alone is ~400, so even if it took another 300-400 in labor - it's still not worth it to me. At this point I've decided to fly out next Saturday the 27th and am just to junk the car unless I'm able to sell it before I leave. I will look for a cheap car once I get to Arizona. I was on the edge about keeping the car anyway, and no point in going out of my way spending a week driving across the country in the middle of winter, if I can just fly and cut out all that BS. Once I get to AZ I can get by with Uber/Lyft/Zipcar for a bit while I look for a car to buy, because my apt is in a central location and I'll be working from home.

I really just wanted to get it to AZ and have it as a fall-back option for the times I absolutely needed a car. Putting any significant money into it at this point is just pointless, as I won't see the return.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - AneroidOcean - 12-18-2014 08:32 PM

(12-15-2014 09:24 PM)el mechanico Wrote:  Yeah take it to someone who knows you trust. Stall test? If you can't tell if a car has a junk drivetrain auto or standard you're retarded.

I love you all though so just ask.

Yeah, no shit.

To the OP, have you contacted the dealership and asked how much they charge in labor hours to change the clutch? Then figure out how many hours cheaper your mechanic is offering to do it. If he's not offering to do it cheaper, why exactly are you going to your mechanic?

If you posted the year and exact model of your car people might have enough information to help you. Honestly, I'm surprised with how important of a financial decision this is that you haven't called around to different shops to find out what they'd charge you.

There's no reason you shouldn't get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

Now, all those guys that are saying you should buy your own parts and bring them to the mechanic, that's a double-edged sword. A couple friends of mine who run shops or work for shops won't even do any jobs with customer supplied parts anymore. The majority of the time there's some issue with either the parts themselves (wrong part, wrong configuration, used heavily/damaged, incomplete, etc...) or with having to work with the parts supplied (such as a less simple installation). And of course the customer is wondering why they have to pay more than the original estimate despite the fucked up shit they brought in. So, they've just stopped doing it and work only for the customers who are happy to pay a reasonable markup on parts so that things get done right.


RE: When Are You Losing Money By Keeping a Beater Car? - Gorgiass - 12-18-2014 08:37 PM

Don't know what year you have but clutch kits are $100 all day long on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_?ie=UTF8&k=2000+celica+clutch+kit

Good deals out west though, if it's time for a new one might as well. I just bought a '99 LS400 yesterday on the road south of my place, tree fell on my Camry back home. Otherwise I would've driven it for another 5 years anyway. Searchtempest.com is good for cars. Good luck