We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If you haven't shopped for a replacement car lately, it has become -- pricewise -- crazier than ever. That's not because of the usual dealer tactics. In fact, with the Internet, the consumer has acquired added info with which to avoid being hornswaggled. It is because due to Cash-4-Clunkers removing so many used cars from the market and the recession reducing new car sales the past few years the price of used cars has increased by 25-50%, so a one or two year old used car -- even high mileage -- costs near as much as a new one. This has increased current new car sales, as why not?
That's what I found when searching over the past month for a replacement for my 2000 trusty Taurus, now having imminent engine and suspension problems that would cost me more than the car's value to repair. My wife's criteria was only that it be reasonably reliable and fit my 6-year old Gavin's bike or hold three or four large suitcases. After trying every old trick I knew, I was getting frustrated and furious. Then I found Truecar.com. It tells you the true dealer cost for a new car, thousands below MSRP and well below dealer invoice. It also tells you which dealer in your area is selling for close to dealer cost. So armed, I made my offer to several dealers, being rejected. Then, yesterday afternoon, a dealer agreed. I am now the owner of a new 2012 car.
I took 11-year old Jason with me as my tech advisor. Although I chose a bottom of the model, middle-class car, the new car has so many fancy, cool electronics for auto-diagnoses and warnings, communications, music, navigating, etc. (none of which I care about) that my eyes glazed over and my ears heard the seashore. But Jason took it all in immediately and promises to educate me. Almost as techy as Micky's new car.
AWWWWK! Don't fall into the old "it costs more to repair than the car's worth trap"!
That nostrum become a fact after a couple of years, due to steep depreciation and the rising costs of DEALERSHIP repairs.
A better rule of thumb is: keep repairing a sound, clean vehicle until parts are no longer available for it. These aren't your father's cars. They're truly built to last.
A few years ago, I spent the outrageous sum of $6K to replace the tranny in my main transport vehicle---roughly half what I paid for the very clean lux-compact car---but it has rewarded me with a 100K miles of subsequent reliable, safe and comfortable driving. I think the extra six cents per mile has been a good investment.
Actually, I have a superb mechanic, not the DEALER, who works for reasonable rates. But, I've already been keeping the 2000 Taurus repaired and running long enough. -- I did put $3500 into a new tranny on the other car last year, a 110,000 mile 2002 Caravan. I hope I get as many more miles as you did, but no more $3500 repair tabs.
yes and no. At some point you get to need a spare part that costs more than the scrap value of the vehicle.
E.g. several years ago I would have needed a new rear axle. Repair cost (as estimated by the insurance company, who don't use dealer repairs but independents and get bulk discounts on their contracts with them) was 30% higher than the value of the car when sold for scrap (and that was 20% higher than the offer I'd had from the dealer for trading it in a few weeks prior to the accident that caused the axle to fail).
It happens, maybe not when you need a new battery or spark plug, but when there's something major needs replacing it certainly can happen.
Brucie ... I have the perfect replacement car for you ... my 1991 Volvo station wagon. It's clean and well cared for and only has 36,000 miles on it. It gets a thorough going over once a year by The Swiss Garage near us, and after it's tender treatment it purrs like a kitten. Why am I offering it? Because my husband and I no longer need two cars, since we stay home more than we go out.
Oh, and one more point: it is now a genuine Classic car since it is 20 years old. A few more years and it will be an Antique. I bought it new and have kept it in first rate condition.
I think it depends on how much the repair will cost and how much you like the car. I had a Ford Probe that I loved. The A/C went out and it was going to cost $2000 to fix it and use the new refrigerant. I thought that was a lot to spend on a car that was about 10 years old so I bought a Chevy Malibu from Hertz. A very good deal and if my daughter wanted to learn to drive, that would be a good car for her. So far, she has not gotten her license and I REALLY miss my Probe (I did get over it pretty much when I got a low mileage 2005 Mercedes C230 :-) ).
Cars are becoming too complicated. Once the manufacturer meets the government regulations, they've got a lot of connections and computing power left over so the marginal electronic feature is very cheap.
Then they get to add a "feature" to their marketing literature.
Then, just try and do simple maintenance on your own car now! I tried to change the rear brakes pads and rotors on my 2009 VW CC. I would have to have bought a diagnostic computer and a service CODE book for about $600 before the real replacement parts were bought. Add a special socket I could only order over the internet and I gave up.
I am in the car business. My company repossess and remarkets cars for banks and credit unions. There is a shortage of used cars out there but it isn't really "cash-for-clunker's" fault.
When the economy took a hit we had a rush of repos and the banks cut back on lending, especially sub-prime lending. So the loans that are more likely to default have already done so without new loans to replace them.