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Is it time for a new vehicle?
Old 03-14-2010, 05:08 AM   #1
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Is it time for a new vehicle?

I am thinking it is. I have driven Toyota Tacoma's for 25 years but I must say my current ride, an '03 has not been the truck it's predecessors were, rougher ride, and more stuff going wrong. At 87k my check engine light came on and it seems my catalytic converters have died. Cost to fix approx $1500 for aftermarket cats. I was coming up for a 90K service, need my A/C recharged, new tires within 12 months, front end align, rotate and balance, and new belts and hoses. Also I noticed in cold weather my clutch is chattering on startup. Soooo....it seems to keep it in tip top shape I will have to spend between $3500 to maybe as much as $5000 if the clutch goes. At the end I will still have a truck that Blue Books around $10K.

I have a chance to buy a loaded '09 Nissan Frontier XE for my truck and $12k. The Nissan has 10,000 miles and two years of it's warranty left.

The frugal me says fix and drive till the wheels fall off as I did my last one but this Toyota has not been anywhere near as reliable as the last. A clutch and catalytic converters cost to fix have tipped the balance I think. Thoughts?
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:31 AM   #2
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In general, I'm sure you know it is nearly always cheaper to keep the old car.

I've been looking for a used Tacoma - around year 2000 - and the damn things are going for $7k+ or more in my area. So you're spending $20k+ for the Frontier.

Check engine lights can be a lot of things. If you can borrow a code reader - you can plug under dash and get more details. Could be as simple as gas cap seal. Catalytic converters are supposed to last life of car - I don't think they "wear out" - I though only reason the would need to be replaced is corrosion / rust through of outside case.

If you want a new truck - go for it - I just wouldn't expect there really to be an economic justification.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:39 AM   #3
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I have a '92 Toyota pu/manual with 110K miles and the power steering leaks and a/c also needs to be recharged. I'll probably fix them as I really like the truck. Wished they had not increased the size of the new Tacomas.

I also have a '95 4Runner/117K with the same engine that I don't like and am thinking of dumping it. Automatic, poor acceleration, very poor gas mileage, leaking pwr steering, needs new brakes/rotors.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:41 AM   #4
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When considering a new vehicle, I always ask myself 2 questions:
  1. Do I want it?
  2. Can I afford it?
If the answer to both is yes, then I ask myself:
  • Do I really, really want it?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:00 AM   #5
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I trust my garage implicitly owner and I have been friends since childhood and they have serviced my vehicles for nearly 30 years. My catalyitic converters are failing, there are two. Two bottles of cat cleaner have allowed the check engine light to stay, but it is a temorary fix. Cats are warrantied up to 80K and I am beyond that. OEM part costs is over $2200 without labor for both. The garage owner told me cats are beginning to fail with more and more regularity in pre '05 vehicles due to the ethanol in gas that replaced MTBE. Apparently exhaust temps have been lowered by the ethanol and the cats get dirty and then fail the OBD.

I am trying to be practical but feel odd as I am a drive the wheels off them kind of person. I am looking at my Taco that Blue Books out at around $9K. To put and keep my '03 Taco in tip top shape is going to run me a minimum of $3500 to most likely $5000 in the next 12 months. When I get all done it still books at $9K and is heading towards 100K miles and have to wonder, what's next?

The last Taco I had I drove for 16 years and never had to put this kind of money into. This truck never measured up in my mind to my last one and that may be playing a part in how I feel. Some vehicles are better than others.

I just get the sense that putting the $3500 to $5000 towards a 6 year newer vehicle with 80k less miles may be a "smarter" and less frustrating move in the long run.

DelawareDave, you are aware that all Toyota Taco's from '95 to '04 have been recalled for rusty frames?
Toyota gave an amazing buy back if frames failed on '95 to '00's but '01's and up get an inspection and frame replacement if they fail the rust inspection. They do a factory rust proofinng if they pass. Mine passed and was factory rust proofed. I sure didn't and don't want a truck that was taken off a frame and put back on a new one even if the dealer did it.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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Such a timely post. Our 1995 GMC 1500 has been leaking oil for a bit and would take a big fix to find the source. The vehichle has 160,000 miles and the body is now just starting to rust a bit. But we are up at the cabin, were going to head home yesterday, and the darn thing would not start. DH thinks the distributor is lose, tried to look at that, and now it will not even turn over. Have to wait now until Monday to get a tow and get it fixed. This will be our first big repair.

We too wonder, is it time for a new (or used) one? DH wants to wait, but I keep thinking if we start putting money into this vehicle, we are wasting it. Sure wish we had a crystal ball! Thoughts?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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Just a suggestion:

Behind the Wheel of the Cozy Coupe

Quote:
Company sold 457,000 Cozy Coupes, making it the best-selling car in America. It even edged out Toyota Camry sales by 20,000.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:55 AM   #8
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My thought: If the price for scrap metal continues to rise the junk yards will start crushing cars and sending them to market. Used parts will be harder if not impossible to find.

I have a friend who runs a junk yard and they are already borderline giddy over scrap metal prices and are just trying to wait it out and "find the top".
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:56 AM   #9
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Toyota is offering free interest loans on new cars. It may be a good time to consider buying a new car. My 2000 Corolla has almost 160K miles on it and is burning a quart of oil a month. I am not sure how long it will last.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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My suggestion would be to run the numbers, and determine which would cost more in the coming years. If your Tacoma would cost more, then buying the Nissan is a no-brainer.

If the Nissan would cost more, then you have some decisions to make. How much do you want the Nissan and the lesser level of aggravation? Enough to be worth the extra expense? How far back would this push your ER plans? And so on.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:21 AM   #11
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Is the Tacoma your daily driver, and do you need a truck as a daily driver? If it works for your situation, you could hang on to the "still servicable but getting more issues" Tacoma as your weekend/special-duty hauler and get a cheap smaller car for the daily commute. If the truck is worth $7K, then the opportunity cost of keeping it in the driveway is only approx $500/yr, which you'd easily make up in gas savings if you drive more than a few miles per day. If you only drive it 2000 miles/year, those tires and everything else on the truck could last a long time.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:23 AM   #12
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It sounds to me like you are not happy with this Tacoma and really just don't want it. There is just nothing that says you have to keep driving it even if it does end up being the more economical choice to do so.

What I don't get from your post is a sense of whether you can afford the newer car. What would spending that money now do to you financially? As someone currently working I spend at least 12 hours a week in my car. That is a lot of time and I want it to be time that enjoy. That is not to say that I would frivolously replace a vehicle. My husband is currently driving my old car and it has about 130k miles on it and it replaced a vehicle with 200k miles. But if replacing a car wouldn't cause financial problems and I could do so without going into debt (I might consider a 0% loan) then I think there is nothing wrong with replacing a vehicle you don't want.

About 10 years ago or so I had a minivan that I really enjoyed driving. The first time it abruptly stopped in the middle of the freeway I took it to the dealership and they repaired it (although they were a little unclear about why it had happened). The second time it abruptly stopped and the dealership couldn't explain the problem (the service manager quietly telling us that this wasn't the first of the vehicles to have the problem and they had no clue what was causing it), I realized I didn't feel comfortable driving a vehicle that might do this at any time. Economics would have said to keep it. I traded it in the next week. (On a happier note, we still have the vehicle we traded it in for and it is being driven by my oldest son at well over a 100k miles).
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:36 AM   #13
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I am also wrestling with this problem except my car has not had any really expensive repairs . It is almost eleven years old and closing in on 100k . It's a Toyota Solara. I keep thinking I should get rid of it before it gets into costly repairs but I honestly have not found another car so far that tempts me . So do you wait until you start having expensive repairs or do you wait until you see a car you really want . I have the cash so it is not a money question.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:44 AM   #14
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I like to keep my cars: not for monetary reasons, but because they become old friends. So the only issue that enters my mind when I consider this kind of decision is whether the vehicle is reliable. The deciding factor on when to replace a car for me is if there is any chance of being stranded due to mechanical issues.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:49 AM   #15
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Ah yes - the devil you know vs the devil you don't. New and shiny doesn't mean better. Had a 1983 BMW 533i that was pretty fun to drive - it did have some issues and was oolllllld, so replaced it with a reasoned 1993 BMW that had better storage area, was an automatic (gimpy shifter shoulder), and got about 4.5MPG more. No where near the joy to drive. Now I'm looking at cars and trying to be reasonable and thinking that's kind of dumb of me. I can afford lower fuel economy and need to look for a car that brings me joy. Not finding a lot out there that just makes my tail wag. Am pretty convinced that computer simulation and superior engineering are resulting in cars that aim toward sealed unit disposable items that are junk at the end of warranty.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:53 AM   #16
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Truck is daily driver but annual milage is 12K a year. Truck is prudent for my lifestyle as I am an avid outdoorsman. I am not happy to have catalytic converter failure and clutch failing at less than 100K miles.

Frugal me would like a it to last as my last one did. I had hoped to squeeze 10 years out of it.

I am 53 and working P/T and want to and expect to continue to do so for several years. P/T work is providing about 2/3 of my annual living expenses of 36K. Portfolio was battered but at 925K. House is paid off. I am single.

I thought I had run the numbers W2R but everytime I do I seem to have to factor in another repair :-)
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:26 PM   #17
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I think it's clear that your truck has lost your confidence. The hassle associated with unreliability is also a cost.

Do you need the vehicle for your P/T work? If so, expenses should be tax deductible. As should lease payments or financing if you go that route.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LARS View Post
I like to keep my cars: not for monetary reasons, but because they become old friends. So the only issue that enters my mind when I consider this kind of decision is whether the vehicle is reliable. The deciding factor on when to replace a car for me is if there is any chance of being stranded due to mechanical issues.
I feel the same way. Finances are a factor, but so is reliability. I kept my last car (a Toyota) for 19 years - I really liked it and had hoped it would make it to at least 20. But in its 19th year a series of major problems caused me to lose confidence in it and I had to bite the bullet and buy another vehicle. I like this one now, too, so I'm hoping it will make it at least 15 years.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:35 PM   #19
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I'm still in repair my car mode. When I got it, my goal was to make it last at least 10 years or over 100K miles. I've reached both so when the time comes to get a new car I already feel that I've got my money's worth.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:52 PM   #20
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Two years ago when I had some bodywork done for rust, the body shop guy told me that it would not be cost effective to sinking major money into repairs on my then 13 year old Honda and that I should start planning for its replacement. So I did the research and in 2009 came close to trading it in for a Toyota. But weighing my options, I didn't see the point of paying good money to replace a car that met all my needs and is still more fun to drive than what I would have bought. So I decided to hang on to my Honda until it becomes unreliable. Unknowlingly I saved myself major Toyota recall hassles and maybe even a runaway car.

Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
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