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Repair Car or buy new one?
Old 03-10-2018, 12:38 PM   #1
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Repair Car or buy new one?

My car needs new tires and new brakes. I think both of these will cost about $1,200. Or more. Car has 50k miles on it and is a simple reliable compact car. I think it could easily last another 50k miles after new tires and brakes.

The trade in value on the car is $5,500. Realistically, it's probably the more frugal choice to just make the repairs, but at what point does it make sense to buy a new car? If my car is worth $5,500 and I put in $1,200, that's 22% of the car's value.

I was looking at some slightly used cars online with like 15k miles on them. Presumably the tires on those cars would be good until about 50k miles, but I guess it all depends on the car.

I only drive about 5k miles a year, so do I:

A) fix my car and only spend $1,200 and be done with it and not have to deal with any major repairs/replacements for quite a while, until the car would be 15+ years old
OR
B) trade in my car, put down $10-15k out of pocket (in addition to trade in value), and buy a gently used car with 15k miles and not have to do any work to it (ideally.....) for 7 years.

I'm sure there are threads out there on this, but just something I've been giving thought to lately Curious to hear the ER community's thoughts.

Obviously there are unforeseen things that can come up, so maybe I am looking at this too naively....
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:54 PM   #2
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unless you want new bells & whistles (GPS, adaptive cruise, lane drift, bluetooth, etc.) keep the car. Since you drive 5k miles/year, I assume you don't really need these new technological features. Tires and brakes are routine maintenance items. Keep the car. Oh, and have the battery checked. It may need to be changed as well.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:55 PM   #3
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... Realistically, it's probably the more frugal choice to just make the repairs ...
Of course.


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Originally Posted by younginvestor2013 View Post
... but at what point does it make sense to buy a new car? ...
From a pure economics point of view, never. I cheerfully maintain my cars pretty much whatever the cost, but because we are in snow/salt country I replace them when the rust becomes embarrassing. But I replace with good used or, sometimes, a new car that is one model year old and still sitting on the dealer's lot.

It's not just about economics though. If you're trying to rationalize buying a new car rather than just admitting that you want one, stop doing that. Assuming money is not an issue, just buy the car.


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... If my car is worth $5,500 and I put in $1,200, that's 22% of the car's value. ...
That's really not too relevant. From what you said, you expect to purchase 50,000 miles of driving for $1200 and, of course, you will have some residual value at the end. So ... a pretty good deal IMO.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:04 PM   #4
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FWIW I would never get rid of a good car with 50k miles to buy a used car with 15k miles. You know what you have. You really don't know much about any used car. Even a thorough inspection will only give you an approximate idea of its condition.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:07 PM   #5
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We don't get rid of any car until at least 100,000 miles and/or major things begin breaking. Brakes and tires are normal wear and tear and are standard expenditures every few years.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:20 PM   #6
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I usually dispose of cars with less than 100k miles or under 10 years old these days only if they are dogs. I got rid of a 2010 Highlander at under 5 years and 50k because the electrical system was failing. The car was a piece of garbage.

I have a 2013 Corolla with about 42k miles. It hit five years in December. I just replaced the tires and battery, and changed the ATF fluid and the oil. The brakes were done last June.
Cost about $1,250 for everything. I expect the car to hang around for another five years and get to 75 or 80k as a less used second vehicle.

I sold a 1999 Camry with 110,000 miles seven years ago to a friend who gave it to his kids. They recently traded it in with almost 300k miles on the odometer.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:22 PM   #7
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If my car is worth $5,500 and I put in $1,200, that's 22% of the car's value.
FWIW, in deciding whether to pay for repairs or total a car after an accident, the rule of thumb insurance companies use is 50% of the car's replacement value.

By that measurement and common sense, get the repairs done and drive it for another 50K.
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:09 PM   #8
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Anyone who takes much of a look at that car is going to see that it needs new tires and brakes and factor that in to the actual trade in price. If there's a place that will give you a trade in price sight unseen, they are probably going to low ball you figuring it does need some work, or they will get you on paying a higher price for the new car. Or, when you get in there, you may find that they change the trade in offer when they see the condition of the car.

At 5K miles a year I'd want to stay pretty cheap, which clearly favors keeping the car.
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:10 PM   #9
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Sounds like your car might be 10 years old, but fairly reliable. Who is going to say the next car will be much better.

Have you shopped around for the new tires and brake job? Depending on what you need, standard tires and brake job (rotors and pads) should not be $1200 unless you are going to the dealership.
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:54 PM   #10
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I would not expect tires on a new car to last 50K miles... so far, of the last 5 cars I have owned 4 of them have needed new tires around 30K miles and the 5th just hit 20K so the jury is still out...
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:55 PM   #11
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We don't get rid of any car until at least 100,000 miles and/or major things begin breaking. Brakes and tires are normal wear and tear and are standard expenditures every few years.
+1
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:56 PM   #12
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Sounds like your car might be 10 years old, but fairly reliable. Who is going to say the next car will be much better.

Have you shopped around for the new tires and brake job? Depending on what you need, standard tires and brake job (rotors and pads) should not be $1200 unless you are going to the dealership.
I agree. Seems like a lot for tires and brakes. Should be able to get that down to $1000 or a bit less.

OTOH, it seems like your car is 10 years old. You can keep a car running for a long time, but a 10 year old car is when I'd start thinking about getting a new (or newer used) car just because of the technology changes. If all you want is reliable transportation, make the repairs. If you're tired of the car and want some of the new features, I think ten years is a good time to consider just that. Using 10 years as my soft limit, I'd probably make the repairs, get some value out of them by driving a bit longer while I look for a new/used car without any pressure of having to make a decision. Wait for a good deal and jump on it. Until then, fix and drive the car.
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:03 PM   #13
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I would not expect tires on a new car to last 50K miles... so far, of the last 5 cars I have owned 4 of them have needed new tires around 30K miles and the 5th just hit 20K so the jury is still out...
I just went over 50K on my 4 year old CRV and it still has the original tires. I've done the "penny" test and had the dealership look at them and they seem fine.
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:25 PM   #14
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Brakes and tires for a basic economy car might cost something like $350. Add a couple hours labor to install the brakes and you're talking $550 or less.

You should consider just doing the repairs and go another $50k/10 years. And whatever you do, never return your car to a dealer for maintenance repairs. Find yourself a good independent mechanic Shop to watch after your car.
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:47 PM   #15
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If the car is 10 years old is it new enough to have the feature that leaves the headlights on for up to 2 mins after you turn the car off. (enough to get the front door open etc).
Note that nowdays companies are talking about replacing tires at 6 years no matter what condition the tread. (some won't fix tires over 10 years old).
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:53 PM   #16
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I would not spend $15K to save $1,200.
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Repair Car or buy new one?
Old 03-10-2018, 04:55 PM   #17
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Repair Car or buy new one?

I would love to buy your used car!

95 Civic, 98 Accord, 2003 Grand Cherokee all were over 230K when they moved on.

Tires 60k miles. Should cost around $500. Brake pads and calipers maybe $400.

I can understand that a young single person will often need a dependable car. However, very few cars need replacement before before 100k miles or 10 years of age.

Personally, I like to purchase vehicles at three years old and about 35k miles.

OP - I give you credit for thinking before the purchase and asking the question. I think you are on a great financial path.

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Old 03-10-2018, 05:03 PM   #18
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Brakes and tires should be around $750. This is just the price you pay to maintain your car.

This past Friday, I spent $150 for an oil change, State Inspection, tire rotation, wiper blades, and cabin filter on a ten year old Honda with 135,000 miles on it. I am very confident that as I continue to take care of my car - it will last until 200,000 miles (around 15 years old.)

By the way, I expect to change the tires and get new brake pads around the 160,000 mile mark.

Bottom line - your car should be fine. If you like it, keep it. If you don't, sell it.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:45 PM   #19
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I would not expect tires on a new car to last 50K miles... so far, of the last 5 cars I have owned 4 of them have needed new tires around 30K miles and the 5th just hit 20K so the jury is still out...
Yeah, same here-darn lucky to hit 35-40K on a new car.m I had a tire guy tell me that new cars use tires made for comfort, not tire life. Softer rubber, or something, for a smoother ride.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:48 PM   #20
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Brakes and tires should be around $750. This is just the price you pay to maintain your car.

This past Friday, I spent $150 for an oil change, State Inspection, tire rotation, wiper blades, and cabin filter on a ten year old Honda with 135,000 miles on it. I am very confident that as I continue to take care of my car - it will last until 200,000 miles (around 15 years old.)

By the way, I expect to change the tires and get new brake pads around the 160,000 mile mark.

Bottom line - your car should be fine. If you like it, keep it. If you don't, sell it.
+1 on getting other quotes. +1 on being the price to pay to maintain your car.
IRS and AAA both say the cost of driving a car is around 55 cents a mile-(argue with them, not me). Another 50k miles for $750 to $1000 in tires/brakes, plus gas, insurance and oil changes, is pretty darn cheap.
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