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Sweet spot for car upgrade
Old 09-30-2016, 03:22 PM   #1
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Sweet spot for car upgrade

Inspired by a thread on sweet spot for which car to buy, this one is for when you decide to get rid of one?

I suppose one approach is when yearly repair expenses reach a certain point... ?

But when something major breaks, I imagine you have to have an expensive fix anyway before upgrade in order to sell it for more? And if so, there is always the inclination to hold on to it longer as you just put a bunch of money into it... ?

Some folks talk about running it into the ground, but does that mean keep repairing it for as long as it run?
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:27 PM   #2
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Well, the last one we got rid of had a transmission issue that was going to cost more than the car was worth to fix. We could had had it fixed of course, but then we'd have an old car waiting for other expensive things to break and that just didn't seem like a wise thing to do.
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:27 PM   #3
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You need to get 100-150K miles and or eight-ten years out of a vehicle before even thinking about trading or buying new. Just my opinion though and it works for me.
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:34 PM   #4
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I reluctantly traded in my last car at 17 years. Rust was eating away the undercarriage, repairs were becoming an issue, and after replacing the timing belt, it just didn't seem to have the same "oomph" and I was no longer enjoying driving the car. In retrospect, the timing belt was a waste of money, but I was hoping to keep it going for many more years. I was very attached to that car!
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by smjsl View Post
Some folks talk about running it into the ground, but does that mean keep repairing it for as long as it run?
Yes, you have to maintain a car's reliability, otherwise you might as well get rid of it.
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:47 PM   #6
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OUr last 2 cars were 14yo and the repairs ending up being way more then they were worth so we got rid of them. My Volvo was worth 1500 and needed a 6k repair-bye bye.
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Old 09-30-2016, 04:53 PM   #7
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When I was younger, I did drive my cars into the ground. I don't think that's the sweet spot. I think that's the point when you have no other choice. The car is just not worth the repair. At that point, you're either having it picked up for scrap or you're getting a few bucks for it as a parts cars. Both options under $1000, likely closer to a few hundred bucks.

This is a great question by the OP. I have not done this, but in reading the other thread (thanks all for the input), I'm thinking that buying new or close to it and then driving it to about 150,000 miles is the sweet spot. At 150,000, there is still some residual value in the car if you've maintained it. I need to run more numbers, but I'm thinking greater than 10 years and 150,000 might be the sweet spot to sell - as frayne indicated above.
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Old 09-30-2016, 04:59 PM   #8
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My last Civic I ran 200k plus miles with single repair.

But when all electronics stopped properly working I felt any type of next repair is Sweet Spot. That is speedometer was jumping at high rate between 0 and 100 mph. Gas was sometimes going from empty to full . ( and this is not a joke)
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:00 PM   #9
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last time I bought a new car the salesman said I should be buying a new one every 3 years
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:03 PM   #10
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I have taken a couple cars to 180-190K miles and 8-10 years, plus major repairs were needed. A new one was the answer.
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:07 PM   #11
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And when you get to that Sweet Spot hopefully some old lady will hit your car and you will collect 2k and then sell the Sweet Spot car on Craigslist for another 1k.
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Old 09-30-2016, 06:00 PM   #12
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Depends upon the make of the car. For Toyota probably about 250,000 miles.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:21 AM   #13
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I sell at 130k, and I try to buy (used) at 20k-30k. At 130k, the car is still worth $3-4k, and I feel like I have gotten my moneys worth.

BTW, a financial book I once read had a great quote..."The cheapest car you will ever drive is the car you currently own." Lots of truth to that one.
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:32 AM   #14
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I don't put many miles on my cars because I live close to work so I always have this internal debate about when to replace my car. Currently I'm driving a 2005 Toyota Camry with only 103,000 miles. I'm starting to look for something else which means I'm probably about 2 more years out. I certainly don't need a different car given this one never has any problems but I've been bored with it for a while and my needs are different than when we had smaller children 11 years ago. When I find one I like, I'll probably chicken out anyway and save my money.

As far as a sweet spot, not exactly sure but I'd agree that in general, if you just drive your cars for a long time (10 years+) it's reasonable to replace anytime after that. But if the goal is long term cost savings, it's best to drive a car into the ground. For me, maybe 50% of the value as a max repair cost?? If my car had depreciated to $3,000 I definitely wouldn't pay for a repair that cost $1,500 anymore.
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:33 AM   #15
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Several have said when $ repairs exceed the $ value of the car. That seems somewhat arbitrary. Wouldn't when $ annual repairs are expected to exceed the $ annual cost of a new (used) car make more sense? [Not purchase price of course but for example I wouldn't do a $6000 repair on an old car if I expected a new car to run me less than $6000/year over it's life].

And once you don't consider your car to be reliable, it's time.

It depend on make/model and use, but I've had several Toyotas and Hondas for 10-12 years and 105-165K miles with no major issues, and few minor issues.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:40 AM   #16
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And once you don't consider your car to be reliable, it's time.
DW and I like to go on the occasional long weekend trip. We currently have 2 newer cars. But when the mileage gets to the point where we would be concerned about taking the car too far from home, that would be the deciding factor for me.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:46 AM   #17
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We lease our cars every 3 years and do not worry. I think we earned that small luxury.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:16 AM   #18
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I kept my last car (Jeep Grand Cherokee) until it had 195k mikes. It never needed major repairs and I really liked it. My current Grand Cherokee is 8 years old with 125k miles and doing great. I expect to have it for 4-5 more years (knock on wood that it has the same track record as my last one).

DH's 2003 Blazer just blew the engine about a week ago and we bought a 2015 Forerunner to replace it. DH is hoping for 15 years with the Forerunner.

For us, as long as it runs well and doesn't need very expensive repairs, we keep our cars for 10-15 years.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:17 AM   #19
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My 2003 VW Jetta diesel just turned 303,000 miles and it is running fine. No body rust, all good glass and interior. I just replaced the timing belt and all rotating parts in the belt path. Cost me $600. New tires and brakes soon and it's on the road for another 100,000 miles. No sense sending her to an early grave!
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:15 AM   #20
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My rule of thumb is to fix unless too costly repair like transmission or engine goes out. Though, my previous car, I did go ahead and have the transmission fixed a few times. Got too attached to the car and I'm one that really doesn't enjoy the car buying process. The first time, the place did a pretty crappy job. The second time, I went to a place that did a good job but the transmission went out again but was under warranty so the place fixed it again. About a year after, the transmission was going out again and the engine was leaking oil, so I said goodbye to the car.
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