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Old 03-24-2011, 01:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
I think I could accept the cost better if it were a wear and tear item (a water pump, a timing belt, etc.) but the light just sits there. Why is it shorting out? I don't live in a damp climate!
This reminds me of something that used to tick me off on eBay. I would look at a $5 item and not buy it because it had $8 of postage. But had it been $12 with $1 postage, I'd have said, hey, good deal!

If you feel like having a new car, that's great. But come out and say so. And don't forget that it will depreciate by $5K the moment you drive it off the lot.

I reckon that people who buy cars new and sell them after 3 years probably spend $140/mo (plus or minus a lot, of course) more than people who buy that car after 3 years and keep it for 6 more. Reckoning: $24K car, 50% depreciation in first 3 years, $4K/year, versus $12K car, 80% depreciation in 6 years ($1600/year) plus $720/year in repairs (less in year 1, more in year 6). $140/mo is $42K from the portfolio with a 4% WR. Two car household, that's $84K more you need in the portfolio.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:47 PM   #22
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Well, you ain't gonna get to FIREd by blowing 30k on a new car. You've gotta put your priorities in order, son. Frugality is the number one key to getting there for the average middle-class millionaire. Be conservative with your spending now, and by the time you're 45-50 you'll be able to buy any car you want, and have all day to drive it anywhere you want!
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:47 PM   #23
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I say if you really want the new car and can comfortably afford it then go for it!

I don't agree that the slightly used car is always the cheaper/better deal. In 1999 I purchased a new Camry. It was an ad car from the Saturday newspaper which always features lots of car ads. I waited 3-4 months before what I wanted came available via the Saturday ads and also the dealer had 10-12 of them advertised at the same price. It was then that I went to the dealer and bought the car. Meanwhile I looked at 1-2 year old used cars and found the prices higher than the new car I ultimately purchased. The Fleet broker I checked with at a local dealer flat out told me he wouldn't match the ad price and tried to steer me to another brand of car. It's been a good car and I'm starting to think about a new vehicle for a variety of reasons.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
Part of the irritation factor with the mazda are things like this - one headlight starts working intermittently. If you bang on it, it works for a while. I replaced the bulb but the short seems to be inside the headlight assembly which can only be replaced as a whole unit (which is a couple hundred bucks just for the part, and to replace it you have to take the bumper off, which adds more labor, etc.). Now it's totally dead and driving with one headlight is just not safe. So we could be talking about $750 all-in just to fix the light. Even at an independent shop it seems like it could cost close to $500 for parts and labor.

I think I could accept the cost better if it were a wear and tear item (a water pump, a timing belt, etc.) but the light just sits there. Why is it shorting out? I don't live in a damp climate!
There is a point where the PITA factor becomes an issue, in some cases more than cost considerations. If you get to the PITA limit, it is time to shop for something new(er).

If it were me, I would take it to a good independent and have them fix *everything* once and for all. Drop a couple of grand and run the car for a few more years. But I don't drive a whole lot and I do not much care about cars. You may just want a new car, in which case have at it. But if it is just the PITA factor, spend a couple grand rather than 30 and keep it going for a bit.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:40 PM   #25
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I just went over to the Acura site to check it out - nice looking car. Just before I closed the page DW walked into my office and asked me what heck was I doing looking at new cars....doh!

My honda has 100k miles and it's still going strong, I just repair it as needed, hoping to get 150k+.
Ditto...my 92 Honda Accord EX has 142K miles, a ton of rust on the rear quarter panels, the rear bumper cover almost falling off but still running like a top.
Mr B has taken it over as his own little putt-putt (my nickname for it ) car to drive around. The Honda in the shop now getting new wheel bearings in the front, and some long screws and possibly some automotive grade epoxy to refasten that bumper cover. I already used some blow-in foam (permanent kind) to seal some rust holes above the rear wheels. My mechanic was impressed.

So he is driving his own car, an Impala with 145K miles on it.

Moral of the story? BOTH cars are PAID FOR.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:44 PM   #26
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Get the new car, but go with a Honda Accord rather than the TSX. Perhaps not the same driving experience (but you're starting a family, so the Autobahn is out), but it's just as safe and of the same quality. A 4-cylinder Accord with leather (EX) will only set you back around $22.5k, which saves you $7.5k over the TSX. Take that money and put it into a 529 for your future kid(s). A 4-cylinder "LX" model will set you back less than $20k, leaving you over $10k. Now we're talking real money. Is buying a TSX really worth that much to you?

Many of us can afford the TSX, BMW, Mercedes, etc... but we're on this board because we're focusing on FIRE. Spending more money on a car than is reasonable is inconsistent with this goal. Wait until you're 40 to buy the TSX. Still plenty of time to enjoy it, and you'll have far more disposable income to afford it and your kid(s). That $10k you saved will be worth around $16.5k if invested to get 5% annual growth.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:02 PM   #27
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Meanwhile I looked at 1-2 year old used cars and found the prices higher than the new car I ultimately purchased.
Agreed, Japanese cars bought used at the 1-2 year old mark are no bargain.

However, you probably could have bought them at a much bigger discount were you to bargain hard. The used car price comparison between the apparent price on the lot and the bargain-for price can be quite different. The mark-up in used cars is really large.

Nonetheless, I agree, buy Japanese cars new and buy domestic cars at the 1-3 year mark for the best value.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:02 PM   #28
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Current car (mazda) is 8 years old with 80k miles.
May I ask what model Mazda you have? I am on my 2nd one, and they have served me well. My first was a 1989 626 which I gave away at 211k miles (it was a stickshift and still had its original clutch!); I currently drive a 2002 Protege with 140k miles. I was going to change the timing belt last weekend, but when I took its cover off, the belt still looked in very good shape. I did a thorough inspection for cracks in the belt and didn't find any. So I told myself I'll inspect it again in about 30k miles. Both my Mazdas were built in Japan; look at your VIN, if it starts with a "J" then it was Japan-built.

Re your headlight problem: dumb question, but did you check the fuse? I'd take the car to a couple of independent mechanics and get a quote.
The noisy suspension can be easily fixed, by changing the shocks/struts. I did it recently for a friend. Most shock absorbers are about $100/pc so you're looking at about $300 for parts & labor.

To get a very rough idea of how much things will cost, you can use this estimator:
Auto Repair Costs? Free Online Estimates and Pricing Information
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:40 PM   #29
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I always think about buying used, but someone never end up doing it. That said, we drive our new cars for a long, long time (usually over 150k mileage).

When I got my Prius a few years ago, it replaced a car with 200k miles on it. I looked at newer used ones and they were more expensive than what I could negotiate for one brand new.

I also don't like buying really old cars. Newer cars are clearly more safe and I like that. I also like many of the newer features.

We are looking to buy a new minivan later this year (no, we aren't getting rid of the Prius.). I looked at what was available, looked at used ones and will be buying new. However, I expect to keep it at least 10 years.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:17 PM   #30
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If you start a family soon it may be harder financially to pop for a luxe car. I say go get that TSX .
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:45 PM   #31
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Have you looked around for used TSX's in your area?

For what it's worth, I picked up a certified used 2006 TSX about 14 months ago for $18k, with 31,000 miles on it. Personally, I liked the smaller style that was last built in 2007 better than the new ones, so was only looking at used. But $18k for a car with 2 years of warranty left and only 30k miles, vs. $30k for the new version wasn't a hard choice.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:00 PM   #32
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There's no question that paying $1000 to fix the mazda and driving it for another year is cheaper than buying a luxury car. But I'm getting to the point where additional investments in the mazda feel like throwing money away. Would be nice to have the additional safety features (6 airbags vs. 2) and other comforts from the newer car.
If you're getting $5,500 from Carmax, it sounds like about five $1,000 things would have to get in the way before the car became worthless as a trade in. If you have $5k in repairs that need done now, it would probably be worth trading it in if you're dead set on getting a new car.

However, if you're tossing about $1,000 in repairs a year into it, that's potentially another five years at minimum before you'd need to spend $34,000 on a new one. I'd assume it'd inflate to about that price anyway.

Was there a similar situation that got you the Mazda? You were throwing too much into the car you'd had previously? When the suspension on the TSX starts squeaking, will you use it as an excuse to buy another car later?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:20 AM   #33
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My impression of Carmax is that their cars are very expensive for what they are.

Go look at Carmax to figure out what you want. Then go to any other dealer to find a similar car. If you bargain hard you'll probably save around $2k.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:57 AM   #34
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Yes, buying a new car is a bad investment..or is it? We know it will instantly lose value, but if and only if you are absolutely sure that you have the money for it without sacrificing anything worth while, it then becomes a good choice. Who cares if it loses half the value in 5 years if you are not going to sell it. If its a car that you want to enjoy and can afford it, go for it. You only live once.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:43 PM   #35
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1st of all, Mazda isn't worth $5500. If CarMax will pay cash for it, take it....fast. Next, regardless of the Mazda value, it will be worth junk price if you need a new engine......a risk you take for an order car. Next, what will tires, maintenance, etc. cost you compared to the same costs on a new car?

OK, if the Mazda gives you a year or two of trouble free service, that's the cheapest cost. If not, you pay big. And, what's your time worth, shopping for best service price, time in the shop, rental car, etc. if your busy, you have to factor in lost time, if you're retired, doing all what's neccessary on an old car may fill your time and be enjoyable.

Next, think of the Chrysler ad; "imported from Detroit". We need to put people back to work, Consumers Report lists a lot of cars make in Detroit (very few Chryslers) that are reliable and cost less than 30k.......in fact, I think most Ford and Chevy cars cost under that.

So, you have choices and options based on cost, time and luck. Good luck, just be glad its not a computer built 8 years ago. Does anyone still use their "386" or "486" which I think was around 8 years ago? We complain about cars but I look forward to the day when my computer lasts as long and is as reliable as the cars I own......A family member still drives a GMC truck he purchased new in 1987.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:06 PM   #36
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To the OP:

I stopped caring about cars a long time ago, perhaps 20 years. But you are still young, and make good money as I remember from your past posts. You can afford it. And once you felt unsatisfied with your old car, and even went out to look at new cars, you will not be happy until you get that new car. No need for rationalizing, no need to ask this forum. Just go get that Acura this weekend (I don't even know what the TSX looks like, and would not know to suggest any other choices).
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:01 AM   #37
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Well they were able to fix the light without replacing the entire assembly as originally thought, so that was not too bad. Still haven't found a cheap solution to the steering/suspension noises, but at least there's less pressure to make up my mind quickly.

Of course, now that I have started driving new cars, it's hard to resist...
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:18 AM   #38
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I'm approaching 30. If I were FIRE'd I wouldn't care about the suspension noises because I wouldn't be driving anywhere, and I'd have the time to fix the dang headlight myself.
Headlights draw a fair bit of current and so if the connections aren't great, you can have those intermittent problems. I would play with the bulb connections a bit, use some contact cleaner and that has usually done the trick for me.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:11 AM   #39
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Well they were able to fix the light without replacing the entire assembly as originally thought, so that was not too bad. Still haven't found a cheap solution to the steering/suspension noises, but at least there's less pressure to make up my mind quickly.

Of course, now that I have started driving new cars, it's hard to resist...
You never gave specifc details about what the real issue is with the steering/suspension. It's usually not too expensive to replace the struts. Sway bar links are easy to do yourself (usu. 2 bolts to remove). There's some bushings that could be replaced too, but it's hard to know without more details. If you're mechanically inclined, you'll save a lot of money here.

You made the comment earlier about any money going into the Mazda would be wasted. The same is true with any car, new or old, unless it's a classic collectible car. You drive a new car off the lot and you'll immediately lose 10-20%.
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:16 PM   #40
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I bought a used Corolla in 1982, with 27K miles on it, and had many problems with it during the 16 years I drove it. It was frustrating. Guess I got a lemon. In 1998, I decided to buy new and got a Saturn SW2. (Paid cash for it, BTW.) I have been happy with it over the past 13 years (and have only about 68K on it so far). Anecdotal, I know, but I never regretted buying new. When I decided to buy new 13 years ago, it was only after reading a few sources that said that--although the car depreciates heavily once it's driven off the lot--generally it all "evens out" financially after some 6-8 years, although YMMV. (You can't compare the associated costs of a $30K new car to a $500 "beater" over this period of time, however.) The "new car smell" was irrelevant. Besides, the smell of new cars made primarily of plastic ain't as aromatic as the new car smell I remember as a kid.
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