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Old 05-21-2015, 02:07 PM   #81
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Where do you find this info?

I'd also like to avoid getting stuck with a light bulb change, or other simple maintenance issue that is unreasonably difficult/expensive. But I've only founf generic 'total cost of ownership' numbers, or random complaints. Are these organized somewhere, by model?

-ERD50
ERD50,

I would browse forums like alt.frugality.something, a newsgroup. I don't think it exists anymore. Also rec.autos.tech, which does exist. After I found a few models that other like-minded frugals recommended, I went to more specific sites, like Nissan Forum to get the dirty low-down reality, to see the specifics of what repairs if any were typical of that car. I got as specific as what year of Versa had what problems. Early years had some problems. In Fall of 2009 I bought a new 2009 Versa. The 2009's had been on the road for about a year already, so I had that data to refer to. I also refer to Consumer Reports, but as you know, they only have generic reliability ratings.

BTW, one of the websites said that the headlight in the V could only be removed by taking the fender off, but turns out not to be the case.

I owned an 85 Chevy Caprice V8 for many years. CR rated it average in reliability, but the good thing was that more than half of the repairs it needed were doable by me, for $0 labor, plus parts. You could replace a part, like water pump, by just removing a few things out of the way, somewhat of a hassle, but not too bad. I had 425,000 on the odometer when I traded her in. Original engine and trans still working fine, no work done on either, just reg maint stuff.

Oh yeah, I asked my mechanic what cars were reliable, and all he would tell me was "Don't buy a Volkswagen". He hated working on them because they were so labor-intensive and he didn't want to charge his customers the full amount, since they would cuss him out, and maybe not return. So they weren't money-makers for him.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:12 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
But....




I don't think this advice holds water anymore (or at least not in all cases). My current car is going on 15 years. I don't think that first few years depreciation really matters over the long run, and as others mentioned - how was it treated those first years? Probably not as well as I would treat it, hoping to get 10+ years out of it. Why chance it. And you move up those first maintenance jobs, some to shortly after you buy it - new tires, brakes, maybe coolant changes, etc.

'cars' in the past 10 years? Do you put a lot of miles on them? Maybe your situation is different, but you made the statement in an absolute manner. One of my mottoes - "Never say 'never'".

-ERD50
Keeping cars 10-15 years is different, but still more costly if you buy them new. If you study typical depreciation curves you will see that ALL cars have a rapid drop in the first 1-3 years (I bought my last VW, slightly over 2 years old, for less than half of sticker, but arguably it was a model known to depreciate and lose resale value...) then there is the flatter spot, ~2-5-6 yrs out. After that, there is another drop, where you go over 100K, they are now "old" nobody wants them, maintenance costs are up, etc. After that drop, they are $1-$3k cars. My approach, and many others, is to buy and sell in that first flat spot.

I used to have a goal of $1000/yr depreciation, and met it 10+ years ago when I was buying $2k-$4k cars. But when you buy more expensive (and newer cars) This is harder. Did $1500/yr on an '05 Camry, and about $2k/yr on an '09 that we just sold last month.

I disagree that the first few years don't matter even in the long run. Simple math, buy a new $20k car and keep it for 15 yrs, about $1333/yr depreciation. Buy that same car 2 years old for say $15k, and drive it for 13 years and it is around $1100/yr. Eek a couple more years out of it and you are even better off.

TONS of other factors there I know, very car dependent, and to each his own of course. I just like to avoid the big depreciation drop years, and generally keep driving a fairly new car.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:18 PM   #83
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Oh yeah, I asked my mechanic what cars were reliable, and all he would tell me was "Don't buy a Volkswagen". He hated working on them because they were so labor-intensive and he didn't want to charge his customers the full amount, since they would cuss him out, and maybe not return. So they weren't money-makers for him.

LOL that really says a lot. Read between the lines there......
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:22 PM   #84
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Okay, that explains the fuel pump issue pretty well. I still think there are plenty of other examples of poor design making cars harder to maintain than they should be. When I did major work on our cars with my father (rebuilding an engine, replace transmission, rear end, etc.) I still remember thinking that if I ever got hold of an engineer from Chrysler (we had Plymouths and a Dodge) that I was going to strangle him. Slowly.
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:24 PM   #85
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I'm not sure but around then maybe 55? oil filtes were not in the design.
Many old cars had bypass oil filtering systems and did not have primary oil filtering. The first 1955 Chevrolet small block V8 did not have primary filtering, or even provisions on the block for it to be capable. 1956 started the block mounted filter.
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:03 PM   #86
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Perhaps buy a RV?

I am not a car person - but I have changed lightbulbs myself. On my old car atleast 15 years ago. On newer cars it's to complicated.

But then I got my RV. And it's very simple to change a lightbulb. Just like in my first 197x car. Probably because it has a commercial truck chassis with lots of room? But I will never change a tire on this one - can't lift the wheel! But when I had a flat on my Nissan I changed it myself.
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:17 PM   #87
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Keeping cars 10-15 years is different, but still more costly if you buy them new.....
Maybe, but I bought my current car new 11 years ago, and haven't paid a cent to have a wrench put on it. I do my own maintenance (a lot cheaper than even an independent) and I have 100% confidence in my mechanic. Can you say that?

I plan to keep it until some other car says "buy me, you need the thrill". According to a friend who works a a "stealership", if I wanted to sell my car it would likely bring about 45% of what I paid new. I can handle depreciation at that rate. OTOH, I doubt DW would bring anywhere near what she has cost me over 39 years (ok, insert smiley here).
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:33 PM   #88
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$94, for a headlight bulb? The halogen bulbs in my Volvo are like $5-$10 each. For $94, I'd expect LED and never needing to replace them. Are these special 'green' headlights?
They're high-intensity discharge headlights, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that they're excellent. You can get replacement Philips bulbs at Amazon for $42 each, or you can get cheaper knockoffs for about $20. More basic Prius models used standard dual-filament H4 bulbs, and yes, you can get them for $10 or less.

I just posted the video to debunk the notion that the bumper has to come off to change the bulb. You can watch the tech do it in three minutes. Of course it helps to have small hands!
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:27 PM   #89
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They're high-intensity discharge headlights, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that they're excellent. You can get replacement Philips bulbs at Amazon for $42 each, or you can get cheaper knockoffs for about $20. More basic Prius models used standard dual-filament H4 bulbs, and yes, you can get them for $10 or less.

I just posted the video to debunk the notion that the bumper has to come off to change the bulb. You can watch the tech do it in three minutes. Of course it helps to have small hands!
Yes, I was thinking it wasn't co-incidence that this mechanic was female, and likely had small hands. Being small isn't always a disadvantage.

I'd think that LEDs are advanced enough now to provide same/better brightness than these HID - after all, a headlight is only ~ 55W, similar to a home bulb (different applications/requirements of course). Maybe they need more testing to meet the environment and it takes time to see these changes?

It isn't really a matter of one technology being brighter than another - you can always make them brighter by making them bigger.

-ERD50
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:03 PM   #90
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I do all my oil changes b/c these shops keep finding(?) minor/major issues to fix besides doing the oil changes. Since then, I stop having car issues.
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:20 PM   #91
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I do all my oil changes b/c these shops keep finding(?) minor/major issues to fix besides doing the oil changes. Since then, I stop having car issues.
Same here. I took my car into the stealership for a recall fix and they told me I needed new brakes and tires. I guess if you define "need" as more worn that when new, they were right.
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:58 PM   #92
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A while back, while my Mazda was at the dealership for recall work, I casually asked for them to change a burned out headlight. That casually cost me $75. When the other headlight went out this winter, I put on a pair of gloves and did the other headlight in about 10 minutes. Standing in the snow. Freezing my a off.
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