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2 bad cars...repair or sell?
Old 10-01-2019, 08:17 AM   #1
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2 bad cars...repair or sell?

Hi ER gang,

We need some helpful car advice. So here is our situation: Within the past 3 years, we bought a used Lexus and Toyota SUV that we had thought would be our forever vehicles given their relatively stellar reputation.

As luck would have it, both are in need of repair. Summary of each vehicle description and ailment:

1. 2008 Lexus LX570. Less than 80K miles. Bought for $27K. Car was not engaging in reverse. Mechanic that we trust stated transmission needs estimated $4K to repair and rebuild. We carry a $18K loan. Should we go ahead with repair and sell vehicle? Or repair and keep it until we run it into the ground?

2. 2007 Toyota 4Runner. 158K miles. Bought for $8.5K. Paid off. Needs new Oil pump and while in there suggested we replace timing chain. Power Steering pump previously repaired is failing again. Unfortunately, the oil pump is located inside the engine block assembly so labor will be expensive. Repair estimate is $1.8K. Should we repair and keep? Or repair and sell? Not repair and junk it?

We are honestly sick of the repair bills and strongly considering a new vehicle to avoid the headaches. But we are aware there can be value in catching vehicles at the bottom of the depreciation curve and avoiding car payments. But then again there may be future repair bills so there is the rub.

Any course of action you advise would be most appreciated!
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:44 AM   #2
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My previous car had a host of problems and I'd have in the shop often. Some folks like buying a new car every few years, but I'm not one of them. I preferred to just fix up the old car. That said, I tried to fix too often as the transmission went out and I ended up having that 3 times (the third time, repair was under warranty so no cost to me).

My new approach is to in general repair unless either car needs new transmission or engine.

I say in general as a car may come along that has a lot better gas mileage and a lot safer than what I currently own, and that would be a nice upgrade.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:56 AM   #3
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A rebuilt transmission for the LX570 is about $4,500 plus labor to install it. Figure $5K with a 3 year warranty. That SUV is of the highest quality and it will still be running in 480,000 miles with proper maintenance. Fix it.

The 4 Runner is another abnormally long lasting vehicle. A used engine with comparable miles is $1800ish, and a 70K used engine is $2200 on Car-Part.com.

I would be trying to find a quality independent mechanic shop to fix the engine. It's not something you'd want to pay $120 per labor hour in a dealership, but a $40 per hour mechanic could easily do the job. I have a great local shop that's very reasonable.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:58 AM   #4
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FWIW The last used car I bought was in 1996. I buy new and keep them until a year's of maintenance exceeds a year's of payments.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowballCamper View Post
FWIW The last used car I bought was in 1996. I buy new and keep them until a year's of maintenance exceeds a year's of payments.
I buy new and drive them into the ground. Once they get unreliable I get rid of them. Exception was a Ram 1500 I bought used a couple of years ago but it was only six months old and had 8,000 miles on it.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:05 AM   #6
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The problem as I see it is that you will be hard pressed to even sell the LX570 for what you owe on it. Although you don't owe on the 4-Runner, you will take a bath to sell as not running and needing an engine. Selling either is a major financial hit.

Your best financial choice seems to be bite the bullet and pay for the repairs and then drive them for a while to get the moeny out of them you have invested in purchase plus repairs. Agree to find a good competent independent shop vs the dealer service dep't.

If you sold, and then bought new, you would still likely have to come up with some down payment money. So in that option you still need money out of pocket. Just use that down payment money to put towards repairs.
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