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Old 03-28-2017, 08:36 PM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,174 posts, read 1,347,495 times
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For most people in the U.S., vehicles are their greatest expense second to housing. And it's a TERRIBLE investment. The vast majority of cars do nothing but depreciate- most very quickly. I have a hard time putting money into something that's going to be next to worthless in 10 years.

So what do you do to save on vehicle costs?
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:49 PM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,174 posts, read 1,347,495 times
Reputation: 3177
Personally, I wait until I can find a good deal on a vehicle... something that scares ordinary people away, but that I can deal with. Then I keep the thing for a LONG time.

My current vehicle for instance: I bought this 2001 Chevy Lumina back in late 2005. It (and several like it) was being sold at auction by the local college- these were fleet vehicles that faculty used to drive between several regional colleges. The cars had high miles- the one I got had 158,000- but they were in otherwise good condition. And had maintenance records available since day one.

So I bought this car for $2620. Put another $300 or so into it for repairs and maintenance. The engines in these cars have an inherent problem with the intake gaskets, which I immediately replaced upon buying the vehicle- otherwise it's a good engine if kinda underpowered. Also changed all the fluids and fixed a few minor problems here and there.

It's been a great car- by far the cheapest I've ever owned on a yearly basis. 11+ years later I still drive the thing- it's now at just shy of 280,000 miles. It's as boring as a car could possibly be, and slower than your average mini-van... but it just keeps going Plus I had comprehensive insurance on it for the first few years and got an $1100 'rebate' for hail damage Which I of course never fixed... what would be the point?

So not counting maintenance, insurance, etc. (which will be similar on any vehicle)- this car has cost me something in the neighborhood of $16 a month.

Now that's value





My wife's current vehicle won't be as economical as this one... but I think it won't be bad all said and done. Back in 2010 I got her a 2004 Accord- blue book value of $11,500. But it had been wrecked and repaired- the guy selling it had pictures so I could confirm exactly what the damage had been. Picked it up for $7000 even. I've put maybe $200 in repairs into it since then- minor stuff like a transmission mount, a control arm bushing, and a window switch. Great car otherwise. Currently that puts it at about $94 per month... but it's still worth half what we paid, and we may sell it soon. So neighborhood of $50 a month ain't bad.
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
16,708 posts, read 20,456,636 times
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I'm with you. I buy old Toyotas normally. I usually spend around $1000 - $2000 for one with around 150K on it. Drive it to around 300K, then the state of CA will buy it from me with the retirement program for old vehicles for $1,000 - $1500 LOL. Not kidding.

They have to drive into the Pick N Pull on it's own power and have certain parts still on it ha ha. Mine were still running fine, but parts were starting to need replacing or windows weren't rolling down anymore, that kind of thing. They very, very rarely ever broke down on me. I think a thermostat went out in a Camry. The Corolla just had battery issues and we finally discovered the brake light was stuck on. Nothing major ever.

Right now I have a 93 Nissan pickup. I just love it. I've decided to keep it as long as possible and just keep fixing it. Bought it for $2,000 and have another $2,000 into it. And I bought an air conditioner (aftermarket) kit for it for $1500 and will have to pay someone to put it in for me. The $2,000 I put into it was to get it to pass smog in CA (was in OR) catalytic converter, intake manifold problem, replaced arm rests inside with new parts from a Nissan dealer I found with lots of old parts in a warehouse that are brand new - new front grill, light covers, seals around the windows, new tires, stereo.

But, it's exactly what I wanted. It's the extended cab with automatic transmission. That's a hard combo to come by and I knew that's what I wanted, so I snatched it up. It's not fast either, but I just love the size of it. Nobody makes these nice compact trucks anymore.

And the great thing about fixing up this old truck, is I get just what I want in a vehicle I will have put maybe $6500 into, but my registration will always be based on the original $2,000. And insuring it is really cheap. I just have liability and comprehensive.

It "only" has 170K on it. My mechanic said he had one and sold it to someone in town, still works on it, and it has about 400K on it. Sweet!

I put the best stereo in it, and once I have a/c, I'll be cruisin' in comfort with great tunes.
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:13 PM
 
Location: trapped in the body of a dying animal
3,174 posts, read 1,347,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
I'm with you. I buy old Toyotas normally. I usually spend around $1000 - $2000 for one with around 150K on it. Drive it to around 300K, then the state of CA will buy it from me with the retirement program for old vehicles for $1,000 - $1500 LOL. Not kidding.

They have to drive into the Pick N Pull on it's own power and have certain parts still on it ha ha. Mine were still running fine, but parts were starting to need replacing or windows weren't rolling down anymore, that kind of thing.

Right now I have a 93 Nissan pickup. I just love it. I've decided to keep it as long as possible and just keep fixing it. Bought it for $2,000 and have another $2,000 into it. And I bought an air conditioner (aftermarket) kit for it for $1500 and will have to pay someone to put it in for me.

But, it's exactly what I wanted. It's the extended cab with automatic transmission. That's a hard combo to come by and I knew that's what I wanted, so I snatched it up. It's not fast either, but I just love the size of it. Nobody makes these nice compact trucks anymore.

And the great thing about fixing up this old truck, is I get just what I want in a vehicle I will have put maybe $6500 into, but my registration will always be based on the original $2,000. And insuring it is really cheap. I just have liability and comprehensive.

It "only" has 170K on it. My mechanic said he had one and sold it to someone in town, still works on it, and it has about 400K on it. Sweet!

I put the best stereo in it, and once I have a/c, I'll be cruisin' in comfort with great tunes.
That's awesome- practically free vehicles You can't beat the reliability of a Yota or a Honda. I imagine a Nissan isn't bad, but I wouldn't really know.

It probably depends somewhat on what part of the country you're in... but here in the Midwest, Hondas and Yotas are significantly more expensive than an equivalent American car. For me personally, I can get more vehicle for the money with an American brand. But I'm glad my wife is driving a Honda- she can't exactly fix it on the fly as necessary like I can. And with a salvage title, really it cost about the same as an equivalent American vehicle.

Being able to work on your own vehicle makes all the difference with this sort of thing- it's a bit of a dying art. But compared to a $400/month car payment?? I'll happily work on my junkers once in a while
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:03 PM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,821,151 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post

It probably depends somewhat on what part of the country you're in... but here in the Midwest, Hondas and Yotas are significantly more expensive than an equivalent American car. For me personally, I can get more vehicle for the money with an American brand. But I'm glad my wife is driving a Honda- she can't exactly fix it on the fly as necessary like I can. And with a salvage title, really it cost about the same as an equivalent American vehicle.
:
That is what I USED to think. The last time that I was in the market for a used car in Chicagoland, I purchased a new Toyota Corolla for $2000 less than a similarly equipped Ford Focus or a Chevy Malibu.

You can pick up a 2015 Toyota Corolla with 40k miles in the Chicago area for about $11,200 at a Hertz sale lot in Lake in the Hills or Schaumburg, IL.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:25 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
Reputation: 20767
I try to keep <$0.10 / mile including the cost of the vehicle. (fuel, maint, and repairs)

econo car for generic gas burner folks ? ... a common Toyota and keeping it forever (as makes sense for repair costs)

My daily driver is ~$0.03 / mile including the cost of car ($35 bought at towing company auction). Free fuel (Waste Veggie oil) 50+ mpg (As it has since 1976)

I have a few TDI Passat Wagons B4V. $1200 - $2000. I enjoy their 1250 mile range between fuel stops. They are quite happy to drink WVO or Bio-D (brew your own fuel)
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Phoenix-Valley of the Sun
2,461 posts, read 1,200,617 times
Reputation: 3046
i need to lower my car expenses. At one point, i owned 3 new cars and i felt like i burned a hole in my wallet. I do like flashy things but i want to live that frugal mentality. I may take the poster's idea about buying a used toyota at an auction and go from there.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:51 PM
 
2,621 posts, read 2,023,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
For most people in the U.S., vehicles are their greatest expense second to housing. And it's a TERRIBLE investment. The vast majority of cars do nothing but depreciate- most very quickly. I have a hard time putting money into something that's going to be next to worthless in 10 years.

So what do you do to save on vehicle costs?
Buy used and know how to fix them yourself to keep them running for a very long time.
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Way up high
14,072 posts, read 20,136,656 times
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I lease a new luxury car every 3 years. I work hard so I like to enjoy my car
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:13 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 1,476,948 times
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To some vehicle is a medium of going from point A to point B. To others it is much more of a passion and a hobby. There is no price for things that make one feel good. Cars are not an investment unless you are a car dealer or a mechanic. No all cars are going to be worthless in next 10 yrs. Some might depreciate at a lower rate.
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