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Old 12-25-2013, 11:33 PM
 
2,135 posts, read 4,017,193 times
Reputation: 1678

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This is the scenario. I have a 2001 convertible Mustang. The transmission is shot. It was getting old anyways and we (GF and I) knew it wasn't going to last much longer. Went from very little repairs to over 1k in a single year. When I say 1k that is with my dad and brother both being mechanics (I have some knowledge....just not nearly as much as them), so that is just total cost of parts no labor. So 1k is very low in terms of what I might be paying if I just "took it to the shop". I don't nor does my GF think it would be wise to get a brand new transmission for 1k on an almost 13 year car. Sure we could get a used one from the junk yard, but putting in a 125k mile transmission doesn't sound like the best idea either.

I got the Mustang when I was a junior in high school and loved it. Youth with a Mustang was great. Ive changed though. I'm a man of practicality and function and honestly I don't like spending much money on a car. I would like to spend my money elsewhere than a car. I do need something though.

I have a few qualifications though on what I will be driving and so does my GF. It will be paid through the joint which we both contribute. After driving the Mustang for while I want AWD or 4WD. I'm done with these Ohio winters. I don't want to have to worry when it snows a mere 4 inches. No truck, van, or SUV. I just don't like them at all. Perhaps a crossover....but not a full blown SUV.

The question comes when we should get a 6-9k car (anymore and the monthly bill isn't reasonable for us) or a 3k or less beater.

Like I said I am a man of practicality and function. A 6-9k vehicle (looking at Subaru Forester or Outback) with the extra space in the back would be nice and would service us well with trips to Iowa and with the dog. We do have a 2006 PT Cruiser with 125k miles. It runs fairly well and we could easily use it for quite awhile until major repairs come up. A beater might sound like a bad idea, but I use the Mustang to drive to and from work...that is it. I'm completely fine with fixing my own cars and have the family if I needed the extra help. Obviously a 3k or less car is hardly a beater, but it wont be the best thing ever. Like I said I want AWD or 4WD and not a true SUV, truck, or van. That is it. Obviously the GF is a bit hesitant in getting a beater. She is of the mind set if that if your going to spend 3k you might as well spend a little more and get something worthwhile. I believe the AWD or 4WD will help tenfold even if it is a $2500 vehicle and if it is "to work and back" car who cares if it's a bit older or not the best looking. Obviously if were spending more on repairs than a monthly car payment that is another thing.

The caveat with this whole situation is that in the past year we have really started to get our debts down and have snowballed some bills. In 5 months we will finally have paid off her Target CC of $232 monthly(almost 4 years of paying this CC with much lower payments). Were frugal and have some extra money now. That extra $232 a month would just be huge though. Save for a house...pay off other debt...really help out alot. We would really start to get our life together. To think that all that work will be lost because we have to pay another $200+ a month for a car payment just blows to put it plainly. I mean if we had two junk cars it would be different, but her PT is hardly old or junk IMO.

So...what would you do? Beater or a 6-9k vehicle?
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
3,135 posts, read 10,602,610 times
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I'd fix your Mustang and keep saving, climbing out of debt. You'll get that $1,000 and then some back when you sell it down the road.

Any Subaru south of $9K will be almost 10 years old with 130k+ miles. $9K just doesn't buy much these days, usually someone elses problem they unloaded. Unless you have $15K+ to buy a car with a warranty, I wouldn't bother.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:51 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
36,632 posts, read 66,686,112 times
Reputation: 42701
That's the way it always works, you get caught up on bills and something like this happens. Any car that costs $6-9k is going to be old and high mileage, you could luck out but it seems a lot better to put $1,000 into the Mustang unless you can afford to go up to about $12,000 for something more likely to last another 5-6 years. While the Subaru is considered reliable and many are going over $200k miles nothing is guaranteed.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,531 posts, read 29,203,086 times
Reputation: 11452
Personally, Packer . . . I have a feeling that dumping the known Mustang for a $6-9k unknown used vehicle is like JUMPING FROM THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE.

Also, a well maintained 2001 Mustang Convertible has more than likely reached maximum depreciation and should be holding its own by now.

Last edited by Bummer; 12-26-2013 at 10:35 AM..
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,303 posts, read 19,052,372 times
Reputation: 12745
Agree with the other posters. What you're going to get for $6-$9K is something about the same age and condition as your Mustang only with a working transmisison. Not to mention you're not going to get anything out of your Mustang if it's not drivable.

I understand that it's not a great car in the snow. But you've dealt with it in the snow in the past; fix it and deal with it one more winter, then when you've got the rest of your finances in order sell it and spend a little more on something that really is better and will last you awhile.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Wappingers Falls, NY
1,618 posts, read 2,275,073 times
Reputation: 1096
Used WRX. I think you'll find satisfaction with it. It's not a Mustang, but it's quite the speed machine. Should be able to find one from 2002-2005 in your price range, and Subies tend to hold up with age.

You might want to put that $1k into the Mustang just to get it through the winter though. Fall and winter, Subie prices go up. People are thinking AWD at that time. They go down a little in spring and summer.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Cole neighborhood, Denver, CO
1,123 posts, read 2,804,631 times
Reputation: 1251
I'd get the $6k car, but not an Outback. I'd find a basic Honda or Toyota that will be reliable. $6k will buy you a lot newer/lower mileage Accord/Camry than an Outback.

2nd, cut up your woman's credit cards. Four years of debt at Target? I don't even want to know how much interest you paid.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:01 PM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 17,578,961 times
Reputation: 11673
I would be skeptical of any AWD car you could get in that price range. I would have my doubts it would be more reliable or cheaper to operate than your Mustang. Not to mention, do you really want to be driving an OUtback for 365 days a year so you can stomp the gas more on the 10 days a year you may have to drive in truly slick conditions? (I live in Buffalo, I understand winter driving). Or what happens when you drop that money on something else, then it needs a transmission in 6 months anyway?

Fix the transmission. Get snow tires. Enjoy your Mustang!
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Prosper
6,256 posts, read 15,056,694 times
Reputation: 9455
Fix the Mustang and drive it. And... don't get a new car with your girlfriend. Sounds like she's not the best with credit and payments. You don't want to have a car shared between you if things go south.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,524 posts, read 19,919,870 times
Reputation: 20198
Quote:
Originally Posted by npaladin2000 View Post
Used WRX. I think you'll find satisfaction with it. It's not a Mustang, but it's quite the speed machine. Should be able to find one from 2002-2005 in your price range, and Subies tend to hold up with age.

You might want to put that $1k into the Mustang just to get it through the winter though. Fall and winter, Subie prices go up. People are thinking AWD at that time. They go down a little in spring and summer.

I disagree with this option.
WRX's tend to be modded and driven hard.
Turbo engines tend to be less reliable than normally-aspirated ones, especially if driven hard.
Last thing you need is to be able to drive superfast in the snow, even with AWD.
You'd be lucky to find a decent 2002 for less than $9k.

I say go for a $3k Impreza 2.5 instead.
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