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Acura RL



  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    This wouldn't be an engineering company now would it. Because small m would be short for milli which is one thousandth of a meter, and somehow to reduce confusion somebody had the idea of using M and MM to differentiate.

    Just nitpicking though, and thus not important.

    Anyway, RLs are darn nice cars, and will run for a long time if taken care of. At some point though, you will need to sink in a lot more than what it will be worth. Not counting the routine stuff, take care about the timing belt, because breaking it will mean a new engine (mucho dinero).
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    If money is the issue: you'll do best by thousands of dollars to drive the RL until they take it away in a bucket. Click n Clack (the Tappet Bros. on NPR) did a study of the financial advantages of keeping a car: if you can keep the car for 10-12 years, you'll make out just fine.

    Think of it this way: each year now, because your car has 130k on it, you'll be putting in $1000 or $1500 in repairs. This is what you'd pay in new car payments in two or three months! And so what if the car isn't worth a lot: you don't have to pay megabux for collison and you don't have to pay heavily for excise tax (in most states).

    In fact, if you put the money for a new car in a decent bond fund you can get the dividends to pay for your repairs and still have the cash left to buy the next car! If not, make payments to yourself in the same bond fund so that when the RL bites the dust you'll have enough to pay cash for your next ride.

    And, btw, why are you taking it to the dealer? Surely you can find a good independent mechanic in your area who can perform the services and repairs quite a bit less expensively than can a dealer.

  • gearheadd - Good point on the taxes and fees. They do offset some of the rebates and/or interest savings.

    vcheng - I work at a bank. Who knows why they use this weird way? It was annoying at first, but now I'm used to it. I changed my timing belt at 90M, so I guess I'll have to do it again at 180M.

    JW - I still have 3 years worth of loan payments left. If I didn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The thought of paying $400 per month AND the $1000-1500 per year in maintenance/repairs is what's killing me.

    As for going to the dealer for service, I guess I'm a sucker those letters you get in the mail. "No one knows your Acura better than our factory trained technicians!"

    I know it's baloney but I try to rationalize it by telling myself that I'm paying a premium for peace of mind. If that makes any sense ...

  • Viper,

    Come on, you know better if you work in the financial field. Unless you plan on paying $400/month for the rest of your years and you have no dependents to worry about (which might be the case), it really doesn't matter what the monthly payment is. What matters is what the car's worth and what the outstanding debt is. Buying a new vehicle isn't going to change this. If you live for the day by simply scraping together enough for the "monthlys" go for it. But I hope that bank doesn't have a mandatory retirement age.
  • Blood bank? Funny. It's actually an investment bank (without a mandatory retirement age!).

    I'm glad that most of you are against getting a new car. I need you guys to poke holes in my argument for leasing a new 9-3.

    Doing the math here might be uselss since this deal ends on Friday and I don't want to rush anything but here are the numbers:

    A new 9-3 leases for 300 per month for 36 months. My monthly car payment is 400 per month and I have about 36 loan payments to go.

    So far I'm up $3600.

    The lease has 1000 due at signing and I'll probably lose another 4000 on the trade-in. Let's just throw in another 1000 for taxes and fees.

    Now I'm down $2400 (3600 - 6000).

    The Saab has no charge maintenance for 3 years, whereas I'll probably have to put in about $1500 per year on RL. That's about $4500 in maintenance/repairs for the next three years.

    Now I'm up $2100 (4500 - 2400).

    At the end of three years, I get nothing from the Saab whereas I can sell the RL for around $4000.

    At the end of 3 years, it looks like I'll be net down around $2000.

    $2000 is still $2000. It's not chump change and I'm not a millionaire. At the same time, spending an additional $2000 over the course of three years for the peace of mind that my wife is driving a new car instead of a car with 130m miles on it doesn't sound too terrible.

    Okay, boys. There you have it. Now, rip my argument to shreds.

    I think the biggest weakness in my case is that I could lose more than 4000 on the trade-in today and sell it for more than 4000 at the end of the 3 years.


  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    Well one factor is the rate of accruing mileage. If it is way over 12-15 thousand per year, then a lease might be a very expensive idea. Then again, if you are driving the RL only 8-10 thousand a year, why change it then if it has been well maintained?
  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    At the rate you are going, looks like you will use up the lease allowance mileage in just over one year assuming 12k/yr. After that, I believe you pay maintenance out of pocket. To save the $1500 a year maintenance on the RL, I am sure you can find a good mechanic specializing in Hondas and save maybe half. When you add every together, keeping the RL may be a wiser choice.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    where you pay off the loan. Some 'magic' here? Your payments are 14400, so my guess is that you owe about 12000.

    What I'd suggest (and do, myself): sell the RL for what you can get, hopefully with your high mileage about the same as the loan -- $12000 or so.

    Buy a '98 or '99 4 cyl. Accord or Camry with low mileage; because it's low mileage and a reliable car, it shouldn't cost you maintenance; get your loan at a Credit Union (about 4.5%); continue to pay $400/month to pay off the low interest loan, then after the loan is paid off pay the same amount to yourself for five more years.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh. But your way of thinking is going to lead you into problems that will be more painful than car payments.

    And no, I wouldn't have said it if you hadn't asked.

  • Vcheng/px260 - I hear ya on the mileage. The only reason I'm even considering a lease is because I expect the number of miles driven will dramatically come down in a few months. This was priced into my hoping to sell the RL in 3 years for around $4000. So, it's pretty much a wash.

    Jwilson - My paying off the loan was included in the part where I said that I would probably take a $4000 hit on the trade in. 12000 is a very good guess. I owe a little less than 13000. Edmunds says that I can get around 9000 on a trade-in. That's where the -4000 came from.

    I'm all for buying a car and driving it for ten years. If someone buys a new car and drives the average 12,500 miles for ten years, that only comes out to a 125,000 mile car. Assuming that the guy financed it for 5 years, from around 60,000 miles on, all he has to do is pay for maintenance and repairs. Who cares about paying $1500 in year in maintenance if you don't have any car payments? It's a no brainer.

    The reason my situation is different is that I bought a used car with 60,000 miles, financed it over 5 years, and put miles on it like miles were going out of style. So, now I'm paying the car loan and the expensive manintenance on a car that has 130,000 miles. This is the part that really bothers me.

    If the car market wasn't so poor, the temptation to trade out of my car wouldn't be so great. However, with all the incentives and cheap loans/leases, the hit that I take to trade is getting smaller and smaller (although it can never go to 0).

    So, does my -$2000 figure in the end still stand, assuming the mileage comes down? I've included paying off the car loan in the trade in. There are a lot of varibles that can change though.

    I expect the RL to have around 160,000 miles by the end of 2005 (when I'm done with the loan). I guess I could drive it without car payments then. Assuming the car last that long ...

    I hate the fact that GM's practically giving these 9-3s away though ...

    Good night, folks.

  • Don't worry about sounding harsh. People come here to get info and opinions, not to make friends! =)

    Like I said in my previous, I'm all for holding onto a car forever.

    If this was an emotional decision, the RL would have gotten the boot a long time ago.

    I'm just trying to compare cash inflows and outflows for both scenarios to see if leasing the 9-3 is that much more expensive that driving an RL with 130,000 miles for 3 years.

    I'm not asking whether it is better to lease or to finance or buy new vs. buy used. I think my particulat situation (miles, loan, maintenance) in conjunction with the cheap 9-3 lease allows me to make a valid comparison.


  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    I see your point a lot better, viper. How is the reliability record on the 9-3? Could you come out better (easier) if you were to work the same logic on a cheaper GM?

  • The reliability of Saabs, along with most GM products, is suspect in my mind. Although, according to recent JD Power results, it looks like the perception of reliability lags actual reliability of GM products. It's probably the opposite for makes like Honda and Toyota. Even if the quality of some of their products starts to come down, everyone and their mother will swear by Honda/Toyota reliability.

    I guess the market is relatively efficient. In other words, you really do get what you pay for. The 9-3 lease is so cheap because they are not selling and there's got to be a reason for that.

    I think I've pretty much decided to just hold on and see what happens. I'm going to a different Acura dealer now, so maybe that'll help matters a little bit.

    The previous dealer I went to always based their maintenance on Acura's "Extreme conditions" intervals which is every 3 months or 3750 miles. The regular interval is is 6 months or 7500 miles. Whenever I pointed that out, they made me feel guilty about "not taking care of my car." They always tried to do things that aren't really in the owner's manual either. Then again, extra oil changes don't really hurt the car.

    This new place that I'm going to sticks to the 7500 mile interval and they haven't tried to add extra maintenance items, YET. I'll just have to hope for the best.

    I really appreciate everyone's insights.

    It would be great if I could hold onto this RL until Honda switches it over to rear drive.


  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    I also agree on keeping a car for a long time. Unless you have the financial means to lease one car after another and carry a debt forever, it only makes sense to keep your car. Think this way, even after you drive the RL until the engine falls out (extreme case), you will only need to pay a fraction of the new car cost for repair. SAAB/Volves are extremely pricey to maintain; I've heard of $1000+ for a two wheel brake job, major service is $600+.

    I think the only important thing to maintain your car is changing oil. My problem-free '87 Integra lasted 180k when it got involved in an accident. Your RL should last well past 250k without major issues.
  • swsmsswsms Posts: 62
    What would be a decent offer for a brand new 2002 RL? Is $35K unreasonable? could I go lower? I know there's a $3500 incentive for the '03s, but I think I can get a better deal on an '02. I want to get rid of our '97 RL before the '04 RL comes out in the spring.
  • swsms - that would depend on where you live and whether or not the RL you're looking at has the navigation system.

    in my area (NJ), it looks like non-navi 2003 RLs are around $2500 below invoice.

    maybe you can get a 2002 to for 3000-3500 below invoice. it really depends on the demand in your area and the dealers inventory.

    px260 - thanks for the vote of confidence. i would definitely come out ahead if i made to 250m without any major problems.

    so, is anyone else dreaming about a rear-drive RL with at least 300hp like i am?

    considering that the current RL has not been updated since model year 96, honda must have some crazy type-s model coming out.

    time to log out and go home.


  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    Viper, if you want to save some $$, why not try changing the oil yourself? All you need is a good floor jack/stands and a set of metric socket set. The $80 investment I made 20 yrs ago paid off after two oil changes. I would change the oil at 5k interval (easy to remember), and while you are at it, you might as well changing the air filter (at 15k interval). The oil and filters probably cost you $25 and 30 minutes of your time. Over years, it will save you a lot of money, and waiting time at the dealer. That is pretty much all you need to do for the 15k service. Keep in mind that all the newer engines are very well made and you shouldn't need to do a whole lot of maintenance. Next, find a good/reliable mechanic that specializes in Hondas and take your car there for the major service (should be around $250). This is how I maintain my Maxima and it's been running fine at 150k after 13 yrs.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    Apparently ... from comments in AutoWeek and other publications ... the dream for the rwd platform is by the boards along with the dream for the V8. Honda has no V8 or large-car rwd projects on the books. According to "leaks" the plan is for a hybrid luxury car, awd perhaps, to be released about a year from April. (Search back about a month or so for some discussion and references.)

  • I think you're dealing w/ a head vs. heart decision. I would say your comment about at the "end of 3 years w/ the Saab you have nothing to show for it" is the real issue. I think you have got to get out of the car payment rut asap. That may sound harsh, but you're not going to get ahead until you pay off the RL and keep driving that until the wheels fall off(a good long time from now). I've got a 96 also w/104K and I expect to drive that for another 104 or pass it along to a child. I agree w/ the recommendation to get away from the Acura dealer asap cause you will pay a big premium for their work. I've owned mine for 3 yrs. and I've only had it to an Acura dealer twice because of timing belt and warranty issue. The only maintenance I do is oil changes and I do those myself(not hard at all and I'm all thumbs).Your estimation of $1500/yr may be accurate, but it's way high from my experience.

    You also can stretch that timing belt to 105K before changing. That's the recommendation on the website(owners manuel says 90k). Just my $.02
  • Has anyone used Meguiar's Scratch X to remove fine scratches from the paint? If so, what kind of applicator did you use? Terry applicator, Foam applicator, micro-fiber applicator, something else? I tried to use it, but it didn't seem to do much other than give me more fine scratches!!! Thanks for your help.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    in my experience, it only scratches my wallet. ONce I'd switched to Zaino, I used their swirl remover, same with Zymol on a show car.

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