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To Fix Up or Trade Up, That is the Question

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    Nah, you have to look at these disputes as completely non-personal. Quite frankly, the insurance company doesn't chortle when they low-ball you, nor do they hang their heads and wail when you beat them. All they care about is the bottom line at the end of the year. How dutiful you were to the car, how worthy you are as a person, how blameless you were, means nothing to them one way or the other.

    Your best defense is of course an independent appraisal, but that costs almost as much money as you are trying to gain in the first place. Next best defense is good comparables that you find--but be careful, because they will retort that these are only "asking prices".

    Getting price guide print-outs might help if you pick the higher price guides, like Kelley Blue Book or NADA (www.nadaguides.com).

    It all comes down to, what we used to say in the Army "Are you sure this is the hill you want to die on?".

    So that means--how much time and effort are you willing to put into this. If your sense of justice is burning hot, then pour it on.

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  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I can't speak for where you live, but here in Texas you would wind up with a "salvage title" if you kept the car and had it fixed. And no one wants a car with a salvage title, so you would have to keep it yourself and drive it until the wheels fell off. Just another data point to enter into your calculations.

    I had a similar incident about 2.5 years ago, I decided to take the money and say goodbye to the old car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    Yes, definitely a consideration, the "salvage" stamp on the title---of course, after a certain age, it doesn't matter as much.

    Best thing one can do if forced to drive a car with a salvage title, is to make a photo record of the damage so as to re-assure people----unless of course it really was an awful wreck, then don't DO that!

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited May 2013
    ...best defense is an independent appraisal, but that costs almost as much money as you are trying to gain in the first place.

    Exactly, which is also why hiring a lawyer also makes no sense when the difference in dispute is a only a few hundred dollars.

    I checked the NADA price guide and mentioned to the supervisor of the insurance adjuster that the value was several hundred more than their settlement offer. He responded that his company doesn't go by the values published in the guides, but, rather, by their own evaluation of comparables . How convenient!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    Did you see these "comparables"? Remember, they are obligated to pick cars in your geographical area.

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  • raferafe Posts: 5
    My 2006 Malibu needs at least $3000 worth of work and has 350,000km on the odometer. It hasn't been bad on gas - been getting 32mpg on my commute (I drive 75% highway, 25% city).

    I am trying to decide whether to fix the Malibu or get a decent used hybrid so the better mileage gas savings can go towards the monthly payments.

    So far I have found:

    a nicely maintained 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid with 100,000 km on it and a brand new battery.

    OR

    an in decent shape 2007 Prius with 90,000 km on it.

    They are both $10,500 CDN.

    Not sure what to do. They get about the same highway mileage (as posted by EPA and average user claims). Prius gets better in-town of course, but I don't do that much city driving.
    The Civic Hybrid looks great, but I am nervous about the recent battery lifespan claims since the battery is $2000+ and the new battery means the old one was replaced after just 100,000 km. Some people are claiming theirs died at around the 30,000km mark. Yikes!

    What could I expect in ongoing maintenance for the 2007 Prius or the 2009 Civic Hybrid?
    (That will help me decide which will be the most economical including payments, gas and expected maintenance costs).

    And, what kind of mileage would I realistically get with the Prius (including winter driving commuting across South Western Ontario with very little stop-and-go traffic? i.e. not Toronto)

    FYI - The Malibu is costing me an average of $1700 a year to maintain (primarily replacing brake pads, rotors, tie rods, etc. due to the 40,000 km I drive each year).

    p.s. Sorry for the cross-post. I just found this Fix Up or Trade Up thread :blush:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,325
    I don't really work in Canadian, but that's north of 200k miles on the Malibu, I think. In which case, I wouldn't put that kind of money into it. Sounds like it owes you nothing.

    As for your choices, which car do you like better? If I could live with it, I'd probably opt for the Prius based on reliability and lower current miles.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    yeah the Prius would be my choice, too---the "new" battery in your Civic will only be warrantied for 36,000 miles.

    However, it's going to take you a long time to justify the expense of the Prius based solely on the improved gas mileage. You'll probably be getting 42 mpg rather than 32 mpg. That's only going to be about 100 to 125 gallons of gas saved for every 20000km you drive.

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  • raferafe Posts: 5
    your right about it being north of 200k. In fact it is just north of 350,000km on the odometer. How many Miles can we expect this Malibu to last if we keep it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    Tricky question. You can keep it for 1 million km if you're willing to keep fixing it :P

    It's my opinion that the modern automobile is pretty much at the end of its useful lifespan at 225,000 miles. In other words, sure, you may see some still running, and doing really well out there, but statistically, at the 225,000 mile mark, that car is essentially an 85 year old man playing tennis on a hot day after smoking a pack of cigarettes and eating a cheeseburger.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Creative analogy!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,675
    an 85 year old man playing tennis on a hot day after smoking a pack of cigarettes and eating a cheeseburger.

    I hope that's me, some day.. (minus the cigarettes.. )

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  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,663
    Car runs nicely but issues with the a/c which basically only works on fan speed 3 & 4. Have decided to stay the course and fix the a/c if necessary and wait till the 2014 models come out...our buying time frame is the last week of 2013 at this point as we're both just not ready to purchase yet. Budget will be $20k or less and in the compact and sub compact size vehicle. Best case scenario is for the Mazda to behave and get us through the new year with no drama and then purchase!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    It's my opinion that the modern automobile is pretty much at the end of its useful lifespan at 225,000 miles.

    I would agree with MrShift on this one. If you (the car owner) are not having problems, then you shouldn't necessarily run out and replace it right now, immediately, post haste. But if you're already having problems, and the vehicle is over 200k miles, well...

    I was talking with a friend just the other day. He has a 2005 Dodge 1500, which he has owned since new. Top of the line, 4 doors, Hemi engine, leather, etc. The truck has been very good to him / for him, but it's now at 230k miles. The red paint is fading, and scratched and dinged in a number of places. The leather on the driver's seat needs replacing.

    He was asking about the cost of "a good paint job, not a Maaco" and getting the seat reupholstered. I quoted him a couple of prices ($3 to $5k for the paint, $550 to reupholster one leather seat), and then told him he should really be thinking about a new truck. If he spends $4 or $5 thousand on this one, how is he going to feel when the transmission falls out next month?
  • Hi guys. Less than 1 years ago we chose Honda Jazz for my wife. And now it has some problems with the brake. A mechanic has advised us to change centric front disc for smth like that one http://www.carpartkings.com/centric-front-disc-brake-hub-124-65003.html
    But I am confused, the car is bought 10 months ago, and it already has such problems.. Maybe we should just get rid of it and choose another one, what do you think? Please share your experience connected with Honda brake.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,325
    edited October 2013
    I'm pretty confused, too.

    So you have a car not sold in the US, but your mechanic wants you to buy parts from a company in the US, and what you've linked is a hub, which has nothing to do with the brakes, and its a hub for a Ford F250, to boot.

    In any case, without knowing the year of your Honda or how many miles you put on in 10 months or what type of driving your wife does, it is tough to say whether they wore out early or not.

    I almost never replace parts with the same that it came with from the factory. For the most part, on your more mundane and inexpensive vehicles, manufacturers are using the parts that are just good enough to get the job done so they can keep costs down. You can almost always find superior parts on the aftermarket.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Age old question...
    Problem is most TCO calculators consider depreciation and interest, etc. If I buy another car, I'd pay cash for a 1-owner vehicle around 5 years old.

    Current vehicle is 2003 Lexus RX300 with 230,000 miles on it.
    Entire brake line was replaced at 100,000 miles.
    Engine was replaced due to bad bearings in oil line at 130,000 miles.
    Motor mount has been replaced.
    I'd have to look through to see what all else major has been replaced.
    Now I've been told I have a bad CV joint (clicking around turns), transmission pan leak (they've been telling me this for a while but I guess now it's critical), power steering leak at pump, somthing else in power steering gearbox, and an oil line leak.

    Option A - only so much can go wrong with a car. Body is perfect. Get a second opinion, repair as needed, and go on.

    Option B - sell the Lexus and put cost of quoted repairs toward cash for a 1-owner vehicle that's about 5 years old. I drive 12-15,000 miles per year. Better fuel efficiency would mean roughly $500 is gas savings annually. Car ins would likely not change much.

    Option C - wait until Lexus completely craps out, then take spouse's 2006 Prius and get spouse a junker (spouse works from home/ drives less than 5000 miles per year)

    Option D - something else?
  • Dealer estimate is $4000 for repairs. I'm going to quote this out since the car is old enough to not directly benefit from the Lexus warranty program - although all previous work was by Lexus dealer.
    I'm hoping to get the repairs under $3000 by finding used parts and not using dealer service center labor.
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I think I would unload that Lexus and buy something with fewer miles. 230k miles is (in my opinion) getting really close to end-of-life for most cars.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 5,104
    230k miles is (in my opinion) getting really close to end-of-life for most cars.

    +1. $4K is a lot to invest into a car with that many miles.

    As to which option to take regarding a new vehicle - get something a few years old and drive it into the ground like you did with the Lexus.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    edited October 2013
    Question that we might ask, to give us a different view: Would you buy a very clean, mechanically perfect 2003 RX for $4,000, even with 230K on it?

    I bet most people would.

    So I'd base this decision upon the cost of replacement.

    OR

    We could ask---is $4000 worth another (tops) 45,000 miles?

    On that basis, the answer is:..........................:)

    IFFY I'd say this is one of those cases where either way is okay. Fix or trade, you flip the coin.

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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 963
    >Would you buy a very clean, mechanically perfect 2003 RX for $4,000, even with 230K on it? >
    No way! I would see it as at the end of its useful life. And a gas hog to boot.
    What kind of vehicle would you replace it with? Another large SUV type, midsize sedan, hatch, compact? Probably any of them would get better fuel economy and would definitely have many more features that what you have now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    But we are talking about a 2003 RX that was all fixed up---in other words, it would get your mechanic's seal of approval prior to purchase.

    You can't buy much for 4000 these days---beaters, mostly.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,675
    It's still one hiccup from needing another $4000 of work... no matter what my esteemed mechanic says..

    Nothing is more expensive to maintain than a cheap luxury vehicle..

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    Cheaper than $600 a month car payments. :)

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  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I don't think anyone here is advocating a new car for $600 per month. Certainly I'm not.

    I'm saying sell the Lexus for $2500, add the $3000 you were going to spend on the repairs, and for $5500 buy a used car with half the miles.

    And if you did go crazy and wanted to get something new -- how about one of those really cheap leases for a Civic or a Jetta? With that $5500 down, your lease payments shouldn't run more than $150 per month, tops. Which will probably be a lot less than the ongoing repairs for the 230k Lexus.
  • keep_it_simplekeep_it_simple Posts: 5
    edited October 2013
    >And a gas hog to boot.
    What kind of vehicle would you replace it with? Another large SUV type...<

    "Option B - sell the Lexus and put cost of quoted repairs toward cash for a 1-owner vehicle that's about 5 years old. I drive 12-15,000 miles per year. Better fuel efficiency would mean roughly $500 is gas savings annually. Car ins would likely not change much."

    There are several 2008 Mazda5 (6-seater) available in my area in the $6000-7000 range.
    I average 20mpg usually in the Lexus. Been down to 18-19 since the O2 sensor started going bad. Mazda5 average 27mpg anecdotally.

    I'm not really interested in features. I'm not a fan of the Prius and I most certainly do not like the 2014 ES350 Lexus gave as a loaner. I had a 5-speed 1997 honda civic before having kids. Just need something comfortable to get the family around town. I'd prefer a 6-seater but we've been doing just fine with 5-seaters.

    ETA - I'm using chrome mobile and apparently can't format. :-/
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,854
    I question these repair estimates, first of all (I mean the quotes from the dealer). I would think an indie shop could re-assess what's going on and come up with a much cheaper bill. I didn't see anything in there that should cost $4000 bucks---a CV joint is just bolting in an "axle kit" (if that's even the "click"), a power steering pump is a nut and bolt job, and a small oil leak? So what---snug it up see what happens.

    Buying any replacement used car that's out of warranty is just a case of " fire meet frying pan".

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  • keep_it_simplekeep_it_simple Posts: 5
    edited October 2013
    I definitely want to quote out the repairs. No doubt about it.

    Here's a more specific breakdown for OEM Lexus labor. They're all very high.
    Transmission pan replacement- $340
    Power Steering pump and pressure line - $1420
    Replace entire steering rack - $1320
    CV Joint and axle - $400
    Oxygen sensor - $480
    Ignore oil leak for now.

    I'm certain I could find an independent mechanic and used parts for much less. Having had time to think it all through - I imagine I could get it all done for about $2000.
    Then the only thing that hasn't been replaced on the car is the transmission. Body is perfect. I'll probably need break pads in about a year. Water pump and timing belt in two years.

    What's the cost of running a car until it simply can't be repaired any more versus taking a risk on a $6000 5 year old car with about 120,000 miles?
    Seems like I could sell the lexus now for $2000 ($2500 for rough condition private party according to edmunds appraiser). Versus pour how many thousands into it each year and hope for 2-3 more years then not be able to sell it for anything.

    The Prius got great gas milage when it was needed for a 180-mile daily commute. Now spouse works from home and seriously drives less than 5000 miles annually. I don't like the Prius. I don't want to be its primary driver. But I've done more unspeakable things in the name of frugality...

    PS - I bought the lexus 4 years old an I have done all the maintenance by the book at the dealer over the last 6 years. I'm really hoping these issues are the result of putting so many miles on it and not the dealer service center neglecting necessary maintenance. Surely the first measly 50K on the engine before I bought her couldn't have been a time bomb.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 963
    By features I meant safety features, which are standard on most cars now. "A 1-owner vehicle" doesn't say much about what kind of vehicle you want. Your options are pretty determined by the small amount of $$ you have to spend. I take it you don't want a car payment. For that amount down you could get a new compact car with a very low interest rate. Or you could buy a used compact and save up for the SUV you want.

    Repairs on a Lexus are likely more expensive than on a Toyota. CV boots were around $2-300 on my Mazda around 10 years ago, so $400 isn't surprising. I just wouldn't put any more $$ into such a high-mileage car.
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