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To Fix Up or Trade Up, That is the Question



  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 6,023
    If mine I would only make the repairs necessary to keep it safe, then drive it into the ground. Otherwise you're looking at keeping it another 3 or 4 years with all the repair money you'll be putting into it. Then again, with those long road trips you'll be wanting new tires, shocks etc. Good luck.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2008 Mercury Mariner, 2007 Kia Optima
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    then drive it into the ground

    Thanks Jipster. The ground just keeps getting closer every year. :D
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    Keep the Subaru after replacing belt. Sell the van to someone who could fix it on their own. That bent oil pan could lead to worse and more $$$ repairs.

    For road trips, get AAA or something for assistance.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I'm with Jipster. You're really not talking about that much money for maintenance and repairs on the Quest and the OB (that only has 78,000 miles on it). If you put the timing belt on the OB and it only lasts another year, you've probably gotten your money back for it.

    Also, you're familiar with both vehicles, know their maintenance history, etc. So that counts for something.

    Heck, I still have a '92 Sentra (with 146,000 miles on it), and an '87 BMW with ~195K miles on it that I drive, so you have a number of years to go with your Quest and OB ;) .
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I would change the timing belt on the Outback (97,000 miles doesn't seem too much for a Subaru...) and keep it.

    As for the Quest, I would put it on Craig's List and see what kind of nibbles you get. For a low priced van, you may get a lot more interest than you think and get more than $2,000 for it.

    Then, I would look into a new ride to replace the Quest. Maybe a Mazda3 hatchback?
  • pb13fpb13f Posts: 2
    Seems like I might get some suggestions here. Read the story below.
    I own an Audi S4 2005 model, has about 52k miles, 6 months out of warranty. Just been to dealer for regular maintenance and ended up getting some repairs and total bill $2500.00. It has developed a new problem of fuel gauge showing wrong reading and there's some oil leakage from rear middle of front end. I love this car and tried to sell it, found a buyer for a pretty good sale price but couldn't sell it. Its fully loaded and drives well, just some issues coming up which have nothing to do with driving experience.

    Couple of friends told me to keep it saying repairs won't be that expensive to justify spending another 20k on a new car (G37), even the insurance would be higher.

    Couple of them advised me to get rid of Audi as they are expensive to maintain after warranty (its my first Audi).

    What do you guys think? What would you do? Any suggestions are welcome.....thanks.....!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited May 2010
    Seems a bit premature to ditch it, in terms of the cut-off line between what's too soon and what's too late. I think about 5 years & 80K miles is when I'd ditch any modern complex German car that's out of warranty. This is about 1/2 it's natural life (it may go more but it may not be pretty, you know, like people---we CAN live to be 95 but do we want to?) , so in reality at 80K you've gotten the sweetest part of the fruit, so to speak.

    Also in practical terms, if you sell under 100K on the odometer, you're going to have a much easier time.

    Audis depreciate like cobble stones thrown off a bridge, so waiting too long is no good either.

    I guess I'd check out that oil leak. If it's a rear main seal on the engine, then come back and we'll talk again about this.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,147
    Well, one thing you want to do is stop going to the dealer now that you are out of warranty. Find an indy mechanic who specializes in Audi.

    And, as shifty said, find out what's going on with this oil leak and report back.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Hope the leak is just an oil filter needing to be tightened.
  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    My advice-- firstly, if you have Carmax in your area go to them and get a real world trade in value. And then you can see if it is worth keeping it or trading it.. Audis in general are very repair prone and expensive to maintain. CR rates Audi reliability very poorly.. Get a real trade value at Carmax or other new/used car dealers -- and buy a preowned car ..That way you save a lot of money and if it is a certified pre-owned car,it`s even better..

    But personally, IMHO,if the trade value of the Audi is good, I would trade it in.. A 80k mile or 100k mile Audi has very little value..
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Do you know I sold my '87 E30? If I had your mechanical talent I would have kept it, but I don't, so I didn't. I hated to part with it, but it needed around $2,400 worth of work.

    By the way, am I remember correctly that your A/C doesn't work? That was one of the things I would have wanted to fix on mine. I had it converted to the R-34 refrigerant shortly after I bought it 4 years ago, and I had to replace the evaporator at that time, because it leaked. Cost $1,500. As a resident of MD (I see you live in Catonsville), I want A/C. I've done without it in the past, on a couple of occasions, when one of my cars was worth to justify repairing it, but I won't put up with the discomfort any more.

    Good luck with your E30. Let us know when you get past 200,000.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2010
    I think I may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, shifty. Sold my '87 E30 with 127,500 miles, because it had needs, and bought an '07 Audi Q 2.0T with 37,000 miles. My wife -- no, not the devil -- made me do it. Well, the car drives beautifully, and that interior, especially, is gorgeous. But (why does there always have to be a "but"), I'm nervous about maintenance and repairs when the warranty expires on 1/3/11.

    You mentioned 5 years and 80,000 as a wise exit point. Since I'm planning a long road trip this summer, I figure this car will have around 55,000-60,000 miles on it when it celebrates it 5th birthday. Would you be inclined to sell it around that time, if you were me, or would you drive it until 80,000?

    Maybe 70,000 miles would be a better jumping off point, since the owner's manual calls for the timing belt to be replaced at 75,000. I've heard that this a bigger-than-usual job on an Audi, because the engine is installed longitudinally. Do you know if that's true?

    Let me remind you, as this is an important part of the fix versus trade equation, that I have a couple of good inde mechanics that have experience with Audis. I'd do my own repairs if I could, but as runner up for the title of worst mechanic on the planet, I know my limitations.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    No the belt isn't that hard----about 4.0 hours labor, + belt + (if you want) water pump) + "while we're in there" stuff.

    I think on a case by case basis, the determination of when to ditch the Audi would depend A LOT on its previous behavior. In other words, if I owned this car and it behaved impeccably up to 75K, I might be inclined to test it up to 95K and see how that goes.

    There is a psychological barrier at the 100K mark when it comes to selling a modern car----for some reason, when that ODO rolls over just one digit to 1-0-0-0-0-0 that costs you $$$ in resale.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    My father, born 1896, believed the 100,000 mile myth too & it did have some credibility prior to the advent of synthetic lubricants & much superior engine assembly including closer tolerances.

    Recently, his grandson sold a '99 A8 with 110,000. The commercial airline pilot who paid market price for it at the time really likes the way it runs & the AWD.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited May 2010
    Sure it's a myth but if most people believe it, then it's real enough. 100K--125K doesn't bother me much, but 150K does because we are approaching the theoretical, statistical average lifespan of the modern car (about 175K for gas, perhaps 225K for diesel).

    So an Audi with 100K has more than half its life expended, and it's the best half, too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    That's reasonable advice. Thanks.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Do you know I sold my '87 E30?

    No, I hadn't heard you sold your E30. Well, there comes a time... :shades: . What did you get for it?

    I figure my '87 needs around the same amount of work as yours did. This does not include the clutch, which is still original. I'm coming to that same decision point.

    Yes, my A/C is not working either. It worked for the first year or 2 after we bought the car back in 1999. After one recharge which held for about a year, it looked like it was going to cost me $800 to change it over to R-34 and replace all the affected parts. Even then, I couldn't see the worth in doing that. Was saving the money for a clutch replacement, which never needed to be done.

    While all my present vehicles (except the E30) has working A/C, I never had it in a car until 1992. So, when the weather gets really hot/humid, I have alternatives to drive.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,302
    Oh my, an A 8 with 110,000 miles!

    I can't think of many cars that will bust your wallet like a high miled out A 8.

    Sorry, not an Audi fan at all. Seen too many things happen!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    To say nothing of an aluminum frame. Try and get THAT fixed!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2010
    $1,750. I priced it to sell very quickly, so a lot of people wouldn't come to the door. Sold it in less than 48 hours. Had dozens of inquiries.

    My clutch was original, although the slave cylinder was replaced at 104,000.

    I enjoyed the E30, but I like the way our new used '07 A4 Q 2.0T drives better. Of course, it's 20 years newer. Never thought I'd buy an Audi, because I'm concerned about its cost of ownership, but my wife is the primary is the primary driver of this car, and we found exactly the exterior and interior colors she wanted on Craigslist.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    $1,750 ??!! You did good :D
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    An Audi A8 is a great car to lease. Don't be reckless and self-destructive enough to buy one. That's like marrying a high-end call girl.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The buyer paid my asking price. Cosmetically the car was in excelllent shape, the interior was near perfect, it had been well maintained and driven with care (as in spiritedly, at times, but never abused) throughout it's 127,500 miles, so I think it was a fair price to the buyer as well as to me. I gave him complete service records and disclosed everything I know about the car.

    Let us know what you do with yours.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,379
    A buddy of mine is on his third or fourth Audi A 8 lease. It is indeed the way to go, It really is a beautiful car.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I suspect that a large percentage of those who buy miled up Audis, especially the more expensive models, are attracted by what they perceive to be a lot of car for the money, and are naive about the maintenance and repair costs on their cars. Some may know, but think they'll be lucky, and somehow beat the averages.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,302
    That's exactly it.

    I used to steer people away from troublesome cars such as Audi's VW's and Volvos. Especially so when they were on a tight budget making payments.

    For so many people, it's just an ego thing. Nobody "needs" an A 8 and if a huge repair bill is going to get them in trouble then they shouldn't be buying one!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,379
    Very good point. The last thing I need to be making a payment on is any car that will be in the shop constantly.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2010
    It's hard to justify buying or leasing a new one, too, if you assign any weight to cost of ownership. I really don't think that buyers realize just how much per mile it costs to drive many luxury cars, even those who can afford them. And, sure, you can save some by buying used, but not all that much, because of higher maintenance and repairs used ones.

    One thing that's not clear to me with the German luxury cars is whether they really need to be as complex as they are, to provide the generally superior driving dynamics compared with the Asian brands. What's your opinion on this?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I think it's all about the now rather esoteric levels of refinement a vehicle must achieve to remain competitive in today's marketplace. Nowadays ALL cars are quiet, pretty reliable, go fast, brake hard and go around corners.

    So to get that "edge" is requiring more and more technology. It's not like 1955, when say a Mercedes Gullwing sported a tubular space frame, 4 speed transmission, disk brakes (well, later on a few years) 140 mph top speed out of the showroom, mechanical fuel injection, OHC engine, etc. while most other cars were no more technically advanced than a 1935 Ford.

    Nowadays, even an entry level Hyundai is a marvel of engineering.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2010
    I agree with you regarding the functional requirements to qualify as a luxury car nowadays, versus the more affordable models. However, for really nice interiors you still have to pony up for a luxury car. The mass market car interiors have improved recently, but they're generally nothing special.

    Even though the "esoterics" have been largely equalized in recent years, there's a reason why a lot of people choose to buy, say, a Lexus ES350 instead of a Camry. I think the reason has a lot to do with how the Lexus makes you feel, behind the wheel, in the driveway, or when giving someone a ride.

    The '07 A4 Q 2.0T we recently bought cost about 15% more than a well equipped '10 Civic. The main positive differentiater that won my wife over was the elegant and luxurious interior. She understands that the cost of owning the A4 over the next 3-4 years will exceed the expenses of a new Civic by more than 15%. It also didn't hurt that the A4 looks more upscale than the mass market compacts, and, frankly, drives better too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2010
    With the exception of buying a large miled up luxury car dirt cheap, as a throw away, is it almost by definition a mistake to buy an old high end luxury car?

    For the purpose of this question, let's define old and miled up as 10+ years old and 120,000+ miles. Let's leave out the exotics, because the economics of owning those is probably different from cars that sell new now for ~$60,000-$100,000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    edited May 2010
    I don't know about a "mistake" but it's definitely a roll of the dice. If you should experience a major failure, it will probably total the car right then and there. Some luxury cars require $15,000 engine rebuilds, and these are not exotics.

    Also you have to fight obsolete, and I mean *really* obsolete, technology. And as technology progresses more and more rapidly, obsolescence happens faster and faster.

    True exotics, like say 90s Ferraris, will definitely cost you $2 per mile to operate. I'd imagine older luxury cars, depending on your luck, might cost you .50 cents a mile, average out over a few years.

    My friend's 1998 BMW 750 iL has lost its dashboard electronics. The car runs fine but you can't read anything or listen to the radio even. Cost to repair? $3500 to $5000 dollars. On a car worth $7500 at best.

    My rule of thumb on old luxury cars (and I mean here REAL luxury cars, not Audi A4s or Lexus 300ES)---the Big Benzes, the Big Lexi, the Big Audis, the full-size Jaguars, rule is:

    "If you can't afford to buy the car new, you can't afford to run it out of warranty".
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    I've found I can afford to run it out of warranty as opposed to buying a new one before now. This is my maintenence history of our '94 Town Car Signature purchased new Aug '94.

    70970 7/28/98 F&R brake calipers/pads
    98000 11/28/01 Pinion bearings and gears = $1,000
    108061 5/5/04 Battery replaced
    108597 6/22/04 MAF Sensor / Fuel filter
    111557 8/16/04 One Michelin X1 tire LR
    132042 2/28/07 Transmission oil change
    133401 6/15/07 Front Bilstein shocks
    138691 6/25/08 AIR Filter
    138873 7/2/08 Spark plugs & Wires
    141500 10/9/08 Front brake pads
    142100 01/19/09 Coolant flush & fill 2 gallons
    142300 02/26/09 Wipers
    143899 09/10/09 A/C Compressor replaced, Ashland, OR $750
    144413 09/16/09 LF tire replaced Michelin Symmetry*
    145177 09/25/09 RF&RR “ “ “
    145750 11/21/09 Engine oil & filter change Mobil 1

    Up to 70,970 there were new tires @60,000 & a battery, but nothing out of the ordinary until 11/28/01. Original paint & interior. The $$$ I could have spent for a newer model were invested in the equities market with no regrets. :)

    "Can afford to buy a new car, but can't afford the depreciation." ;)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    edited May 2010
    I saw a car with its lights flashing on a flatbed tow truck while we were heading down to PF Chain (sic) for dinner tonight and started laughing. My wife didn't get the joke, but she hasn't been reading the Audi posts the last couple of days.

    Couldn't make out the model, but it definitely had the Audi rings on the trunk lid. 2 door so I'm guessing it was an A5.

    It's been weeks since I've seen a broken down car of any kind. :shades:

    Steve, visiting host
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 6,023
    edited May 2010
    You really ought to change your engine oil more than once every 16 years. :sick:
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2008 Mercury Mariner, 2007 Kia Optima
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I am driving a Lexus GS400 with 214K on it. It had one prior owner, a guy I know. He had it maintained religiously by the Lexus dealer, and I was able to look over all their records before purchasing it. I suppose I could afford to buy a new one, but I am far too cheap. I've had it for almost a year now with no issues. I figure it has pretty much paid for itself now. If anything expensive breaks, I will probably just put it on eBay as is.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited May 2010
    That's funny, I noticed the same thing.

    But heck, if no oil change is working as good as it is, why rock the boat and put in new oil?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,302 oil change and you buy your tires one at a time?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah but that's an American car and not particularly exotic or complex. Different animal from what I had in mind. You can buy parts for your car at Kragen, but you can't for a BMW 750. Plus you have a large selection from auto wreckers.

    I don't see anything wrong with buying a well-cared-for old luxury car as long as you're willing to a) not pay much for it b) bail out when something big breaks.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Interpretations can be funny, but regarding the oil/filter changes, the most recent is listed. Mobil 1 with up to 10,000 miles is changed when down a quart.

    The new tires @ 60,000 were Michelin X. One blew out & was replaced in Kamloops, another had a flat in Dublin and because of age, I had to buy a replacement. Discount Tires refused to patch a 12 year old tire so when I got home, I bought two more, again due to age. The Kamloop tire is still in good shape.

    Questions? :)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,302
    I once had a guy trade in a BMW with a 12 cylinder engine.

    He handed me a thick binder of receipts (which I had to throw away)

    He had all of his work done at a local BMW independent that I hear is honest and does good work.

    Later, I looked through the receipts and the repiar charges were STAGGERING to say the least. The car looked like it had been constant trouble and my God did it ever cost HUGE money to keep that hing on the road.

    And, nobody wanted it. It looked nice and it ran well but nobody would touch it.

    We gave him very little for it and we were very lucky to break even when we finally found a wholesaler who would take it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Sure, but bail out for what amount? If you pay next to nothing, no problem. Otherwise, and assuming you're honest with the next buyer, you've got nearly a total loss when something big breaks. Of course, you've got this risk with any older car you'd buy. However, it seems to me the risk of losing almost your entire purchase cost is significantly greater with something like a BMW 750 than with a mass market car, or even, say, an entry level luxury model like a 3-Series or Acura TL. Used upper end luxury models scare me.

    It didn't used to be that way in the days when Detroit ruled. Sure, a used Lincoln or Cadillac was higher maintenance than a Ford or Chevy, but they weren't prohibitive. What happened?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Computer technology. You could no longer be a marginal idiot and fix cars anymore (speaking for myself of course :P ).

    So now we have to pay highly trained people in expensively equipped shops to do custom work for us. It's not much different than going to a boat builder in terms of labor and skill.

    This has also forced mechanics to specialize, meaning we need to go to different shops for different things.

    Last of all components aren't "fixed" anymore---everything is merely replaced. Better for the mechanic, worse for you.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    This brings up another interesting point:

    In the general consensus that maintaining older, higher end luxury cars (an XJ, S-Class, 7-Series, etc) is prohibitively expensive and that older, high end cars are not the wisest of automotive purchases,

    where do Acura, Lexus, Infiniti stand in this? As more reliable makes of luxury cars, are they exempted from this rule? Or is a LS430 with 125,000 miles on the odometer just as foolish as buying, say, an S430 with the same mileage?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    These strike me as mostly entry-level "luxury", mass produced in large numbers, so I don't think they are quite in the same "danger zone".

    I think it is the low production #s and the "this model only" technology that causes the risk. With the makes you mentioned, chances are many of the features in those cars are shared by lower price models.

    Part of the allure of big buck luxury cars is their exclusivity. A V-12 is not something you're going to find in an Acura or an Infiniti, nor the supercharged V-8 out of a full size Jaguar. Add to that all the avoidance radar, active suspensions, etc (perhaps NOW found on entry level lux cars but not THEN).

    Not only are old luxury cars technically complex, but the tech in them is obsolete and of limited production.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "...NOW found on entry level lux cars but not THEN."

    This is why I'm tempted to go continuously lower in the mass market segments, to avoid some of the complexity. My next car may be a Tata Nano...without the accident avoidance radar and seat cooling package.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    I understand & would like a late Jag XJ8, but (1) nobody around Poopdunk knows how to work on them and (2) in surveying the mass market segment, I'm attracted only to the Taurus SHO because (1) the local dealer is a gem and (2) it will tow the boat. However, all the NW Ford dealers only have the over loaded gimmicky dodads, not desired nor needed i.e. hole in roof, hot seats, TV map, & Radar. :P
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    If you're not in a hurry you could special order a SHO just the way you want it. Chances are you'll pay a little more for that than if you found the same car in dealer inventory, but it may be worth it. It would probably still be less than a loaded SHO.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    In discussing your suggestion, we thought it would be fun to fly to Chicago and take factory delivery of our special order and then learned that isn't done anymore.

    Now, we would have to order a 2011 due to the recent model changeover schedule so we shall wait and see. Meanwhile our old cars run fine. :)
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I've got a 20001 Passat 1.8T manual I've had since new. It's now got 130,000 miles. I sheepishly admit I've done almost no work to it. It's had it's oil changed with synthetic every 5,000. I've bought a new battery,and tires,of course. I had the timing belt changed at 105,000,as advised. I've also had the outer ball joints replaced.
    I still really love driving the car. I recently got hit from behind...I just kept the $1,400 the insurance. I thought the car might at any time suffer some catastrophic failure, and that it'd be unwise to spend so much on body work-you can hardly notice the damage.

    As I've neglected maintainance for so long,has too much time passed to really put it in good order?
    My plan now is just drive it until it still drives beautifully.

    The option would be spend a few thousand if necessary and shoot for 200,000 miles...
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