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View Full Version : Continuing to fix car or replace


Fourpaw
05-18-2017, 05:27 AM
Good Morning APC,

My financial question comes in regards to my vehicle situation.

I have three cars. One newer Mazda with a small loan ~7k and a small monthly payment. The car is a stick and I'm the only one who drive it because my wife can't. It has been almost trouble free over the three years of ownership *knocks on wood."

Car two and three are my wife's. Both are older and made sense at the time but have recurring maintenance issues. I am fairly skilled at working on the cars and have managed 98% of all repairs myself with the maybe once per year outsourcing.

Recently a couple of major issues have come up with both of my wife's cars. One being a sensor on my Jeep that is on back-order from the dealer and now the car is dead in the water until it comes in.
Next is my Subaru...I have been fighting a head gasket issue since I bought it. I have literally done everything to this car. This is about an $1800 job. Early model Subaru's have terrible head gaskets.

SO....long story short. With my current upgrade, IE back to a crappy schedule, I am nervous about fulfilling my duties as car mechanic when I will be back on reserve elsewhere's (for now obviously).

Our cash on hand situation could support a newer car but as someone who follows Ramsey ideology pretty closely, I just won't do it. She wants a car note on a newer car. I am strictly opposed to having two car notes.

Any outside perspective on this issue? I wanted my Mazda to be the last car payment we ever have. We otherwise live a debt free lifestyle and want to keep it that way.


kme9418
05-18-2017, 07:36 AM
She wants a car note on a newer car. I am strictly opposed to having two car notes.



This has nothing to do with cars.

swaayze
05-18-2017, 07:56 AM
Spend one hour teaching her to drive a stick. It just isn't that difficult (unless you live in SFO I suppose). Go to the junkyard or rockauto.com and get a sensor for the jeep that is now your airport car. Sell the pos Subaru and pay down the Mazda note. Get her to buy into a zero debt lifestyle somehow, someway. Once the debt is gone and you can swing a nicer car for her with cash the jeep can be traded for her mostly status-based car desires and you get the Mazda back.

Good luck.


Fourpaw
05-18-2017, 08:01 AM
Spend one hour teaching her to drive a stick. It just isn't that difficult (unless you live in SFO I suppose). Go to the junkyard or rockauto.com and get a sensor for the jeep that is now your airport car. Sell the pos Subaru and pay down the Mazda note. Get her to buy into a zero debt lifestyle somehow, someway. Once the debt is gone and you can swing a nicer car for her with cash the jeep can be traded for her mostly status-based car desires and you get the Mazda back.

Good luck.


I live off of Rock Auto, 99% of the time they are they best deal in town. This whole issue with the Jeep began with replacing an old sensor with a Rock Auto sensor. Apparently you shouldn't use anything besides OEM for crank sensors. Car won't run right now with the Chinese knock-offs, hence why I am waiting for the OEM one.

She is very into the debt free lifestyle, just need to understand the concept of depreciation when it comes to cars. By the way, we are a single income household with two kiddos, always have been...so finances can be pretty tight at times.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Eck4Life
05-18-2017, 08:33 AM
Learned many years ago that Rock Auto is not the place to get quality parts. First time the new part from them failed I thought it was an anomaly. Gave it another try and the same thing happened. Never again. Fool me once kind of thing.

After that I figure it's worth the extra $$ to go for a more reputable part. It's not all about the money differential. Like many others, I'm busy with work, kids, and life. It really chaps my rear end to have to do the same job twice just so I could save 20 bucks. All the sweating and busted knuckles saved is worth it to me.

Same goes for Amazon with regard to parts. Been burned there multiple times. Buy from someone who's name is on the part and therefore has a reputation to uphold.

TiredSoul
05-18-2017, 08:40 AM
Spend one hour teaching her to drive a stick. It just isn't that difficult (unless you live in SFO I suppose). Go to the junkyard or rockauto.com and get a sensor for the jeep that is now your airport car. Sell the pos Subaru and pay down the Mazda note. Get her to buy into a zero debt lifestyle somehow, someway. Once the debt is gone and you can swing a nicer car for her with cash the jeep can be traded for her mostly status-based car desires and you get the Mazda back.

Good luck.

Everything he said

Cargo Man
05-18-2017, 09:09 AM
Good advice on this thread.

I will add, ...sounds like you are good with cars.

Watch this YouTube vid. This guy does a Subaru head gasket change in his front yard. Now you have an excuse to the wife to purchase more tools to save more money ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PLdz-lXnQA

If the Jeep is drive able as is, would help in juggling repairs until you get caught up.

PerfInit
05-18-2017, 10:38 AM
I may have missed something, Why does your wife have two vehicles?
YOU should have two (one primary and one just for fun) :)

Fix the two (when able) and sell them (or keep one only)
Trade in the Mazda for a newer, pre-owned Mazda with a "slush box"
Save some upgrade dough and buy a fun car for yourself, you know like that Corvette you wanted as a kid.... If you need more seats, go with a Mustang or Camaro ;)

Seriously though, downsize and simplify!

Blackwing
05-18-2017, 08:24 PM
This whole issue with the Jeep began with replacing an old sensor with a Rock Auto sensor. Apparently you shouldn't use anything besides OEM for crank sensors. Car won't run right now with the Chinese knock-offs, hence why I am waiting for the OEM one.

Ha! How did I know you were referring to a crankshaft position sensor in your first post???? Even the OEM ones suck.

Fourpaw
05-19-2017, 05:33 AM
Ha! How did I know you were referring to a crankshaft position sensor in your first post???? Even the OEM ones suck.


Yeah first one from RA lasted about 50 miles. Second one lasted just minutes.

No time frame on OEM sensor, have no clue what to do. It just sits in the mean time, kind of ridiculous one little sensor can take the whole car down.

Test drove a '13 Altima yesterday. It had lots of vibrations. Apparently '13 on up Altima's with CVT have shudder/vibrating issues.

sherpster
05-19-2017, 06:18 AM
I have always had three cars for my wife and I. It reduces the stress when one of them craps out and I need to get it fixed (with kids and no public transportation....you HAVE to have transportation). I have become pretty good at fixing my own cars because the shops will rip you off BUT new car depreciation will really kill you. Get all 3 cars running, even if you have to have a pro do it. Drive those three cars until they rust in half or they are 15 years old and something super major happens (engine catches fire or transmission fails completely) Then buy a 2 yr old car and keep it forever. I have always figured an amortization cost of about $1000 a year when trying to decide if a repair is worth it or not. So if fixing your Subaru for $1800 nets you 2 more years of use then by all means do it. BTW, youtube is full of videos that detail whatever fix you need to do on your car. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to rip into a car and fix it but after you do it (with the aid of the video) you realize "that wasnt bad". Recent example: I had never done AC work on a car and was tempted to pay a shop to fix the AC on my old Grand Prix but I watched a couple of videos and after spending $85 in parts off of EBAY I replaced my condensor and drier in a couple of hours. It was super easy. The shop wanted $1100! Other than our house, we have been debt free for 20 years and I attest it to the fact we havent been blowing cash on new cars. Buy and Hold....it works in a lot of things money related (women, real estate, stocks).

swaayze
05-19-2017, 06:55 AM
Apparently you shouldn't use anything besides OEM for crank sensors. Car won't run right now with the Chinese knock-offs, hence why I am waiting for the OEM one.

By the way, we are a single income household with two kiddos, always have been...so finances can be pretty tight at times.



Fair enough, and a good point; sometimes it pays to go with oem parts. In this case, since they're back ordered, I'd still suggest a trip to the junkyard (or eBay where someone has probably already pulled and tested it for you - just be sure they're offering a working oem version obviously). If you're a car guy the occasional trek thru the pick-n-pull is a fun, often productive outing.

And one income two kids is tough. Did that as a regional FO for many years after 9/11. Develops character :rolleyes:

rickair7777
05-19-2017, 12:33 PM
If you're getting strapped for time by lifestyle, then newer cars are better. Agree with don't pay the new car depreciation, but a 3-5 year old car from carmax will last a long time if you avoid niche brands which are trouble-prone.

RA and other generic parts vendors are a huge crapshoot. I get on the forums for any car I own, and get the gouge on parts there. I typically get parts from the dealer or a REPUTABLE brand specialty house. More than worth it for the reliability... I like to plan my wrenching, and not have it plan me. In some cases on older cars the dealers have migrated to re-branded aftermarket crap (RA crap at dealer prices), but the forums can help you identify the best source for major parts.

If you're going to drive beaters (or land rovers :mad: ), yeah you need at least three cars for two drivers.

navigatro
05-19-2017, 03:57 PM
trade in the Jeep and the Subaru (or sell them) and get a reliable used car e.g. Honda or Toyota. Jeeps are crap when it comes to reliability.

TonyC
05-19-2017, 04:17 PM
Find a reputable shop to take care of your head gasket issue, and press on.

You're saving cash for a new (used) car, right?






.

WesternSkies
05-19-2017, 09:32 PM
We went to one car and haven't looked back.

Glenntilton
05-20-2017, 12:12 AM
All my cars are used. But I have tools, a lift in my hangar and a buddy who is a mechanic. Most are uninsured unless I need them. The ones I insure are between $25 to $60 per month.

Fourpaw
05-20-2017, 07:36 AM
We would definitely not buy a new car.

While I can put 12-15k on a used car right now, I don't want to because it will eat into our 6 month cash reserve, i.e. Savings.

One option I've considered is a loan but paying it off over the course of one year instead of five. I've been making extra payments on my house. I could switch to the car instead.

Either way...I found the OEM Mopar sensors on eBay. They cost substantially more but are factory parts.

I can't stand taking the cars into mechanics. I feel we get screwed every time, hence why I have learned how to do all my own work. I am capable of doing the head gaskets myself but the real issue comes down to time with my current upgrade. It would take a shop probably 3-5 days to complete with sending the heads off. It will take me probably 2-3 weeks doing it part time. I have all the tools just not the time. Cheapest quote I could find was $1800 with no valve job on the heads. For me to do it, it would cost around $500.

I went to a dealer and test drove a car and got a quote for $1200 trade in value on my Subaru! I know private party is higher but with leaking head gaskets I don't know...

Thanks for all the great replies.

Fourpaw
05-23-2017, 07:39 AM
For those of y'all considering similar options, I halve found this cool little website that accurately compares price of car with repairs vs cost of car note over the course of a 5 year ownership.

Fix-it or Trade-it Calculator | ATRA (http://www.atra.com/fixortrade)

trip
05-28-2017, 08:30 PM
single income household with two kiddos

Well on your side with only one car payment, teach her to drive it or sell/trade it.
My wife wants a new (used) car as well, I tell her the bigger the stack the nicer your car will be, shes OK with it and completely understands. We have three cars and all paid for, the house is also paid for. To quote James Brown.. IT FEELS GOOD!!

Side note> If your thinking about a newer car (under 30K miles) the money guys are all saying that three years ago leases went crazy and cars are now coming off those leases in the thousands. Used car prices are already seeing a lot of downward pressure.

Sam York
05-28-2017, 11:05 PM
the house is also paid for. To quote James Brown.. IT FEELS GOOD!!

.

I can agree with that. Paid my house off 3 months ago and have a 60k cash reserve. Feels great. I should never need to borrow or owe any money ever again.

If I want a new car I'll wait until I have the cash. Want a new house, yep, I'll wait until I have enough cash less the value of my current house.

Same with a new plane. I'd really like an old O-1 bird dog and there is one in NC for sale right now that fits everything I want in that type of plane. But I'll have to go into my reserves or take a loan to make it happen so I'll just wait until I have up the rest of the cash which will be in 1.5 years.

I learned my lesson seeing guys after 911 selling everything. The boards in the crew rooms were filled with boats, planes, motorcycles, vacation home ect. I'm fortunate enough to now live on less than half my take home pay. I split the rest between and additional retirement fund, home improvement fund and a "Sam wants a bird dog" fund.

badflaps
05-29-2017, 09:08 AM
I can agree with that. Paid my house off 3 months ago and have a 60k cash reserve. Feels great. I should never need to borrow or owe any money ever again.

If I want a new car I'll wait until I have the cash. Want a new house, yep, I'll wait until I have enough cash less the value of my current house.

Same with a new plane. I'd really like an old O-1 bird dog and there is one in NC for sale right now that fits everything I want in that type of plane. But I'll have to go into my reserves or take a loan to make it happen so I'll just wait until I have up the rest of the cash which will be in 1.5 years.

I learned my lesson seeing guys after 911 selling everything. The boards in the crew rooms were filled with boats, planes, motorcycles, vacation home ect. I'm fortunate enough to now live on less than half my take home pay. I split the rest between and additional retirement fund, home improvement fund and a "Sam wants a bird dog" fund.
I agree with your plan for sure, however, I saved for my dream hangar house, built it, and promptly lost my medical. Please factor time into your schemes.:eek:

Sam York
05-29-2017, 10:11 AM
I agree with your plan for sure, however, I saved for my dream hangar house, built it, and promptly lost my medical. Please factor time into your schemes.:eek:

Yeah you're not the first to point that out. The thing is: I have everything I want. House, truck, moto, plane, mountain bikes etc - all paid for. Everything else I want is just an upgrade over what I have now. It's in the "would be nice to have but don't need right now" category. For example, I have a C140 which is fun. The bird dog would be nicer but the current bug smasher is fine - kind of like diminishing returns. Or my townhouse is fine, would I like a house with my own 4 walls? Yes, but the "want to have" isn't strong enough to out weigh financial independence IMO.

So I'm not in a rush. If I keel over tomorrow I won't be sad.

jonnyjetprop
05-31-2017, 04:20 AM
I've always been a fan of buying a new car and driving it a very long time. I know it doesn't fit into your debt free lifestyle, but it's another data point in the storm. I'd look at the overall cost of ownership and the knowledge that your wife has the reliable car when you're out on a trip.

Fourpaw
05-31-2017, 05:18 AM
Update: I was able secure the Mopar sensors I needed off of eBay. Jeep runs just fine now.

After much discussing, I think we will fix the head gaskets on the Subaru soon...getting another year or two out of the car. At that point we will look at something newer. When I say newer I just mean 3-5 years old with less than 25-35k miles.

Our dream is a boat right and in the long distance future (i.e. 10 years)would like to buy a small sail boat or trawler for cruising. I think if we save hard now it's totally doable. I just want to ensure our descions between now and then need to be solid.

CrimsonEclipse
06-10-2017, 10:02 AM
trade in the Jeep and the Subaru (or sell them) and get a reliable used car e.g. Honda or Toyota. Jeeps are crap when it comes to reliability.

End of thread.

Hondas and Toyotas are indestructible.

rickair7777
06-10-2017, 04:23 PM
I can agree with that. Paid my house off 3 months ago and have a 60k cash reserve. Feels great. I should never need to borrow or owe any money ever again.

If I want a new car I'll wait until I have the cash. Want a new house, yep, I'll wait until I have enough cash less the value of my current house.

Fund your retirement accounts FULLY before you sink too much cash into real assets.

In the event of job loss or hardship leading to BK you keep the IRA/401k, but everything else is fair game for creditors (except a cheap house and a cheap car).

Remember you don't have to owe money to the bank but you WILL owe money every year to various levels of government. You should plan BK protection with that in mind.


Life is risky and lenders have their place in helping share that risk.

swaayze
06-12-2017, 07:05 AM
Why should he be concerned with bankruptcy? Given his wise decisions so far and intent to never borrow again (and assuming he has appropriate LTD and life insurances), he is well set. The only reason to file bankruptcy is to avoid paying creditors (and/or employees, even though you have billions in the bank - but I digress) - he's unlikely to ever have any creditors again if he stays disciplined.

Sam York
06-12-2017, 02:17 PM
Rick, define "fund your retirement accounts fully".

If I had enough money 3-4 mil to retire I probably would. But see as I don't I'll have to keep working.

Yes I contribute a very good amount to my retirement. Max out 401k, get 16% into the defined benefit fund and then about 900/month with my own after tax money (index funds -Vanguard). All together that totals about 4K/month to retirement.

If that's not enough in 22.5 years including the nest egg I have now then so be it. I know I'm save boatloads more than most in my age group.

aa010175
06-13-2017, 08:51 PM
Rick, define "fund your retirement accounts fully".

If I had enough money 3-4 mil to retire I probably would. But see as I don't I'll have to keep working.

Yes I contribute a very good amount to my retirement. Max out 401k, get 16% into the defined benefit fund and then about 900/month with my own after tax money (index funds -Vanguard). All together that totals about 4K/month to retirement.

If that's not enough in 22.5 years including the nest egg I have now then so be it. I know I'm save boatloads more than most in my age group.

Well said!! I also had a 140. Paid $4,500. Keep it for 7 years and sold it for $5,500. I fly with a FO that has max out his retirement accounts. He 52 now and need nothing not even a upgrade to Captain. He stays a FO because he is the number 1 FO. Picks anything he wants. I would say life is good for him.

742Dash
06-15-2017, 04:36 AM
Why should he be concerned with bankruptcy? Given his wise decisions so far and intent to never borrow again (and assuming he has appropriate LTD and life insurances), he is well set. The only reason to file bankruptcy is to avoid paying creditors (and/or employees, even though you have billions in the bank - but I digress) - he's unlikely to ever have any creditors again if he stays disciplined.

Medical. 62% of bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical expenses, and 72% of them had health insurance.

swaayze
06-16-2017, 07:07 AM
Fair enough. I'm all for planning for the worst, but at some point you've got to just set yourself up reasonably for success and if the catastrophic happens then all bets are off anyway (unless you're able to amass millions perhaps).

Sam York
06-17-2017, 06:13 AM
How f'd up is this?

I work my balls off to pay off my mortgage in just over 5 years (paid it off back in March). My credit score drops 27 points.

Not that I'm planning on borrowing money ever again and it is still over 800 even with the drop but WTF??

I'm beginning to think my airport bum friends are right when they told me not to pay it off and take a loan on a bird dog. They tell me I'm "unamerican" for being debt free.

742Dash
06-17-2017, 11:41 AM
How f'd up is this?

I work my balls off to pay off my mortgage in just over 5 years (paid it off back in March). My credit score drops 27 points.

Not that I'm planning on borrowing money ever again and it is still over 800 even with the drop but WTF??

I'm beginning to think my airport bum friends are right when they told me not to pay it off and take a loan on a bird dog. They tell me I'm "unamerican" for being debt free.

If it is still over 800 you will not have any trouble getting a loan.

Relax. Seriously, relax. You are fine. They system is weird, but then it is not really designed in a way that the difference between 800 and 827 means anything.

If you want to feel American go have a Value Meal at your fast food restaurant of your choice. Get the large fries. Or find a gym on the second floor and take the escalator.

BMEP100
06-17-2017, 03:44 PM
Been where you are myself.
Also, with a house full of boys, car repair was part of growing up in our home.

We've had 5 Subarus. Prolly too late to tell you to avoid the 4 cam 2.5 motors, but you can swap a 2.2 into that outback. Only issue will likely be exhaust. The 2.2 is very reliable.

Last valve job my son and I did on a Suby cost us about 700 for parts/machine work on heads. Yours should be less if you don't have bent valves to replace.

After you fix it, drive it till the other car is paid off, then sell it before you have to work on it some more.

Subarus built to be easy to work on....because they have to..... be worked on.

kevbo
06-21-2017, 01:36 PM
End of thread.

Hondas and Toyotas are indestructible.

Make sure it is one of their international export models. You will have better access to parts and good used Japanese engines and transmissions than any domestic. I doubt many airline pilots will buy a used Camry because it's the cheapest thing to keep running for the next 20 years.

swaayze
06-22-2017, 07:50 AM
I work my balls off to pay off my mortgage in just over 5 years (paid it off back in March). My credit score drops 27 points.

......

I'm beginning to think my airport bum friends are right when they told me not to pay it off and take a loan on a bird dog.

Ha, yeah. You lost a lot of seasoned "available credit" with low usage near the end of your loan, so down it goes. You could look into a no or low cost HELOC - that would boost your score if unused (not that you should give a rip, as you mentioned).

You could also use it to fund the Bird dog (fun airplane, towed gliders and banners in one for a few hundred hours many moons ago) in a tax deductible manner. (And, imo not the worst thing in the world to have that ability if you come across the right one with little time to act). While I am generally anti-debt, a cash out refi or heloc, at today's low rates, are kinda hard tax-deductible options to dismiss easily.



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