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At what point is it cheaper to replace a car rather than keep repairing?

Merc7186

Well-Known Member
The Beast is at 154K and is in need of a new radiator and by the end of the year, new tires. I have dumped about $1000 into it over the past 6 months already and for me, it is going to be one of two things....either the repairs needed are starting to be more than $300 per month (in which I will just buy a new or used vehicle) or if there is a repair that cost more than $1500 (one months of earnings, give or take)
 

TomTheAnt

Well-Known Member
Depends on quite a lot of things, really. Main thing I guess would be whether you can buy the replacement with cash or will you have a monthly payment?

I much rather have no payment and fix my current one than have a monthly payment and all that. Also, I never buy new cars, so new car warranties don't apply to me and all fixes are on me. Most of which I perform myself. Hence, fixing the old one makes more sense to me.
 

Ignatz

Well-Known Member
At what point is it cheaper to replace a car rather than keep repairing it?
there are many many variables
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oldfart

Well-Known Member
I always say that the cheapest car to drive is the one you already own.

So If a repair costs less than another car. I do the repair.

I like the idea that I remember someone else posted. Add money to a reserve fund each month for repairs and ultimately the purchase of another car. As long as the fund keeps growing keep doing the repairs, when the fund stops growing or worse yet gets smalller each month it’s time to think about another car
 

losiglow

Well-Known Member
Several factors including whether you buy new or used, and whether or not you can do repairs yourself or not.

I'd say it's worth repairing up until you have a repair that costs about the same or more than the car is worth. It wouldn't make much sense to dump $3K for a transmission replacement into a car only worth $3K - $4K. But if you need new O2 sensors @ $200 or replacement axles @ $500 - those numbers are about equivalent to 1/2 - 2 car payments. Kind of a no brainer IMO.

Buying new obviously has it's advantages (it doesn't have a sorted history and will have a warranty) but depreciation is so steep that the gross amount you make from RS is going to be low compared when considering depreciation on the vehicle. I suppose if you drove it to 200K miles doing RS it might make sense.

The most cost effective is to buy a reliable used vehicle - 3 to 5 years old, then do maintenance and repair work yourself. If it's not feasible to do the work yourself, just make sure you do research on the vehicle beforehand to make sure it doesn't have a history of major problems (notably engine or transmission). Scour Google and talk to friends and family to find a good reputable shop and develop a good relationship with them. Even if the car is reliable, you still need maintenance so a good shop is vital.
 

The Gift of Fish

Well-Known Member
I always say that the cheapest car to drive is the one you already own.
In that case you have always said something that is false. Given equal maintenance, it makes no difference to the cost of ownership who owns a car. If you already own an unreliable, expensive to fix, high depreciation gas guzzler then those costs are not suddenly going to be diminished just because you already own it.

If you already own a 2010 BMW 535i then it doesn't magically become the cheapest car to drive. A 2008 Prius would be a cheaper car to drive. Or a Kia. Or a Civic.
 

losiglow

Well-Known Member
When you own a Chrysler or GM product?

A lot depends on the car make. Some cars need one-off repairs; others need constant nursing to keep on the road. I would not have any higher mileage, no warranty car from the above two, or anything German.
This x100

I've heard the new VW's aren't bad. But they still don't come close to most Honda's or Toyota's.

I'm a Honda guy but if I were to make a suggestion, it would be a Toyota Camry or Corolla.
 

ANT 7

Well-Known Member
At what point is it cheaper to replace a car rather than keep repairing it ?
Only when your local bylaws say you have to get rid of it. Until then, you maintain it.

Where i drive that means 10 years of age max.

FWIW........my personal black car driver I've used for 8 years just got a brand new Lincoln MKT, He hates it only after one year already. i actually liked his old Town Car a lot better as well. That boat was amazing. I fell asleep stretched out in the back of that thing at 400 AM on the way to the airport so many times. But eventually, it became 10 years old.
 

DriverMark

Well-Known Member
This isn't a car we drive for rideshare. But we have a 2003 Ford Windstar. About 5-6ish years ago we decided to rebuild the transmission at about 125k miles. Car was paid off by then. Think it ran $2,800 to rebuild. And since then drove it across country and back in 2016 and then from VA to UT again in 2017. It's the kids car now for school/work and such and coming up on 200,000 miles.

Since then, we decided if the yearly maintenance is $1,000 or less, then we are coming out ahead compared to a car payment of $200/month. And sure, about once a year we have to replace something. A pump, rods, breaks, tires, whatever. But it's been at or under that $1,000/yr to maintain. Also, less $$$ to auto insure it. Less $$$ to register (or Property Tax depending where you live) yearly.

Like a lot of things though. Seems a roll of the dice and hopefully come up with winning numbers.
 

TomTheAnt

Well-Known Member
When you own a Chrysler or GM product?

A lot depends on the car make. Some cars need one-off repairs; others need constant nursing to keep on the road. I would not have any higher mileage, no warranty car from the above two, or anything German.
I do agree with you regarding the German part, especially if you have to pay somebody to fix and maintain it. For a DIYer they are not too bad as long as you do your research before getting one.

What I don't agree really is the GM part. I've had GM products for the past 20+ years and none of them have had any fatal issues whatsoever and a lot of them have had well over 200K miles on them. No experience on GM cars, though, mostly just trucks/SUVs/sports cars.

My Silverado has almost 250K miles now and about the most recent 25K of it has been RS. Not a single issue related to RS, nor any other issue other than normal maintenance (brakes, oil changes, front control arms etc.).

Sorry for the OT, OP...
 

doyousensehumor

Well-Known Member
This is a question for those who cant repair it themselves.

If you are mechanically inclined, you pick a car that is reliable, but parts availability is cheap.

A car that was worth $2000, but blew a motor is now worth $500. I would rather throw another motor in it than give it away.

When you guys are paying $1000 for AC repair or $3000 for transmission replacement it is no wonder you rather take out a loan for a $20k car
 

doyousensehumor

Well-Known Member
What I don't agree really is the GM part. I've had GM products for the past 20+ years and none of them have had any fatal issues whatsoever and a lot of them have had well over 200K miles on them. No experience on GM cars, though, mostly just trucks/SUVs/sports cars.
The small block, and the LS motor is the benchmark for what a motor should be. There is a reason why hotrodders love em. It is easy to work on and parts are cheap. Smaller Gm cars not the same. The Ecotec 4cyl is good but pretty much all of the 6 cylinder cars are not the same reliability. Except for the 3.8 buick motor.
 

losiglow

Well-Known Member
It seems that GM trucks are quite good. It seems the cars have more trouble. Same thing goes for Ford and Dodge. The trucks and large SUV's are HUGE sellers for the US brands. They invest a ton of money into making sure they're the most heavy duty, reliable, powerful machines they can. But I'm sorry, most of their cars are pretty crappy. Possible exception to their sports cars like the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger but I don't think I'd even sport one of those.

I personally wouldn't hesitate to drive something like a GMC Yukon or Chevy Surburban for RS if it was my career doing Black/Lux XL etc. They are pretty good vehicles. I can safely say that if I were to purchase a truck, I'd consider a US brand over something like Toyota simply due to price.
 

Christinebitg

Well-Known Member
At what point is it cheaper to replace a car rather than keep repairing it?
I used to work in industrial facilities, like refineries and chemical plants. They would typically use the amount of 1/2 the replacement cost value.

My personal approach is a little different. What I do is put aside money for car replacement each month, based on the odometer reading. When I buy the car, I usually decide then how long I think it'll last, and how much I think replacement will cost. Right now, I'm setting aside 50c per mile for every mile I drive (not just Uber miles).

Out of that accumulated money, I pay maintenance costs, whether it's doing the oil change myself, or something more serious that I can't do. When that monthly accumulated amount stops going up, then I know it's costing me more to repair it. That's my trigger to start thinking about replacing the car. It's not the decided factor for when I do that, but it's an easy way for me to flag that maintenance is starting to get expensive.
 

oldfart

Well-Known Member
In that case you have always said something that is false. Given equal maintenance, it makes no difference to the cost of ownership who owns a car. If you already own an unreliable, expensive to fix, high depreciation gas guzzler then those costs are not suddenly going to be diminished just because you already own it.

If you already own a 2010 BMW 535i then it doesn't magically become the cheapest car to drive. A 2008 Prius would be a cheaper car to drive. Or a Kia. Or a Civic.
My point is that it’s cheaper to repair and maintain what you own than it is to buy another car and maintain it

Of course if you go from a newer BMW to an old Prius you can save money, but who would do that. My expectation is that most folks want to trade up or laterally
 
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