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View Full Version : Budget Buster - car repair :(


Kika
05-22-2010, 05:31 PM
Well, I have been very lucky with this car until now; however, the inevitable has happened, and the time has come. :sad1:

I will have a repair (two separate issues with my car) that will add up to the tune of about $2000.

Fortunately, I have the money, but I hate to spend it! Still, I am choosing to repair the car and resisting the urge to buy a new one. It is a 99 with 115,000 miles on it, and I hope to run it for another 4-5 years. I started a little car fund that I contribute to each month so that I can buy a new (or 1-3 year old car) with cash at that time. The new car smell (vs. annoying car repairs) is sure tempting, but I am resisting. Someone please tell me that I am doing the right thing. :)

Just thought I would come here and commiserate with some of my budget minded friends.

njcarita
05-22-2010, 05:36 PM
Well, I have been very lucky with this car until now; however, the inevitable has happened, and the time has come. :sad1:

I will have a repair (two separate issues with my car) that will add up to the tune of about $2000.

Fortunately, I have the money, but I hate to spend it! Still, I am choosing to repair the car and resisting the urge to buy a new one. It is a 99 with 115,000miles on it, and I hope to run it for another 4-5 years. I started a little car fund that I contribute to each month so that I can buy a new (or 2-3 year old car) with cash at that time. The new car smell (vs. annoying car repairs) is sure tempting, but I am resisting. Someone please tell me that I am doing the right thing. :)

Just thought I would come here and commiserate with some of of my budget minded friends.

we have 2 cars a 2001 and 2002 that I also I'm attempting to keep..... I'm planning on driving them till they are no longer safe too..... but they only have approx 60,000 miles on each car.... I was really tempted earlier this year to get rid of one of them and get a new car.... but couldn't stomach the idea of a car payment.... I just decided this month to start saving a little each month toward a new car.... and I already have 3000 budgeted a year for car repairs.....

Princess Nancy
05-22-2010, 07:22 PM
Do the math on a new car, factor in your down payment and monthly payments and that $2000 repair looks like a BARGAIN!!

Good Luck!

BridgetBordeaux
05-22-2010, 08:39 PM
Sales tax, titling fees, higher insurance rates can easily add up to 1000-2000 dollars. GA and VA have a personal property tax that has to be paid each year and when you buy a brand new $20,000 car will have a much higher tax than a 1999 model.

We drive a 1998 and 2002 here. Some years our repair bills are 1200-3000. Other years it is next to nothing. Overall, we have come out ahead keeping keeping our older cars.

G's mommy
05-22-2010, 11:37 PM
I just went through this a few months back. I decided to spend the $2K on my 2000 model car and drive it a few more years. I just could not stomach the thought of a car payment and higher insurance bill.

ssawka
05-23-2010, 08:25 AM
Well, I gave into the temptation and bought a new car. I live in the DC area, and the labor rates at the garages are crazy! Right now, you can get decent cars for under $20K with all the bells and whistles and at 0% financing. The car I bought was a KIA for $18K out-the-door, and I could have got it cheaper, but I hope to be driving it for at least 10 years, so I didn't want just the basic model. Anyway, I financed it for 3 years because that was the longest I could do the 0% for. Granted, it will be $500 a month car bill, which will hurt, but after it's paid off I will have a car that is under warranty for the next 7 years. In my mind I just could not see putting thousands into an old car to keep it running for a few more years when I could put that $ into a new car that is under warranty for 10 years. As for the insurance, we are switching companies and given the high safety rating on the KIA, my insurance is actually going down by $600 a year. I haven't looked at the personal property tax yet, but I'm sure it won't be too high since it is under the $20K mark. So in the end will it cost me more? Yes! but to me it is worth it knowing I have a reliable car.

crewmatt
05-23-2010, 03:19 PM
I would really have to base that decision on how much more money you'd have to put into the car after this repair. How many miles you drive/year, what type of driving.

What are you actually replacing, there are some repairs that are fairly isolated (alternator) and some repairs that can mean bigger issues (if you have to replace your radiator because of overheating problems chances are you've damaged seals/etc).

I had a 1998 corolla that I used through college etc that I picked up for 3K. My sister currently has it and it runs fine, and has about 280K miles now (I was of course the impulsive guy fresh out of college who bought a new car). If that car needed a 2000 dollar repair I would probably say its time to get a new car. However if it needed a 2000 dollar repair when I first got it then I would def make the repair and stick with it. Its really a balancing act as to how much more money will you need to put in the car to keep it running long enough that the car payment + additional costs balance out.

So if you buy a new car today, say putting down 2000 dollars with a 400 dollar/month payment (round numbers). As long as within the next year you wont have to put in another 4800 dollar repair, you're still ahead of the game. Obviously you can fill in the rest of the costs.

Basically its how much do you feel you wont have several more car issues in the next year. Also how dependent are you that that car runs, if you have one car in the family and absolutely need to get to work or else, that would factor into the equation (altho new cars can and do break down).

maggieusa
05-23-2010, 03:53 PM
A few weeks ago we had or transimission service and they put spark plugs in for $250 and the dodge dealershiip in our area and the mechanic said we would be needing new hub bearings soon this would cost about $700 but he said you can to those yourself so today we bought the parts total cost was$174 done so we are going to stick it out with out 2002 dodge dakota with 95,000 miles on it. It is a great runnning truck.

Nohal
05-23-2010, 05:48 PM
We were in the same position with a 97 Grand Am. In the past 2 years we have sunk a ton of money into it (new alternator, battery, and other things that I can't remember). Two weeks ago had a new starter put in to the tune of $500, at that time they told us that the water pump was starting to go and there was an oil problem. There was never any spots under my car to prove this. We decided to let it sit until our 2008 was paid off which is another year. Anyway, I started the car and thought I heard a clunk but figured it was my imagination, I let the car run for a few minutes and turned it off. DH comes home and says there is a spot under your car. Turns out to be oil and DH looks under the car and says something is cracked. Needless to say it was time to get a new car while we could still drive it to the dealer. Now I have 2 car payments!

Liltx
05-23-2010, 06:09 PM
Your best bet with a car that old is to find a good non dealer mechanic and buy used parts.
I used to have a 97 landrover discovery and would buy parts from cherry auto. They include the shipping charges in the prices. You can also add a warranty to any of the parts for not too much more. For example I replaced a transfer case for $800 when the dealer wanted over $3000. I also replaced a transmission and other misc. parts. You can choose the part by the number of miles on it and the age. For such an old car it is worth it to fix it but not at dealer prices. Alot of things are really simple to repair yourself such as an alternator or brakes. There are so many websites that offer directions it's worth a try if you are at all handy.

Monica

sumertime
05-23-2010, 06:18 PM
My car broke down and I was able to call around to local garages and get estimates for repair costs over the phone. Three garages told me that it would be around $800. Another said $500-$550. I recommend calling around and seeing if there is any way you can get a better deal.

ssawka
05-23-2010, 10:18 PM
IMHO, knowing nothing about cars, it is time to get rid of a car when the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car. Take a look at the blue book value for the car. A few weeks ago the transmission in my 2003 Mazda Tribute went. It cost me a small fortune to have it replaced, but I only fixed it to get rid off it. The car needed a bit more work and the blue book value was a few thousand more than the transmission. I had the transmission replaced and drove it to CarMax to see what they would offer me. CarMax made me a decent offer and I took it. People said I was crazy to replace the transmission and then get rid of the car, but my reasoning was that without the transmission the car was basically worthless, but with the transmission I was able to still get a few thousand out of it.

Carl Fredricksen
05-23-2010, 11:10 PM
Do the math on a new car, factor in your down payment and monthly payments and that $2000 repair looks like a BARGAIN!!

Good Luck!

Figuring a new/used car payment to be at least $200 a month, you only need to drive 10 months to be past the break even point. Always better to repair, until it is no longer economically feasible.

Great plan to pay cash for the next one as well!

Kika
05-25-2010, 12:18 PM
Thanks, all, for your feedback.

I was able to get it down to closer to $1800. Part of what I needed was a new battery (which ended up being under warranty), and I was also able to get them to do a little better on the price for the repairs (since I was spending so much).

I think you are right, Liltx, that it would be beneficial to find a good, non-dealer mechanic. In this case, I did bring it to the dealer b/c they gave me a loaner vehicle for a few days (vs. renting a car); however, I'm sure the dealer is more expensive than most other mechanics.

I have had great luck with this car (knock on wood); this is the first major repair I have had on it other than regular maintenance. I hope to run it another 4-5 years (at approximately 11,000 miles per year, that would be to about 159,000-170,000miles). It is an Infiniti (basically, a glorified Nissan), and I ran my last Nissan to 189,000. I could have even gone longer, but I decided to sell it after 13 yrs. I think I am doing the right thing for my situation; I just needed some reassurance. The new car smell of the loaner was taunting me, but I did prevail! :laughing: