Car Strategy

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Nomad
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Car Strategy

Post by Nomad » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:08 pm

As I have to commute for work at present, I need a car.
The strategy I've come up with is to buy a used car that is fairly new and low mileage.
I keep it a long time, maybe 100k miles and have it regularly serviced.
Then I sell it and get a replacement before it all starts to fall apart - I do not do my own car mechanics.
What does everyone else do? Is this about the best compromise unless you really know how to fix cars?
Also, I don't spend a lot on cars, were are talking less than 1/4 of one years salary - money already saved up.

The Old Man
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by The Old Man » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:24 pm

I strategically arranged my life to where I did not need a car. I used public transit. You are in the UK. Isn't public transit supposed to be excellent? My experience was in Los Angeles.

prognastat
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by prognastat » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:25 pm

Well I'm actually planning on moving to being carless soon(in about 2-3 months) I'm hoping to achieve this by moving closer to work and switching to a bicycle.

As far as what I would recommend if foregoing a car isn't an option I would probably recommend buying a few year old(3-ish) used car and driving it for as long as you can keep it running.

sky
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by sky » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm

I bought a four cylinder japanese car with manual transmission which was one of the cheaper models you can buy. I bought it new, which was probably not ideal from a cost perspective. A year or two old would have been better. It has a timing chain, not a belt, so I don't have the expense of replacing the belt before it breaks and destroys an interference engine.

It is fine for driving around town but probably not ideal for long distance driving. It is 9 years old and I have not had any problems with it. Just new tires and oil changes. It does have an annoying intermittant flashing light for low tire pressure, when in fact tire pressure is OK.

Peanut
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Peanut » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:54 pm

That was what we did. Bought a one-yr old VW hatchback for cash. I think it may have been serving as a rental car in its first year. That can be good in terms of reliable maintenance I suppose. It looked new but had what I consider a lot of mileage ~16k for a year. In the last ten we’ve only added another 50. I still love it despite the cosmetic issues I’ve been slowly fixing myself. I swear I shock acquaintances just by driving two kids around in it. “You mean you don’t need a big, (always) black Lexus SUV to tote around two preschoolers?!” My parents drove two teenagers around in an early (read: small) Camry and we fit just fine.

Better strategy may be to buy a 5-yr old car bc I read somewhere that that’s the age when the depreciation rate slows down significantly and basically plateaus for several years. So your asset will hold value better after buying at that inflection point.

Noal
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Noal » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:29 am

"Fairly new" isn't necessarily the best way to go. In my experience at the murky and sandy bottom of the car feeding chain, newer now means 'more modern' which means more gimmicky electronics. Electronics are a killer in a used car. They go wrong and are awkward to fix. Plus you often need an autoelectrician to fix things that otherwise your mechanic might be able to. It'll be cheaper to maintain if you only need to pay for one person's afternoon to look at it.

When you are looking, watch for rust. Rust has killed many good cars. An engine might be in good condition with another 250,000 miles left in it but the chassis will rust away to nothing long before that. The cost of welding a new bottom on to the car can far outweigh the expense of keeping an engine with a few more miles on the clock in good working order. You are in the UK. The MOT man hates rust with all his heart.

In conclusion - The Old Man has the best solution. I hate buying cars with all my heart. It always feels like a lottery.

Edited to take out off topic

Seppia
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Seppia » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:02 am

The biggest depreciation comes in year one of ownership, so buying a fairly new small car with a small, efficient, 4 cylinder engine is usually not a bad idea.
If I were in the USA and absolutely could not do without a car I would probably look into a 1 year old, low mileage Honda Fit/Toyota Corolla/similar and take it from there

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by tonyedgecombe » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:22 am

The Old Man wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:24 pm
I strategically arranged my life to where I did not need a car. I used public transit. You are in the UK. Isn't public transit supposed to be excellent? My experience was in Los Angeles.
It's better than America but compared to much of Europe it's poor, especially as you get further away from the major urban areas.

My wife has a car for her commute and our strategy is to keep it as long as possible. Rust hasn't been a problem but things like O2 sensors, fuel injectors and a catalytic converter have all added up recently. We are at 130,000 miles and hope to get to 200,000 with it.

The solution for me was to get an E-Bike.

Jean
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Jean » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:44 am

If it's 20 miles or less, I would bike (because you can rush it in one hour once you're train, or 1h30 when you go quitly). If it's more, could you imagine biking to a train station? Is your work place close to a public transport station? If you have to dismiss those ideas, I bought a 19yo (peugeot 806) car for 500.- and it lasted 21 month already, I injected 700.- Chf in it. BUT, i don't like it, running a car for cheap is mostly luck, and I wouldn't like being dependant on it, because something can always break and require thousands to be repaired. That's why I commute by bike, and lousely try to sell my car.

Nomad
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Nomad » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 am

@TheOldMan,
Unfortunately, pub transport in the UK is not very good at all at the moment.
The current government have been privatising/underfunding and now rail
is a total mess in terms of price and cancelled services.
A car is essential for me to commute unless I move workplace and/or house...

jacob
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by jacob » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:36 am

Nomad wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 am
A car is essential for me to commute unless I move workplace and/or house...
That IS generally the best kind of car strategy.

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vexed87
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by vexed87 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:41 am

DW and I bought an 7 month old, 10,000 mile show room demonstration Skoda Superb estate from a main dealer, costs not much more than an equivalent spec hatchback, without a massive hit on fuel economy but with a cavernous boot, and a massive saving over new, about £10k saved by buying even only 7 month old car, crazy. We timed it perfect, because a new trim just released and no one wants the old discontinued 'SE business' trim when there's a new edition out, DW is also a world class charmer and haggler. :lol:

I appreciate the sentiment of buying older cars with less tech, but you'll struggle to find anything that doesn't have a computer, heaps of assist tech and low miles on the clock nowadays, and if you don't do the work yourself, it will cost you regardless to get work done by a licensed mechanic, most servicing is tied down to authorised shops by the computer.

We pretty much follow the strategy you set out, but I don't intend for us to buy another internal combustion engine car again, ever. I'm open to the possibility of downgrading to a 2-4 seat city car - we got on well with a VW UP! before baby came along. 10 years from now when I expect the car may need replacing we will be seeing major oil supply constraints/rationing events anyway. If I get my way, the household will be switching to pedelec-assist car/ebike hyrbid, or good ole human powered bicycles and walking shoes, preferably sooner rather than later. ;)

I rarely drive these days, I get about mostly by bike or public transport, only opting to drive the car if transporting the baby or hauling bulk supplies. I'd love to live without a car, but this is something DW would not compromise on.

I can see older cars working well if reliability isn't a huge factor, and/or you do really really low mileage. If it were just me, and I had the option to just hop on a bike if something went awry, owning a 10 year old car with 150k miles on the clock would not bother me.

I agree, public transport in the UK is horrendous at the moment, but better than many other countries, US included. Part of the reason I opt to take the sometimes tiring 20 mile round commute by bike is because I couldn't face a 2 hour, 2 stops bus journey. Then again, I did choose to live really far from my place of work!

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chenda
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by chenda » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:23 am

Buying a classic (collectors) car is sometimes mooted as a way of avoiding depreciation. Not sure of anyone here has tried this ?

@vexed87 Out of interest are you rural or urban ? One of my neighbours does a similar bike commute, though it's mostly off-road. Rural rights of way can be a good way to avoid busy main roads.

prognastat
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by prognastat » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:28 am

chenda wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:23 am
Buying a classic (collectors) car is sometimes mooted as a way of avoiding depreciation. Not sure of anyone here has tried this ?
Question though is would the reduced depreciation make up for increased maintenance for a classic/collector and reduced fuel efficiency.

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vexed87
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by vexed87 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:55 pm

chenda wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:23 am
@vexed87 Out of interest are you rural or urban ? One of my neighbours does a similar bike commute, though it's mostly off-road. Rural rights of way can be a good way to avoid busy main roads.
I live in the suburb of one city and commute to the next city over, so I do travel through some rural areas and have about 2 miles of single track that's ok to ride when not too boggy. Then it's all main roads and urban riding which is treacherous at times given heavy traffic.

Nomad
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Nomad » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:43 pm

At present I live in a good location for seeing my friends and relatives etc. but not ideal for my current workplace.
I may not stay here too long into the future though because my work has somewhat stagnated and stopped being so interesting.
When I do retire, I am considering going car free - I will have to try it when the time comes but I'm not sure I could cope in the Winter time
without one...

George the original one
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by George the original one » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:21 pm

sky wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm
It has a timing chain, not a belt, so I don't have the expense of replacing the belt before it breaks and destroys an interference engine.
Timing chains stretch and sometimes noisily wear through shields. Depending on the car, belt changes can be fairly easy to DIY: remove shield, lock back tensioner bearing, slide off the old one, slide on the new one, unlock tensioner bearing, test through two rotations of crankshaft, replace shield.

George the original one
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by George the original one » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:26 pm

Avoid modern cars with tiny turbos as you'll be dealing with LSPI (low speed pre-ignition that breaks pistons) and possibly degunking the intake system every 24k miles. Examples: Ford Fiesta ST, Ford Focus ST, VW GTI, Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Hyundai Elantra Turbo

The tiny turbos are fun to drive because they're virtually free of turbo lag and have a lot of torque, but if you use the turbo, fuel economy disappears and it's really hard to not use it!

Jason
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:16 pm

"Car strategy" is an oxymoron unless you don't need one. You always reach a tipping point where its fix or replace. Your always vulnerable to being hit by a texting bi-polar teenager on crystal meth and ending up in prison because you ended up kicking his ass because he hit your car and he was too fucked up to care/know. You are driving thousands of dollars around the earth where nothing good is going to happen to it. Your just praying that nothing bad happens to it. I was just sitting in mine no less than an hour ago under a tree and its getting pelted by acorns or some other type of flying out of a fucking tree type of shit. You have to take it to motor vehicles where you are forced to let some slob sit in and stick some type of hose into it like it means half a shit that its not emitting something slightly extra toxic into the atmosphere. Then you got stop and put gas into it. Then you got to clean it. Inside and fucking out. You pay insurance which goes up if you make a claim. You have to drive it around with a bunch of assholes who can't fucking drive worth a goddam shit according to a bunch of fucked up rules on streets with pot holes and idiot deers who cross the street without caring a fuck enough to look either way and you end up a deer murderer with a totaled fucking car on top of being a deer murderer. And then you got cops who are watching you drive all the time making sure you aren't texting or going over the speed limit or getting a blow job from some girl named Sunny you met at a previous red light. Then you park it and some asshole may or may not steal it or just break into and take your GPS or your electric garage door opener. Or maybe some hoodlum will key it just for the fuck of it. Or you end up driving down the wrong side of a one way street and you end up killing a bunch of nuns in a mini-van. Strategize all you want but in my experience its not going to make that much of a difference.

CS
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Re: Car Strategy

Post by CS » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:43 pm

Buy a solid car, manual if can, new and drive it for twenty years. Something unassuming. Unless you are good with spotting flooded cars and other disasters (I am not), I'd skip the used market. Cars are a money pit. Mine is 20 yrs old (bought new) and I'm not really interested in getting another. Will probably go for the car-less life when it dies. It is cheaper to rent a car for the occasional trip when needed, than to pay for one sitting there all the dang time. I mean, even if liability only, that car still costs $55 a month in insurance and tabs.

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