Author Topic: Assessing the economics of a vehicle  (Read 2693 times)

Offline alexlindsay

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Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« on: April 08, 2018, 12:39:52 AM »
I go with a slightly over simplified rule of thumb, 10 cents per Km. If you pay 5k for a vehicle i say 50000 kms and it's fully depreciated. I discount routine maintenance that you'd have to do on any vehicle and only include non routine repairs such as new trannys and major repairs and add their cost to the mileage calculation. If a 1000$ repair means you can get at least 10k more out of the vehicle it's worth it. It's simplistic but it is my way of assessing vehicle value.

How does everyone else figure out how to assess value of vehicles?

Offline kid_couteau

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2018, 08:32:39 AM »
I buy the best I can afford that will get me through the snows of Northern Maine, carry my gear and has a place for my HAM radio.

Have yet to find one that comes "HAM RADIO READY"  8)

Then I run her till she wont run no more

Kid Couteau

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2018, 08:59:21 AM »
For my vehicle, I look mainly for fuel economy.  I have a 52 mile 1 way commute, so mileage is important.

I tend to drive a car until I have a major repair.  Then I start trying to figure out if this is a 1 off or if it's time to replace the vehicle.

Offline alexlindsay

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 10:21:18 AM »
How do you figure out if it's time to replace the vehicle?

I suppose i should note i do most repairs myself so a lot of things that might cost someone 1000$ only cost me 300$ because i do it myself.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 11:25:52 AM »
How do you figure out if it's time to replace the vehicle?

Just like Fritz says:
I tend to drive a car until I have a major repair.  Then I start trying to figure out if this is a 1 off or if it's time to replace the vehicle.
Similarly, when repairs begin to stack up relative to the Blue Book estimated value of the car, or when the odds of a major breakdown while traveling are starting to look higher than I'm willing to bet, that's when I go car shopping.

Online Stwood

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2018, 11:39:52 AM »
I buy used fords, mostly with 100,000 on the clock already. Tend to be it great shape.
I run them till they reach 2-300,000 and are needing some serious repairs.
I do *most* all of my work on them.
Just sold a 95 XLT F-150 that had 276,000 on the clock. Lots of rust, wasn't worth doing any body work anymore.

Offline Applejack

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 12:14:52 PM »
I had a van that was worthless.  At 32 thousand, dropped a new power steering into it. At 50 thousand had to drop a new engine in it. At 99 thousand second engine blew up.. Yes it was a Ford. As they say in this case, fix or repair daily. They hauled it out the drive way to the Salvation Army. We did keep the battery as that was just replaced and brand new. Next car was not a ford.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2018, 01:42:58 PM »
I do repairs myself as well. They're not that hard usually. My "value" for a vehicle is what it will do for me. Driving downtown daily my VW hatchback could fit in compact spaces and still hauled pretty well when I needed it. Now that I have a kid and only go to Costco the SUV makes more sense.

I tend to analyze by "cost of use". I don't need good mpg anymore so a bigger vehicle is great. And buying something with 60k miles on it is fine because I do about 2k per year (I don't drive much anymore). But I can fill the Explorer with lumber and power tools so I am a happy camper.

I have no brand loyalty whatsoever. I drove everything close but liked the handling and turn signals of the Ford the best. If Audi wasn't double the price...

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 05:11:32 PM »
As others said, I look at what the costs are of the repairs.  When you put 150k+ miles on it, you learn what it sounds like and can often tell that something is going.  I'm not handy with cars and since I NEED my daily driver, I don't do any work on it, not even the oil changes.  I have done a lot of work on cars that I had previously.  But now a days I'd rather have someone else do the work, under the hood is just too tight for me to work on them.

As for brands, I don't really have loyalty.  Had Ford, Mercury, Pontiac, Saab, Toyota, Nissan and now have a VW.  I really miss that Saab and wish I'd have kept it, it was so fun to drive.  I've stopped buying new and look for cars just a couple of years old with low mileage.  The VW is a 2015 and only has 3000 miles.  I think what probably happened is the person bought it and the VW emissions thing happened and they sold it back to VW.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 05:27:48 PM »
I look for a vehicle/engine/transmission with a reputation for reliability. That means I don't buy anything new, or without doing enough research to find out what known problems there may be, and if it's cheap/easy to perform preventative maintenance to eliminate the problem. With some vehicle models, there may be a few year run of total reliability, followed by some minor change and frequent problems, then another change and reliability again.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 06:25:12 PM »
Nice advice Machinisttx.

I just bought a 2015 Jetta Diesel.  These are pretty solid vehicles.  VW has just now been allowed to start selling the MILLIONS that they had to buy back because of the emissions cheating thing.  As such, there's some pretty good deals going on right now.  VW is not selling a diesel in the U.S. right now, so your choice for a diesel car is used VW, Audi, Porche, new or used BMW or a Chevy Cruze.

Now for my rant.  I can't believe than a company like VW would pout and decide to not sell the majority share of diesel cars in the U.S. just because they CHEATED on the emissions test just to gain a couple of mpg.  They were making billions selling the best and most available diesel cars in the U.S.  They cheated on the emissions tests.  They didn't fudge the numbers, they told the computer to put up false numbers if it detected that it was connected to an emissions testing machine.  THEY were the ones that cheated.  THEY were the ones that got caught.  THEY are the ones that are pouting because they got caught.  It cost them $4.9 billion, why not put the computer fix in place and make billions more to offset that loss?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2018, 03:09:36 PM »
I have a philosophy on this that's served me and my family well.

If I have an otherwise reliable car that's familiar to me, I am not afraid of investing in important repairs like brakes, tires or major drive train components.
Some people balk at spending $500 on tires for a $1500 car, but if you that allows you to drive for a year or more, that's well worth $500 to me.

We have a neighbor who behaves the opposite. She neglects certain maintenance like power steering fluid.  Eventually the power steering pump fails, and then she decides her BRAND/MODEL X is a piece of crap and she sells it. 

Having a reliable vehicle available to me has some inherent value.  Driving to work, kids to school, errands, recreation, etc.
I don't necessarily have a set price, but if pressed I'd say having a car available to me 24/7 is worth at least $200/month.

The trick is, avoid buying a used car that was badly neglected.  I don't care if it needs an alignment, shocks, brakes and tires.  Those are consumables.  But if they skipped oil changes, never changed coolant - that engine is not setup for long term success.






Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2018, 01:19:52 AM »
If I have an otherwise reliable car that's familiar to me, I am not afraid of investing in important repairs like brakes, tires or major drive train components.

Same here.  Especially the safety critical stuff.

As I get older the overall safety of the vehicle seems to be playing a bigger role in my decision making.  Knock on wood, but I have never been in a vehicle accident in my life and I figure that lucky streak can't last forever. 

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2018, 05:30:23 AM »
The trick is, avoid buying a used car that was badly neglected.  I don't care if it needs an alignment, shocks, brakes and tires.  Those are consumables.  But if they skipped oil changes, never changed coolant - that engine is not setup for long term success.
Agreed.  This is where a service like CarFax comes in handy.  It won't tell you if the owner changed his own oil or took it to a little mom & pop shop.  But many (maybe most) people take their car to a big chain when they have their oil change done.  This all goes into CarFax.  A very useful tool when shopping for a used car.

But like any tool, don't rely exclusively on it.  It can be wrong.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2018, 09:30:31 AM »
Agreed.  This is where a service like CarFax comes in handy.  It won't tell you if the owner changed his own oil or took it to a little mom & pop shop.  But many (maybe most) people take their car to a big chain when they have their oil change done.  This all goes into CarFax.  A very useful tool when shopping for a used car.

But like any tool, don't rely exclusively on it.  It can be wrong.

Funny story - a couple years back when I was used car shopping, I visited a shady used car lot in a sketchy part of town.  It was owned and mostly staffed by eastern european immigrants with thick accents.
The only reason I went there was the huge inventory and variety of cars. I test drove several to get a feel for size, handling, etc.

So they voluntarily offer to show me the CarFax reports for my top 3 cars I test drove.  (Remember I live up near Seattle, WA.) All 3 of these vehicles were originally from Florida, re-registered in New Jersey, one stopped in Idaho and registered there, but all ended up in Washington State. I wasn't exactly sure what was up, but spidey senses were raging and I RAN out of that place.

I later did some homework and I'm convinced those were hurricane cars.  Different states have different rules in place for managing "salvage" titles.  Basically by moving through these states in a particular way, the history of the hurricane damage "fell off" the books.  It's like laundering money.

I ended up driving 4 hours for a face to face transaction. It was an older lady who never drove the car over 70mph, and had a 3 ring binder containing every service record and receipt for the life of the car.  I also paid 40% less for a car in better condition compared to anything within the metro area.




Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2018, 09:45:41 AM »
Yep, not guaranteed.  And just because you had a bad experience with it, doesn't make it a bad tool.

But you can track the movement of a vehicle and in a case like yours, you could see each time it was retitled.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2018, 10:03:06 AM »
Yep, not guaranteed.  And just because you had a bad experience with it, doesn't make it a bad tool.

But you can track the movement of a vehicle and in a case like yours, you could see each time it was retitled.

Agreed.  I am not at all blaming CarFax.  These sh$#heads took advantage of how vehicle titles are recorded in those various states, knowing that CarFax wouldn't indicate the car was ever totaled.

It's like the argument over enhanced background checks for gun purchases.  We can't stop mentally ill people if there's no record of them being mentally ill.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Assessing the economics of a vehicle
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2018, 05:35:29 PM »
Agreed.  This is where a service like CarFax comes in handy.  It won't tell you if the owner changed his own oil or took it to a little mom & pop shop.  But many (maybe most) people take their car to a big chain when they have their oil change done.  This all goes into CarFax.  A very useful tool when shopping for a used car.

But like any tool, don't rely exclusively on it.  It can be wrong.

I dont like being tracked ! I tell my mechanic not to input into carfax ! It is a way for carfax to make money, and there is no way for it to be knwn as complete information. It bothered me that my input was used without asking me, so now I make sure to tell them not to  -- knowing registration information is trackable, car work depends too much on wether it is entered, or not, or work done at home