Buying a vehicle - which one makes more sense?

baylorbearJuly 23, 2012

We have two paid off vehicles. We do the regular maintenance on them and they haven't had any major problems (knock on wood!).

DH wants a new truck - his reasoning is that we should trade in his current truck while it still has some value (probably around 10K trade in value). His truck does have 120k miles on it, it's 5 years old, and doesn't have any warranty coverage.

I think that we should just keep the current vehicles because they work fine and are paid off.

Financially, which option makes more sense? Trade in the truck now while it still has some value or keep driving it for a few more years (but the trade in value will be less at that time)?


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Can you afford a new truck?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:01PM
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Yes, we can afford a new truck. I probably should have mentioned that finances aren't a problem in my original post. ;-) Sorry about that!

Our only debt is our house. We have 22 years left on our mortgage, but we are on track to pay it off in 10 years.

DH's business partners both got new trucks, and I think that's what's stemming this urge for a new truck (which is understandable!), but I just tell him that they have car payments, and we don't! :-) We have been saving for a new house, and this new truck will put a little dent in that savings.

I'm just wondering whose reasoning is right on this issue - mine or DH's?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:40PM
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I think there are things to consider, your budget, your ages and how much you enjoy a new car. My husband wanted a new car paid for when he retired. Well we had 2 cars and a home paid for thanks to me. I can't imagine a vehicle with 120 K miles miles on it being worth $10,000. Maybe I am not understanding the K stuff. We were told if we wanted good trade in value to keep the mileage below 50,000 miles. We kept new cars because they were more dependable and because we enjoyed the luxury and could afford them.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Thanks, Emma! We are in our early 30's, a car payment would fit fine in our budget, I don't care about cars - and DH does! LOL! I put the information on the current truck into the Kelly Blue Book site and that's how I came up with the $10,000 trade in value. The truck does have a lot of miles on it, but it's really decked out with all of the upgrade options.

DH has been very generous about doing house projects that I wanted done (kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel), and if a new truck is really important to him, then I should probably support him in this decision.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:17PM
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You mention your husband's work, is any part of the truck expenses tax-deductible? A lease payment usually is deductible, or for an owned truck, the depreciation. In that case, yes, a new truck might be reasonable.

But if not, well, I'm of the mind that you buy a car or truck , pay it off in accelerated payments (preferably on a promotional low-interest loan) and then drive it to death, or when you get monthly repairs that equal a new car payment.

But some guys need to keep up with their buddies, right? The desire for a new truck might trump any rational decision. ;-p

I'd get a real trade-in price from a couple or three different dealers instead of looking in the book. And you might get more for the truck by selling it yourself. But don't rely on the book for real-life info on an expensive decision.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:06PM
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My mechanic says you go one of two ways; Drive a vehicle into the ground, doing mantenance, oil changes,etc as needed. Or if having a new car means status to you, trade in every 2-3 years. We have gone Route 1, my husband's sister has gone Route 2. Sounds like your hubby wants a new truck.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Thanks for your input, Sushipup and Jannie!

They can't write off any of their truck expenses through work. I wish that they could!

At this point, I don't really care if he buys a new truck, I just want him to admit that my logic (pay off a vehicle and drive it forever) is better, financially speaking, than his logic (trade in a vehicle while it still has some value). LOL! If we go with his thinking on this issue, than we will buy more vehicles over the course of our lifetime, and it will cost us more $$.

If we do go truck shopping, we will be sure to get several trade-in quotes. Maybe the quotes won't be as much as what he is thinking he will get, and he'll decide to keep the current truck!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Does it have to be either/or? I see a middle compromise here, that might be the best choice.

Why not put off the purchase for a year (or even 6 months)? Today, put the downpayment money for the truck into a separate, interest-bearing account (preferrably in a savings bank where you'll probably get 10X the amount of interest you'd get at a commercial one), then, every month for the next 6-12 months, pay yourselves the full car payment you'd be making if you bought not. That way, YOU'LL get the interest (which otherwise you'll be throwing away) and at the end of the year, you'll have a really serious downpayment on whatever truck he wants, and since he'll have waited a year, HE'LL be the one with the spiffy, newer-model truck that the others will be a tad jealous of.

A few things, though, that you didn't include was the kind of truck he has--is it something that traditionally is good for the long haul? A Toyota with 120,000 miles is just hitting middle age in a lot of cases and has a lot more good miles to go--with other brands that might be senior citizen status. Also, what kinds of miles does he drive? How has the truck been maintained? What year is it? what's it's general condition? You really do need to consider the specifics in making your decision.

As to the concept question you're asking? I'm totally with you. We believe in buying something new, of high quality, then taking top-notch care of it and driving it forever. The car I traded in on my last purchase was an '89 Caravan. We bought it new, we changed the oil every 2000 miles or LESS, we made any needed repairs as SOON as they became aparent--BUT we actually had very few major repairs for that vehicle. It was 18 years old when we traded it in, and had only had: a new transmission and new AC--otherwise the only times it was in the repair shop was for maintenance stuff like brakes, new battery, etc. We did buy a 'fun' car for our next one--it's an FJ--but that's a Toyota, and the FJ's are all manufactured in Japan (at least they were when we bought) so that increases the quality and reliability, even more. It's probably going to last us until I stop driving, I figure. But that's our general rule--buy smart, so you have something you're happy with for at least the next 10-15 years (DH's truck is 19-20 years old, currently, and we have no plans to replace it anytime soon, as it's still going strong).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:15PM
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A 20yr old truck in MN would look like hell. Rust, dents, dings? A lot depends on your state. East coast likes to rust from salt spray. Sw stuff seems to last a long time. A 5yr old truck could be worth 20k. If its a 3/4 ton, 4wd crew cab Luxo barge.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:48PM
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No monthly payment is better than monthly payment.
If you have a pair of Levi which fit comfortably and look a little worn do you need to go out and spend 200 on designer lucky jeans? No, you might do it anyway but until those Levi have holes that can't be patched use the money elsewhere.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:39PM
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I think it just becomes a quality of life issue and really depends on what you enjoy spending your money on. Personally, I could care less about cars - if it works and looks halfway decent, I'm satisfied. I'd rather spend my money other things. I just bought a car last year, we take really good care of it and I'll probably drive it til it's dead.

But there are other people who really enjoy driving nice, new luxury vehicles and don't mind paying for it.

Financially speaking though, it makes more sense just to keep the truck. You'll spend a lot less money in repairs/upkeep than you will on a car payment in the long term.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 8:40PM
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Thanks, everyone! I just *knew* that my reasoning on this was right! ;-) LOL!

We'll see what happens!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:29PM
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In the past two decades most cars are made so well 100,000 miles is now the norm. Even 150,000 mile cars are being sold as used in good condition.

So, now it is a real debate whether to spend $800 to repair a 10 yr old for another two years or go spend that amount within 2-3 months on car payments. In the past the debate was how much to invest in the clunker.

Go figure? Now only if newer homes were made more reliable (defective pipes, defective drywall, etc.).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:47AM
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If one listens to Susie, Dave, or Clark, they would agree with YOU!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Sometimes, the decision is not a financial one. If he wants a new truck and it makes no difference to you then that is his toy, no more no less. Not only that, in order to make the marriage peaceful, you don't need to push the point and 'win' on the point. You don't need the admission from your DH... We just bought a piano that cost more than most cars and it was never more than a 'toy' to us because we didn't 'need' it. The entire decision was based on "do you really 'want' it?" and "how much can you pay?". It was not based on "what will it be worth in 10 years?". The fact is that it will be worth nearly nothing just as most cars will be worth nearly nothing.

If you two were contemplating a purchase of something that you did not 'need', ie a second home, expensive stereo etc, you would not be 'discussing' the merits of 'financially sound' or not. The whole point would be if you could afford the toy or not. I think a 'status' car falls in that category. No one needs it. People just want it. Again, accept the fact that this is NOT a financial decision but a 'I want a toy' decision....

You have to decide if this is worth making your point with DH or is not...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 1:03PM
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The new Consumer Reports magazine (September 2012) has a run-down on buying a new car every 10 years or every 5 years. Keeping the old car was a HUGE savings.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Correction: The Consumer Reports comparison is for a new car every 5 years vs keeping one car for 15 years, not 10 as I misstated above.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Keep it. If it is running well, the biggest maintenance coming up might be the timming chain, water pump, belts. It is far cheaper to maintain a vehicle than make payments on a new one. Plus insurance, taxes, car tags are much higher on the new trucks.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 5:32AM
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Whatever you do, don't get a car loan. You're doing great to have only house debt. Don't change that now.

Depreciation is the major expense on reliable newer cars. As cars get older the depreciation expense goes down, but repair expense goes up. I typically buy used with 40-50K miles, and sell before 100K miles. Most modern cars will require very little maintenance and repairs before 100K miles. When stuff starts to break, the money you spend on repairs does not improve the value. I would probably suggest you replace his vehicle.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 12:44PM
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I slightly disagree with prior reply. Most cars made well with good maintenance should get to 150,000 miles easily. (Assuming not in horrible conditions).

I say this because I've known people with a Lexus which have had their transmission, power steering pump, etc. replaced under 75,000 while it was covered under warranty I don't consider that wonderful. I don't think 100,000 is a tipping point as much as poorly made vehicle as Ford goes as many miles as Toyota easily.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Well, we like to keep cars till 100K. You can usually get a b2b warranty for that long. In fact, you can bargain for a Toyota warranty on the net. Sure they try to sell them for $1500+ at the time of sale. That price comes waaaaay down when you shop the net�.usually around $750 for 7yrs/100K no deductible�.others like Subaru don�t seam to budge on price. That�s why we like Toyota. Sadly the last 3 toyotas needed major work before 100K. Also, Toyota seams to feel its normal to burn a qt of oil every 1500 miles as the car gets older. And, yes�we believe in performing all maint as indicated in the car manual. I probably should try another brand!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:27PM
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"That�s why we like Toyota. Sadly the last 3 toyotas needed major work before 100K. Also, Toyota seams to feel its normal to burn a qt of oil every 1500 miles as the car gets older."

Toyota isn't making them like they used to. We have had them in the past, but not anymore. Your right about the oil problems.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Conversation slightly derail but I do think we have to think about who/what is a reliable car maker vs. one that repairs their hiccups.
I find Lexus an amazing brand but everyone I know who owns a Lexus has had MAJOR repairs (even though they maintain their vehicle) under 100k. Luckily, all of those owners have been under warranty so no major deal but concerning to have transmission, power steering and other recalls happen with the frequency on an expensive vehicle if you decide to keep it past 50k.

On the flip side, Ford, Hyundai and Suburu have all done pretty good improvements on their reliability and provide vehicles you start up and drive (with regular maintenance). The Ford Taurus (hated it design) was a work-horse and shocked Ford stopped its production for whatever reason temporarily.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I own a Lexus, just over 100k, never had a problem. I'm not in the market now, but would buy another Lexus in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:50PM
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I'm the type of guy who will buy a new vehicle and drive it until it dies.

I currently own a 2003 Ford Expedition and it just turned 200,000 miles. Vermont winters are never kind to vehicles and yes, it's starting to rust in some places. But it still starts every day. In 1990 I purchased a brand new Nissan pickup and drove it to well over 300,000 miles.

But that's me. I just can't see paying over $30,000 for a vehicle every few years.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:14AM
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All of my cars are now over 100k....I have 3. The newest car is 10 years old.

Speaking for myself, I am somewhat concerned about my girlfriend driving a 100k car on long trips.

I feel fairly confident about the reliability of the cars, but there is more peace of mine knowing she is cruising in a 50k car.

Even if I am buying a car for my own primary vehicle, it would be hers for long trips alone.

I'm pondering the situation.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I read somewhere that you can save about $10,000 buying a one year old truck rather than a new one. We bought a new truck in 2003 and found one year later we could get the same one a year later at the same dealer for $8 to $10 thousand cheaper. Plus the manufacturer has a 6 year warrenty and 5 years was still remaining. I think this works best through the original dealers. Some people get a new vehicle, then through loss of job or unrelated, unexpected expenses had to turn it in on a cheaper style. Just an idea, I know what you mean about "the guys at work" that all got new trucks, ha, ha.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:47AM
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In your situation, I like the idea of setting aside a healthy down payment into a special account, now, then adding the price of the monthly payment on a new one, for at least six months, better a year ... (possibly even two?).

Then taking the kitty to buy, rather than a new one, a quality vehicle that's a year or two (possibly three?) old.

Do you folks know some mechanics?

Talk to them, to find out some things that you can check for, to weed out some prospects. Also get an idea of who might be willing to check out some candidates for you, then take some to them to check.

If one listens to the motor,and takes one quick look, then tells you to get that piece of crap out of there - give him/her 10 bucks.

If s/he checks another out a bit, then turns it down - give him/her 20 bucks.

If the mechanic checks one out quite carefully and you give that person $40.00 ...

... and you get a really good vehicle after having paid less than $200.00 ...

... and you save one trip to the garage - you're money ahead!

For me?

I haven't bought a new vehicle for over 35 years.

Figure to buy one 5 - 10 years old for under $5,000. (haven't paid close to that, for several years). Recent Mazda was almost 20 years old, $2,500.00 before tax, licence transfer, drove it 5 years. Current '05 Chev. was bought last summer, $3,800.00 or so, including taxes, licence, paid in cash ... as I'm 84, it may well be my last vehicle.

You have some funding set aside for emergency/ies, kids' education, your retirement, etc., do I assume?

If you don't boss your bucks ... there's a good possibility that'll they'll boss you. And often if you don't boss them in the short term ... their bossing will likely hit you, after a while.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:11PM
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