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June 1, 2017

A Great Time to Buy Used… But Not Because They’re Cheap [Bumped]


The truth is that probably every car made since about 2015 is a Latter Day Throw-Away.
It will run beautifully for about ten years. Just a bit longer than those $500/month payments we were making. Then, some very expensive thing will fail, and you will be faced with a bill that’s not worth paying — or which you can’t pay. How many of you have $5,000 available for a car repair? Keeping in mind this is cash due when services are rendered, not financed at low interest, either. Meanwhile, the just-a-few-years-older cars without all that stuff can be kept going almost indefinitely — because almost anything that breaks or wears out can be fixed for a within-reason price. These are the “sweet spot” vehicles made from — roughly speaking — the early-mid 1990s through the early 2000s. | The American Spectator

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 1, 2017 9:35 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I don't get in it, I put it on.
Like an ol' comfy sweater.

My 1991 Chevy S10 truck, robins egg blue.
Bought brand new in Oct 1990 for $8,888.00 cash.
2.8 V6, 5 sp, bench seat, short bed, no power, air, am/fm/cassette.

Never any problems more extensive than new brake calipers/rotors about 10 years ago and a couple serpentine belts.

Now, it has 178k miles, still runs perfectly though it does look a little tired. My plywood hauler. It just fits.

Best purchase I ever made and I'll prolly keep it til I die, then my son can have it.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 30, 2017 2:33 PM

Seven years ago my friend sold me her 2000 Corolla for a good price. Actually she wanted to give it to me but I protested that was too big a gesture. Everything works, power locks/windows, AC, amfmcassetteCD.

At 160k more or less I had to go through the oxygen-sensor/main air intake routine for the smog. At the same time I put a new set of tires on it and got a valve-cover gasket and a tuneup. Once a year I get the oil changed, and I bought a lifetime alignment from Firestone (@$165,) so I can get it aligned any time I like, prepaid.

It keeps being a great car, and I plan on driving it into the ground.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at May 30, 2017 5:16 PM

@ ghost-

Got ya beat by a mile. VW Beetle, 1966. Bahama blue. Original owner. No computers or other trash from Silicoon Valley.

Posted by: Terry at May 30, 2017 5:22 PM

Yes, you do.
Hell, I didn't even start driving (legally) til 1970.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 30, 2017 7:49 PM

Rob's got it exactly right. While I spend a little more than he does, my regularly maintained 2006 BMW (bought USED at CarMax, 6000 miles) looks and drives like new, and should be good for ANOTHER 112,000 miles. Besides, who regrets not having a car payment?

Posted by: Mike Anderson at May 31, 2017 3:44 AM

I have a 57 chevy that I have been driving for about 26 years, a 59 Ford, 17 years, a 1931 Ford, 20 years, four states. a 1966 Chrysler in our family for 45 years, no modern cars. I have the 1947 Mercury I bought in 1967

Posted by: bgarrett at May 31, 2017 5:47 AM

I have a 57 chevy that I have been driving for about 26 years, a 59 Ford, 17 years, a 1931 Ford, 20 years, four states. a 1966 Chrysler in our family for 45 years, no modern cars. I have the 1947 Mercury I bought in 1967. I spend less per year maintaining these cars than most people spend per monthly car note

Posted by: bgarrett at May 31, 2017 5:49 AM

2003 Ford Ranger, will hit 162,000 driving home today. Bought new in '06, paid off six years later. Besides the wearable stuff - brakes, muffler, front bearings, etc. haven't had anything major to repair except the tranny back in Nov. but that was "only" @ $2,200. Just change the oil every 3,000 miles, clean & oil the K&N air filter twice a year and call it a day.

Plan on driving it till it dies, though the NE rust is coming on...debating to fix or let 'er rot.

Posted by: tim at May 31, 2017 10:16 AM

I've owned probably 40 cars in my life. Pretty much every one has been better than the last. My first Ford work van was scrap metal with 100,000 on it. My last is sitting out by the road right now with 212,000 and For Sale sign on it. My 2016 Isuzu is going away the best I've ever owned. My wife's Honda Odyssey is the best car we've ever owned. I remember all my friends piling in my Dads car to watch it turn over 100,000. Back then that was Yuge! Bench seats, rubber mats, no AC even available, primitive heat, tires lasted 20K if you were lucky, it rode and drove like a truck and got horrible mileage. If you were in a wreck you'd better be prayed up.

Posted by: Rick at May 31, 2017 12:19 PM

"...my Dads car..."

OK, let's rock, draggin dad's rides into the mix.

In late 1964 my dad got a draw on a house he was building and bought my mother a brand new bright red 65 Chevy station wagon, BelAir. It had every option including air, and get this, this motherfucker had a 327 with 375 HP, yeah!, a giant Carter 4 barrel, and are you ready?, a 4 on the floor! And a built in factory tach. whoa..... My dad would drive it now and then and yes it'd get rubber in all 4 gears. Even had that 3rd bench seat way back there which came in handy for haulin 5 screamin brats, coupla dogs, and 16 bags of groceries. My dad always had the coolest machines.
But then just about all rides were cool in the 60's.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 31, 2017 2:46 PM

Believing anything about cars endorsed by The American Spectator is like having your plumber design your retirement portfolio.

Cars, all cars, have gotten better with more safety features and more creature comforts with every generation since WWII. They almost never rust out any more, almost never need a tranny, need no "tune ups" to speak of and you can run synthetic oil 15,000 without loosing sleep. The paint shines better and longer, the dash boards and door panels don't crack up, warp and fall apart and the power windows, seats and locks don't stop working after 45 minutes of owning the car.

My first car was my dad's 1965 Cadillac which he passed off on me in 1967. It was gorgeous and compared to my new Lincoln MKT a royal piece if shit.

Also, since there hasn't been 10 years elapsed since 2015 how would that statement hold any credibility? Tell the prognosticator at Spectator to get back to me in 2025.

BTW for disclosure, I've been buying and selling classic cars since 1976. I've owned everything from a Crosley to a Rolls Royce and they've either improved dramatically or they went out of business.

Posted by: Rev. Hoagie at June 1, 2017 6:55 AM

Regarding American Spectator. Rev Hoagie would be right except that this particular article was written by Eric Peters... a man who knows what he's talking about ten times over.

I refer you to...

Home - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk

I refer you to his very recent, yesterday, cautionary tale

Before You Go Old . . . - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk

Posted by: vanderleun at June 1, 2017 7:01 AM

It's hard to point to one reason why cars have become disposable. Sourcing and manufacturing processes have become darned near optimized and cars have become commodity. Competition is global and profit margins are graphene-thin. Design is done to meet government regulation rather than customer demand. And customers don't demand as much as they used to.

BMW doesn't *want* to move from inline-six to turbo-hybrid-four, they're being forced to. And every ounce saved is a step closer to whatever fuel economy/CO2 standard is currently in effect. Spec that part to be as light as possible to last for "warranty plus one miles." Engineering to those tolerances is expensive. Customers buy the payment so stretching them out as close as possible to the date of obsolescence is a marketing point. Dealers make their profit on financing and leases, and interest rates are low enough that an extra fifty bucks per month on a new BMW isn't going to blow the sale.

In a way, everybody wins. But we'd win more if the stupid government would get of the "what's good for you" business.

Posted by: Jason in KT at June 1, 2017 9:32 AM

Well, that's all interesting but on a different note: Bought a 1985 Chrysler Fifth Avenue new. It had this ding dong thingy that went off when you left the key in the ignition or didn't buckle up. I hacked the 'system', found the origin of the ding dong and removed a small speaker from under the dash near the steering column. Fast forward to 1998 when I bought my final vehicle - I hope. A 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 quad cab with long bed and, of course, a Cummins turbo diesel - vinyl upholstery, rubber mats, five speed tranny on the floor. It also had one of those ding dong thingys on a printed circuit board under the dash which I promptly unplugged resulting in the unwanted side affect of disabling the intermittent function of the windshield wipers. Easy fix was to - this time - desolder the same type speaker - about the size of your thumb - and reinstall the PCB thus restoring the wiper function but without the annoying nanny function of sounding off when I didn't 'follow the rules'. Truck now has about 270K and going strong.

Now. I've searced high and low for hacks to defeat all the annoying features listed in this thread, especially things like on star, to no avail. There is a market for this kind of hack. One reads about going through the CD player in some vehicles to be able to hack the brakes, for instance. I think the journalist that covered Gen. McCrystal at Esquire? was likely murdered by "unknown" parties via such a hack after McCrystal resigned. We've got ransom ware and millions of other hacks but nothing I know of that can do something really useful to address the pressing problem of intrusive nanny state micro managing of the privately owned vehicle.

And Ralph Peters is the only reason I visit Spectator.

Posted by: John Hinds at June 1, 2017 11:38 AM

My goodness, what a great thread.

Jason in KT wins so far, in my opinion, particularly for 'we'd win more if the stupid government would get of the "what's good for you" business.' Boy howdy.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at June 1, 2017 12:09 PM

My wife bought a brand new Chevy Equinox, I still have not found the battery. I guess in today's disassociated world nobody is supposed to be jumping anybody's battery. So now what do I do with the battery cables and other sundry items that are in the big tool box I removed from her old car and put in the Equinox?

When did they stop putting spring hinges in car hoods, you know, so they would stay up without a prop rod?

Oops, leaned against the r. rear fender while gassing up and oh-no!, it caved in. But....I just hit the fender next to where it caved, with my soft fist and it bounced right back out.

The owners manual is 300 pages long. And it also came on a 8mb USB drive. Ain't that special.

Electric heaters in the electric door mirrors. Sweet. Two more things to break.

When I sit in the drivers seat how come I can't tell where the front bumper is?

BTW, where IS the front bumper? All I see is a vast black plastic thing that starts at the grill and goes down and under to places unknown.

There are no gauges on this ride. Nothing. No way to tell that something is not quite right so that shutting it down and having it towed in is not an option and she must continue to drive it until an idiot light comes on telling her it is too late and a $4k repair is imperative.

Jason in KT is right.
Most of the stuff you see plastered all over cars these days have been gov't mandates for various reasons, mostly attempts to make stuff more expensive and continue to be until you finally finish paying it off. But then, no one pays them off any more they just roll them over into the next nightmare.

How does it make you feel when you realize in the 3rd year of making payments on your *new* ride that you have crossed over into the twilight zone? That point where the amount that you have paid so far is equal to the selling price but you still have 2, 3, 4 more years to pay?

FWIW, when I was but a wee lad my dad taught me that you can tell the year of most cars by little lettering on the rear tail light lenses? Remember?

But that wasn't very handy in them days because cars were designed and built uniquely, and proudly, and different years and makes and models could be easily distinguished at a distance.

You know, back when gas was 29 cents a gallon and you never pumped it yourself because included 2 guys that checked your air pressure in the tires, washed all the windows, checked all the fluids, and even stuck lincolns head in the treads.

When I was 15, 16 I was one of them guys.
"Will that be regular or high test ma'am?"

Lastly, no matter how many safety features and convenience features they laden on cars over the decades there are still about 50,000 people out there each year that manage to smear themselves all over the asphalt and take as many others with them as possible. A $2000 car in 1955 is still just as safe as a $40,000 car in 2017 when idiots are behind the wheel.

Posted by: ghostsniper at June 1, 2017 1:54 PM

I'm driving an '05 Tacoma. Still less than 100k miles. I got it as primitive as it comes, which is just how I like it: 5-speed. 4-cylinder. Cam chain (not belt). It has an electrical glitch that causes the tach, and fuel gauge to drop out. Too expensive to fix, but so what? It's a minor annoyance. The horn doesn't work either, but with my temper that's probably more the work of my guardian angels, than a malfunction of the truck. Still, I heart the Toyota. I plan it being my last car.


Posted by: jwm at June 1, 2017 5:31 PM

Others here have me beat, but I'll still offer my two cents.

I drive a 2000 Honda Civic, bought new, paid cash. An LX, I think, but I'm not sure. Manual transmission, A/C, power windows, sorta power locks, primitive sound system by today's standards (only has a radio w/cassette player), not much else. Just passed 200k miles a few weeks ago. It shows the wear of years, the transmission is showing its age (pops out of 2nd, sometimes), it has been in one major accident, but for all that it doesn't look too bad (no bondo, no big rust patches, no big dents).

To be honest, I would like an excuse to replace it with something newer, but I hold to our family tradition of driving our vehicles into the ground. That takes a while with these Hondas.

Posted by: Grizzly at June 1, 2017 6:46 PM

About 12 years ago I bought an upright vacuum from Walmart for about $110. It worked fine, for about 6 weeks, until I ran over its cord. Then it didn't want to suck. I took apart the head, and discovered a key part was bent up. It was made of cardboard. It was not available for replacement. A minor problem rendered the vacuum useless.

This was explained to me by a small-town appliance dealer. She told me that big box stores like Walmart, The Home Depot and Lowes tell the manufacturer that they want a model that hits a specific price point. Thus the makers will shave quality on parts, make the compressors out of tinfoil, use a process that saves time, but results in a less robust product. Many big-box fridges have a one year warranty. They rarely last seven years.

She told me she makes very good money sending out her repair guys to fix these delicate flowers of household appliance. When you buy, she said, look at the warranty. There are one-year models, and seven-year models. The latter have good compressors.

This is why I believe the tale about cars after 2005. They are shaving costs and grams any way they can. SUVs are barely taller than sedans now. They're smaller and made much lighter. Lighter and lower profile means better mileage, all to please the regulators.

Posted by: Gordon at June 2, 2017 7:42 AM

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