As the Christmas season moves in, like a thief in the night (not really but it sounds cool), it puts pressure on our budget. To mount even more on top of the holiday season, we are having problems with our car. Doh!!! Ya we have 140,000 miles on our 2005 Honda Odyssey and we have been having electric issues. Over the last two weeks I’ve had to have my car towed twice for repair. First, we had a bad driver side door sensor and secondly, we had to have our car towed in because it wouldn’t start for some unknown reason. Before I get too far ahead of myself let me give you some background.
This summer and fall I’ve had the following repairs to my van:
- $1852 – I replaced the timing belt, struts, and I changed the van oil and flushed the transmission fluid. Van was
overdue for the timing belt and my van was vibrating when I would slow down from speeds faster than 55 MPH. Did these repair in Aug at 134k miles
- $79 – replaced battery. Battery was under warranty with Autozone, and I was able to get some of my money back on my 4 year old battery.
- $320 – replaced passenger side door rolling ball. Keeps the door from jamming, which was happening frequently, because the part was going bad and transmission flush.
- $32 – fix driver side door sensor. I was able to utilize my free StateFarm one time towing service.
- $214 – tow my car to a local repair shop and test out battery and alternator.
So as you can see my costs since about August have quickly been accumulating on my high mileage van. It definitely has this thrifty guy concerned. Concerned on whether I’ll be able to re-coop. It just tears at me to see my van sucking down costs. I have to figure out how long it would take to break-even with these costs verses buying a used car.
Things to consider be sinking money into an older car:
- How long do I want to be able to drive it until? How many miles?
- How long will it take me to re-coop my costs?
- Have I kept up with the general maintenance?
- Have I started saving up?
- How much could I get for my old car?
Here is a breakdown of how these questions show up in a depreciation equation:
This whole equation is based on what I’ve put in over the summer/fall (assuming no more money would be put in for more repairs). In moving along in my decision I think what is more alarming to me is how behind I am in saving. I literally have nothing saved for a “new” car, because I’ve been so aggressive in paying off my mortgage. So based on where I’m at today. I need to save about $625/month for 24 months until my car hits 200,000 miles.
These are all the things I’m weighing as my car bills continue to mount. It isn’t any fun, but is a reality that everyone faces as they consider getting a new or used car. In blogging about it and talking with Mrs. Thrifty, I realize I’m behind the schedule. For a guy that operates in zeros and ones in the IT world this math doesn’t add up to me. Time for action! That is why I need to get busy with my side hustles to generate passive income streams and quick!
I know I’m not the only one that weighs the costs of repair, depreciation, and how much a new car would cost. What else do you consider when weighing the options of buying a new car or repairing your existing one? Let me know your thoughts below. What do you do about unexpected car costs?