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Annual Vehicle Average Cost/Value of Ownership


Eneto-55
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Having some major issues with our family car (2009 Dodge Journey), and so I did some figuring on the cost of ownership for this vehicle over the nearly 12 years we've owned it.  No counting the routine stuff like oil, filters, battery, tires, brake pads, etc., It has run up a bill of around $3,500.00.  And counting (because we just had it in the shop, and it's not really fixed).  (That figure DOES include a major brake repair job, because I had a shop do it.  There was a shimmy in the front end which I thought was something else, but the rotors were reportedly warped, causing the shaking steering wheel.  I do my own oil & filter changes, replace brake pads, rotate tires, and generally do not let a shop mount tires on the vehicle, because they over-tighten the lugs, and one shop cross-threaded a lug bolt, I suspect by starting it with an impact.  And no, they did not take responsibility, so I don't go there at all anymore. Attempts to "up-sell" me also really turn me off.) 

 

I recall my Dad making a comment back when my folks bought the first "second car".  That was in either late 1959 or 1960.  (Funny the stuff children remember, as I was only 4 or close to 5 at the time.)  Anyway, he said that it has to be worth at least $100.00 per year to justify having a second vehicle.  Whether that was an accurate estimate at that time, I don't know, nor do I know where he got that idea.

 

So, what is a good rule of thumb for this day & age - How much should a person reasonably expect to pay for repairs & maintenance each year?  I know that it goes up over the life of a vehicle, but say you keep a car for 10 years, would an average round figure of $1,500.00 sound reasonable as an annual cost of ownership?  Low, or High?

 

In my case, with the Journey, the average annual cost of ownership (original purchase cost as a 2 year old vehicle plus major repair costs) comes out to almost $1,400.00.

 

EDIT 02 (Added from a clarification Edit in my second post here, after Sniper responded):  I see now that I wasn't at all clear in what I wrote in this first post.  I had included the original purchase price in my figure for the 2009 Journey, because most of the cars I've owned were basically just scrap (or "pasture art") by the time I was done with them.  

So the "major maintenance" costs for the past 12 years (at the end of December) will average out to approximately $360.00 per year.  But there are going to be more expenses before we get to year's end, so not sure how it will come out.

 

Edited by Eneto-55
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4 hours ago, Sniper said:

ouch, 1500 a year seems pretty high to me.  I think back on the used cars I have owned, none of them approached that cost.  Of course I do my own work.

Up until this recent "repair", it was below $1,000.00 annually, as have been most of the vehicles I've owned.  Except for the ones I kept for up to 15 years, at which time it had dropped to around half that.  Incidentally, the on-line currency converters put 100 1960 dollars at just over $1,000.00 for 2022.  But cars are much more complex now, and at an advanced age, the electronics system is especially prone to catastrophic failure.  (Maybe that's just my opinion.)

 

Edit: I also thought I was well below that figure, until I actually added up the expenses, finding some I had forgotten about.

 

EDIT 02:  I see now that I wasn't at all clear in what I wrote in the first post.  I had included the original purchase price in my figure for the 2009 Journey, because most of the cars I've owned were basically just scrap (or "pasture art") by the time I was done with them.  

So the "major maintenance" costs for the past 12 years (at the end of December) will average out to approximately $360.00 per year.  But there are going to be more expenses before we get to year's end, so not sure how it will come out.

 

First car: 1962 Chrysler Newport.  I was the last to drive it.  Still quietly resting in my brother's field.

Second: 1972 Dodge Coronet. Sold it with pretty low mileage yet, in Jan 1984.  Moving just after getting married, and didn't need two cars. (My wife had a 1980 Datsun she had bought new.)

Third: 1984 Olds 98 - given to us by my wife's dad on our 1995 furlough.  When we were ready to go back to Brazil the next year, we donated it to a counseling ministry (for their fund raiser auction).  I had just had the Automatic transmission rebuilt, and they only got half of that cost out of it.

Forth: 1984 Brazilian Volkswagon Voyage.  Gave it to another missionary family when we moved back to the States in 2003.

Fifth: 1993 Chrysler Town & Country. Bought it on our 2000 furlough, stored it while we were back in Brazil for our final term.  Cut it up for scrap in 2010.  The salt had eaten up most of the under-carriage.

Sixth: 2000 Chrysler Town & Country.  Sold it and a 98 S-10 for basically scrap prices in 2015.  The salt devil had gotten to both of them as well.  I wanted to hold onto them longer, but I couldn't find anyplace where I could park them until I could decide.

Edited by Eneto-55
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3 hours ago, Eneto-55 said:

So the "major maintenance" costs for the past 12 years (at the end of December) will average out to approximately $360.00 per year.  But there are going to be more expenses before we get to year's end, so not sure how it will come out.

 

That sounds more reasonable. 

 

Now my 51 probably blew past that but most of it was "hot rod" stuff which I don't count as it's discretionary not mandatory.

 

3 hours ago, Eneto-55 said:

The salt devil had gotten to both of them

 

I don't live where the salt devil resides, I grew up there though.  I saw what it did to cars, no thanks.

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I must be really lucky.   Haven't totaled the cost but the items are as follows.

97 F150 bought new April 97.  Windshield wiper motor, radiator, front brake pads.  That's it in 159000miles!  Admittedly it needs tie rod ends and brakes all around now.  

edit I forgot the water pump on the Ford.

 

07 Chrysler T&C,  Outer tie rod ends, Front brake pads once, struts and shocks, rear snubber pads(Urethane just fell apart).  Thats all, 99600 miles.

 

13 Tundra.  Nothing, Nada,  even has original battery.   89000miles.

 

another edit:     And no rust on anything, anywhere.  Wish I could say that about my 56 pickup project!!

Edited by kencombs
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I think annual vehicle cost should include car insurance, tires, brakes, fuel ...all maintenance involved.

Some vehicles will cost more to maintain then others ..... A 4x4 truck may have a higher tire, fuel and need more brake maintenance then a dodge caravan.

This is a choice we choose

 

Same with a classic car. My hoopty with a heater, on it's very best day with everything I plan to do to it .... in my dreams, be worth maybe $7k?

I plan to just run basic liability insurance on it.

While the next person with a expensive vehicle will want full coverage insurance .... which adds a price to it annually. ... Again it is a choice.

 

I just assume the cars are paid for & do not count the initial cost. If the car sits in a back yard, then it may not cost anything. If you drive it then there is cost to keep that vehicle legally & safely operational.

6 hours ago, Eneto-55 said:

I recall my Dad making a comment back when my folks bought the first "second car".  That was in either late 1959 or 1960.  (Funny the stuff children remember, as I was only 4 or close to 5 at the time.)  Anyway, he said that it has to be worth at least $100.00 per year to justify having a second vehicle. 

I agree with your father.  We can adjust the cost to our comfort level.

A Hot Rod will have certain insurance, fuel, tires, .... A whole set of maintenance issues with that vehicle.

A 1939 100 point Desoto restoration will have it's own set of yearly cost.

A 1949 Dodge hoopty has it's cost.

My neighbor buys a new Dodge truck every 2 years, trades them in with 20k miles & pays cash for the difference on a new one .... He drives a company truck 5 days a week.

Now I count the cost of the vehicle, the full coverage insurance, the pricey yearly registration .... He has a high annual vehicle cost also.

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1 hour ago, Los_Control said:

I think annual vehicle cost should include car insurance, tires, brakes, fuel ...all maintenance involved.

Some vehicles will cost more to maintain then others ..... A 4x4 truck may have a higher tire, fuel and need more brake maintenance then a dodge caravan.

This is a choice we choose

 

Same with a classic car. My hoopty with a heater, on it's very best day with everything I plan to do to it .... in my dreams, be worth maybe $7k?

I plan to just run basic liability insurance on it.

While the next person with a expensive vehicle will want full coverage insurance .... which adds a price to it annually. ... Again it is a choice.

 

I just assume the cars are paid for & do not count the initial cost. If the car sits in a back yard, then it may not cost anything. If you drive it then there is cost to keep that vehicle legally & safely operational.

I agree with your father.  We can adjust the cost to our comfort level.

A Hot Rod will have certain insurance, fuel, tires, .... A whole set of maintenance issues with that vehicle.

A 1939 100 point Desoto restoration will have it's own set of yearly cost.

A 1949 Dodge hoopty has it's cost.

My neighbor buys a new Dodge truck every 2 years, trades them in with 20k miles & pays cash for the difference on a new one .... He drives a company truck 5 days a week.

Now I count the cost of the vehicle, the full coverage insurance, the pricey yearly registration .... He has a high annual vehicle cost also.

I don't know what the tag laws are like there now, but back when I was still tagging my 46 in Oklahoma (1984 was the last year I did, I think), the fee was $4.10.  And that was not for a historical vehicle, either.  They based it on the age/value of the vehicle - the older it was, the more it dropped in cost.

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1 hour ago, Eneto-55 said:

I don't know what the tag laws are like there now, but back when I was still tagging my 46 in Oklahoma (1984 was the last year I did, I think), the fee was $4.10.  And that was not for a historical vehicle, either.  They based it on the age/value of the vehicle - the older it was, the more it dropped in cost.

 

Having just tagged my 51, it's $75 here.

 

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We bought our Honda Accord XL in 2010 with 30K miles on it. It has 136K now. We have put in a new water pump, disc pads, one set of new tires and tags. I have AAA premium .  It consistently gets above 30 mph. Five years ago we took a 9000 miler cross county trip, averaged 34mph for the entire trip. CA to Maine, Maine to Winnipeg, Canada, and back home.  It is not for sale and will run the mileage up to 300k before i start looking for a replacement. 

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I'm not convinced I want to know the annual average cost of owing and driving my vehicles. If I did I'd probably sell them all. Sell the house and move to a condo that is only a 15 minute cruise on a new e-bike, to work.

 

I also do all my own vehicle work. I tend to run older vehicles. Buy them cheap and get them reliable & safe. I keep my costs low by buying my parts at good prices and doing all my own labor. My daily driver to/from work is 16 years old.  It's never been to a paid mechanic while under my care and ownership. My Ram/Cummins 4x4 truck will be 25 years old in 2023. It's never seen a shop since I have owned it. Yes, they have all needed work but repairs are sure cheap when you do them yourself.

 

I will admit my 3/4T Ram 4x4 diesel,  is indeed higher to maintain. Parts are considerably bigger. Big brakes, tires. Big engine pan sump. I believe it takes 12L for an oil change. Bigger filters. U-joints. Whatever, it's all bigger. She pulls like a tractor and stops like a 1918 Dodge. Yet we love her and she works hard for us, reliably, when called to duty.

 

My wife has her 1 car. A Honda Civic. I have 4 vehicles including my 2 old Mopars.  True, total car ownership around this home is atrocious. I really don't want to know. I'll visit that topic when I retire some day.

Edited by keithb7
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It would be my choice to stick with older vehicles.  But my wife came from a family where they generally traded in for new or barely used every few years.  (My Father-in-law was Amish until he was 43, so he never worked on cars at all, and not on other types of powered equipment, either.  And nor had his father, grandfather, way on back - none of them had ever done that sort of work.  So it was "Trade it in before it starts making trouble."  He was a general contractor, so he made enough to live like that.  So that's what I'm up against.  But he could repair any kind of saw, sharpen circular saw blades like new, planer blades, etc.  And he had worked as a blacksmith, then as a cabinet builder, back before WW II.  He had supervised building barns the old way, with mortise & tennon joints, no nails in the whole frame work.)

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I bought a lightly used longbed, 4dr 2012 Tacoma pickup in 2016. 32k on it & I paid $33k cash. With tax and 13 mos license.

 

So far I have changed battery, brake pads, rotors and tires, oil and filters. I put my used bed cover on it from the old truck which got smashed.

 

I put airbags and an anti-sway bar on the back axle, and premium shock absorbers all the way around. Those were also from the smashed truck.

 

 I also put better front springs on it and shimmed up the rear springs.

 

I changed all the ball joints and tie rod ends myself, because I can. Also the wheelbearings which were expensive. I think the bearing design on these trucks could be better. Anyhow I have good spares now for most of those parts, because only two of the tie rod ends were getting worn. and one ball joint was loose. Everything else is serviceable.

 

Except for the tires and genuine Toyota brake parts, None of those things were desperately needed. I just wanted the truck to be Tip-Top, and I had the money and time to do it. I might’ve spent $100 on new tools.

 

It now has 52,000 miles on it. I’m going for my third smog inspection next month. That’s about $50 each time.

 

I changed the differential oil one time. I’ve had it in for alignment three times. I keep changing the shocks, springs, etc looking for better handling. (It was the sway bar and the spring shims that made all the difference.)

 

Nothing has gone wrong otherwise.

 

So I’ve spent about $38,000 including tax, lic, insurance and gasoline. And my labor.

 

That means if it disintegrated today my total cost of ownership would be $6166/year. My labor not included.

 

But on the basis of mileage, it would be a horrific $1.90+ per mile.

 

This truck is still so nice, and prices have gone up so high, that I think I could sell it for $30,000 today.

 

That brings it down to a more reasonable $.40 per mile or $1334/yr.

 

(plus my labor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ulu
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I include the original cost because I'm basically looking at what it costs to have a second vehicle, (That is what my Dad was talking about back in 1960, when he said $100.00.), and looking at whether it has "paid for itself' at what ever annual rate I have determined to use as the basis for evaluating that.  Also, since we generally drove our vehicles until they were just scrap, they were totally depreciated.  In the mission organization we worked under in Brazil, the group vehicles were all depreciated over a set period of years (expected life time), so when we used one, the per-kilometer charge incorporated that hidden cost - the cost to replace it at end-of-life.  I guess that's where I would distinguish between "cost of operation" and "cost of ownership".  If I knew that I would pass away at the same time as the vehicle, then I wouldn't need to think about replacement costs.  But now were in a time when replacement costs are higher than anyone anticipated, so it looks like we may be paying almost twice for a newer used vehicle now than we did when we bought the last family car. 

 

Did I say what it is?  It's a 2009 Dodge Journey, and even though it only has just over 105,000 miles on it, it has a problem that the shop has not been able to figure out.  They claim that the main computer was bad, and replaced it, but the skid control light is on already before you even put it in drive, and it occasionally "chokes" - falters, like it's going to die right there.  My wife was in the city with it about two months ago, and she barely made it home.  It ran fair if you kept the RPMs up, but if it got down below 1,000, it started missing & shaking like I've never seen.  The mechanic said that he thinks that sometimes it was only firing on one cylinder.  (It's a four banger, the 1.4.)  Once it gets into this computer stuff on a car, there's no way I have the tools and know-how to deal with it, reprogramming it, etc.

 

  I met a guy in an airport on one of our trips back & forth to Brazil once who pointed out that the cheapest vehicles are always the older ones - obviously in terms of original cost, but also in annual cost of ownership, because you are starting out with a vehicle that is near the bottom in terms of depreciation.  But I wonder what he would say now, what with all of the electronics they shove into them.

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15 hours ago, Eneto-55 said:

I include the original cost because I'm basically looking at what it costs to have a second vehicle, (That is what my Dad was talking about back in 1960, when he said $100.00.), and looking at whether it has "paid for itself' at what ever annual rate I have determined to use as the basis for evaluating that.  Also, since we generally drove our vehicles until they were just scrap, they were totally depreciated.  In the mission organization we worked under in Brazil, the group vehicles were all depreciated over a set period of years (expected life time), so when we used one, the per-kilometer charge incorporated that hidden cost - the cost to replace it at end-of-life.  I guess that's where I would distinguish between "cost of operation" and "cost of ownership".  If I knew that I would pass away at the same time as the vehicle, then I wouldn't need to think about replacement costs.  But now were in a time when replacement costs are higher than anyone anticipated, so it looks like we may be paying almost twice for a newer used vehicle now than we did when we bought the last family car. 

 

Did I say what it is?  It's a 2009 Dodge Journey, and even though it only has just over 105,000 miles on it, it has a problem that the shop has not been able to figure out.  They claim that the main computer was bad, and replaced it, but the skid control light is on already before you even put it in drive, and it occasionally "chokes" - falters, like it's going to die right there.  My wife was in the city with it about two months ago, and she barely made it home.  It ran fair if you kept the RPMs up, but if it got down below 1,000, it started missing & shaking like I've never seen.  The mechanic said that he thinks that sometimes it was only firing on one cylinder.  (It's a four banger, the 1.4.)  Once it gets into this computer stuff on a car, there's no way I have the tools and know-how to deal with it, reprogramming it, etc.

 

  I met a guy in an airport on one of our trips back & forth to Brazil once who pointed out that the cheapest vehicles are always the older ones - obviously in terms of original cost, but also in annual cost of ownership, because you are starting out with a vehicle that is near the bottom in terms of depreciation.  But I wonder what he would say now, what with all of the electronics they shove into them.

The Skid control ( stability ) function light is due to the engine issue.  Most all makers control engine power as part of the stability control junction, and disable it when the engine has an issue.   Can't rely on use of the engine controls if there are faults already.  Be sure that your mechanic has something other than a plain code reader.  A higher end diagnostic tool should be able to help pinpoint the problem areas.  I assume the 1.4 should be a 2.4?  Simplest of the engines available then.  My granson's v6 was a nightmare to work on.

 

From your discription, I'd focus on sensor inputs, crank, cam, throttle etc.

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14 minutes ago, kencombs said:

The Skid control ( stability ) function light is due to the engine issue.  Most all makers control engine power as part of the stability control junction, and disable it when the engine has an issue.   Can't rely on use of the engine controls if there are faults already.  Be sure that your mechanic has something other than a plain code reader.  A higher end diagnostic tool should be able to help pinpoint the problem areas.  I assume the 1.4 should be a 2.4?  Simplest of the engines available then.  My granson's v6 was a nightmare to work on.

 

From your description, I'd focus on sensor inputs, crank, cam, throttle etc.

Yes, you are correct.  It's a 2.4.  I didn't notice my error when I re-read.

The mechanic did say that there is a crank code, but he seemed to be dismissing it because he said that it came up as "stored".  I have never worked with one of those computer analyzers, so I don't know for sure what he meant.  (Assumed he meant that it was an old code, although I had also thought that the first step was to clear all existing codes before each new test.)  He also mentioned that he just got a better scanner system, actually during the time he had the car there, so maybe they are still just learning.

 

At this point, we're just waiting for them to give up (or the long-shot case in which they can actually fix it), and then we have to decide whether we go on to another shop, or just give up on it.  The latter sounds ridiculous, I know, but my wife has lost all confidence in this car, and now she even wants to get a F--d.  Coming from a MoPar family, I cannot even bear to type that word....  But my Dad DID tell me that he wouldn't disown me if we got one. (He passed away now almost 2 years ago.  This coming December.)

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17 hours ago, Eneto-55 said:

Did I say what it is?  It's a 2009 Dodge Journey, and even though it only has just over 105,000 miles on it, it has a problem that the shop has not been able to figure out. 

Sometimes we just have to throw in the towel. With some of theses modern cars.  Just incredible to look at the miles of wire that comes out of a modern vehicle with all the modern gadgets.

 

My brother has a Camaro about the same year as your journey.  His main vehicle is a 2003 Ford  with a power stroke he spent $20k just on the engine. Then a bunch more on the suspension, paint, transmission .... you get the idea.

 

So you can imagine the Camaro is just a car with low miles, always garage kept,  ... driven on weekends perfect condition.

 

The camaro has a simple issue where there is a drain on the battery. If he charges the battery, drives it 2 miles to the local pub to order dinner. ... drinks 2 beers. Goes to leave & the battery is dead.

 

He has taken it to 3-4 electrical shops, gave them free reign to fix the problem ... spent a few thousand of $$ trying to get it fixed .... nobody has been able to fix it yet.

Now it is parked & he bought something different.

1 hour ago, Eneto-55 said:

At this point, we're just waiting for them to give up (or the long-shot case in which they can actually fix it), and then we have to decide whether we go on to another shop, or just give up on it.  The latter sounds ridiculous,

I know it sounds ridiculous, I have to agree also.  I think if I had a chance at working on my brothers car, I may eventually find the issue in a few days or weeks.

Buuuut, to hire a professional mechanic to invest that much time it would be cheaper to buy a new car.

 

Possible you can find a mechanic that will buy the vehicle from you as a project.

Possible you can spend time searching for the problem.

I would almost bet cookies it is some stupid loose connection somewhere along the wiring system in your car. .... Just takes time & patience to track it down.

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Battery post switches are cheap, easy installs. Yet I’ll wager the ECM’s won’t tolerate no voltage when parked. 
 

Bet a guy could sell that Camaro and get a couple real fine examples of flathead Mopars. Mine run every day of the week in any weather! (1 has a mild fever mind you. But its only temporary. Lol) plus I indeed will fix it myself.  
 

Camaro = No go!

1938 = go great!

Edited by keithb7
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I agree 100% @keithb7 I just feel the thread kinda moved to a different direction.

I understand cost of keeping a vehicle running for the year.

 

But when you have a vehicle with a problem that can not easily be fixed .... then you continue to try & fix it with no success.

Unless you can fix it yourself, it can easily escalate into a project that cost more then the car is worth.

Simply turns into a car you wish you never owned.    .....     While the right person may fix it in 5 minutes.

Just depends what time the owner wants to spend on it if any.

I'm guessing @Eneto-55 is just about fed up with this vehicle, the wife for sure,  I say lets find a old Mopar for the wife to drive.

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1 hour ago, Los_Control said:

I agree 100% @keithb7 I just feel the thread kinda moved to a different direction.

I understand cost of keeping a vehicle running for the year.

 

But when you have a vehicle with a problem that can not easily be fixed .... then you continue to try & fix it with no success.

Unless you can fix it yourself, it can easily escalate into a project that cost more then the car is worth.

Simply turns into a car you wish you never owned.    .....     While the right person may fix it in 5 minutes.

Just depends what time the owner wants to spend on it if any.

I'm guessing @Eneto-55 is just about fed up with this vehicle, the wife for sure,  I say lets find a old Mopar for the wife to drive.

I need to stop wasting time working, so I can get back to my 46....  My wife DOES know how to drive a standard shift, but she doesn't feel real comfortable with it, and she also likes all of those "bells & whistles", like electric window winders, heated seats (cold Ohio winters), and now she wants one with the back up camera that has the lines showing your current projected path.  

The thing with this deal now (the Journey) is that I actually thought it was just the throttle body, but being self-employed I spend a lot of my "after business hours" time doing paper work and on-line research, estimates, etc.  So I just didn't have the time to work on it myself, and thought it would be a quick turn-around at a shop.  So now I have another wad tied up in it, and hate to just walk away from that investment.  So it gets back to my figures on overall vehicle ownership costs over its lifetime.  Some just die young, I guess, so it's hard to anticipate.  I've heard some stories about investments in the stock market that go the same way.  Someone buys the stock that seemed like a really good risk, then it goes down.  So they buy more, thinking, it can't go lower.  But it does,  Then in the end the whole deal goes bust.  My Father-in-Law always said "Don't invest any more than you can afford to loose."  A friend of his BORROWED money to buy into a "really good deal", and lost it all.  Like it says in the Scripture, "A fool and his money are soon parted."  

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I had a friend that was going to mortgage his paid for house to play the market.  I told him to just invest the money he would have spent paying the mortgage instead, that way if the market dumped he wouldn't lose his house.  He never even considered that.

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i agree with @Los_Control that insurance, yearly registration fees, inspections, etc should be part of the consideration of the annual costs.  i am able to register my 7 old vehicles here for less than the cost of registering a new full-size pickup.  i only carry liability, so that’s cheaper, too.  i do at least 90% of whatever work needs to be done (i don’t weld, so when that’s needed, i have to pay someone).

 

but like @keithb7 don’t really want to know what i spend on each car annually, either.

Edited by wallytoo
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18 hours ago, keithb7 said:

Bet a guy could sell that Camaro and get a couple real fine examples of flathead Mopars.

Some people really should not work on cars, my brother is one of them. While fixing the brakes on his Duster, he got pissed off and broke out the tail lights ... that pissed him off more so he broke out the back window & junked the car. .... Somehow he ended up with a nice 1934 Dodge pickup. While it was a driver, It had a problem with the steering box. It was dry, so he took a grease gun & pumped the box full of grease .... did not fix the problem so he sold it.    NO MOPAR FOR MY BROTHER!  🤣🤣🤣

 

I once had the same problem on a 1964 chebby truck with same intermittent problem. The alternator had a internal short. Like playing Russian roulette.

If the alternator stopped at a certain position, the brushes or voltage regulator stuck & would drain the battery in 2 min. A new alternator fixed it.

I told my brother this ... he is not going to touch it.

 

@Eneto-55The difference here is you can work on cars. you are busy with life making a living .... I think @kencombsis on the right track.

On 9/21/2022 at 12:11 PM, kencombs said:

From your discription, I'd focus on sensor inputs, crank, cam, throttle etc.

Often these sensors are pretty cheap in price, I found a bad cam sensor the engine will still run relying on the crank sensor ... on my 1993 caravan.

It is the cam sensor that kinda sorta does the fine tuning. The van would sometimes die at a stoplight, but run fine at high rpm.

I'm just saying it was a learning experience trying to learn these cars for me.

 

I figure a good modern tuneup includes coil pack, plugs & wires, crank & cam sensors.

Modern mechanics will trouble shoot each individual problem & bring you back each time a item fails. ....

Back in the day we would replace the points, condenser, rotor, cap, wires, plugs  ........ We did not wait for things to break.

 

So set the car on the side ..... when you are through being pissed off at it, throw a good tuneup at it, get the engine running perfect. May fix the problem.

While you are changing the sensors pay close attention to the plugs & wire connections. A bad connection could indicate a bad sensor while it is simply a bad connection.

Personal attention you can give your car while working on it.

 

If you decide to tune up your engine yourself, ask @kencombs for advice installing a crank sensor  .... I can tell you how to create a broken pistons & rings. 

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Thanks to all.  The mechanic said last week that he would get a crank sensor and put it in for no charge - piggy backing on the earlier charge, which I paid when I picked up the car, thinking it was all fixed.

 

Speaking of weird electrical problems, a friend bought the 68 Chrysler that our boss had actually offered to me first.  (This was back in 78 or 79, and 68 was no where old enough for me.)  Anyway, it would sometimes die at a stop light.  Did I mention this story before?  Well, he discovered that if he honked the horn, it would start again.  Ammeter.  The current went through it just like it does on our older ones.

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29 minutes ago, Eneto-55 said:

Thanks to all.  The mechanic said last week that he would get a crank sensor and put it in for no charge - piggy backing on the earlier charge, which I paid when I picked up the car, thinking it was all fixed.

 

Speaking of weird electrical problems, a friend bought the 68 Chrysler that our boss had actually offered to me first.  (This was back in 78 or 79, and 68 was no where old enough for me.)  Anyway, it would sometimes die at a stop light.  Did I mention this story before?  Well, he discovered that if he honked the horn, it would start again.  Ammeter.  The current went through it just like it does on our older ones.

Throwing parts at it is one approach.  Not one I'd recommend but since it's free, why not.   One thing that I thought of is the accelerator pedal, position transmitter.   That engine has a throttle by wire control.  The pedal transmitter sends position info to the computer that outputs a corresponding signal to the throttle body motor.   A dead spot or open in the transmitter can cause all sorts of things, as can the throttle body motor.  

 

Thought of that when rereading your comment about not wanting to run under 1K.

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For what I have learned .... If a crank sensor goes bad .... The engine can not possibly run ..... not your issue. .... The mechanic also knows this.

 

If a cam sensor goes bad, the engine will run but have issues. The crank sensor will kinda sorta pick up the slack.

 

You have modern sensors I do not know about. Do you want to pay some goofball shop $100 per hour to work on your 13 year old car they think is junk?

You may want to just fix this issue yourself ... or replace the car. ... I would try to fix it.

 

A qualified mechanic, the shop charges $100 per hour ... The mechanic probably makes $30-$40 per hour + commission 

They can make some good money off of the daily vehicles that come into the shop.

 

You bring in your 13 year old hoopty .... They will charge you for it, then send you down the road .... you need to repair them.

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