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Old 09-13-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
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I'm a 2nd year helper, 1st year apprentice working a prevailing wage job.

I've been good at keeping myself employed these past 2 years, and have relatively low living costs due to good roommate situation, and a good credit score.

I posted a thread about how I drowned my VW Golf in some New Orleans flood water down here and my quest for a truck hit me sooner than I wanted.

I had just recently (May), sold my 87 accord and purchased this 2002 VW for 6000 on craigslist. Put in a good deal of money already in getting it properly tuned up and then ruined it. It's going to cost me about 1,300 to get it fixed but the mechanic already f*cked it up once and I don't trust his workmanship will last since this is major engine maintenance. I think maybe I should get rid of it before the engine head (or something), cracks on me.

I've seen a couple guys at work that are also apprentices that drive newer F-150's and they seem to be doing alright. One of them says he doesn't live pay check by pay check, which is my mentality as well. I really didn't want to pick up a car payment and full coverage, but I don't think this car will last me, and I don't want to go the used route again, either.

Plus when I consider that I've been spending so much in maintenance already, I wonder if it isn't comparable to paying a note with insurance.

I would to make clear that I don't believe car purchases are investments at all. They're simply reasonable expenses, or unreasonable expenses.

So, words of wisdom from the old men in here.
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:38 PM   #2
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That's a hard one brother...only you can make the final call.

I would suggest adding up all your total cost's for the last 4 years atleast (I know how tough that will be to get an accurate number, but need to try), and dividing them by 48....see what your average monthly expense has been. Then, if it is close enough to warrant purchase of a newer vehicle, then go for it. I would not buy new though as value is lost the moment you drive off the lot. Me personally... I would look for something that is about 2+ years old at least, and if no warranty is available, then purchase one.

Now car vs truck...that is something you will have to weigh out the needs, ect.... me....truck always.
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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for the price of a new f 150 you can get something way cooler these days
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...&category=6200
just a thought - you of course would need to know a saudi or texas oil man to keep gas in the thing though
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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if you had the skills to fix your own and have a good mechanic friend you trust to back you up for accurate troubleshooting advice... I'd say go for the $1500 10yo beater that you can leave on the side of the road dead if/when the time comes. (this has been my personal choice since my teens).

because you don't have those skills you are probably better off having that almost new recently off lease well maintained fleet car of whatever style/size suits you best.

If you don't NEED to haul a lot of crap around ALL THE TIME then the reason to have that (F150 or similar) pick-em-up truck becomes largely about ego... don't buy into it and don't let the other guys on the job pressure you into it either.

I'd say look for a small station wagon with maybe some body damage but is strong mechanically you can tub out and use as a dry hauler.

If you have a more specific Q... ask it.
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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I think my biggest problem has been finding a good mechanic down here.

Also, the more I think about it. It seems less and less a good idea to have those monthly expenses. Not at what I'm making right now. Especially not after having just recently bought this little car. Plus I like to save some money, too. I don't like living pay check to pay check, and I like to pay off my credit card bills in full every month.

Reason for a truck/suv is because having anything low to the ground in this city is asking for trouble, I'll just have to be more careful. Any place I'd be looking to move to will most likely be hilly, and definitely have snowy winters. I also intend on moving several more times within the next 10 years.

Maybe I can try to make this little car last long enough for me to move up in school, gain more experience, and make more money. Though I'm also beginning to realize how people can put themselves in so much debt early on in their lives.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:41 PM   #6
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When it came time to replace my service van (Old one wrecked), I went for a new one. The main reason was I wanted something new, that should not require a bunch of nuisance repairs shutting down my ability to operate.

That was over 6 years ago. I now have 140,000+ miles on it, and have required very few repairs/down time. The most expensive thing I have needed was new tires.

Keeping up the maintenance on a new vehicle goes a long way towards reliability, IMO. Next year, I will start looking for another new one, since anything that is over 7 years old and 150,000+ miles on it is bound to start wearing out.

Not to mention that this one is already fully depreciated, and the tax advantages of getting a new one might also apply. But, with the current political climate, anything can happen, so for the time being, we shall wait and see.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolabama View Post
for the price of a new f 150 you can get something way cooler these days
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...&category=6200
just a thought - you of course would need to know a saudi or texas oil man to keep gas in the thing though
WOW....talk about a trip back in time....my ex-brother inlaw got one of those for a 12 pack of beer and a $100 bill back in the early 80's.....
he got it for such a great deal...he abused it badly, off roading, driving thru fences while drunk.....what memories...lol

thanx...
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:53 AM   #8
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Frasbee..as BryanMd stated....if you can save up a few $$$...then look around for a older truck full size or mini...then you can park the VW on bad days and run the truck in foul weather...
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:44 AM   #9
 
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Buy a new vehicle that you like a lot. Don't go too crazy with the options, they really add up. When i stood back and asked myself what I really needed, I realized that I could save $6,500 by buying the lower model and still be happy. A sunroof is a novelty, etc.

Get a 5 year loan so you have some breathing room if you get a lay off, but pay more than the minimum payment each month when you are working. Doubling the payment will cut the loan down to much less than half the time, since you won't be paying interest on the extra.

Take care of the vehicle and drive it for 15 years.

If you could find one and are happy, buy a 2 year old vehicle, you will save a lot in depreciation.

On a little bit of a different subject, if you are single and live with a roommate and have no other debt, you should have quite a bit of money left over. Having a car payment shouldn't bring you near living paycheck to paycheck. Being an electrician should be a lucrative career. If you are an apprentice then that would explain it, but make sure to take into account the fact that every year your income will rise drastically.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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I myself turned wrenches for years for several different dealerships and mom/pop shops. I dont want to spend time wrenching on a vehicle thats broke when i need to be at work. I chose to buy my one truck new with an extended warranty, even that truck broke down "at dealer for 5 weeks" so i ended up buying another truck "used" as a back up. I plan to drive both of these trucks for at least 10yrs, one of many reasons why i bought diesels. I average 40k miles a year so this is alot of milage over a ten year span, i figure each of the trucks will have at least 200k on them each by then. It is nice to be able to get in a clean, dependable truck and drive the heck out of it and if it breaks then off to the dealer for repairs. Both trucks are covered to 100k miles so i have some time yet before repairs start costing me out of pocket.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:22 PM   #11
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Hey Frasbee,

If you do go for a new F-150 I have a friend who works for Ford servicing fleet vehicles. He can swing a substantial discount with the X-plan. Probably not enough to offset the cost entirely but worth considering.

Personally I'd go for a full size diesel truck, they last forever, get good mileage (14-22 mpg depending on make/model) and you can haul crap whenever you want and use the thing for work and side jobs. With a bit of effort you should be able to find something that won't cost a lot in up keep and should be relatively trouble free.

I see no point in buying brand spanking new unless you intend to own said vehicle for a long time or you fart $100 bills and want to waste it. I completely agree with you that cars are not an investment but an expense!
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanMD View Post
if you had the skills to fix your own and have a good mechanic friend you trust to back you up for accurate troubleshooting advice... I'd say go for the $1500 10yo beater that you can leave on the side of the road dead if/when the time comes. (this has been my personal choice since my teens).

because you don't have those skills you are probably better off having that almost new recently off lease well maintained fleet car of whatever style/size suits you best.

If you don't NEED to haul a lot of crap around ALL THE TIME then the reason to have that (F150 or similar) pick-em-up truck becomes largely about ego... don't buy into it and don't let the other guys on the job pressure you into it either.

I'd say look for a small station wagon with maybe some body damage but is strong mechanically you can tub out and use as a dry hauler.

If you have a more specific Q... ask it.
I agree with that. I have lots of friends that have full size pick up trucks and basically use them as tool boxes for their had tools and such. At 12-15 miles per gallon its such a waste. Even if you do side jobs a full size pick up is still a little to much truck.
I still have my old Ford Focus. I was very inexpensive to own and has not given me any problems. Now it pretty much just sits in the driveway. My wife has an Suv and I pretty much live in my sprinter. But there are lots of small car options that can suite your needs. Thats if you dont mind all the ribbing you gonna get from the pick up guys. And believe me I got my fair share. Luckily I had the last laugh when gas hit 5 bucks a gallon.
I would stay away from Volkswagen they are not what they used to be. Aside from a brilliant marketing campaign their cars aren't very reliable any more. Ford is actually coming out with a new Focus that looks very nice and you would be doing our country some good by buying American. Anyway good luck. Looking for a new car is always fun. What ever you decide on remember that the car should work for you not vice versa. If you can keep the payment less than what you make in a week your doing good. And for what its worth you sound a little youngish. So in the long run, given the econimic volitity your really better off putting some cash away. Youll have plenty of time to buy a really nice car/truck later on.

Last edited by captkirk; 09-18-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:53 AM   #13
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Yeah, I've been worried about the new technologies coming out.

Can you imagine a hybrid diesel Tacoma?

Are you guys even aware of Ford's F-100?

Just a bit smaller than the F-150, but it's supposed to be a 6 cylinder that pounds like an 8, with even better mileage.
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Frasbee View Post

Are you guys even aware of Ford's F-100?
What..they are going to bring it back? That may be kinds cool depending on how it will look....
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:48 AM   #15
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Here's a link http://consumerguideauto.howstuffwor...ford-f-100.htm
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:20 AM   #16
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I myself couldnt work without a fullsize truck, this is why i have 2 of them. If one breaks down i can still work. My enclosed trailer weighs at least 7k and my mini-ex/equipment trailer gross over 11k so to own anything smaller would be waste of money. I have worked out of vans in the past and i just cant do that. Not enough room for tools no less supplies, then you have to crawl around to get what you need.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:08 AM   #17
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Save your money and buy a used vehicle. Cars are incredibly easy to work on. There is a reason we make more the auto mechanics. You have almost everything you need to work on a car if the need arises. Trucks are overrated in my mind unless you actually use it for work everyday. I hate to say it but go with the imports for cars. Honda and Toyotas would be my first choice plus the fact they get awesome gas mileage is just another way to save money over a truck. I myself drive a 1992 Honda Civic. Seriously, think of it as a work car and every day is the dead of winter with mud up to your knees. Do you really want to drive a nice new truck into that?
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:46 AM   #18
 
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Program vehicles are a good way to go these are usually off lease or corporate vehicles that have three years on them they are usually well maintained and can save you thousands of dollars whyile still giving you years of servicability.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:29 AM   #19
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Save your money and buy a used vehicle. Cars are incredibly easy to work on. There is a reason we make more the auto mechanics. You have almost everything you need to work on a car if the need arises. Trucks are overrated in my mind unless you actually use it for work everyday. I hate to say it but go with the imports for cars. Honda and Toyotas would be my first choice plus the fact they get awesome gas mileage is just another way to save money over a truck. I myself drive a 1992 Honda Civic. Seriously, think of it as a work car and every day is the dead of winter with mud up to your knees. Do you really want to drive a nice new truck into that?
I have to dis-agree with some of this. I agree with going with an Import vehicle for gas milage, value retention and reliability. As far as a truck i guess it depends on what part of this field you are in and whether you work for someone or are self employed. For you driving in city traffic going to your job then maybe a car will work. But for me Toyota and Honda dont make a vehicle yet here in the states that will tow all of my equipment safely and legally. Now for cars being easy to work on??? I have worked in mom and pop shops for many years, i worked in a body shop for 6yrs and i was a tech at a GM dealer and a tech at a Chrysler dealer. Yes, anyone can tires and swap out parts but diagnosing a real problem isnt that easy. Thats like saying being an electrician is easy, all you have to do is remove a plate, pull two screws, remove three wires and re-assemble. If turning wrenches was that easy dont you think i would have stayed in that field instead? I can tell you there is little to no money in being a mechanic. You walk in most shops and look for the guys who have been there awhile, do you know how to spot them? They will be the guy with the $12-$20k tool box that is holding at least $50-$60k in tools and will be making $20 an hour at best. Dont you think there is a reason why he has so many tools? Auto manufacturers change things every year so the tech has to keep up with that. So just because you might know how to put brakes on your car or replace a c/v axle and you have a Crafstman tool box doesnt make you a mechanic. When was the last time you downloaded any monitored freeze frame data to a PC and studied it to see which sensor was doing what at what time in corrolation with the others to see why the car was not running properly? An engine performance problem doesnt always set an SES light and will not give you a point of reference to start your diagnostics. I will give you an example, a girl brought in a Pontaic Grand Am with the 3.4 V-6 for a mis-fire. The car had been to 2 other dealers who both replaced everything that had to do with the ignition system. This girl had over $2k in parts and labor and the car never once set an SES light. We are talking plugs, wires, coil packs, ignition modules, PCM, relays, cranks sensor and new ingnition switch. Is this an easy fix???? It took me 4 hrs and i had to drive the car home that night to diagnose it and i repaired it with a $16 part. Turned out the car had a bad brake switch. I found the car would only misfire in overdrive and the brake switch had a short in it causing the convertor in the tranny to lock and disengage several time per second. This short did not effect the brake lights in any way. I only found it by watching all the monitors on the Tech-2 while driving to see what was doing what while the misfire occured. Sorry for the long reply/rant. Dont be down grading other professions unless you have been there yourself and have been in the thick of it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:40 PM   #20
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Yikes, I can see he hit a nerve there.

Anyway, I must agree about maintaining a car. I don't have the time, patience, or money to buy electrical tools and car tools. Nor do I have a place to store them.

I still intend on moving around, and carrying tools. I have very little in terms of large possessions like furniture.

I will try to hold on to this Golf for now, though it's still in the shop! It's been 7 weeks now, and I've been driving their loaner car.

Next vehicle will be a truck or SUV. Not because I prefer them over cars, (I don't), but because I'm beginning to outgrow smaller vehicles.
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