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AuthorMusician
Who is Scotty Kilmer? He's a mechanic who does a lot of YouTube vids. Here's the one that made me think of starting this thread:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zL7P-etsDI

Kilmer points out that new cars have lots of microprocessors in them, 50 to 100 or thereabouts, and that makes troubleshooting a lot harder for even trained mechanics. Those microprocessors are supposed to be responsible for better gas mileage and more power. They are all tied together via a wiring bus, just like PCs, Macs, servers, mainframes -- virtually every smart device in existence.

But traveling involves getting dirty and wet, and microprocessors don't like that. The wires are microscopic on the chips and skinny low-voltage/low-amperage things otherwise.

Kilmer also thinks buying used Toyotas is the way to go and used Hondas if the Toys aren't available. He argues that a new car depreciates too quickly, which is an old principle I knew way back in the 1960s. I also knew that if you get the right deal, a new car is worth it because you know exactly what it's been through over the years. No surprises, such as the vehicle having been underwater in a flood.

Which of the following options are the best way to go, and why?

- Buy new

- Buy used

- Public transportation/cabs/uber et al

- Bring back the horse and buggy

- Walking
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Hobbes
Haven't bought a new car in quite a while....both of my vehicles are used, and paid for!

That does make them cheaper, but also missing out on the various new features that the new cars have. Some of those are safety features which can lead to cheaper insurance, helping offset the cost of the new car.

It can be easier to get financing for new cars, and the payment on a used car could be about the same as the lease on a new car. The difference of course being the payments end, the lease needs to roll over into other payments later.
Mrs. Pigpen
Which of the following options are the best way to go, and why?
- Buy new

This is what we did. Very recently too.
Obviously there are drawbacks...my "red zoomer" (aka a red colored ford edge) overheated on our way from Florida to Colorado.
It actually overheated within about an hour of our trip. This was fun with kids and dogs and all of our most important stuff we were carrying to make sure it was safe...to our new retirement home.
The Ford Edge (which wasn't very old) had systems to light up and tell me pretty much everything..."the air in your left front tire is a bit low there..." and so forth.
But it failed bigly when my engine overheated and caused catastrophic failure.
By contrast, the VW bug I owned when I was 16 and it had over 150,000 miles on it, would've never let me down like that.
And it had manual everything (not even power steering).

- Buy used
This seems to be what the smart people are doing. For the most part, we're not in this category.
We did buy a used car for our oldest son (he's in college), after he totaled his car...insurance paid for it.

- Public transportation/cabs/uber et al
We live on a mountain, so this isn't really a possibility for us.

- Bring back the horse and buggy
Too much poo and maintenance.

Walking
Heh, if you're near something. In our case it would take all day just to make it down the mountain. It's already an hour round trip to get groceries. smile.gif
AuthorMusician
The last vehicle I bought new was a '98 Jeep Cherokee Sport. It lasted long enough, got shifted to the oldest grand kid, and I don't want to know what happened to it afterward. The grand kid has gone through half a dozen other vehicles since.

I don't think used cars are the way to go unless you know a lot about their histories and are careful to avoid the ones that have known problems like failing automatic transmissions. This means buying used is always going to be a gamble, but maybe not as much as new cars. The quality has gone down across the board as the manufacturers concentrate on sales points unrelated to longevity.

So scratch off new cars too.

I'm now thinking of public transportation, including taxi cabs and maybe the smartphone stuff, with renting a vehicle when needed. Did something like this in my 20's when living in Minnesota and having just a motorcycle. Minneapolis had a good enough bus system that I could get to and from work, but it was such a royal pain that I bought a new '79 Malibu station wagon once I could. Station wagons made good camouflage back then, never got a ticket because I looked miserable enough as is. Minivans have since taken their place.

It had very little anti-pollution stuff, a three-speed manual transmission and a V-6. Sold it for scrap at 130,000 miles, and the engine was still oil-tight and ran great. Transmission was good too, so I got a good scrap price. Frame and body was in sad shape, lots of off-pavement miles. One rather stiff rear-ender that bent the frame, but behind the rear axle. Still driveable, very ugly, but also easy to get right-of-way because I obviously did not give a hoot. Learned that while driving my '55 Chrysler in N. MN and when cruising around Chicago. The worse you looked, the more people would get out of your way.

Anyway, we're moving to Grand Junction soon, which has public transportation, an actual taxi company (maybe two), and rentals. Also apartment rents a lot lower than in this area.

This scheme definitely will not work in the mountains or anywhere that's remote. But I bet more people will be looking at the cost of vehicle ownership more closely as it becomes plain that cars are no longer made for the long haul. They are more like Bic lighters than Zippos, except less reliable and a helluva lot more expensive.
Bikerdad

Which of the following options are the best way to go, and why?

- Buy new

Best option. You'll get the longest life out of the vehicle. You will get the satisfaction of having a new vehicle. Latest available technology. Warranty.
cons: cost. Loaded up with junk you may not want but have to pay for.

- Buy used
Best option. Cars today are built extremely well and last a LONG time. Lower cost than new and a much wider selection. If, like me, you like to DRIVE, then you're likely to want a manual transmission. Good luck with that on a new car that's not either a bottom feeding econo-box or a sports car. May be loaded with junk you don't want, but you won't have to pay nearly as much for it.
cons: crapshoot of what the previous owner(s) have done to/with the vehicle. May not be able to actually find EXACTLY what you want. Less/no real warranty.

- Public transportation/cabs/uber et al
Best option. Cheap, you get to meet lots of people, no hassle finding a parking space. Zero maintenance on your part.
Cons: Some of the people you meet. Good luck finding a bus ride at 3am. Uber/taxis/etc aren't that cheap. The higher the population density where you live, the more workable this is. Live out in the sticks? Fughggedaboutit.

- Bring back the horse and buggy
Best option. You'll have a horse to talk to. Very little to break down mechanically. Only option thus far that has the possibility of generating new transportation option. Only option that can be self-driving. Best option for getting smiles from others.
cons: crap. Higher maintenance than any other option. Cost can be surprising. parking can be tricky. Not highway legal.

- Walking
Best option. CHEAP, CHEAP. Enhances health. Encourages a slower pace in life. Gives lots of time to think. Lowest maintenance cost other than public trans option. Can go virtually ANYWHERE.
cons: Slow. Real slow. Pretty limited carrying capacity. Reduced practicality when sick or during inclement weather. Did I mention slooooowwwww.

The reality is that which is the best option depends entirely on one's requirements, resources, constraints and preferences. I currently have 4 vehicles, 3 used and one purchased new last September. All are paid for, 1 of the used will be going up for sale as soon as I get off my duff. The one I bought new I bought new because it was a prior model year, the cost differential between it and the few available used versions wasn't very much, and it had twice as much warranty remaining. My truck I bought used because it was the only way I find one configured the way I wanted. Manual transmissions weren't offered on full size trucks anymore. Even then I had to go 400 miles to a dealer in another state to find it. (I just realized I have gone out of state to get every one of the vehicles I currently own. Weird.....)

When I get my next cage, I suspect I will get a late model used. If I find myself rolling in dough when its time to replace my truck, I may consider new. It's a 2006 with 106k miles on it, and I put less than 10k a year on it, so I think it'll be quite a while until I need to replace it. I fear that I may have to give up my stick shift though, since I don't see myself in an econo-box or sportscar, and I don't see the availability of manual trannies on new cars in the US going any direction other than flat/down in the future. sigh....
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