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Can you do your own work?
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Posted by JerseySaab [Email] (#666) [Profile/Gallery] (more from JerseySaab) on Thu, 6 Aug 2015 08:30:37 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: Economics of old cars, steve, Wed, 5 Aug 2015 19:02:05
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The economics of old car ownership changes drastically if you need to go to a mechanic for every little thing.

I've run old cars for many years, in fact the last new car I purchased was in late 1984, a base model '85 Saab 900. Since then I have been on the "one payment plan" and have not taken out a car loan, or any loan of any type for that matter. So I have some experience with the old car gig.

My current daily driver is a '97 9000 CSE with over 325K miles. Paid $1500 for it about 4-1/2 years ago through a Saabnet ad. Drivetrain is still in great shape but I've certainly had to do repair work on it. Most of that was concentrated in the first couple of years of ownership, so yes, it is probably a good idea to replace high-wear items proactively up front to minimize downtime. (Particularly the fuel pump as its failure is an automatic tow!)

If I were dependent on a mechanic this car would have cost a lot of $$$ to keep on the road, probably too many. But since I do my own work it's just the cost of parts, some weekend afternoons wrenching, and the car is still economical to keep and run. Another thing that helps is to have more than one vehicle, so you have something to drive if and when your primary ride is laid up for repairs.

I only carry liability insurance on this car because it is not worth a lot of money, which is another savings. If you have something that is old but worth more money you probably would want to have it appraised and get some kind of stated value type policy.

Bottom line is that if you don't do your own work and it's not feasible to have more than one vehicle available you're probably better off ponying up for something new or late model. (Unfortunately if you want to stick with Saab there have been no new ones for some time now and those left on the road get fewer and older each year.)


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