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topdog1961

Driving for free...or close to it.

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topdog1961

I picked up a new used work car today and am really happy with the deal. I have a 125 mile round trip daily commute, and have been doing it for 22 years, so transportation to me is a commodity. I want comfortable, dependable,  and safe transportation at the lowest cents per mile I can get. Typically I buy good private owner used 4 cylinder cars with about 100k on them, and drive them into the ground. I've had great luck with Hyundai Elamtra GTs. The first one ran great to 270k when I gave to a 16 year old great nephew who needed a first car. The current one has 190 and is just getting broke in good. 

 

So I wasn't looking for another car when a guy I worked with for a long time and who retired 4 years ago called. He was upset with what the new car dealer offered his daughter for trade in on her car, an 06 Toyota Corolla S with 140K. He knew I like to buy higher mileage cars, so he thought of me. He bought it new for her first car. It's real clean, drives like new, and has been serviced by Toyota every 5,000 miles. I ended up getting it for $2,000.  Whether or not I was looking for another car, I couldn't turn that down. Even though I put a clutch, timing belt and 4 struts on the Hyundai in the last year and it is ready for the next 100k miles. It's value is far greater than what it is worth, so im giving my Hyundai to my oldest daughter who needs dependable transportation. I figure this $2,000 Toyota should be good for at least another 150k, maintained properly. Knock on wood. That's darn near driving for nothing. 

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Kansas Bound

That seems like a lot of car for $2000

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topdog1961
7 hours ago, Kansas Bound said:

That seems like a lot of car for $2000

 

Yes it certainly is. I bought the car sight unseen. His daughter lives 3 hours away from me. I was going to go look at it but after seeing some pics and he offered to drive it back after a visit, I went out in a limb and said I'll take it. Even if it wasn't quite as described, for that price I couldn't go wrong. I trusted he wouldn't sell me a known problem car. But when I saw it yesterday, and especially after I had driven it home from his house, I was thrilled. Having a folder full of documented regular Toyota maintenance records was icing on the cake. 

 

The clear coating is fading on the roof, as he told me. For some reason this color is known to have that problem. And the hood has some rock chips. I have a good paint guy that will spray both for $500. The headlights are faded. I replaced those on my Hyundai for $80, my F-150 for $50. And the dealer indicated on the last check up that front  brake pads will need to be replaced soon, another $40 and less than 1 hour for me. After that I should have a great car for the money. 

 

Its amazing how long modern cars will run on modern oils and good maintenance. I changed the valve cover gasket on my Hyundai this week at 190k, an easy $25 job. The motor was clean as a whistle inside. Not bad for Walmart (Havoline I believe) dinosaur oil. 

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WPG Gizmo

Looks to me like you got a great deal there

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Rockdoc

Quiet! Once the word gets out others will start buying older high mileage cars and the price will go up!

 

Steve

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garyRI

Last year I acquired my first high mileage car last year. A 2010 Subaru outback with 130K. We gor 205K out of a Chevy Cavelier, 210 out of a Forester & my wife's Accord is going strong at 230K.

 

Anymore 100K is just barely broken in.

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Dogwood

I would assume if you're shopping for such rigs it's important to look for a full service history, particularly oil changes?

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Chukarman
23 hours ago, topdog1961 said:

..It's value is far greater than what it is worth...

 

Got me there.

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topdog1961
7 hours ago, Chukarman said:

 

Got me there.

 

The Hyundai is 14 years old with 190,000 miles, it's worth practically nothing on paper if I tried to sell it. Yet I know it is a very dependable car (I've already put 100k on it) that due to the upkeep and recent maintenance, drives like new. I've done the timing belt maintenance and replaced the clutch recently,,and Replaced  all 4 struts, and tires and brakes are good. I invested a little time and money in maintenance so it's all set up, and I'm confident it can be driven another 100,000 trouble free miles. But on paper it's a $500 car. So it's value is in a gift to someone like my adult daughter who needs dependable transportation but doesn't have money. It's the kind of car you give away to a family member instead of selling for next to nothing. It's practical value is high, but it's worthless to sell. 

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topdog1961

Later addition now that I have more time to bore you all with my cost of driving calculations. But I've been driving 30,000 miles a year to work for over 20 years so I've got it down to a science, at least for my needs. As I said, I treat work transportation as a commodity, yet I do have some standards, spending 3 hours a day in a car requires it to be comfortable, responsive, and enjoyable to drive.  Buying a new car and putting that many miles on it comes at a high cost.  My benchmark is therefore 10 cents per mile.  That’s $20,000 minimum for a comfortable new car/200,000 life expectancy without needing extraordinary repairs or maintenance.  Any cost less than 10 cents per mile and I’m ahead by driving used.  I treat tires, brakes, batteries and oil/filters as ordinary maintenance no matter what I drive.  For comparison, those who have 10,000 mile leases on nice new vehicles are paying 30-50cents or more per mile.  I paid $3,800 for my Hyundai at 90K.  I’ve put 100K on it so that’s only 3.8 cents per mile.  Then I had a decision to make, as it needed some extraordinary maintenance: the timing belt, clutch, and struts were needing replaced.  I spent about $1,000 on these.  Some may say investing $1,000 in a car that’s worth $500 is throwing money away.  But I wasn’t investing $1,000 in the car, I was investing in the next 100,000 miles of driving, that’s only 1 cent per mile, hence “driving for nothing…or near to it”.  As I said, I got 270k out of an identical previous car before I gave it to a family member and it was still a good car.  Not only am I driving: the GT model Elantra has great leather seats, stick shift which I like, sunroof, a quick reving DOHC engine that averages 31mpg, and with the new suspension, sporty and comfortable ride. So as the old Hyundai sits now, it is of high value to me since it represents great transportation for next to no cost.  But it’s still only worth $500 if I sold it.    

 

It’s so valuable to me that when the guy called last week offering me a great deal on his daughter’s one owner Corolla S model, I initially turned him down.  But a day later I learned my 40 year old step-daughter’s POS 90’s model Mustang was broke down (again) and needed $750 in repairs, which she doesn’t have.  So I was looking at giving her $750 to put into a POS car, or $2,000 for a dependable one owner Toyota, that’s a no brainer.  So I bought the Toyota not knowing if I’d give it to her, or keep it and give her my Hyundai.  Now this is our second Corolla, I bought a 05 very low mileage base model for my work car between the two Hyundai GT’s.  After driving it awhile, it did not meet my standards for spending 3 hours a day in it: soft unsupportive seats, soft unresponsive ride, excessive roll in turns, and most of all, no cruise control.  So when the chance for another Hyundai GT came along, I jumped on it.  I kept the Corolla for my 16 year old daughter’s first car, she doesn’t know any better and loves it.  But this Corlolla is the S model upgrade with much better seats and suspension, all electric with cruise control.  After two day testing it out, I think it will meet my needs, so I’m regretfully giving the Hyundai to my step-daughter.  I’ll sorely miss that old car, and shifting through the gears. Oh well, there’s still the Miata for when I’m feeling sporty. After all, driving is more than an accounting exercise to an enthusiast. 

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mister grouse

Look like one of the best overlooks in the Smokies ^_^

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vabirddog
1 hour ago, mister grouse said:

Look like one of the best overlooks in the Smokies ^_^

Surely that is Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. :)

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topdog1961
1 minute ago, vabirddog said:

Surely that is Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. :)

Yes it is. That little car is a hoot to drive on twisty roads.  When you get the tires heated up it's like a roller coaster thrill ride that you are in control of. But on the BRP on a day like that one, we just dive slow take in the magnificent views. Each overlook is better than the last, so you spend a lot of time just standing in awe. 

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Dogwood
1 hour ago, topdog1961 said:

Yes it is. That little car is a hoot to drive on twisty roads.  When you get the tires heated up it's like a roller coaster thrill ride that you are in control of. But on the BRP on a day like that one, we just dive slow take in the magnificent views. Each overlook is better than the last, so you spend a lot of time just standing in awe. 

 

curious how tall are you?

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topdog1961

Well, I once was 6', but seem to be shrinking with age (56). Most often now they write down 5'11" on my chart. I have plenty of leg room in the Miata. Even my son at 6'3" doesn't complain. But age and height will be a factor with getting in and out of the small car more than leg room once you are in. Even now I have to bend my knees quite a lot to get in, and it sets low to the ground. And my knees don't bend as well as they used to. As I age I see that being more of an issue, and it would be more so if I were taller. 

 

The other two cars I mention, the Corolla and the Elantra GT, have plenty of leg room for me also and are much easier to get into and out of. 

 

Edit: as for head room, if I wear a hat taller than a baseball hat in the Miata with the top up, it can hit. I don't think my son has driven it with the top up, but that could be an issue with him. We rarely drive it top up. 

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