Where's the tipping point: Dump $$$ into a car vs. Dump the car?
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    1. #1
      Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      Where's the tipping point: Dump $$$ into a car vs. Dump the car?

      The wife's 2012 Beetle base (2.5 L slushbox) is 6 months shy of 5 years old and just over 60k miles. It's recently paid off. (5 year loan, accelerated the payments slightly, done.) What little has gone wrong with it has been ignorable, but now the issues are piling up, including one that can't be ignored.
      • The driver's door lock servo died about 2 years ago. Yes, it is the locking mechanism, not the key fob (battery), central locking, etc.
      • Last year, the A/C lost some of its cooling capacity. It still works fine but on really hot days, but only if set on recirculated air (which still isn't particularly cold).
      • Six months ago, the exhaust heat shield(s) started to loosen.
      • Now the alternator has started its death spiral. (Battery is only a year old so it's not that.)

      Add in non-scheduled maintenance (new tires and brakes will be needed soon, new struts/shocks not long after), plus a couple of newly slightly bent rims, and the value proposition is starting to favor a new car.

      New VWs are still well-discounted, and dealerships are more than happy to unload a Beetle (what the wife still wants) from their inventories. OTOH the wife "loves" her car, it's paid for, it's not particularly "old," and its Tornado Red / Beige color combo makes it a unicorn.

      It's always a struggle pinpointing this decision, to repair + maintain an old car vs. trade it in for new. Money "wizards" insist it's better to maintain a paid-for car than borrow $$$ to buy something new, though they never take into account the time and inconvenience of repairs + bumming rides to/from repair shops.

      TCL, how do you make this decision, and what would you advise in this case?



      Disclaimer: I searched TCL for "dump" and "trade" without any relevant results.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    2. #2
      Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      I favor keeping the car in cases where you do all or nearly all of your own maintenance and repairs. If you're paying shops to do everything, add that to the fact it's a VW, then I'd dump that thing yesterday
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    3. #3
      Your wife likes the car, it's paid for, and the problems are relatively minor. I would just fix it, but then again, I do all my own repairs. Do you do any repairs yourself?

    4. #4
      -fix the door servo
      -recharge AC
      -tighten the heat shield (free)
      -check alternotor for charging, could be as small as bad regulator

      All the issues you states will cost less than 1-2 monthly payments on a new car. Fix it and keep the car, put money in your savings account.

    5. #5
      Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by child_in_time View Post
      -fix the door servo
      $300-ish part, and the door needs to be opened up, which is never fun.

      http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/V...ide/index.html

      Quote Originally Posted by 20vTa4 View Post
      Your wife likes the car, it's paid for, and the problems are relatively minor. I would just fix it, but then again, I do all my own repairs. Do you do any repairs yourself?
      Not any more. Work + School keep me busy. Not to mention the alternator in the 2.5L is not trivial.

      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...or-replacement
      Last edited by g-man_ae; 03-26-2017 at 09:42 PM.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    6. #6
      I'd say when you're "over it" I put a bit of money into a couple of 2-5000$ cars then broke even after ownership. If you're just not feeling the car anymore/it's an economically good decision then maybe it's time to move on. In your case it's barely got 60k on it. I would just maintain it until you really had to move on, most of the things you mentioned didn't seem really bad to be honest; charge the ac, get a new/rebuilt alternator and maybe sell it at double the miles?

      If you're fully over it and just want something different then maybe shop around, actually drive some other cars, if they truly put a smile on your face and you're ready for monthly payments again etc etc.

    7. #7
      It's a tough one. One of my general rules is that if a repair costs less than tax on a new car (and I still like the current car that needs the fix), just fix it. The obvious gamble there is that it could need another similarly-priced repair in the near future. That guessing game depends on the particular car and what tends to go wrong with them in general. I'm kinda-sorta going though this with my 116k mile '07 G35 (might need suspension, maybe o2 sensors, already did the a/c compressor), but I really like it. It's not worth much used, so it does make dumping money into it seem dumb, but that's only when resale in considered. There are lots of other factors at play (enjoyment, reliability, ease, etc.), and money may not be the most important.

      On a fairly new, low mile car like the Beetle that probably isn't worth a hell of lot used either, I might be inclined to keep it. It's paid for and you like it. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to be the pinnacle of quality, so it might continue to nickel and dime you (well, many multiples of that)... but none of the repairs listed seem that expensive or out of line for kind of car. Annoying and not likely to happen on a lot of other cars, but not huge deals. It also seems odd that the suspension is already in need of replacing at such low miles... is it actually blown? (Even our lowly Hyundai *gasp* shocks are fine at 85k. )

    8. #8
      Member Slipstream's Avatar
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      My rule of thumb is usually to choose a replacement car, determine out-of-pocket costs to make the move, and figure out if the repair costs are higher than that. If they are in your case, it might be worth pulling the plug on the Beetle and buying something else. If not, you might consider biting the bullet and do the repairs (especially if your wife loves the car). 2.5L cars don't usually require a ton of maintenance so this might be a speed bump in an otherwise smooth ownership.

      I did this analysis with the MKV GTI I had (prior to the C30). By the time I fixed the failed ABS pump, timing chain tensioner, and shoddy body work, it was roughly the same to bail and buy the C30.
      08 c30 | 10 xc70 | seventwosix

    9. #9
      Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      You're considering dumping a paid off 5 yr old VW that isn't a lemon to purchase another VW because heat shield is loose, ac not as cold and car may need an alternator?
      ______________________________________________

    10. #10
      Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      We're definitely not "over" it though it isn't in the best of shape beyond what I mentioned. The rear bumper is slightly busted and one fender is gouged up (and paint-pen'd by me afterwards), when the mailbox attacked one fateful day.

      The suspension isn't blown yet, but I suspect that day is coming. I thought 50k was the rule of thumb for shocks and struts?

      Quote Originally Posted by BetterByDesign View Post
      You're considering dumping a paid off 5 yr old VW that isn't a lemon to purchase another VW because heat shield is loose, ac not as cold and car may need an alternator?
      Plus the door lock, plus all the non-scheduled maintenance needed, plus who knows what might happen next. It adds up to a fraction of the car's trade-in value.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    11. #11
      honestly it sounds like you just havent taken proper care of the car.

      shouldve just fixed the small stuff as it came up, then this thread wouldnt even exist. none of it was really ignorable, because its now added up to where youve made a thread about dumping it. my wife also has a 12 beetle, red, 46k miles. have fixed the couple very small issues its had as they came up and the car is sitting in the garage, paid off, needing literally absolutely nothing, mechanically or cosmetically.

      fix it for a couple monthly payments and enjoy.

      i bet the dealer literally offers you $6k on trade for a base beetle.
      Last edited by puma1552; 03-26-2017 at 09:49 PM.

    12. #12
      Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      If you fixed the issues as they happened, you wouldn't be at a point with several issues.

      And damn- the modern Beetle V2.0 is that old now.
      Doesn't seem like it's been out that long (haven't really seen that many on the road).
      Last edited by BRealistic; 03-26-2017 at 10:43 PM.
      removed because realized just as annoying as the people that refuse to turn off their phone app's auto-spam with every post.

    13. #13
      Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
      honestly it sounds like you just havent taken proper care of the car.

      shouldve just fixed the small stuff as it came up, then this thread wouldnt even exist. none of it was really ignorable, because its now added up to where youve made a thread about dumping it.

      fix it for a couple monthly payments and enjoy.

      i bet the dealer literally offers you $6k on trade for a base beetle.
      Gotta love TCL judgmental-ism

      First, this is the wife's car. Like 98% of American drivers, she doesn't notice the "little things" like the A/C (again, still works, just not as well), heat shield, and alternator. I noticed those only recently, since we almost always take my car together, and got the "oh yeah, it's been doing that for XXX time now" response I will say she's stayed on top of VW 10k service intervals, all done at our local dealership (with help from decent coupons).

      Second, it doesn't need tires, brakes, or shocks... yet. But that day is almost at hand, thus it's in the value function here.

      Third, life circumstances dictated kicking the can down the road regarding the door lock. It was on the radar to finally fix it, when all these other issues cropped up.

      Finally, the bent rims are a recent occurrence.

      And you're not wrong about the dealer trade-in. But with a little cash added, it makes a new one affordable regarding car payments.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    14. #14
      Member l88m22vette's Avatar
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      Did you pay it off to own it, or pay it off to sell it and get another car payment as soon as you were done with the Bug? If you want to not have to deal with car ownership issues right when you get done paying it off, it makes me think leasing would be better. After looking at your list, and assuming you do these all yourself, you'd spend $250, tops, which is a lot less than another 3-5 years of that every month. For my anecdote I have the TT and Outback, both of which are dead right now - I've chosen to invest in both since I like them as much as I do, and to me its fun to order a clip from Hong Kong or build a stroker engine to get them up and running again.

      All these repairs are easily done on a weekend, and with a little hunting all of the parts will be super-cheap. The alternator will be the worst one and only requires removing an accessory belt, a plug, and all of like 3 bolts; the A/C can be serviced by any shop. I'd personally change the trans fluid and start using Rotella T6 (or any good full synthetic) if you aren't. Really, just give things a once-over while you're in maintenance mode, if you cover all the little stuff at once you end up feeling like you accomplished a lot while also getting to ignore the car for awhile. Overall the 2.5 is an understressed, bulletproof engine, so take care of it and the little stuff and the car will last you a long time.

      Have to ask, do you know why the A/C lost capacity?
      Last edited by l88m22vette; 03-26-2017 at 09:56 PM.
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    15. #15
      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post

      The suspension isn't blown yet, but I suspect that day is coming. I thought 50k was the rule of thumb for shocks and struts?
      Maybe according to Midas or something. I've owned and driven lots of cars will well over 50k (or 100k), and I've never really had an issue with suspension wearing out. Would new suspension feel a little tiny bit better at 60k? Maybe, but unless the car has had an exceptionally rough life or you're leaking shock oil and bouncing down the road, I'd leave it alone. The reason I kind of want to replace mine is that I drove a newer version of my car with 100k less miles, and it felt a little bit better. Just take a peek and see if anything is leaking, or do the standard bounce test.

    16. #16
      It sounds like you need to just trade both VW's in at a Toyota dealer.

    17. #17
      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post
      Gotta love TCL judgmental-ism

      First, this is the wife's car. Like 98% of American drivers, she doesn't notice the "little things" like the A/C (again, still works, just not as well), heat shield, and alternator. I noticed those only recently, since we almost always take my car together, and got the "oh yeah, it's been doing that for XXX time now" response I will say she's stayed on top of VW 10k service intervals, all done at our local dealership (with help from decent coupons).

      Second, it doesn't need tires, brakes, or shocks... yet. But that day is almost at hand, thus it's in the value function here.

      Third, life circumstances dictated kicking the can down the road regarding the door lock. It was on the radar to finally fix it, when all these other issues cropped up.

      Finally, the bent rims are a recent occurrence.

      And you're not wrong about the dealer trade-in. But with a little cash added, it makes a new one affordable regarding car payments.
      im not judging, im making a fair assessment based on the information you originally provided. sorry the truth hurts?

      i mean you have had to kick fixing a door lock down the road for two years but now want to take on five more years of payments? does not compute

      just fix the sh!t and move on

    18. #18
      Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post

      Plus the door lock, plus all the non-scheduled maintenance needed, plus who knows what might happen next. It adds up to a fraction of the car's trade-in value.
      Ive never understood why ppl compare maintainance and repair costs to a cars trade in or market value. Its an ongoing cost of a paid off depreciating asset where the other option is to replace it with a new higher depreciating asset.

      The only factors I would consider in your case is the actual car (I ve known multiple Beetle owners whose cars just take a nosedive in terms of problems for no real reason), whether you have kids, and/or whether your wife is ok with a higher probability of being stranded or inconvenienced.
      Last edited by BetterByDesign; 03-26-2017 at 10:15 PM.
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    19. #19
      Member slirt's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post
      Second, it doesn't need tires, brakes, or shocks... yet. But that day is almost at hand, thus it's in the value function here.
      um, ALL cars need "tires, brakes, [and] shocks," those are wear-and-tear items... simple cost of use & ownership; may as well as throw gas ("MPGs") into the equation.

      Quote Originally Posted by BetterByDesign View Post
      Ive never understood why ppl compare maintenance and repair costs to a cars trade in or market value. Its an ongoing cost of a paid off depreciating asset where the other option is to replace it with a new higher depreciating asset.
      QFT

      tl;dr: yes, fix it.

    20. #20
      What does your wife want to do? Do the issues bother her or just you (outside the maintenance)? Has she spent time at the dealers looking at the new ones?

      I would start there...

    21. #21
      Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      If you can fix the issues for the equivalent of a couple of months payment on a new car then you have a car that is closer to 100%, should trade in at a little better price (with no mechanical issues) and if it is driven more than a couple of months you've broken even on the repairs.

      Oh, and shocks and struts should last much longer than 50,000 miles.
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    22. #22
      Member 88c900t's Avatar
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      If anticipated repairs/unscheduled maintenance are above the value of the car.
      Typical forum guy with busted third-hand cars.
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    23. #23
      Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      I am in the same predicament right now with my Mazda3 as it needs a new steering rack and I've already thrown a bunch of money into the thing. On the other hand, it is 4 years older than your car, worth significantly less, and has much worse problems than your Beetle.

      Seriously, an A/C recharge, $300 door lock mechanism, and a couple of bent wheels? I also highly doubt your suspension needs refreshing at 60k.

      Fix and keep driving. Any other decision is purely based on emotion.
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    24. #24
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      I would get rid of it and get something you want to drive and don't have to mess with. The same people that are lecturing you about keeping it probably trade cars in because they aren't "feeling it" anymore. You honestly sound like you've made up your mind about it and frankly I get where you're coming from and would likely do the same. Matter of fact I am doing the same. I'm in the midst of selling a car so I can jump into the deep end of payments again. To me its worth it to never have to think about it and I can just drive the damn thing. I love working on cars, but I hate having to work on my cars. If you get what I'm saying... My time is worth more to me than spending an afternoon fixing a door lock on my commuter car.

    25. #25
      Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by whalemingo View Post
      I would get rid of it and get something you want to drive and don't have to mess with. The same people that are lecturing you about keeping it probably trade cars in because they aren't "feeling it" anymore. You honestly sound like you've made up your mind about it and frankly I get where you're coming from and would likely do the same. Matter of fact I am doing the same. I'm in the midst of selling a car so I can jump into the deep end of payments again. To me its worth it to never have to think about it and I can just drive the damn thing. I love working on cars, but I hate having to work on my cars. If you get what I'm saying... My time is worth more to me than spending an afternoon fixing a door lock on my commuter car.
      Agreed. I love tinkering at my leisure, but if I'm in the middle of replacing a water pump so that I can get to work the next day and something goes wrong then that is far from fun. I did the front brakes on the wife's car yesterday, but that's a cinch. On the other hand, if it's an old car and there's no time crunch I'd happily build an engine. if I had any actual time.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
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