I forgot to knock on wood – death of MFJ’s pimp ride version 2

I forgot to knock on wood – death of MFJ’s pimp ride version 2

So on January 1 – I’m rehashing my favorite articles for the year and I bring up the post from early last year where I bought myself a new car. I suffixed the article with the comment and I quote “still as pimp as the day I bought it. I’ve also had zero issues with the car since I bought it (setting myself up with that statement)”

pimp ride

So the following morning I’m driving my car to work when I start hearing some clunking coming from my front right tire, my car is pulling right, and my brake lights are coming on. I keep driving to work but the clunking, pulling, etc keeps coming back. The car was overdue for an oil change so I figured I’d suck it up and take it to the shop and see what was wrong. Well long story short – turns out I need two new drive shafts, a bunch of exhaust leaks fixed, something about a resonator pipe, clutch, air filter, you name it. Grand total would be about twice what I paid for the car (I paid $700)

In theory I think I would only *need* to fix the two drive shafts which would come to $387, but when you only pay $700 for a car you never really plan on doing much maintenance work on the car (at least that’s my opinion). SO right now I’m in the market for a new car (in the frugal sense of new car). If I can’t find anything in the short term I may end up biting the bullet on the drive shafts, but unfortunately it looks like I’m probably better off rolling the dice with a new beater.

So was this car a total failure and proves that you can’t consistently spend less than $1000 on a reliable car? To be honest I think my off the top of the head goal is to have the car last more than a year. If I can spend less than $1000 a year in car costs I think I’m doing ok. This is by far the shortest I have owned a car before something major happened, but I still owned the car for almost a year, only paid $700 for it and will get at least $100 back when I take it to the scrap yard. So $600 for 10 months of reliable service still isn’t the worst problem to have. The best part is I am in no way tied to my cars if something bad happens. I am in no way obligated to have to fix them and if something bad like this happens I can just laugh it off – although I really did enjoy this car and am upset that we will be parting ways so quickly.

What do you think? Am I an idiot? Should I be spending more on my cars? I only use my car to drive to work and run errands, my wife has a relatively newer/nicer car (99 Accord).

  • It’s always sad when a beater finally bites the dust. Hopefully your bad luck won’t rub off on me for posting this, but my 1991 Chevy van is still going strong!

  • Why not pay $5k for something that might run 10 years? Would that be a better investment instead of a true beater?

  • I forgot to add there is the added incentive of not having to spend time looking at cars every year. That’s priceless.

  • MFJ

    Well the goal was always to find something for under $1000 that would run at least 3 years. In your case yeah it would be great to find something for $5000 that lasted 10 years, but I would say the odds of that happening probably aren’t any better than a sub $1000 car lasting 3 years and if you choose wrong and the car dies after 1 year – you are out $5000 and I’m only out $1000 or less. I don’t like putting all my eggs in one crappy car 😉

    That being said we currently bought my wife a Honda Odyssey for $8k and I’m driving her 99 Accord that is worth about $7k until I can find a new good beater or just plain give up on it and keep driving her accord. That being said though I don’t think there is anyway that Accord is going to last 14 more years, but as you pointed out its a crapshoot. I generally tended to lean towards cheaper cars and just try to eak a few years out of them and that’s with absolutely no repairs. It would have cost me $387 to fix the drive shafts on my last car and I decided not to.

    I also agree that not having to buy a new car each year is certainly worth something 🙂

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