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Seeking advice for future car related material

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New User

Dec 29, 2015, 5:02 PM

Post #1 of 2 (746 views)
Seeking advice for future car related material Sign In

To disclaim, I apologize if this an irrelevant post to what is normally discussed in this forum. I don't intend to get too personal, but I truly am seeking someones best judgement for anyone who can relate to this.

(I'm in a spot where I'm only flexible with about $2000 currently to invest in a decision)

To sum things up for those who don't want to read a rant, I'm mainly curious if its financially smarter to
Purchase a "used" car that is paid off and more friendly towards personally repairing and customizing but is a possible downgrade in reliability-and a gamble in creating more problems than I already have with my car as of now. Opposed to
Getting involved with a dealership where I will be paying more money on a not so big budget, but getting the reliability benefits and taking off the stress of having an older model that I might possibly have to put the same amount of money down to fix.

I drive a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta (pretty sure its the luxury model), it has 150,000 miles on it (as of now). I got it as my first car for $3000 paid via craigslist. Its been an amazing first car and more than I could ask for. Over the past year though its been subconsciously stressing me out. Slowly like with anyone's car its getting progressively worse and I haven't laid down a penny to act upon it. It started with only catalytic converter problems and has moved to: needing new struts, tires, breaks, bumper and grill replacement, the window tint peeling like crazy and other small first world problems. The plastic pieces above the emergency break have broken same as the glove department. My engine light will randomly come on and recently my auto breaks failed on a hill this winter. I can no longer open my trunk without being in my car due to theft of the custom piece on the back and my speakers are fully blown out.
Aside from my whining I have gratefully only had serious engine problems once and it was fixed by a local mechanic for cheap but never took back the knowledge of what was originally wrong with it . Nothing bad has happened for a while but I feel it coming if I do not fix the small things. About 2 years ago I went in to get repair estimates for the important components of the car. From a trustworthy source it reasonably came to around $1800 (not including interior problems or things that "bug me" aesthetically) That was sadly 2 years ago. Now I'm pretty intimidated by working on my volkswagen myself due to already being inexperienced with cars, but would put time into it if its actually worth it for the long run. But I feel like the same amount could be put into something less stressful like a Honda civic or a "leased" car that wouldn't have me crossing my fingers all the time.
Some say its a good idea for me to trade in my volkswagen for what I can get out of it, and go with what a dealership can negotiate me into and be locked into something (reliability/but costly). It doesnt sound half bad but it is the reason I am posting on this forum for knowledge. I'm barely above being a ghost in the system in credit and I don't know how it works entirely with getting a loan for a car (who to go to and what to do). Financially I have no idea if I could cover it without barely getting by. I only make $1400 a month and am left with barely $500 to spare minus other expenses when I budget properly.

In reality the car was slowly falling apart but half is to blame for me not acting upon the minor things ahead of time. Should I run my poor Volkswagen into the ground until I can trade it in for minimal value and have my saved funds go towards the rest? Or act upon trading it in immediately for a higher value with lower saved funds to account for the decision of switching?

Any stories or advice to handle this properly would be greatly appreciated. I really want to avoid making a bad move just because I have convinced myself this is a big problem.

(This post was edited by cklenz on Dec 29, 2015, 5:11 PM)

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 29, 2015, 10:15 PM

Post #2 of 2 (725 views)
Re: Seeking advice for future car related material Sign In

In a nutshell a vehicle is a poor investment option unless your someone that can take a vehicle and fix it up and sell it for more than you bought it for including parts. That is unless you can find one really cheap that doesn't need much money put into it and you sell yours and break even or profit.

Unless it becomes desirable in the future and you store it, a new car is also a poor investment. As soon as you drive it off the car lot, it has depreciated in value along with the interest you must pay to operate the loan tacked on top of that. You also need full coverage insurance on a new vehicle that you bought through a bank loan.

With your income, you should focus on saving your money and also finding ways to increase your income level. As for the vehicle your driving, you should be more concerned with the safety and running aspects of it. Forget the grill, paint, interior trim, tint, and all the other parts that are not critical. Sit down and figure out how much it would cost to get it safe and reliable. Don't worry about its value because even if those things were fixed, it is still an old car with lots of miles on it.

Drive it till it can't go anymore, engine or transmission blows or it is totaled in an accident, God forbid. Unless you find something else that is in better condition, that you could afford without making payments, save your money or invest it and focus on making more income, so you can buy a nicer vehicle or even a house in the future.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 29, 2015, 10:33 PM)

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