Why do you keep driving an unreliable car?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Dec 1, 2021 | lemons, Unreliable

Raise your hand if you enjoy driving and maintaining an unreliable car. Nobody? Exactly what we thought.

Despite that–and yes, we’re guilty here too–many of us still choose to buy, drive and own cars that are simply not reliable.

So, why do you keep driving that car instead of selling it? Are there some nostalgia-laced memories tied to the car? Is dealing with the many reliability issues just part of the ownership experience? Or is it something else?

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RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
11/30/21 1:22 p.m.

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

wawazat
wawazat SuperDork
11/30/21 1:25 p.m.

My unreliable Jeep was driven as it had full warranty coverage with rental car.  It was still a hassle for me on multiple occasions when it stranded me requiring multiple days of repair work sometimes hours from my home.  Once the warranty period was close to expiring I jettisoned it.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
11/30/21 2:18 p.m.

The minor fixes will still be less than a monthly payment. 

That said, I drive two cars that are quite reliable (looks around for wood...QUICKLY), but I've been there before

 

Oh, just yesterday I was telling the gf....er, FIANCE about the mercury capri that I kept a 5 gallon bucket in the trunk with various bottles/containers of water because we couldnt figure out why it kept overheating. 

rob_lewis
rob_lewis GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/30/21 2:28 p.m.
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Truth.

Plus, I'm becoming more of a penny pinching miser as I get older and starting to get that "get off my lawn" vibe when I see new car prices.  I remember being 20 and laughing at my grandfather talking about how expensive new cars are and I've heard myself say the same thing..... 

-Rob

iansane
iansane HalfDork
11/30/21 2:32 p.m.

I'm not poor anymore. But I was scrounging for so long that it's just second nature. Honestly, I just can't stand the idea of a car payment. So I have a fleet of semi-reliable cars I shuffle around with.

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/30/21 2:47 p.m.

Reliability is boring.

At least that's what I tell myself.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
11/30/21 2:53 p.m.

I keep it because I listened to the PO about how great it was with rose coloured glasses of it being a dream vehicle of mine and then I overpaid for it. 

Needs work / refinement as it is, and its not worth anywhere close to what I paid for it, let alone what I have already invested into repairing it. It has potential, just not nearly as great of a car as I was led to believe it was prior to purchase. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/30/21 3:35 p.m.

I've been mostly spared unreliable cars but I do have one. The infamous black hole of cash; our one off single seat race car, the Yamaha 1000cc D-Sport Racer.

The car pulled 2.5Gs in corners and 3Gs on the brakes. It would out accelerate Vipers and Turbo Porsches at track days. The lap times were within a second of GT1 / Trans-Am Cars. Driving it was an almost transcendental experience.

After a host of teething problems it suddenly started blowing engines, the only change was installing a large radiator to solve an overheating issue. Three engines later we found out why; I talked to a friend and Yamaha engineer.  Apparently this generation of engine is clearanced as such that if you run at water temps much below 150 you'd lose oil pressure to the big end of the #1 rod bearing and it seizes..........kablamo. 

Again the driving experience was phenomenal; even now I think "if I had that car I could rule my run group at vintage races".

After three seasons, the lousy ownership experience far outweighed the great driving experience.  

There is nothing more useless in this universe than an unreliable race car. 

 

 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/30/21 3:49 p.m.

I drive a reliable car to work because I have to get to work.

I drive unreliable cars on weekends because there is no place I have to be on weekends.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
11/30/21 3:53 p.m.

My rally car is 8 years old.  My tow rig is 20 years old.  My daily driver is 36 years old.

Priorities.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/21 4:40 p.m.

In my younger years I subscribed to the theory that just purchase more  than one example of said unreliable car and in some cases 3 or 4 of them. That way you can just cycle them through as they need fixing.  I did it with 944s and RX7s.  You know you are in trouble when you forget what car has a plate on it or what car a plate is currently actually suppose to be on.    Simpler times. 

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/30/21 4:45 p.m.

Can we define "unreliable"?

My car is pushing 200k and seems fine. Yes, I have had to replace things aong the way, but don't worry about it. 

Probably just jinxed myself.....

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
11/30/21 4:48 p.m.
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:

Can we define "unreliable"?

My car is pushing 200k and seems fine. Yes, I have had to replace things aong the way, but don't worry about it. 

Probably just jinxed myself.....

I'd define it as a car that can't be counted on to "just work" when you need it to.  Amount of planned maintenance required to keep it in that state notwithstanding. 

Folgers
Folgers New Reader
11/30/21 5:50 p.m.

Owning unreliable cars is easier when you have more than one. 

A individual should have two cars. A couple should have three. 

A family of four should have six at minimum. 

The dealerships service isles are full of broken newer cars. 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
11/30/21 5:58 p.m.

Price is no object, I can't think of another vehicle that does what my Jeep does, as well as the Jeep does. Every year of ownership has brought me at least one major issue. It's left me stranded for a month at a time, twice. I'm a big whiner about driving cars that don't fit me ergonomically and it just fits, like a GLOVE.

The Beemer: I only keep driving it because I have the "usually running" Jeep for when it breaks down. Anybody want an M3 swapped 318ti....

RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

This! 

But of course I am lazy too.  indecision  Dang it.  Don't tell anyone.

noddaz

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
11/30/21 8:34 p.m.

Because just when you have FULLY sorted the unreliable beast in the garage, it's now worth the same as the unsorted dream unreliable beotch you have always wanted so you gotta ditch it and sort the next ladder rung. One day I will have a project Lambo in the garage I am certain.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/30/21 8:42 p.m.

Any car can be unreliable if you don't maintain it.

Any car can be reliable if you do maintain it.

Except a biturbo. 

I'd drive any of my 1980s cars 500 miles any time without any worries (other than them being less comfortable than my newer cars). 

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
11/30/21 8:57 p.m.

Because it's paid off, and it still looks pretty good broken down in the garage waiting for the box of parts to arrive.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/30/21 9:18 p.m.

So, why do you keep driving that car instead of selling it?
 

I didn't. I only kept the WRX wagon for six months. 
 

Everything else is good, including the mega miles GMT 400 and the 17 year old Mitsubishi. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/30/21 9:26 p.m.

I don't know. Ask the guy who bought the FD RX-7.

But seriously, I had a run of unreliable cars as a youth, but they were all fun when they ran. A fun car, like a particularly attractive romantic partner gets more slack than the homely or the boring.

Winston Wolf: I solve problems
Winston Wolf: I solve problems MegaDork
11/30/21 11:28 p.m.

When you fall in love, you will do things that make absolutely no sense to those who are not.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
11/30/21 11:41 p.m.

Masochist. 

No other reason. Though most of my cars are unreliable because I keep mucking about with them if they were stock they would do just fine. 

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
12/1/21 7:49 a.m.

I think a lot of it is the cars are still more reliable than the cars I grew up with, and I have a cell phone with roadside assistance. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 7:53 a.m.

Buying a car is such a hassle. I kept my ZJ and my Baja long after they should have been sent across the junkyard scales because I hated dealing with all the scam artists and flakes on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/1/21 10:16 a.m.
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Does it though?  In the long run?

Often it seems like reliable cars are a buy-once-cry-once type scendario and are actually cheaper in the long run.  Similar to houses, clothing, [insert product here].

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
12/1/21 11:07 a.m.
ProDarwin said:
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Does it though?  In the long run?

Often it seems like reliable cars are a buy-once-cry-once type scendario and are actually cheaper in the long run.  Similar to houses, clothing, [insert product here].

Experien gives the average 2020 new car payment as $568 a month in this report. I've driven some seriously atrocious cars, but nothing that came anywhere close to that sort of cost every month. If you were doing something like buying new and holding onto a car for 10-15 years so that most of the ownership is free and clear, that might be competitive - but it has a lot of the cost front-loaded.

And a lot of clothing has you paying for the brand and not much else - it's frequently made in the same shop, by the same staff, from the same materials as cheaper stuff. Sometimes it's even made using the exact same patterns - the fashion world has some pretty rampant IP theft.

WillG80
WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/1/21 11:17 a.m.

I think this falls in the same scenario as the "fast, reliable, cheap. Pick two" category. Except it's cheap, reliable, fun/interesting/fast.

priorities:

1. Fun/interesting/fast.

2. Cheap. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
12/1/21 11:33 a.m.

I can find a reliable car for $1000 - $1500; the clear coat will be total haze, the interior rotted out and the AC won't work but it will get me there. I'm also sure I will probably hate driving it.............but when you're broke it's what you do.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/1/21 11:52 a.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

Experien gives the average 2020 new car payment as $568 a month in this report. I've driven some seriously atrocious cars, but nothing that came anywhere close to that sort of cost every month. If you were doing something like buying new and holding onto a car for 10-15 years so that most of the ownership is free and clear, that might be competitive - but it has a lot of the cost front-loaded.

Very apples to oranges there.  I'm not saying operating a beater isn't cheaper than a new car.

I'm talking about (for example) buying a sketchy $3k car that will nickle and dime you vs. a $6k solid car that wont.  Or cheaper cars that often depreciate a lot more than a slightly more expensive choice.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
12/1/21 1:30 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
MadScientistMatt said:

Experien gives the average 2020 new car payment as $568 a month in this report. I've driven some seriously atrocious cars, but nothing that came anywhere close to that sort of cost every month. If you were doing something like buying new and holding onto a car for 10-15 years so that most of the ownership is free and clear, that might be competitive - but it has a lot of the cost front-loaded.

Very apples to oranges there.  I'm not saying operating a beater isn't cheaper than a new car.

I'm talking about (for example) buying a sketchy $3k car that will nickle and dime you vs. a $6k solid car that wont.  Or cheaper cars that often depreciate a lot more than a slightly more expensive choice.

Now that is a more reasonable question than how I'd initially read it: I'd agree that it is typically best to buy whatever is in the best condition you can reasonably afford if a new car isn't in the budget.

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
12/1/21 2:07 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Does it though?  In the long run?

Often it seems like reliable cars are a buy-once-cry-once type scendario and are actually cheaper in the long run.  Similar to houses, clothing, [insert product here].

While it could be considered a buy once cry once situation, walking into a dealer and walking out with a new vehicle really isn't an option for myself or LOTS of other people. Credit, income, availability to come up with down payment/taxes/insurance, not wanting to take on 5 figure debt, multiple reasons there. 

There's also very little guarantee that new=reliable, just talk to any service tech at any dealership. 

So instead, taking $small and buying a possibly reliable thing to get around in that is going to need a few bucks work every now and then becomes a much better proposition than using that money as a down payment and being stuck with a recurring monthly payment for 5-7 years. Or worse, buying a piece of E36 M3, and then rolling the loan over into another vehicle purchase.

If the last year has showed us anything, it's that no job is truly "secure". How easily can you come up with a monthly payment if your place of work shuts down for an extended period, or something happens and you can't work?

 

Edit to catch later replies: if you're buying a sketchy $3k car because it's the only way you can get to work, you're not running cost of ownership spreadsheets, because you're too busy trying to keep your job and your bills paid. Doubling that to buy a more solid car is much harder on the low end of the income scale. At $15/hour, for example, that's almost 8 weeks pay after taxes if you don't spend a dime on anything, like food or other bills. 

It's all a gamble. Sometimes you get lucky and get a well cared for E36 M3 box for cheap. Sometimes you get berkeleyed buying something "nicer and better" that turns out to be a lemon.

RustBeltSherpa
RustBeltSherpa New Reader
12/1/21 3:55 p.m.
iansane said:

I'm not poor anymore. But I was scrounging for so long that it's just second nature. 

BTDT as well.

P.S. The Biturbo is the perfect "poster child" of an unreliable car.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
12/1/21 4:05 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

Good point on the sketchy; I've driven some stone axe relaible cars that probably weren't safe. 

On the 79 Civic Wagon; when you went from high beam to low beam on the lights you had to do it carefully otherwise the lights would go out. The 72 Valiant had a mind of it's own if you ever had to do any kind of panic stop (it'd been run into a fire hydrant) The 68 Ford F100 with a 1/4 turn of slop in the steering and an 1/8 of end play in the left rear axle (it literallly slid out with no effort when we fixed it). The 74 Ford F350: I discovered the rear brakes weren't working, becuase it kept locking the fronts in the rain (I live in the desert)........I'd been driving it for a year before I'd ever driven it in the rain.

 

 

GeddesB
GeddesB New Reader
12/1/21 4:53 p.m.

It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
12/1/21 5:19 p.m.

I'm not saying they're all like mine, and I'm sure not saying they're perfect, but Suzuki SX4's seem quite reliable and cheap as dirt.  If mine blew up today I might go buy another one tomorrow just to get back into a car to get me to/from the everyday stuff I need to do.  I really can't imagine hanging onto something "fun" that is also "busted" if I don't have much money in my pocket.  Where public transit or work from home options are limited it costs too much in the long run to not have a reliable ride.

My 2 cents, sorry to derail a bit.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
12/2/21 3:53 p.m.
MadScientistMatt said:
ProDarwin said:
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Does it though?  In the long run?

Often it seems like reliable cars are a buy-once-cry-once type scendario and are actually cheaper in the long run.  Similar to houses, clothing, [insert product here].

Experien gives the average 2020 new car payment as $568 a month in this report. I've driven some seriously atrocious cars, but nothing that came anywhere close to that sort of cost every month. If you were doing something like buying new and holding onto a car for 10-15 years so that most of the ownership is free and clear, that might be competitive - but it has a lot of the cost front-loaded.

let me give you an example that kind of goes against your statement. My 2020 Bolt's payment is less than $300 a month (a bunch less). A friend bought one after I did because the payment on the Bolt was less than the monthly fuel/repair costs on her paid off 1990 Explorer. She's not rich, but the cost of fuel and upkeep on a paid off old car was hurting more than the payments on a new car.

As for the premise of the thread, I have pretty good luck with cars. I've had a number of reliable cars that were on the "least reliable" lists forever, from my BMWs, to my P38 Range Rover, to my MINIs. So I tend to buy and drive cars that speak to me emotionally instead of rationally. My current 2013 MINI Cooper Roadster is such a car. In the year that I've owned it (used) it's given my zero problems, and has been a joy to own and operate. I've put 8k miles of strictly pleasure driving, with most of them being done with the top down. I put new tires on it when I got it, and replaced the battery soon after as it was the original from 2012, but I don't count that against the reliability. I bought it because I wanted one. I love the looks, the driving, and the value.

So why do I drive a supposedly unreliable car? Because I'd rather take my chances on being bored beside the road than bored ON the road. wink

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
12/2/21 4:05 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

I particularly enjoy driving cars (like my E38) that are stereotypically unreliable and have a bad reputation amongst average people.  In reality, many of them aren't unreliable, they're just either high maintenance, or unforgiving of bad maintenance.  If you know the car is maintainable and will be reliable if maintained, then in my mind, it's a good pick, as it keeps a lot of buyers away, meaning lower prices. 

randyracer
randyracer New Reader
12/2/21 9:44 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

What an all-time great answer, RevRico

randyracer
randyracer New Reader
12/2/21 9:46 p.m.

How about the challenge and risk of knowing you might have to fix, even tow, it to get to your destination?  I get a dark pleasure from that, and optimistically always thing I'm gonna make it.  Until cold and wet in a 2 AM rainstorm wishing I had a 12 mm deep socket with me.

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/2/21 9:50 p.m.
RevRico said:

While it could be considered a buy once cry once situation, walking into a dealer and walking out with a new vehicle really isn't an option for myself or LOTS of other people. Credit, income, availability to come up with down payment/taxes/insurance, not wanting to take on 5 figure debt, multiple reasons there. 

There's also very little guarantee that new=reliable, just talk to any service tech at any dealership. 

I'm with you here.  I totally recognize that buying new is not for everyone (or most people actually).

But at the same time, myself and I'm sure many others have bought cars that turn out to need a lot of work/be money pits thinking we were making smart financial choices, while the guy who just went a bought a higher quality but more expensive model/example ended up way ahead financially.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/2/21 9:56 p.m.
randyracer said:

How about the challenge and risk of knowing you might have to fix, even tow, it to get to your destination?  I get a dark pleasure from that, and optimistically always thing I'm gonna make it.  Until cold and wet in a 2 AM rainstorm wishing I had a 12 mm deep socket with me.

 

That's not as much fun for me as it was forty years ago. Fortunately, old cars are much better now. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/2/21 10:22 p.m.

My current 2017 minivan was purchased in 2018 (w/ 24K miles) because the 2008 minivan (w/ 208K miles) I had was starting leave me stranded more often than I was comfortable with.  And then work sent me back to NH so I needed a vehicle to get me there and back without worrying about it (and functioning A/C again would be nice).  Fortunately, the $.55/mile I was reimbursed for travel covered quite a bit of the car payment.

In the 3.5 years I've had the 2017, I've replaced the tires once and the rear brake pads. In the 2008, I was looking at a new transmission before too long.  Not to mention the '17 is a higher spec and a much nicer van to drive. Could I have dumped the payment into the 2008 and made it reliable?  Maybe. Maybe not.  Either way, I don't regret the decision to move on to a newer/better van.

Berck
Berck New Reader
12/3/21 12:11 a.m.

In my case: for the challenge of it.

I specifically bought the least reliable car on the planet with the goal of trying to see if I could reliably commute to work in it.

After 20+ years of daily driving Miatas for hundreds of thousands of miles and only getting stuck once, it just seemed like I needed more of a challenge.  In the before-times when I used to commute, I was driving 100 miles/day, up and down a mountain in Colorado.  In the summer, I'd enjoy it in a Miata or on a motorcycle.  But in the winter, even on snow tires with an LSD, there are a lot of days I cannot get the Miata out of my driveway.  I'd purchased a FJ60 which would go anywhere, but 13mpg and 100 miles/day was expensive and uncomfortable.

And then I saw this thing on Craigslist.  It's the Quattro, but not the turbo.  I went to drive it mostly out of curiosity, and was astonished.  The power windows worked.  All 4 of them.  The sunroof worked.  The climate control mostly worked.  Both diff locks worked.  Despite being built in 1987 with a purported 184,000 miles and the least reliable electrics since Lucas.  I offered the seller $1,000, he declined, and I walked away.  A week later, I called him back and told him my offer was still good.  He said, "I'm losing money on it.  Fine.  Just come get it."

My (somewhat incredulous) wife dropped me off to pick it up on the way to work.  She did not wait to see if it started after I purchased it.  It barely did.  It made it to work.  That day, the mountain pass I drive home closed because of flooding associated with recent wildfires.  There's a 25-mile gravel road up the mountain that's available instead.  I had a fantastic drive home in the mud.  Mostly.

It smelled like burning hydraulic fluid because the steering rack was dumping hydraulic fluid on the exhaust.  The warning display was alternating between coolant overtemp (it wasn't), low hydraulic fluid (it was), and brakes (eh, who knows?).

That was a few years ago, and the Audi and I have had some great battles.  My weapons have been perseverance, an inscrutable Bentley manual and ebay parts from Estonia.

I managed to fix the cold start issues by installing the missing fuse for the CIS computer. Point mine.

The odometer stopped at 184,199.  I took it apart, unwedged it and it restuck at 185,299. Point Audi.

The after-run relay for the electric cooling fan melted.  I replaced it, and the replacement melted and drained my battery.  Point Audi.

I fixed the coolant temperature warning by replacing the multi-malfunction sensor in the thermostat housing. Point mine.

Oh man, the GM-sourced Cadillac climate control.  It mostly worked, but did what it wanted to do, with occasional random responses to button-pushes.  But then the heater core started dripping on my feet, and I replaced it.  I fixed the leak, but the servos and levers and springs and magic for the ducting have never worked correctly since.  Tie?

I fixed the acceleration hesitation by replacing one of the electric valves for the CIS.  When I removed the electrical connector, fuel came out.  Of the electrical connector.  Point mine, but it gets a nod for creativity.

And then the clutch failed in a weird way.  I couldn't get it in gear reliably.  I replaced the clutch master and slave cylinders.  That did not fix the problem.  Against my better judgment, I replaced the clutch.  The pressure plate was just plain worn out.  Plenty of life left in the disc.  While I had the transmission out, I replaced the steering rack.  This was less than $200 in parts from rock auto, but geeze was that a lot of work.  Many points to me.

A relay of uncertain function started clicking while driving and after driving.  I removed it.  After doing so, the driver side door chime stopped working, which is a huge relief.  Unfortunately, the power windows stay powered until you open and close one of the non-driver doors, which means every time I get out, I have to open and close another door to keep the battery from dying.  I think the Audi won that one.

Things I've never even tried to fix: the hydraulic accumulator for the brake assist (really, it has one of these!) was busted from the beginning and I've never even tried.  The brake assist works fine as long as there's hydraulic pressure.  It won't work if you use the brakes a lot or if the engine isn't running.

The right-rear brake caliper sticks.  I ordered a replacement, and the part number was actually the left rear.  So I installed that one and tried to order a left, hoping it would fit on the right.  No left exists.  I disassembled the caliper, cleaned the piston, honed the bore and it stopped sticking for awhile.  Just last week I did it again. 

In the time I was winter-commuting in it, I have never actually gotten stuck anywhere but my own house, which is really decent of it.  I have discovered plenty of pools of fluid underneath it when leaving work, but it always got me home.  There were lots of days, however, that for one reason or another it did not actually manage to leave my driveway.  Or the time it left my driveway, but the clutch stopped working on my street, and I limped it back.  If I were relying on it exclusively to get me to work, I'd be unemployed.

It's maybe the best car I've ever driven in the snow.  It came with fresh no-name all seasons. I'm a big believer in snow tires, but I couldn't justify spending money on them for this car.  The ABS works, and I've never actually needed the diff locks (despite driving in some wicked snow), but they make for great rally practice in the snow.

It was the challenge I sought.  Unfortunately, someone rear-ended me at a traffic light which did pretty good damage the trunk.  Her insurance company totaled it and gve me $1,800.  I kept it for $100 and kept driving it. Someone else changed lanes into me, smashing up all the body panels on the driver's side.  I accepted $250 cash in exchange for not calling the cops because I was feeling generous and not willing to deal with yet another insurance claim on my already-destroyed Audi.  So, at this point I haven't actually lost any money on it?

I still have it and drive it now and then, but I don't have the energy left for whatever the next major event is.

emcj7550
emcj7550
12/3/21 8:14 a.m.

Because it's British and its a lot of fun to drive.

Besides, what's "reliability" mean anyway? Yeah, it leaks oil and stuff breaks. That happened back in 1970 too. I've only ever been stranded by the side of the road a couple of times in almost 50 years of driving LBC's. Most of that was "defered maintenance" that I was too lazy or busy to take care of promptly. To me, a "reliable car" is one that never (or rarely) sees the business end of a tow truck.

 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
12/3/21 11:58 a.m.
MadScientistMatt said:
ProDarwin said:
RevRico said:

Because I'm poor, and reliability costs money.

Does it though?  In the long run?

Often it seems like reliable cars are a buy-once-cry-once type scendario and are actually cheaper in the long run.  Similar to houses, clothing, [insert product here].

Experien gives the average 2020 new car payment as $568 a month in this report. I've driven some seriously atrocious cars, but nothing that came anywhere close to that sort of cost every month. If you were doing something like buying new and holding onto a car for 10-15 years so that most of the ownership is free and clear, that might be competitive - but it has a lot of the cost front-loaded.

And a lot of clothing has you paying for the brand and not much else - it's frequently made in the same shop, by the same staff, from the same materials as cheaper stuff. Sometimes it's even made using the exact same patterns - the fashion world has some pretty rampant IP theft.

Now add your labor cost to the parts cost that you track.   Take your annual income divide by 2080 that's your per hour costs. Now be accurate about your time.  The time you spend driving for replacement.  The time you waste by the side of the road waiting for a tow or whatever. Time spent cleaning up and putting away your tools.  And dealing with the resulting dirt/grease/oil mess. 
 Oops add the time spent fixing it.  Multiply times your income.  

Berck
Berck New Reader
12/3/21 6:06 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Only, for most of us, it doesn't work that way.  It's not like I can take a weekend job at the rates my employer pays me.  Sure, my time is not free, but my free time isn't worth the same as my employed rate.  If you happen to be employed in some way where you could, in fact, work as much as you want at the same marginal rate, then sure, it works out numbers-wise.  But that doesn't begin to question non-monetary preferences.  I'd rather be working on unreliable cars than doing what I do for a living--but working on other people's unreliable cars wouldn't afford me the income to have my own fleet of unreliable cars:)

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
12/4/21 8:41 a.m.

The value of my time spent working on a car varies widely.  In my mind, it really depends on what I'd be doing if I weren't working on the car.  If I would have just been browsing GRM instead, then that time is damn near free.  But if I'm putting off something else to work on a car instead, then that time is worth a lot more. 

stan_d
stan_d SuperDork
12/4/21 10:57 a.m.

I had a rule , if it left me stranded twice, fix and sell. That was when I was only driving junk. My car shopping was at the local junkyard. or the back lot of SAAB dealer.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
12/4/21 11:26 a.m.

Ironically, the only cars that have ever "stranded" us have been odd issues with the ones that were supposed to be nicer and reliable.

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
12/4/21 12:14 p.m.

I've become really good at not driving unreliable cars, but it just occurred to me that it happened at the same time I stopped driving Volkswagens. Coincidence?

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