Monday, January 4, 2016

Something old or something new??

Continuing the dialog on our next big car purchase, I'll present a couple of options that cover both ends of the spectrum currently being evaluated.  My typical vehicle preference is cheap, mostly depreciated and potentially reliable through some wrenching and parts procurement (with coupons!) from Rock Auto or Advance.  Exterior cosmetics and interior condition are typically not anywhere on the list of care-abouts as noted by the tattered headliner and scratches that run the length of our XC90, not to mention its new Mini Cooper induced cosmetic "updgrades."

I've owned cars with no headliner at all, multi-colored paint jobs, giant dents/rust holes and just about any other visual defect that would lead to a bargain price on the ol 'list.  Having kids has steered me towards things a little newer and over $1000 but cosmetics are something I still don't really care about and tend to be degraded when a vehicle's main task is transporting 3yr olds anyways but as with many things in life, a marriage is a balance of contentment from multiple inputs that must carry equal(ish) weight.

Enough philosophizing, on to today's car options.

Option 1. A cash-friendly 2005 Honda Odyssey for $5500.  Original owner, 115k miles, mostly depreciated and up to date on maintenance: Timing belt just done (gives me ~5years to mentally prepare for a weekend laying in the driveway), new a/c, new tires.

Issues: duct tape repaired bumper, intermittent problems with power sliding door, water in cargo area after heavy rain (easily repairable according to youtube video quoted in the listing), one of the 3 colors at the bottom of my better half's preference list

Thoughts: I have a hatred of Hondas stemming from a POS 84 Civic I traded a PC for in college but this seems like a steal and the mid-2000s Odysseys are higher on the preference list than Siennas of the same generation.  Issues listed are minor and I could probably do a better job of color matching the duct tape to improve cosmetics.  Although at the bottom of the color preference list, silver should look better between semi-annual washes than darker colors.  Little leery of the water leak since I've been chasing one in our XC90 for several months that's about to drive me mad but the youtube video really is convincing...

Option 2. A 2015 Toyota Sienna that makes the wife happy and tugs at my "hey this is a good deal" strings.  25k miles (at least 10yrs of trouble free use left in her), $22k (over $10k off its original sticker price!), removable 8th seat for when the grandparents visit, the right color and a TIMING CHAIN requiring no maintenance.

Issues: None other than the 165 extra benjamins it costs

With the options presented, the question now becomes how do we decide between 2 options for something we don't really want that lie at two very different ends of the spectrum?  The same way we decided what route to take last time we bought something neither of us wanted, with numbers!

The last go-round, gas mileage played a big part in the calculations but unfortunately most things that can haul 6 people (3 of which are in carseats) get about the same mileage, assuming of course that gas guzzling SUVs have been ruled out.  While gas prices have come down quite a bit, we've been down the $450/month fuel bill route and have once again set our vehicular pride aside in favor of leaving some $$ left in the budget to eat, so things like Suburbans, Sequoias and anything else big and V8 powered that starts with an "S" will not be included here.

This go-round I'm going to use Edmunds True Cost to Own tool for gathering numbers since it's easy to use and has all the info needed to aid in our decision-making process.  In the table below you'll see Edmund's estimates for each vehicle option described above as well as an "Adjustment" column where I've made changes with justification in the "Notes" column.  Quick data is great but it's pretty general so you'll more value gathering some info on your own and plugging in where appropriate (like getting a quote from your insurance co for vehicles you're considering).
As expected, the newer car has lower repair costs and uses a little less fuel due to better mpgs but carries the burdens of higher insurance and sales tax as well as the pain of depreciation which is a fairly large chunk of change.  Also, Edmunds repair estimate seems a little low to me if not doing the work yourself just based on what I know breaks on the Odysseys so YMMV there.

While we'd prefer something borrowed and/or blue, the ~$11k of savings over 5 years with the Odyssey is certainly enticing but doesn't come without risk as a 10yr used car is always a crapshoot so some guidance and discernment is certainly in order!


  1. Water leaks can be a nightmare.scratch that. ARE A NIGHTMARE! Water equals mold. Mold equals smell. Odyssey's can have tranny issues. Toyota last forever