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Time To Trade? Need Opinions


fifrules
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I know I don't post much, but I actually frequent this forum pretty often. I have a 1995 LS400 with 309,000kms on it (~193,000 miles) and it seems everything just broke at once. I have an O2 sensor to replace, EGR tube, and a coolant issue (it's spraying out). In addition, the heating system has a clog (or something like that...), three dash lights are out, and there are other little things like the seat heaters failing, etc. The timing belt will also be due for replacement in a little while. Before I spend even more money (just spent $700 on the starter), is now a good time to get out and buy something else? I'm adding up the totals for what I'm about to spend, and leasing is looking pretty attractive in comparison right about now...

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When to give up and move on is a very personal decision.

I'll tell you why I moved on when I sold my 1990 LS400 after driving it from new for 13 1/2 years and 183,000 miles. Due to issues partially related to aging and more related to unusual vision isses, I needed better headlights. The headlights on my 90 LS were absolutely horrible and made driving at night scary. My wife expressed concern that there was no passenger side air bag for her and that my 90 LS didn't have the side air bags her 98 Camry had. We also concerned about what would happen to her if she ever got into a serious accident while driving the 90 LS. She's a little thing and has to sit very close to the steering wheel. The 90 LS had the old style high powered driver side air bag of the type that had been known to maim and kill smaller people.

If not for the above issues, we would be likely be driving the 90 LS today. The old 90 LS seems to be doing quite well with its new owner at over 250,000 miles and the owner tells me every few weeks that he plans to keep it forever.

If I had fully appreciated other newer technologies, I might have moved on to a newer car sooner. The VSC and snow mode of my newer LS sure makes winter driving a lot easier.

It is possible to "spend through" periods of repairs like you are experiencing. It is starting to fade from my memory but I think I was averaging about $1,000 in repairs each year during my last four years of ownership of the 90. But that was still pretty cheap compared to replacing it with a much newer car. When I finally replaced the 90, instead of buying another new one, I replaced it with a like-new 2000 LS that had just come off a 3 year/36,000 mile lease. It was easy to pay cash since I had been socking away money for a new car during the 13 1/2 years I had the 90.

I don't know the tax laws of Canada but here in the U.S. a personal (non-business) auto lease, my C.P.A. wife tells me, is an absolute financial disaster. The way we look at it, owning is good; owing is bad. Pretty simple.

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Lots of good points from Jim.

My only disagreement, and its not really a disagreement, is the lease. I lease for business (well, I got away from it the past few years since I bought my car out, but I'll lease again) It all depends on how you drive cars. If you're happy driving a car for a long time (and you can certainly drive these cars for a long time) then you should never lease. However, if you KNOW that you're going to be bored and into a new car every 2-3 years and you don't drive more than 15k miles a year...leasing might make sense for you even if you can't deduct the lease for a business, but only if you KNOW you're going to do that anyway.

I venture to say, from a pure financial point of view, its probably almost always cheaper to keep and maintain an older paid for car than it is to purchase a new or newer car.

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I know I don't post much, but I actually frequent this forum pretty often. I have a 1995 LS400 with 309,000kms on it (~193,000 miles) and it seems everything just broke at once. I have an O2 sensor to replace, EGR tube, and a coolant issue (it's spraying out). In addition, the heating system has a clog (or something like that...), three dash lights are out, and there are other little things like the seat heaters failing, etc. The timing belt will also be due for replacement in a little while. Before I spend even more money (just spent $700 on the starter), is now a good time to get out and buy something else? I'm adding up the totals for what I'm about to spend, and leasing is looking pretty attractive in comparison right about now...

I am familiar with this debate, and how I handled it was to figure out how much the repairs would cost, then figure out what my payments would be for a newer car that I wanted. Once I had those two items understood, it was a timing issue debate, as in "the cost of repairs = 8 months of payments for a new car." From there, it was question of satisfaction of my current 12 year old car and feeling of security against future repairs, which was negated by the warranty issued for a new car, or extended warranty negotiated into the price of a used car. But, my 95ls was not paid off and had another year to go, which was the basis for the entire financing question to begin with. If your's is paid off, owned free and clear, then things change a little. The question then becomes if you're comfortable with the annualized repair bills v. a car payment for a newer car covered with a warranty. If you're facing about $4500 in repairs to bring it back to new, that's about $375 a month. Now granted, the argument there is the reliability of the LS400 to begin with, as it is doubtful you'll be faced with those repairs again for quite some time, certainly more than just a year. But, and this is what ultimately made up my mind to sell mine, was the question of "what else lurks in my 12 year old car that will come up?" Factor in the increased cost for parts due the age of the car, and it was a no brainer for me.

Oh, and the wife wanted an SUV in the garage...that might of had a little influence too. ;)

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Thanks to everyone for all the help! If I did end up leasing, I would definitely be writing it off for business. However, I've now found a cheaper shop and they have already fixed the coolant and heating issues for $110 (includes the check engine diagnostic too)! I'm now much more optimistic than I was yesterday, and the other issues will cost less than I initially guessed. I can also drive it for a little while longer, but still get rid of it before the timing belt (and since I don't owe anything on it, I can pocket whatever cash I manage to get). It might not be too long until I'm in the market for something new, but it's nice to not feel as rushed, and I'm sure it will be a lot easier to sell a fully functioning LS400 vs. an undrivable one. Thanks again!

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Now I on the other hand did get rid of the my 94 LS. I've spent too much on it and when I sold it, I didn't make up the difference. I did end up financing a Used car with an extended warranty.

It will eventually boil down to how you want to use your car. A daily commuter with the occasional family trip or weekend/family car with the occasional commute.

My SC totally different view. I'll never sell it, and will probably spend $$$$$ into it. :chairshot: My way of balancing life.

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As far as I'm concerned, it is nearly always cheaper to repair and maintain versus buying a new car especially of you own a car with a good reputation for reliability such as Lexus. As someone else said, it's likely that you won't revisit those particular repairs again for awhile.

It really gets down to the type of car you have. I had a BMW that was constantly in my pocket and unlike lexus, didn't have the reputation for being as reliable. It was a moneypit that caused me to get rid of it.

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