13 year old Buick

I have a 1995 Buick Skylark that is in good shape but my wife wants to get rid of it. She’s complaining about the cost of repairs, but I keep telling her it’s cheaper than getting a new car. As a last resort I added up everything spent on the car from day 1 including oil changes, tires, parts, everything, and I got a total of $10,972 which is $844/year. That sounds pretty good to me but I don’t have anything to compare it to. Does anyone know the typical cost of car upkeep a year, especially for older cars.

Well, my wife’s 1994 Nissan Sentra cost $8878 since 1994 and 115,625 of driving, if that helps. My 1988 Caprice (big car) cost $8509 for the first 13 years of ownership or 109,000 miles. I don’t know your mileage driven, but assume it is more than ours. So, 7.68 cents per mile for the Nissan and 7.81 cents for the Caprice. Neither car is considered a lemon. You can work out your own cost per mile.

These costs are for maintenance AND repairs, basically done by the book.

All cars need maintenance and some repairs, and it’s almost always cheaper than buying a new one. $844 per yaer or $70.33 per month will not buy you much of a new car, or an old one for that matter.

Yeah. The Buick I just got rid of cost me about 6 cents a mile over about 250K. Bought it used so the cost of the car itself was about an additional 1.3 per mile. On our Olds of that vintage, the cost per mile over 150K is about 10 cents. I haven’t tallied all the cars up yet which would include a sample of 350K, and one with 40K of that vintage, because its just too depressing. It really depends on the mileage you put on. Fewer miles a year and the repair costs per mile will be high but dollar cost low, more miles and your cost per mile goes down but total dollar goes up. You could reasonably figure 10 cents a mile for 15K a year though-BUT that is based on doing a lot of the work myself. If you pay someone, that’s a whole 'nother story.

Now a new leased car will run about 50 cents a mile (argueable up and down a little), and a new owned car should be around 25 cents for average mileage keeping it for 3-4 years with good resale value and selling at the end. And that will be very little repair cost over that period. My experience with new cars is that repair costs are pretty much negligible for the first 100K.

So bottom line, if you put on 10000 miles a year, you can figure on at least $1000 a year on average. And I see very little difference in repairs in the 2nd and 3rd hundred thousand mile sample. Except of course if you do a major repair like a trans, it’ll take 40-50K to bring the cost per mile back down to normal again.

For me, I put the 40K a year on the old cars and the new one sits more. I refuse to argue against a new car though since there’s nothing like having a warrenty and a nice car to drive, and the difference between 10 cents and 25 cents for normal usage may well be worth it.

I think that a $1,000/year for maintenance costs is a figure close to the cost for the average driver. So you are doing about right I would say.

You can keep pouring money into a an older car but there some nice things about the newer cars and consider how much longer do you want to keep this car. One really nice deal is the prices for new cars is down and there are good deals to be had. The interest rates are good and will soon most likely get even better for a loan. If you have the finances to afford payments you may want to consider getting a new one if you can land a great deal on one. You could also get an extended warranty rolled into it and then won’t have to worry about most repair costs for some time. Dealers are begging for customers right now and you are in the drivers seat for making a good deal.

$844/year – That would total one or two monthly payments and you would still have maintenance cost on a new car. You would also have repair cost after the warranty was up, and maybe before. That sounds like ball park cost for most cars.

However you have a second more important question. Why does your wife really want you to get rid of it? Maybe she is tired of it, maybe she wants something new like her sister just got, maybe she is worried about being stranded it it breaks down. Before going any further, figure out the answer to that question. Then consider where you really want to go from here. There are times when it pays to go with the flow and make her happy, even if she never finds out that you did it for her. In the long run the wife is a lot more important and can make you a lot happier or make your live miserable than a car.

Maybe she just doesn’t want to drive it anymore. In that case, it doesn’t matter what the economics are.

Gasoline costs a lot more than the other expenses combined. My truck floor mats for the front alone cost $90 but they fit and Catch-all the dirt and water. You are doing good for cost of upkeep but quit making excuses and get a new car. Remember that your wife is entitled to half of what you own. Do you want to give her half a car or half a house? The choice is all yours.

Your car costs are nice and low.$1000/year your doing pretty well.

However no offense, I think her reasoning maybe she just does not like the car especially aged. Its an awful car for Buick, the rest IMHO are pretty good cars.

I spent about $1200-$1500 per year on repairs to my '92 Honda Accord in the past 3-4 years. Before that the repair costs were under $1000 per year. This doesn’t include maintenance, tires, oil changes, etc. This includes stuff like power steering pump, A/C rebuild, windshield, brakes, ball joints, distributor, timing belt. I do my own oil (and all other fluid) changes, so that cost is lower.

I like the car and my wife agrees with me that it’s cheaper to repair and maintain than it is to purchase new. You need to convince your wife.

Doesn’t sound too bad to me. Buy a new car and not only are you going to have those monthly payments that are costing you in interest, you’re going to have ongoing expenses like oil changes, tires, brakes, filters, etc. anyway.

Those run of the mill maintenance and wear/tear items should not be used as criteria IMHO. If a car gets to the point where you’re having to throw money every month at items not related to those 2 areas then it may be time to consider another vehicle. This is without the “just gotta have a new car” itch figured in.
My view is a bit biased because I hate car payments, depreciation, etc. and prefer to keep mine going.

Typical problem. You dare to be dull and your wife does not.