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Help Choosing a Vehicle

Ok?this may get long but here goes.

My wife and I currently have three vehicles that are all paid for:

Ford F150 2002 140,000 miles (towing 22 ft boat or 28 ft enclosed trailer, used many weekends)

VW Jetta 2006 180,000 miles (work car, all highway)

Honda Accord 1995 190,000 miles (wife?s commuter car 10-20 city miles per day)

We definitely are in need for a new car as all of our cars have pretty high miles. And we have come up with two scenarios. Please give us your input and help us decide!!

Option one: We would keep the Jetta for my work; keep the Ford for pulling; and sell the Honda Accord. We would then get a new Subaru outback or forester. My wife would drive the Subaru to work as her commuter vehicle. My concern would be that the truck would die and we would have to have two payments.

Option two: We would keep the Jetta for my work; Sell the Ford; and keep the Honda accord for my wife to drive to work. We would then get a new 2500 series Chevy or Dodge. The concern here would be if the Honda or VW would die we would have to replace them.

Help Please!!!

I would choose option 2. I have heard that accords can reach 400,000 miles if well maintained.

I don’t know service history and condition of these vehicles so it is virtually impossible to answer your question. You have all the info and you’ll have to make the decision.

Since the truck is a weekend vehicle, if it dies you’ll have time to find a suitable replacement. That allows you time to shop for a new or used truck and get the best deal. It is also means if it breaks you have time to get it fixed without scrambling to get to work. Major repairs are still less than new car payments. So, I’d keep the truck.

Of the 2 cars the Jetta is newer, but it has potential for more problems as it gets older. Once off warranty VW’s tend need expensive repairs. The Honda is simply older and due for more repairs as parts break down due to age.

I’d tend to replace the Accord, but I won’t go with a Subaru. They are much more expensive cars to maintain over time and you keep vehicles a long time. A new or slightly used Accord or even Civic would be my recommendation. If gas prices go up you’ll be better off with a car that gets better mpg than the Subaru.

I think you are going to need to replace the Jetta sooner rather than later. You are racking up the miles and the car is going to get much more expensive due to repairs in the next 3 years compared to the last 3 years. My guess is if you kept all these car another 3 years you’d spend less to repair the Accord than the Jetta.

If the Accord still looks good and drives good, I’d keep it and upgrade the Jetta now. You aren’t going to get any trade value from the Accord, and it won’t depreciate much more since it is 15 years old. The Jetta you can get more money in trade or private sale that can reduce your car payment. The Accord should be good for the daily 30 miles commute for many years to come. With your high miles use you’d be best with a low mileage 2 or 3 year old used car. A bunch of depreciation is off the car and then you can rack up the miles with out getting hit with too much depreciation. As long as you are racking up 40K+ miles per year your best plan is to buy a 3 year old car every 3 years. This gives you the best way to reduce the depreciation hit and still not have major repairs that cars experience when they get to 8 years old and 150K miles.

I would get rid of the Jetta before it starts to become a money pit. Keep the Accord and fix anything that may be needed. Your wife’s commuting style is ideal for attaining 400,000 mile life, as pointed out.

Keep the truck; a friend of mine tows a big 5th wheel camper with a 20 year old Ford F-150. It’s performing just fine. You are not putting a lot of miles on the truck, and I would just fix anything as it occurred.

For your work, I would get a Honda Accord 4 cyl, Toyota Camry 4 cyl, Mazda 6 4 cyl, or Ford Fusion, 4 cyl. All 4 of these are long life cars that will be economical to drive and maintain. I would stay away from any Subaru, since they get expensive to maintain as they age.

Making a buying decision based on high miles alone is no longer the right thing to do; you make a decision based on condition, repair and maintenance costs and the safety of the vehicle. Many posters get 300,000-400,000 miles out of their cars these days. But don’t count on a Volkswagen to do that.

Hello mrb3990, UncleTurbo, and Docnick,
Thank you so kindly for your detailed replies!
I am sorry, I forgot one pertinent detail - the Jetta is a TDI (diesel), not a regular gas Jetta, and we have had no problems with it. Does this change your advice at all?
Thanks again!

For me, not much. The TDI gets great fuel mileage and holds up better than the gas Jettas but you are still going to be spending a lot more on repairs as the miles roll up. While the motor maybe fine lots of other stuff on the Jetta’s don’t hold up well over time and repairs are pricey.

A 4 cylinder Civic will last as long, get a bit less mpg but the regular gas cost less than diesel so the costs per mile even out. The Civic body, suspension, and electronics all are much less trouble than same items on a Jetta.

Agree with Uncle Turbo. The basic VW diesel is a good powerplant, but the rest of the car has a poor reliability record and will get progressively more expensive to keep up after 150,000 miles or so. Also, the first sign of turbo trouble will be an expensive wake-up call, as will be any electrical or electronic repairs.

well, the Jetta is at 180k right now, and from the way it’s described, it’s doing good. 45~50k per year is quite a bit of driving for ANY vehicle, but the highway miles are easier on the car.
Not sure if you’re buying new or used, but for city driving, you might wanna look into the Fusion/Milan hybrid for better fuel economy in city driving(so you’re not stuck driving a Prius anyways :stuck_out_tongue: )

Get AAA and see which one dies an economic death first. You could get 2 or 3 years before you have to make a decision.