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02 January 2003 @ 10:56 pm
Automotive math time  

I'm 25, going on 26. Got my first car when I was 16ish. My car's dying and needs to be replaced relatively soonish. (Struts have needed replacing for four or five months, and the radiator's got a small crack)

This is the fourth car I've gone through. I haven't had one yet that didn't require at least $1000 in repairs. So $4000 on the low side for repairs since I've started driving.

This is just a guess, but estimating each car at costing $3000 to obtain/replace (hand-me-downs sometimes become hand-me-ups.....now that $ estimate might be high due to my father's negotiation and bargain-hunting skills, but not unreasonable for used cars in general) we have $12000 spent on just getting the darn things.

That's a total of $16000 in the last ten years, plus the one that's replacing the one I've currently got that's dying and needs to be replaced. Not terribly likely that those numbers will change, so roughly $20k total.

It's not unreasonable to think that repairs on cars are fairly consistent in frequency from first driving off the lot to finally getting impounded, but increase in price as time goes on. So a 1-year-old car spends just as much time in the shop, but is less expensive to maintain than a 10-year-old car. (Oh, another detail: I've never owned a car that was less than 9 years old)

So I'm looking at cars. Not a bad idea, considering that it's only a matter of time before mine overheats and I'm completely immobile. I'm looking at a gas-electric hybrid. There're a number of reasons for this, including that it's better for the environment, goes about twice the distance on about the same gas as what most people drive right now (and is therefore much cheaper to drive), qualifies for an $8/year sticker that allows single-driver to drive the carpool lanes.... Lots of good.

Here's the bad. It's a $21,000 car. Which, with financing, would cost about $28,000 over 5 years.

So let's estimate for a moment. Let's guess that the car will last about 10 years before it dies. I currently spend about $100 per month on gas, and that doesn't show much in the way of signs of dissipating. Half that saved from the energy efficiency, times 12, equals $600 per year saved on gas alone. That's $6000 over 10 years.

So at this point, we're looking at a difference of $2000 over 10 years. Add $3000 for maintenance and repairs, just so you can't say I'm ignoring them.

$5000 over 10 years difference. $500 per year. $41 per month. Gas money.

Now I know that's all in an ideal world. Both situations are likely to cost considerably more than I estimated, and the difference very well may be more than I put in here. But considering that at this point I'm currently paying dad back for repairs, and it's likely I'll be the one paying for my cars themselves, is it so bad that I look at a car that won't necessarily die that quickly? I mean, it's nice to have the variety of a new-to-you car every couple or three years, but there's something to be said for stability as well. And like I said, there are advantages to this car over other cars. Particularly 10+ years old ones.

Anyway, this whole thought process came of my father berating me on even considering this. It's clearly an impulse buy that has no thought behind it, and I should seriously reevaluate where I am in life, where I want to be, what I need to do to get there, and what I've got going on in my life that stand in the way of that path. Which is to say, I should stay in the Sherman Oaks area rather than travel on a regular basis to Santa Fe Springs where my chorus and quartet are, Whittier where most of my friends are, and Anaheim where my girlfriend is. And if that means losing most or all of those things, that's probably the right decision anyway. They are, after all, distractions.

OK, he didn't say all of that. Or most of it. But it was heavily implied.

Whatever. I'm upset and tired. Got a doctor's appointment in the morning so I can try to convince them to let me see a throat specialist. Not likely to happen, but I gotta try.
Current Music: Nightlife with Panache - Baby, It's Cold Outside
some guy: push (balance)self on January 3rd, 2003 12:58 am (UTC)
*devil's advocate hat on*
Implications are boring. Let me take a crack at the words.

    You had a life in Turlock, which you left behind to go to Anaheim. Once there, you promptly formed a new life. But you were unable to forge a career there, and rediculous debts piled up, so you had to leave. You came to a land of supportive relatives who granted housing and gainful employment, bought you food, and invited you to movies prior to their release. This would seem like a good place to make new bonds, but you did not. Rather, you've pushed aside countless opportunities to bond with your nephew, and his father. In avoiding your grandmother, you've ignored the single responsibility which granted you this opportunity - someone needs to check occasionally to see if she's injured herself. This has had far-reaching effects, and caused many people a lot of worry - note the aunt and uncle moving from their home so someone can be there for her. (this is after the family couldn't e-mail her for months at a time because you sharing the DSL connection she paid for proved more difficult than it was worth)

    The little things add up. Your resentment of the situation has been misconstrued as a thousand individual signs of disrespect. You're slowly gnawing on the hand that feeds you.

I'm not taking sides or anything. Just offering another vantage point.

Remember this the next time someone explodes at you for asking an innocent question, and you won't have to ask what just happened.
some guyself on January 3rd, 2003 07:08 am (UTC)
...morning after

Comments like that make you wonder why I don't have many friends left. Feel free to hit the 'screen' or 'delete' button on that one.