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Old 12-30-2002, 10:32 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Fla
Posts: 122
Time for a car

ok. so my family needs a new car. immediately i tell my dad i want to get a 1999 or 2000 c230K Sport with Two-Tone interior. thats been what ive wanted. now, i can find that car for around or less than $15,000. But my dad is persistant on spending alot less (around 8-12k) on an early 90's car. His mentality of having a car is one of "lets fix something that is broken on the car if it hinders its safety or if it hinders the cars ability to run". He wont go the extra step of preventing something that might break. ie.... regular maintnance. For example, if the wood interior is cracked to hell, he wont replace it. Given that, heres the debate between us.....

I argue that i want a newer car (post 98) which will be in better condition and possibly come with a warranty still. He will take better care of a newer looking car than an older car that might already be in a 'not perfect' condition. Yes, we might spend more money initially, but the probability of being hit with major repairs wont be as high in the long run. So lets say we spend $14K on the car and for the next 7 years, we spend 3K on repairs (very lenient). That totals $17K to own a newer model car for 7 years.

He argues that we should spend less money on a reliable early 90's car (560SEL, E320, Euro 500SEL, or early model s500) and fix the major things that need repair. Lets say we spend $10K on an older car and end up spending around $5-7K for repair...again very lenient.

Can anyone provide me with some insight on what car we should get?....preferably arguement on why we should buy a newer car instead of an older car

1989 260E
- 300E engine
1998 C230
1995 E320

Last edited by pshibly; 12-31-2002 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:44 PM
Ashman's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,749
I look at it like this.

You can save a few bucks buying the older car, but in the long run, you may end up spending more than a newer car would have cost.

I'll give you an example. My younger brother has a 1993 range rover. So far has has spent at least $15k in repairs in 3 years of ownership. That doesn't even include the top end rebuild he is doing on it right now.

In the just over 2 years I have owned my car, I have spent on repairs probably $4k, but that doesn't include repairs done because of car accidents, that is just repairs that I had to pay for, a big chunk being replacing the tranny as the previous owner had neglected it and never changed the fluid or filter in over 75k miles.

For me, I can understand the desire to save money now, but when you think about it, are you really saving money? Imagine you want to by something, lets say it costs $200. but you don't really want to spend more than $150.00, so you buy the cheaper product and regret buying it, yet if you had spent the extra $50.00 you would have gotten exactly what you wanted and been happy with it.

I can give one real good example for you. we had a 1985 190E 2.3. The tranny went out, and at the time the car was only worth about 5k in perfect condition. witht he broken tranny, my father had been offered $4500.00 for it, and he refused as he wanted to get more. Well he didn't get more, he ended up getting less, and had to sell the car for $2000. Why? because he wanted to get more money for it, even though there was no way it would bring in any more. in fact that offer of $4500 was a great offer, but his greed in wanting more made him lose more. His need to hold out for more money ultimately was the worst decision he could have made. But he seems to make those decisions often enough.

after he sold the car for $2k, he would tell me I was stupid and should have sold it to the guy that was willing to pay $4500.

Another thing he did was when I had my truck, it needed a new engine, well we had a similar truck that was non running, that we could have put the engine into my truck, but he refused. Then he sold that truck, and the very next day he told me we should have put the engine in your truck. What happened? My truck had to be towed away for $50.00.

As you can see, his need or greed caused more loss than it was worth, just to try to geta few extra $$$ out of it.

Now the same applies to buying a car. I know people who will pass up ona great deal, because it is justa bit more than they wanted to spend, and in compromising, they bought a cheaper car, which caused more problems and cost more money than the other one which was perfect.

Keep talking to your dad, and try to make him see the light. Don't allow him to take the plunge without proper investigation. the extra $2k spent on the newer car will be well worth it in my opinion.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - 744 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2002 C320 - 816 - Sport Wagon
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Old 12-31-2002, 12:09 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Fla
Posts: 122
thanks. well, hes associating this more with this example....

my 1989 260E has been with us for 3 years now. We bought it for $8,000 pristine condition with 120,000 miles on it. Right now, it has 185,000 miles on it (used to drive 100 miles a day to high school my senior year). The only major repairs weve made to it were the ignition computer for $1500, and the AC for $1200. So in 3 years weve paid about $2700 in repairs (not including regular maintenance that happens to every car and maintenance that ive done myself). So thats less than $1,000 a year. Now, my 260E will last another 5 years if we take care of it. And at $1,000 dollars a year, thats a good deal.

For an angle for me to debate my dad, What would be bad about buying a 'pristine condition' 1991 560SEL or a car of the same age for around 8-10 grand? Why would it be different than the situation that I am in with my 260E?
1989 260E
- 300E engine
1998 C230
1995 E320
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Old 12-31-2002, 11:14 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
You all make very compelling points regarding stepping up to newer vehicles over saving money by purchasing a fairly aged one.

I can't agree with you more, but I too would tend to purchase in the same manner as "dear old Dad" would. Why?

For one thing, I am a homeowner and head of household. There are far more things to juggle than just cars, so in the big picture, cheaper is better! Ashman, I know you have experience with running a business, so juggling the myriad of money decisions is not new to you.

So it's easy to just look at things from just the perspective of the car and say this is the better route. But Dad is also thinking about the added insurance costs that a newer vehicle would require, and not just the higher payments. Both combined eats money out of something else in the household budget. And with the shaky economy, perhaps being faced with the burden of more debt isn't comforting either.

If you are just maintaining the expense of a car, deciding to replace an expensive car part is a matter of when to do so. When you run a household, the same decision may impact whether you take your kids to that promised trip to Disney World. There's more at stake.

2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
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