OT: Pre-Trip Van Issue - What's Wrong?

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Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 26, 2017 - 03:18pm PT
^ Yeah, I know. But in theory new vehicles are the way to go! Because you know you look like you're successful, if you have a shiny car.

I was talking to someone the other day just bought a brand new car. Six year loan and $350/mo payments.

If I thought I COULD responsibly manage the finances for a new vehicle, then maybe I would go for it. But dang that thing, what's it called....knowing oneself.... Just can't convince my mind that I could keep current with payments and related costs over the years to maintain the value of the "investment." Just can't convince myself that I need to go work for a corporation so I can have the exterior facade that is all bright and shiny, and that their soul in exchange for dollars deal is in my best interest.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Sep 26, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
Getting lectured by climbers for having an old rig is bizarre! Who are these people?? Not everybody can afford a new Mercedes Sphincter van. Just get the steering thing looked at ASAP- sounds sketchy.
David Knopp

Trad climber
CA
Sep 26, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
i have never posted on your van travails before but now i couldn't resist-you could possibly have a decent non-make-you-crazy transport and not work for a big corporation. You don't need anything fancy or new, just something reliable-may i suggest something in a honda? i have a 14 yr old element, 260 k miles, never needed anything but tires and oil, and yeah the brakes done. Something like that. i wish you all the best!
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:03pm PT
If it only goes left, you are ready for some NASCAR

In theory, if you have a new car you should be able to get 60k miles out of it before something goes wrong (and hopefully more), and it's under warrenty. Cars, vans, and trucks are in a constant state of decay and it is tough for your mechanic to keep up with it. With an older vehicle it helps if you become fluent in repair of that vehicle.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:14pm PT
Happiegrrrl, if all you've spent in the last 5 years for repairs is $1500 (not including tires and oil changes, and including a radiator you didn't need), I agree that's pretty hard to beat!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:15pm PT
This topic is waayyy more interesting than whether or not NFL players kneel or stand and the poor folks in Puerto Rico.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
^ Yeah, I know. But in theory new vehicles are the way to go! Because you know you look like you're successful, if you have a shiny car.

Don't be bitter. You dropped out by choice.

DMT
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:34pm PT
With an older vehicle it helps if you become fluent in repair of that vehicle

Didn't you mean to say:

"With an older vehicle it helps if you become affluent?"
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:49pm PT
In theory, if you have a new car you should be able to get 60k miles out of it before something goes wrong...

You must be buying Fiats :-)

My 2009 Tacoma has zero problems at 170K. Just maintenance. Still drives like new. I figure the water pump or some such thing will bite me one of these days...
SomebodyAnybody

Big Wall climber
Torrance
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
Happiegrrrl, if all you've spent in the last 5 years for repairs is $1500 (not including tires and oil changes, and including a radiator you didn't need), I agree that's pretty hard to beat!

Yes, she got lucky and hit a sweet spot with that particular unit, but it also means she's living on borrowed time, old rigs will always start having many things large and small failing once they are in that age and mileage range, and if you can't do the work yourself they become a money pit.

I can afford new cars, but we've always bought our cars at 2-3 years old with about 25k miles on them, drive them until they have 120 to 150k at 8-10 years old. Someone else takes the depreciation hit, we get a long period of reliability, warranty, and they require very little maintenance.

Our total maintenance on them is usually one battery replacement, two sets of tires, and about 4 sets of windshield wipers. When the second set of replacement tires is worn out we sell the cars. It's worked very well for us over the last 30 years, we've never had a breakdown, never had to hassle with having a car in the shop for repairs. Oil changes and tire rotation are quick and easy at home. Low stress and financially sound.

But then we've always viewed cars as a necessary evil, just another tool like a computer or a cordless drill, not as a status symbol or lust object. People are weird like that, one of my VPs at work just bought a new Corvette for 70k and another coworker bought a 60k truck. It seems crazy to me, but they'll be working long after I've retired, so I hope they enjoy those nice cars.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 26, 2017 - 05:02pm PT
Isa's 2010 ford focus needed head gasket at 3 years and about 60K. off warente. It can happen. Obviously there is a lot of piece of mind with a new vehicle but payments SUCK! My 03 chevy van is leaking a bit and not feeling up to a serious road trip right now so we plan on taking the 86 westy for a 2 1/2 week spin in oct. It's just a Van. Keep on top of all the fluids, point it down the road and hope for the best :)
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Sep 26, 2017 - 05:09pm PT
Yes, she got lucky and hit a sweet spot with that particular unit, but it also means she's living on borrowed time, old rigs will always start having many things large and small failing once they are in that age and mileage range, and if you can't do the work yourself they become a money pit.

I totally agree!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Denver CO
Sep 26, 2017 - 06:08pm PT
My last 4 or 5 vehicles I bought for between $1-2k, 20 years old or more, with mileage between 100-150k. I look for people who take great care of their vehicles to the point of keeping maintenance records, something I would never do. Then I drive the car until it no longer runs, donate it to charity for a tax write-off, and get a new one. A late 90s Dodge Caravan or similar is perfect. If I added up all my car payments and repairs over the last ten years, I bet its less than $50 a month, and I am no car mechanic.

* side story. A friend of mine went on a climbing trip to Australia, as part of his world tour with his 100 lb haulbag. I guess there is a big used car market in Sydney, where he bought a car for about that price, then toured all around Australia, and a few months later sold it at the same market .... for a profit.
Stewart Johnson

Mountain climber
lake forest
Sep 27, 2017 - 05:52am PT
Older cars / vans need a certain amount
Of maintaining to stay running well
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Sep 27, 2017 - 06:17am PT
Yes, its wonderful to avail oneself of modern marvels. But you gotta pay to play, otherwise you get what we have here.

Don't be bitter. You dropped out by choice.

Nailed it.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Sep 27, 2017 - 06:52am PT
The mechanics of automotive front ends must have changed considerably since I was a kid. (Now Iím one of those people who generally has a late-model vehicle.) When I was a kid, I worked as an assistant mechanic during the summers in high school at a Firestone dealership, and my buddies all had hot rods. (But not me, not with my father.) I canít ever remember someoneís front end falling out driving under most any circumstance (unless one was off-road doing stupid things or in very challenging conditions). Of course (Iím sheepish to admit) we would push and pull this and that to show how any play in the mechanism meant that things needed immediate replacement.

Sure, get it looked at. But I wouldnít be worrying and losing sleep over those clicking and hesitations.

What the Duck said.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 27, 2017 - 06:56am PT
You must be buying Fiats :-)

A Fiat going 60k without a problem? You're kidding, right?

Happie, pay no attention to us, we're all just jealous. You're out there living the dream.
chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
Sep 27, 2017 - 07:31am PT
If you hit a curb or ran over something big recently you may have a mechanical problem but I think not since you didn't mention crashing. Ball joints dont just fail. Inspect the castle nuts that hold them together. They should have cotter keys in them that prevent them from coming apart. If a balll joint has come apart comletely, you will see it when you jack up the van till the front wheel is off the ground. The hesitation is likely a sign that you are low on power steering fluid. If the steering or suspension were at fault the problem wouldnt "correct " itself after a pause. Check your power steering fluid and look for leaks. If you can jack it up, get the front wheels off the ground and check for horizontal or vertical play (wobble) in the sterring and suspension. If your controll arms, ball joints or tie rods are hosed, it will wobble when you grab the wheel and try to wiggle it. These components wear slowly and dont just suddenly fail. Steering stabilizers look like a shock absorber between the wheels. On a van you may have one but if you do and it is worn, it wont cause any lockup problem. It will simply stop dampening which will just make steering less smoth. If your power steering rack is worn, that is a costly fix. But you probably have a standard steering on your van with a steering arm and no rack .Keep the fluid full. Lastly, get the front end greased up. You may have some friction due to sand and dirt in your steering due to offroad use. Good luck and always get a second opinion from a mechanic before committing to expensive repairs. About half the techs out there are on minimum wage and not terribly competent or even honest. They will sell you a $2000 repair when all you need is $6 of power steering fluid.
chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
Sep 27, 2017 - 08:20am PT
Good luck happygirl
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 27, 2017 - 08:51am PT
Must be nice to have the ability to own brand new vehicles,

Yes it is,
but now y'all makin me feel like a stoopid gross materialist crankloon.;)

Redwoods NP
Redwoods NP
Credit: T Hocking



Hope you find an affordable fix,
safe travels Happie!
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