Automobile Decisions.....

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. BayStateBass

    BayStateBass Guest

    Jan 25, 2012
    Central Massachusetts
    So, sometimes you get to the point where you know what is a responsible decision, and sometimes it's not what you want to do. :rollno:

    Here's my situation. I've owned my truck for many years, and it's paid off. Big honkin' 2004 Dodge 2500 quad cab 4x4 with a snowplow. It has served me very well over the years, has been my "daily driver" for a long time and I've always liked the truck. Good thing I only live 3.5 miles from work because it struggles to get 11 mpg under normal use. I also use it to haul our PA equipment when needed, and a lot of the drummer's stuff goes in it as well (yes, I get compensated for the gas). It is now starting to show it's age, and I'm just about done with the extended-extended warranties I've purchased. The body is starting to rot, things are starting to wear out and break, etc..., as you expect with a 10 year old truck that's gotten plow duty. In the last 6 months it's broken a fair amount. Pretty soon it will be questionable for inspection because of rust. A body shop told me I'm looking at somewhere around $5K to clean it up and fix the rust, including some paint work.

    Last year I went out and bought a "summer car". I traded and sold off all of my other toys (ATV's, snowmobiles, and motorcycles) to get the car, a lovely 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T that I had wanted to buy since I saw the 2009 models. I absolutely love this car, I bought it planning to keep it for a long, long time. I got exactly the one I wanted, right down to every detail. But I did have to take a loan on it for about half of the purchase price. The downside is that it's a summer-only car, and in owning it for 15 months I've put roughly 4K miles on it. Heck, I don't even drive it in the rain, to be honest.

    I really didn't think this one through very well, although I have no regrets about buying the car. I love it, my kids feel uber-cool when they get to ride in it, and it's been a great "date night" vehicle for me and my wife. She was totally supportive of me buying it when I did.

    Problem is....I can't afford to take on another car payment for a new truck if I keep the car. The local dealer has offered to take in both my truck and my car toward a new truck, the result would be that I would actually be paying less per month for the new truck than I am for the car alone, which I can use about 6 months a year here.

    The responsible decision would be to dump the toy and buy the more practical vehicle. The fun decision would be to keep the toy and take my chances with the truck, which could get expensive real fast.

  2. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path
    Is the snowplow part of your employment? Do you haul PA and drums a bunch?

    What I'm getting at is this: Do you actually *need* the giant truck? This is NOT a "should you have the giant truck" thread; I'll leave that for others if they're inclined. But would there be a possibility of combining the "capable car" and the "fun car" into one vehicle?

    In my house, we have a Murano and a 350Z. The Z is like your Challenger in that it is the "fun car," although we have taken it on a couple of substantial trips and it does very rarely see rain. The Murano will tow enough to haul a smallish utility trailer, so we can do yard waste recycling trips, or whatever.

    But... if we had to get down to one vehicle... and we've thought about this a bunch... then what? We'd have to sacrifice towing capability, and I'd have to get creative with packing bass gear. But a Focus ST or a VW GTI would scratch the "fun" itch and still be practical enough to daily drive.

    Any possibility of that for you? Since you're a Mopar guy, I'm thinking Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8. Big fun, but also bigger dollars. Or a Wrangler Unlimited, nicely tricked out? Fewer dollars, and depending on the size of your snowplow, it might work great for that as well.

    Just a thought.
  3. I'd trade them both in for the new truck and get a used "fun" car if I wasn't mechanically inclined, but I am.

    If the drive train on the truck was solid, I'd keep it til it dies and fix the stuff that breaks myself. A plow truck doesn't need to be new or fancy.
  4. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Trading in is losing money.
    You just bought the Challenger. You would lose the most equity out the door on a trade-in. If you must, sell the Challenger and pick-up truck on your own. Then, buy a truck and bargain down the price so that your monthly payment is even lower than the dealer's offer.
  5. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Holland, MI
    If I were in your shoes I'd sell the Dodge, buy an older 3/4 ton to plow with, and drive the Challenger more often. No use having an expensive vehicle if it sits in the garage all the time.

    I would never really put much into a plow truck. They get torn to hell in a hurry. If I were you I'd be looking for a 90s GM K2500 with a 350. Cheap, plentiful, easy to fix, and capable. In an environment like yours where vehicles rust quickly due to moisture and salt I wouldn't be buying new vehicles anyway.
  6. BayStateBass

    BayStateBass Guest

    Jan 25, 2012
    Central Massachusetts
    When I bought the Ram I kinda had a need for the larger truck. I was towing as many as 4 sleds (or 5 with one in the bed), sometimes 4 ATV's, and had planned to get a travel trailer. Plus I had a regular snowplow route. Now I have none of that. I gave up the snowplow route because I had a hard time doing it with my regular job, and it got harder and harder as I got busier. Now I have this mammoth truck that I really don't need because all it does is drive around town and plow my own driveway (which is 300' long). Really, I could get by easily with a smaller truck.

    I live on a dirt road. Once the snow flies the town typically either does not plow the road or they do a crap job, so when the white stuff comes down (usually in early December), the car is useless. When the spring thaw comes, my road becomes a giant mud puddle and often times I will need the 4x4 to get out up until mid-April. So, essentially, I could use the car for about 7 months a year regularly. I just have to get a leash on my OCD :D .

    I'm going to stop off at the dealer today. I really like these guys, they've always been good to me and I've bought multiple vehicles from them. The salesman said he'll give me numbers on what they are willing to do and I guess I would have to make a decision from there.

    Thanks for the input, all good ideas!
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I am a truck guy, fellow Ram owner even, so I say keep the '04. My Ram is an '02, and I feel like it has all kinds of life left in it. I'll be glad to get it out of New England so I can stop worrying about it rusting out.

    Edit....check out the DodgeTalk forum. Lots of great advice and people over there to help keep your '04 in top shape.

  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    There you go. Keep the car and get yourself a used Toyota Tacoma 4x4.
  9. 3star2nr

    3star2nr Guest

    Jun 2, 2013
    Sell the truck buy a pn older tundra or Tacoma. There is no reason why you need to keep buying new and frankly its a waste of money. You spend on average 3000-5000 per year in car payments to get piece of mind when most used cars cost less than that to maintain per year depending on year and model.

    And especially since you have a back up vehicle. I would sell the truck and buy a used Toyota cash. Screw the brand loyalty and faux patriotism.
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    The cheapest car is the one you own.

  11. hypapanuse

    hypapanuse Inactive

    Apr 2, 2013
    I've driven pickups since the mid 70's. Some were just for fun. Some were for towing toys. Now all the toys and kids are gone and I really gave a Tahoe some serious thought. Ended up with a full size 4WD pickup. I've had a truck so long I could not get along without one. Hated the time I had to kiss butt to borrow one.
    Plus the kids are always borrowing it. If I could just get them to haul all of their stuff outta here!
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I'd get a smaller truck like a Colorado, Ranger, Frontier or Tacoma. Something more gas friendly and still practical.
  13. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast. Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
  14. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Well if you get rid of the small car and only have the truck you are hemorrhaging money that way, fuel money. I don't see that as a big long-term financial advantage.

    Aren't your insurance payments pretty bad for 2 cars?

    Myself I would go with a wagon but then, aren't you earning money with the plow?
  15. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path
    I would hardly consider the Challenger a small car....
  16. Tony Flow MMMM

    Tony Flow MMMM Guest

    Dec 4, 2012
    Barely if any
  17. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Holland, MI
    You can buy a ton of fuel for a vehicle you already own for the price of a more fuel efficient vehicle.
  18. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    Eh, my Tacoma was made in California by a company headquartered in Japan.

    A Ram is made in Detroit by a company now headquartered in Italy (Fiat).

    Hard to say that the Toyota is any less patriotic than the Ram.

    My Tacoma has been a solid performer.
  19. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    For new trucks, Ford doesn't make the Ranger anymore. I think the Colorado may have been discontinued as well.
  20. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    Except that the rust has taken a substantial toll on his current truck. The repair costs may outweigh the difference of a newer vehicle.