When to trade up? The economics of "new" vs "old"

jaxyaks

Adventurer
Yeah I plan on trying something else next time I buy something. It’s a shame because I really want that 7.3 with the 10spd but oh well. Probably a power wagon in my future in a couple years.


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3/4 tons and 1 tons are a whole different story than the 1/2 tons, I wouldn't rule that one out completely.
 

zoomad75

K5 Camper guy
Part of it for me comes down to if you fix it yourself or need to pay a shop to do the repairs. That will dictate the direction on keeping an older ride going vs trading up to a newer or brand new ride.

I’m in the minority as I prefer do all my own work and I keep a much older than most truck going. My K5 Blazer is 31 years old but every part of the drivetrain has been changed with upgrades. Gone are the 10 bolt axles for a full float rear 14bolt and a 8 lug Dana 44 (marginally stronger I know) with fresh parts. The Engine is a 2006 8.1L from a Yukon xl and a freshly rebuilt nv4500 5-speed. The only part in the drivetrain that’s stock is the 241 t-case and it’s been gone through and upgraded to a 32 spline input to match up to the transmission.

I won’t sugarcoat it. It’s not always easy to keep an old dog going. I just swung a new trans under it a month ago in the driveway when the last one tried to kill itself on my last trip. I was into it for a couple grand in parts and my time for labor. Had I paid someone it probably would have doubled the cost to include labor.

Still, I will say by spending money on quality parts during the build has helped maintain reliability down the road. The first 5 years had a 5.3/auto combo and it was trouble free up to the point of pulling it for the 8.1. The 8.1 has been perfect. Outside of snapping front axle shafts early and a kinked 2”section of hose in the fuel sender I’ve not had to make any crazy trail repairs.

I’ve put more into the truck than it technically is worth countless times over. But it is worth it to me as the truck is something I have always wanted and will never let go of it.

One other key part is the K5 is not my daily. I have a beater ZR2 S10 for daily duties and hauling. I’ll drive the K5 at least once a week because I just like driving it. But it’s main purpose is to go wheeling in the local mountains or off into Utah or Arizona to play in the desert. It has 30k miles since the initial rebuild and About 6k since the 8.1/5-speed came in. It’s worth it to me to keep it going.
 

Grassland

Well-known member
I'm in a similar spot with my 2014 but under 100k.
Just routine maintenance (brakes, fluids, plugs)and new rear springs. But it's a losing battle with rust.
Do I sell it now while it's worth something and hope next spring trucks have come down in price/better availability?
Or do I run it until my country doesn't allow gas vehicles to be purchased anymore?
It's maxed out towing our 4500-5000# camper, but does everything else fine.

If you end up keeping it, all the maintenance helps you.
What does it cost to preemptively do the timing chain so you don't have to deal with a failure?
 

Explorerinil

Observer
I'm in a similar spot with my 2014 but under 100k.
Just routine maintenance (brakes, fluids, plugs)and new rear springs. But it's a losing battle with rust.
Do I sell it now while it's worth something and hope next spring trucks have come down in price/better availability?
Or do I run it until my country doesn't allow gas vehicles to be purchased anymore?
It's maxed out towing our 4500-5000# camper, but does everything else fine.

If you end up keeping it, all the maintenance helps you.
What does it cost to preemptively do the timing chain so you don't have to deal with a failure?
Rust is something that sneaks up on you and before it’s too late the truck is worth 0, now I’d not a good time to buy, but a newer ford with an alum body seamed like a good idea to mean living in the rust belt. I soak the frame and axles down with fluid film twice a year. I’m done buying and selling every 3-5 years.
 

Grassland

Well-known member
Rust is something that sneaks up on you and before it’s too late the truck is worth 0, now I’d not a good time to buy, but a newer ford with an alum body seamed like a good idea to mean living in the rust belt. I soak the frame and axles down with fluid film twice a year. I’m done buying and selling every 3-5 years.
If I could go back to 2014 knowing now what I didn't then, I probably wouldn't have to worry.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Well, you asked two questions.

When to trade up? There's no real good answer for that. I wish I had traded up my 2004 Suburban before the transmission grenaded (for the second time) 30 miles East of Vernal, UT while on a camping trip. That not only cost me $3500 for a new transmission, it also cost me two extra vacation days and probably $300 in additional food and lodging expenses (at a KOA campground while they fixed the transmission.)

On the other hand, the 'Burb was paid for so that was additional $$ in my pocket every month.

Of course, if you trade before you have a major failure, you'll always be wondering if that old truck could have 'gone the distance.'

Depending on your specific vehicle there might be a "middle option" too: For a lot less than the cost of a new vehicle you can often get a pretty comprehensive extended warranty. The extended warranty does have an up-front cost but it means that expensive repairs will be covered.

With my 2018 F-150 currently sitting at 53,000 miles, I was approaching the end of my 5/60 power train warranty. Given the crazy prices of new and used vehicles, I decided to bite the bullet and get an extended warranty for 4 years/50,000 miles, which should take me through to 2026 and 100k miles. By then I'm sure I'll be ready for a different vehicle.

Second question, WRT the "commuter vehicle." When my office moved from downtown (where I rode the light rail) to the suburbs in 2011, I was driving a 4runner and thought it would be smart to have a cheap commuter car. I bought a 1997 Mazda Protege sedan for $900. It was OK (and got 35+ MPG) but it smoked like crazy and after just over a year I ended up putting a replacement engine in it for around $2200. It ran great and my total investment was still around $3k but I'm not sure I'd do it again.

In my case, my commute was only about 25 miles each day (12.5 one way) or 125 miles a week. Obviously one plus of having the cheap commuter car was that it was also good for running around town and NOT putting miles on my 4runner. But with such a relatively short commute, having the second car undoubtedly COST me more money than it saved.

The longer the commute, the more sense the second car makes, but crunch the numbers honestly: Calculate ALL of the costs of having a second car: Purchase cost, insurance, maintenance, depreciation. Unless you have a VERY long commute, or unless your "main" vehicle gets terrible MPG the 'commuter car' may not be a good buy financially.

Currently working from home full time so there's no point in having any kind of commuter car for me. I do sometimes think that when it's time to replace my wife's CR-V we should either get a hybrid or a full electric car. That car rarely goes out of town so an electric would actually make sense.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
With my 2018 F-150 currently sitting at 53,000 miles, I was approaching the end of my 5/60 power train warranty. Given the crazy prices of new and used vehicles, I decided to bite the bullet and get an extended warranty for 4 years/50,000 miles, which should take me through to 2026 and 100k miles.
Is the warranty through Ford or a 3rd party? Did you have to bring it in to be expected to ensure there were no pre-existing issues prior to having the warranty issued?
 

jmnielsen

Tinkerer
Part of it for me comes down to if you fix it yourself or need to pay a shop to do the repairs. That will dictate the direction on keeping an older ride going vs trading up to a newer or brand new ride.

I do some repairs myself, but I don't have time to spend 8 hours/side to replace an exhaust manifold or other lengthy repairs. I also don't have a second vehicle so it's not something I can park and work on when convenient.

I'm in a similar spot with my 2014 but under 100k.
Just routine maintenance (brakes, fluids, plugs)and new rear springs. But it's a losing battle with rust.
Do I sell it now while it's worth something and hope next spring trucks have come down in price/better availability?
Or do I run it until my country doesn't allow gas vehicles to be purchased anymore?
It's maxed out towing our 4500-5000# camper, but does everything else fine.

If you end up keeping it, all the maintenance helps you.
What does it cost to preemptively do the timing chain so you don't have to deal with a failure?

Timing chain would be about $2k, but I don't know if doing that preemptively is a great idea because it may not be an issue. I keep up on all oil changes - use full synth every 3500-4000 miles and I've been reading that is very helpful. Who knows.

Rust is another area I'm worried about. Cab corners aren't looking so hot, and the truck was initially sold in Canada and lived there for 4 years and 33k miles.

Rust is something that sneaks up on you and before it’s too late the truck is worth 0, now I’d not a good time to buy, but a newer ford with an alum body seamed like a good idea to mean living in the rust belt. I soak the frame and axles down with fluid film twice a year. I’m done buying and selling every 3-5 years.

When I get a new truck, I plan on buying new and having the underbody coated and doing the same as you with fluid film. I want to buy something and keep it for at least a decade.

It was through Ford (ESP.) And I had to have someone come out and do a quick inspection and a 10 minute test drive in order to qualify.

I'll have to look in to that. My truck was under warranty (mileage) and out by the date (build date, not original sale date) by one month when the first manifold went and they would do nothing for me.
 

SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
My first truck was a white 98 F150 with the 4.6 V8 and it lasted me to 256k. Bought it with 108k. Once the rear end blew up I sold it for 1k. My next F150 was a lease that I enjoyed because it was a lease and I didn't really have to worry about anything. My current truck I plan on keeping until around 150k because it still will hold some value and I can sell it failry easily.

It's kind of what you want to do. Do you want to be prepared to possibly break down in the middle of no where and have to pay "x" amount of money to fix it or do you want to spend more and have more reliability? When I had my 98 I was fully prepared to throw down 2-3k a year on maint once it went over the 200k mark. But I also had no monthly payment and my insurance was $66 a month so it was technically cheaper than my $500 payment with my new truck...of course the difference is that my new truck is significantly more reliable.

Prices now are not ideal but if you want peace of mind as you are towing, new is the way to go. Of course there is always the "what if" but more than likely you'll be fine.

Besides, if you're into this kind of thing, the comfort, performance and tech of something new compared something 10 years old is pretty drastic.
 

RAFoutdoors

Retired Explorer
I am driving a 2013 Chevy Tahoe Z71. 106k mikes. Had been my daily driver until I bought my wife a new car and now drive her 2006 Honda CR-V which has 166k miles. The Honda works great as a daily driver and gets better gas mileage than the Tahoe. Tahoe lives in the garage and I have cut down from 20,000 miles a year to about 8,000 miles a year. I hope to be able to keep this Tahoe for some time. I had a 2004 Tahoe with 187,000 miles on it that I traded for the 2013. It was starting to have expensive problems and was wearing out. I usually own my vehicles for extended periods of time until they start nickel and diming me to death. The time to trade the 2004 for the 2013 was good because I was getting ready to retire.
I currently have no car loans (or any other debt).
I can’t speak to the problems you have had with your Ford F-150. Just look at what is being manufactured now and decide if those are the “improvements “ you want/need.
Last thought is that I am not sure I would buy anything new right now. Supply chain shortages are causing long lasting problems for new products. I am not sure I would want a new vehicle that is sitting in storage waiting for the rest of the parts to make it “retail ready”. What’s happening to seals, fluids, tires and batteries while being parked.
Good luck with whatever direction you go.
 

SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
If you call around to dealers in small towns and tell them what you are looking for, you might be able to get a good deal. My father in law just got a 2 door bronco sasquatch for MSRP. Someone custom ordered it and didn't want it anymore so they ordered a new one and my father in law happened to call same day and it was delivered to his driveway from Michigan within a week. Lucky SOB didn't have to pay any premium for it either.
 

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