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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1483  
Subject: A good retirement car Date: 10/29/2005 10:18 AM
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I am starting to look for a car. I have a 1995 town car with 180,000 miles. It is having some electical problems. It has a mind of its own. Some days it will start, some days it won't. My mechanic says this is typical of an old lincoln.



I have no idea what type of car I would like. I always loved my lincoln. I felt safe drving it from Florida to NY twice a yr.

Most of the time the car will be used in Florida. But twice a year I drive it to NY. I use it almost daily to go to dance events and lessons.

Any suggestions on how I would get started finding my retirement car? Thanks.
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Author: alstroemeria Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 890 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/29/2005 2:30 PM
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You like big iron? You like to keep a car till it's at least 10 years old? Check out the Toyota Avalon (new or used, depending on preference and budget).

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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 891 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/29/2005 4:15 PM
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Any suggestions on how I would get started finding my retirement car? Thanks.


I don't know if this will help you, because it's not what you want. But I drive old beaters around town. Heck, you can find them cheap if you're willing to put up with enough lack-of-luxury. I actually have two beaters. One doesn't have working AC, for example, and I choose not to fix it. Taxes are cheap--less than ten bucks a year per car, whereas with a "real" car, I'd be paying possibly hundreds of dollars in taxes each year. I don't have to carry collision or comprehensive insurance on them, making them cheap to insure.

I have AAA Plus, which gives me a 100 mile tow range. That pretty much makes driving a beater in the metro area a no-brainer.

If I go out of town, I go in style. I run down to Avis or wherever and get a nice new vehicle. They're reliable, comfortable, and if anything goes wrong, it doesn't spoil my vacation. The rental car company will just bring me a new one. I don't have to find a repair shop in town, take up vacation time waiting for estimates and repairs, etc.

My regular vehicles do not attract attention to me from would-be criminals. I can cruise around virtually invisible. I personally could not put up with owning a car where I cared if it got a scratch or something. Interestingly, my 1988 Buick has no scratches, but with 200K+ miles on it, I'm expecting one any minute, and it won't be a tragedy. I got it repainted for about $200 about 8 or 9 years ago and had the headcloth replaced a little after that. Both of those cosmetic updates are still going strong. It's got leather seats and suits me fine. A newer car couldn't make me any happier, as this one is as much luxury as I need.

My other vehicle is a 1987 truck, which I use for hauling stuff and doing favors. It's got all kinds of dents and dings, but only about 125K miles, I think. It needs to have the headcloth replaced, but I chose to just put some randomly placed staples in it, and that does the job, though the appearance is a little "iffy" if you're at all particular.

I do some of my own repairs. I have a good deal with a local mechanic. If I think I can do the repair myself, I'll get him to walk me through it, which he does for free. I can just call with a question or whatever. When I know a job is beyond me, I pay him to do it. Works good for me, and he gets some of my business. Like me, he is not really a fan of new cars. I think he appreciates my frugality and utilitarian attitude towards transportation, and that makes him more willing to advise me on doing my own repairs. He is very generous with his advice, which I appreciate. I can sometimes return the favor because I have two vehicles. He checks with me first, but he knows if he has too much business scheduled for a day when my vehicle is there, he can likely get an "extension" from me without hassle. Other customers might not be so easy on a request like that. I figure it's a two way thing with us. I cut him slack, he does the same for me.

The fact that I spend next-to-nothing on my every day transportation allows me to get a bit of luxury on the out-of-town trips. I think it's worth it, but not everyone does.

Sorry to have run on so long. Oh, well.



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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 892 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/30/2005 10:28 AM
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"I don't know if this will help you, because it's not what you want"


Actually, it's just what I may want. I could keep what I have. Where would I look into having it painted for so little?

I never thought of renting a car to get to where I need to twice a year. What a great idea!! Thanks. I think you may have saved me thousands. I have the same AAA plan as you have.




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Author: chooey98 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 893 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/30/2005 11:12 AM
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But I drive old beaters around town.

Hey, I'm a fellow old-beater driver. My favorite cars have been the big, luxury cars that were 10+ years old, but had one owner and were in almost-mint condition. I once had a 1975 Ford LTD (I bought it in 1985), and I drove that thing for 15 years. It had all the goodies, too, a good radio, A/C, etc.

Nowadays, when I need to drive, (I mostly ride the bus to work), I drive a 1969 Ford 250. It's not pretty to look at, but it keeps going and going. Repairs are easy to do because there's no fancy A/C or pollution control stuff and plenty of room to work. Heck, I still take it fishing when we go... it does great. Why replace it when it works so well?

Tmeri, do you buy the rent-a-car company's collision insurance when you rent? I think your own insurance would cover liability, but it would not cover the rent-a-car in case of an accident. I've rented cars before and gotten the collision (don't want to take any chances), but it sure is expensive.

--Chooey

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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 894 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/30/2005 3:24 PM
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I could keep what I have.

That's what I'd do, especially if I were fundamentally happy with the car. For the "won't start" problem, I'd probably start asking other mechanics about that, starting with my brother. I realize my brother is not an option for you, but maybe you know someone like him? He knows absolutely everything there is to know about engines, I think, and 99% about the rest of the car stuff.

Note that even if you buy a brand new car, as you drive it around town, it eventually becomes an older, less reliable car. If you could just take your out-of-town trips only when it's fairly new, that would be best. But see, that's where renting comes in. I do drive new cars, but only on the out-of-town trips when it makes the most sense. I do pay a premium price for those driving days, but they are few enough days that it's far cheaper than actually buying a new car.


Where would I look into having it painted for so little?

Lots of places advertize these specials. I'm trying to think of one of the ones-Peach Auto Paint? Does that sound familiar? The high-dollar paint places try to tell you that these jobs are no good, but like everything else, it depends.

The main key to paint is the prep. Ask them in the interview what kind of prep they do. I suggest you skip the clear coat they will want to sell you, and skip the striping. If you want striping, take it back much later so that the paint has had a few weeks to cure before you put striping on. If you have a steady hand, you can either paint on striping with a stencil or apply the stick-on kind.

GM puts on crappy paint to begin with. Ford does a better job. Every GM car I've had started peeling on the paint before the car was 3 years old, which means they were peeling when I got them. ;) But given how long I like to keep cars, I pretty much have to get the GM ones repainted, because rust will eventually become an issue, even where I live in the south. Paint delays rust.


I never thought of renting a car to get to where I need to twice a year. What a great idea!! Thanks. I think you may have saved me thousands. I have the same AAA plan as you have.

You're welcome! It really suits me, especially if I take a trip to the beach. Let someone else clean the sand out of the car. LOL!


AAA is good, but if you drive a rental on a trip and have a problem, call the rental agency first. Hertz is expensive, but they're Number 1 for a reason. I have rented from Hertz many times for business and once or twice for personal and have always had the best experience with them. For personal use, I generally use someone else--whoever has the cheapest. Sometimes, especially on the weekends, you can get good deals on the class C cars--as cheap as $15/day. Those are pretty good deals. One of the car places has a deal where the first day is $30 and subsequent days are $10. For a long trip, that could make a lot of sense.

Also note that by renting a car, you can choose comfort or gasoline economy or even hauling capacity that might not be available in your every day car. I usually go for comfort if I will be driving long hours. Also, I don't have a CD player in my vehicles, but all of the rentals these days do. I love to take my CDs on long trips, so that's another plus for me of renting.

I had an outstanding experience with Avis this summer. I reserved it online, and they were efficient and just as good as Hertz when I picked up/dropped off the car. They were also the cheapest I could find. I'd definitely go with Avis again.

The only place I've stricken off of my list is Rent-A-Wreck. You might think they are not on my list because I don't need to rent a wreck. Hee! But actually, the times I've called them, they were the most expensive. Yikers!


If you are not really familiar with renting cars, please let me know. I've learned the ropes fairly well and know how to make most of the decisions so that the result favors me instead of them. ;) I'd be happy to share more of that process with you.



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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 895 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/30/2005 3:40 PM
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I once had a 1975 Ford LTD (I bought it in 1985), and I drove that thing for 15 years. It had all the goodies, too, a good radio, A/C, etc.

To each his own. I must admit I like my leather seats, but the rest of that crap I can live without. It's just more stuff that breaks that I then may need to repair. I'm not interested in spending yet more of my time repairing the car. A car repair just about tops the list of my least favorite chores.


Tmeri, do you buy the rent-a-car company's collision insurance when you rent?

No, I do not. All of my credit cards (VISA, at least) will cover that, provided that I rent the car on their card, which I do. You cannot get a rental for cash most places, so you'll have to have a credit card, anyway. Being the belt and suspenders type, I always call the CC company just before I go to pick up the car to verify that they are covering the collision. I would hate for their policy to change without my noticing it.


I think your own insurance would cover liability, but it would not cover the rent-a-car in case of an accident.

Correct. It pays to have a conversation with your insurance agent. Mine tells me that if I carried comprehensive/collision on my own vehicles, it would be covered on the rental. I don't know if that is true for all companies or not. In any event, it doesn't matter, because I do not carry that kind of insurance on my own vehicles.


I've rented cars before and gotten the collision (don't want to take any chances), but it sure is expensive.

It is expensive, and that's why I don't get it, plus I get it for free through my credit card. However, as a cautionary note, I have no experience with trying to resolve one of those deals through the credit card, so I don't know if that goes smoothly or not. Of course, I don't know if it would be a problem if you get the coverage through the rental agency, either.

If you have AAA, you may want to look to see if they offer it as part of the membership somehow. Incidentally, one of the small benefits of AAA is that I've gotten better discounts through them than what is offered through AARP. Just one more reason not to join AARP, I suppose.



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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 896 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/31/2005 9:32 AM
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"I realize my brother is not an option for you, but maybe you know someone like him? He knows absolutely everything "


Tmeri,

Next time you see your brother, would you ask him if he has ever heard of that problem?

A 1995 lincoln town car that will just not start. Then the mechanic finds nothing wrong with it. After I have it towed to the mechanic it starts the next day.

Now, if I can, I just leave it where it doesn't start and several hrs later it will start. It has happened 4 times in 2 yrs. so far. So I guess I will live with it.

But I do want to get it painted.

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Author: solarae One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 897 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/31/2005 11:14 AM
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I don't know about Lincolns but with the vehicles I drive (mid 80's Toyota trucks) the starter contacts can get pitted and give the symptoms you describe. In all the vehicles I have owned (a lot and none newer than '87) replacing the starter is easy. I am a 47 year old female who has replaced things like starters herself since I left home at 18. No prior mechanical experience (well, I have a lot now) just neccesity and willingness with a little smarts thrown in.
Get the factory service manual for your vehicle from a library and just peruse it. You may learn quite a bit even if you elect to have someone else that already owns all the tools do the greasy part.

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Author: NuclearRedneck Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 898 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 10/31/2005 11:31 AM
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Try this link. It my help you fix your problem. At least it will help you understand what your mechnic is talking about.

http://www.samarins.com/diagnose/

Cheers,
Nuclear Redneck

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 899 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 11/4/2005 2:06 PM
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<<A 1995 lincoln town car that will just not start. Then the mechanic finds nothing wrong with it. After I have it towed to the mechanic it starts the next day.

Now, if I can, I just leave it where it doesn't start and several hrs later it will start. It has happened 4 times in 2 yrs. so far. So I guess I will live with it.
>>


"It wont start" is vague.

Does that means that the starter turns the engine over, but the engine wont start? That the solenoid clicks but the starter doesn't turn the engine over? That nothing happens when you turn the key?



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 900 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 11/4/2005 3:36 PM
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Next time you see your brother, would you ask him if he has ever heard of that problem?

If I can remember, but it probably won't help you. He'll immediately ask follow-up questions like SeattlePioneer asked you, and I won't have the answers.


Now, if I can, I just leave it where it doesn't start and several hrs later it will start.

Before what you wrote is "Some days it will start, some days it won't." Now you are implying that it wasn't the initial start of the day, but sometime later in the day that it failed to start. It matters which it is, because not starting when the engine is cold brings one set of problems to mind, but not starting when the engine is warm is a whole nuther ballgame.

Not starting when the engine is hot is typical of vapor lock, but I assume your mechanic would know about that. Another possibility that would account for any time of the day is that your battery cable is not screwed in well enough, and letting it sit for a while allows the metal to expand/contract just enough to make sufficient contact to get it to start. I assume your mechanic would also know about that. The point is, there are just too many possible explanations for "not starting" in this case. You need to record a lot more detail in order to get a mechanic to help you with this. Start with the answers to SeattlePioneer's questions. Also record what the weather is like. Vapor lock, for example, is more likely to occur in hot weather. There's a lot to learn, I know, but when it happens, write down EVERYTHING, whether you think it is relevant or not.

Don't assume that "not starting" is an electrical problem. There are several things required in order to start an engine.

I do not understand your mechanic's comment that it's typical of old lincolns. Did he explain why? If he believes that, he should at least give you a reason why. That could help you decide whether to live with it or pursue a solution. If he is unable to explain further than that, a new mechanic is in order.




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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 902 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 11/7/2005 3:08 AM
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"battery cable is not screwed in well enough"

Well, thanks everyone. It turned out to be the battery cable.Good call tmeri.

Fool Kath

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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 908 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 11/8/2005 1:53 PM
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Well, thanks everyone. It turned out to be the battery cable.Good call tmeri.

Fool Kath



It was a random shot in the dark that found a target, but I'm glad you got an answer.




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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1020 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 11/6/2006 2:58 PM
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I was going to mention the rental car idea as well. Just check out the rates, they have gone up recently. I read an article a few weeks ago about this and the reason is that the car manufactures have been doing the buyouts to close down some of their plans so are not selling as many inexpensive cars to rental car companies now. I think that it was in businessweek if you want to try to find it.

..Any suggestions on how I would get started finding my retirement car?...

If you are thinking about buying new, now is a good time to get a 2006, especially with a larger car. These did not sell well this year when gas was three bucks a gallon. I just bought a new Toyota Tacoma truck this weekend. I knew exactly what I wanted so I started out at EDMUNDS.com and filled out the form to get dealers bids. They came back with some real good numbers that I could not have gotten even close to this summer when we started shopping for a truck. After just a few emails and phone calls to confirm which fees were included and what the "out the door" price would be, I was able to go to the dealer and only be there for about an hour and a half. The dealer that is closest to me agreed to match the price of a dealer that was farther away. I choose new because we wanted a Toyota and they hold their value so well that a used one with 70K miles didn't cost all that much less than new. I figure that we will keep the truck at least 15 years.

Greg


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Author: opinioned Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1231 of 1483
Subject: Re: A good retirement car Date: 2/10/2008 3:42 PM
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I have always thought that the best kind of used car to buy is one that the owner didn't intend to sell. That relegates the car to one of two categories...either stolen, or bought from the estate of a deceased person. I have never done the former, but frequently did the latter. Years ago I bought 4 cars I still own by driving through small towns featuring a Cadillac or Buick or Lincoln/Mercury dealer and a prosperous appearing funeral home. I would approach an employee of the funeral home (not an owner) and with some flair, tear off about 1/3 of a $100 dollar bill (you could still get $100 from any federal bank for a torn $100 bill if you present more than half the original bill) and ask the director if when he gets any bereaved persons arranging for a funeral, he asks if the deceased had purchased a car NEW from any of the aforementioned dealers and if the bereaved was interested in selling it at a fair price. I would tell the funeral home employee that if I bought the car involved, he'd get the rest of the $100 bill (and I did pay off). In the meantime, when he encountered such a person, all he had to do was to get that person to take the car back to the dealer from whom the car was purchased and get a written offer for purchase from that dealer, and to send me a copy of the offer. Usually, such an offer will be good for 10 to 30 days and will note any problems with the car and adjust the offer accordingly. I would then go there, inspect the car myself, and if I liked what I saw, offer MORE than the dealer. Usually my offer got accepted. I then arranged shipment of the vehicle to my town, and had my own mechanic do any necessary repairs, etc. In this way, I acquired a 1985 Eldorado in 1996 with 9,600 miles that now has 236,000 miles on it, despite retaining the original and notorious HT4100 engine, and a 1994 Century with 14,600 miles in 1999 that now has about 177,000 miles on it. My repairs average about $500 a year per car and all are done by mechanics, not me. I have been buying used cars this way for over 40 years. I NEVER repair body work...I don't care about the exterior appearance, and my religious institution (consequently?) has never asked for a BIG contribution. I keep my cars in meticulous mechanical condition, especially tires, brakes, and suspension, and change oil every 2,500 miles in winter, every 3,000 miles in summer, always warming the engine 2-3 minutes on winter mornings or 5 minutes when the temp goes to zero or below, and 1-2 minutes on summer mornings. I'd rather use extra gas and oil than buy extra engines. Part of my education was in petroleum engineering, and as a consequence, I have brand preferences for certain weights and kinds of oil, matching them with certain manufacturered engines. As an example, I use only Castrol 5W30 with GM engines 1979 through 1996 on account of the interaction between the detergent qualities of the oil and the non-metallic engine parts/components in GM engines (and Mercedes-Benz also), and when available, Castrol oil filters. If not available, upgraded filters ($5 instead of $2.50) filters. However, I do NOT use oil recommended for engines over 75,000 miles because of adverse chemical reactions between the rings of those engines and the special additives in those kind of oils, as I maintain my cars to achieve 500,000 miles each, and my (4) cars will probably survive my driving years, as I am now 66 years old and generally drive no more than 20,000 miles a year, which leaves about 70 years of driving at 20,000 miles a year distributed among my cars (the other cars are a 1985 Riveria with about 88,000 miles and a 1986 560 SL with about 95,000 miles. All these cars are kept outdoors year around, and are started at least once every two weeks (and all started this morning when it was 6 degrees below zero).

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