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Old 08-19-2008, 01:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Saved a Geo Metro and saved big $ (stopped driving my pickup)

I also posted this in my "Mullet's Metro Project" thread, but I think I want to toot my horn here for those who have not read it yet. I also still cannot get over how much money you can save by buying a derelict fuel economy car and do major repairs to it and still make out.

I totaled all costs I have invested in this 1998 Metro including the purchase price.............

Total cost of car and repair/upgrade parts/supplies = $829.50
Total labor time involved for repairs/upgrades = 38 hours

Amount saved by doing own work with estimated $60.00 per hour rate = $2280

Miles driven since purchase in April = 6800
6800 divided by average of 57MPG = 120 gallons of fuel
Average price of fuel would be about $3.50 x 120 gallons = $420.00 estimated

If I were to use my truck as primary vehicle (it used to be).

6800 miles divided by average of 15 MPG = 453 gallons of fuel
453 gallons at $3.50 average = $1585.50 estimated

Amount saved in fuel by driving Metro 4 months = $1165.50
Amount saved when driven 1 full year = $3495.00

Fuel savings subtracted by purchase/repairs/upgrades = $336.00 actual savings for four months, so basically, I still made out even after having to do a lot of unexpected repairs to the car after purchasing it.

Technically, the car is totally repaired and nothing more should go wrong so if I have no issues for the next 5 years, this car would save me a total of $17,475.00 in fuel savings alone. I truly believe I would not sell this car for what it could have been purchased for brand new back in 1998.

Even if I paid for all the labor and bought the car for $500.00 or more, I still would have made out by winter!

So for those of you out there who don't think replacing your Truck/SUV with an economy car is not worth the time or hassle, I would have to disagree!

Now if I was a stupid rich guy who thinks he is going to save money by purchasing a new Hybrid vehicle (like a Prius) to come out ahead, well it would take a very long time to make up the savings when you purchase a car for over $20,000 and expect it to pay you back unless you plan on keeping it for the next 7 years as your primary ride.

Just wanted to share.

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Old 08-24-2008, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Those are some impressive numbers. I can see pointing people to this thread in the future!
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree Johnny. You've done a hell of a job on Christine, too. Here are my numbers:

1997 Metro 105,000 mi. #2 cyl. dead, and bad front end body damage.
$700.00 even

Rebuild kit from Parts Dinosaur via Ebay complete with new pistons, valves, oil and water pumps, bearings, all seals and gaskets, etc
$360.00

Chilton's manual and Misc. supplies
$145.00

106 wrench hours (I never said I was a mechanic)
$0.00

Total: $1205.00

Sold my 1993 Buick Century to recover costs $1100.00

Grand total: $105.00


The Buick got 28 mpg, and my Metro average is 51 mpg. I recovered that $105.00 real quick. Even if I had not sold the Buick I would have recovered the $1250.00 before long. My rebuild was at home with no advanced tools aside from the cylinder hone I rented from AutoZone. The Chilton's manual was easy enough to follow that I had very little issues. It was not rocket science.

Thank you for all that you have shared. What you have done with that Metro of yours has been very inspiring to others trying to do the same thing.

Oh, and I just turned 129,000 mi.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My other vehicle before Christine was a 1990 Buick Lesabre that got around 24 MPG, but the car was literally rotting away from underneath and no longer safe to drive. The front subframe would literally flex on cornering and going down the highway, you could hear the rusted pieces of the unibody falling onto the highway when hitting bumps. One time, I put it up on the lift to inspect the damage and all the other techs were like.........

"WTF dude! You are driving this thing?"

When lowering the lift, both rear lift arms went through the frame and floorboard.

I scrapped this car after getting Christine and added some other scrap steel from home and got $385.00 from it. Not bad for only paying $200.00 for the car and driving it for over a year. I did not include the scrap return in my figures.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't forget taxes and insurance for a second car, which could be a significant yearly cost depending on the driver's location and driving record. That will add a little to the break-even time.

Gotta take a little exception to the "stupid rich guy with a Prius" comment. Not everyone has the ability to take a $200 car and turn it into a reliable daily driver.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by instarx View Post
Don't forget taxes and insurance for a second car, which could be a significant yearly cost depending on the driver's location and driving record. That will add a little to the break-even time.
I would agree if the person did not own a car prior to this one, but if you owned a car, then got rid of it and got another car the change in the insurance and taxes would be very little. This is especially true going from Buicks to Metros. My ins. and taxes are lower on the Metro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by instarx View Post
Gotta take a little exception to the "stupid rich guy with a Prius" comment. Not everyone has the ability to take a $200 car and turn it into a reliable daily driver.
This may be true, but I think most people do. It all depends on how simple the car you get is, and how much time you are willing to spend. The Metro is a very simple car. I am NOT a mechanic, and was able to do it. I think you should try it. It's easier than you might think...

Last edited by Will; 08-26-2008 at 07:44 AM..
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
I would agree if the person did not own a car prior to this one, but if you owned a car, then got rid of it and got another car the change in the insurance and taxes would be very little. This is especially true going from Buicks to Metros.
That's true, but JM seemed to be talking about getting a second car to replace the miles driven in a truck or SUV, and that's what his figures were based on in the first post.

I'm not complaiing - kudoo's to JM - it's just an expense that he missed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
This may be true, but I think most people do. It all depends on how simple the car you get is, and how much time you are willing to spend. The Metro is a very simple car. I am NOT a mechanic, and was able to do it. I think you should try it. It's easier than you might think...
Oh, *I* could do it (I keep my 14 year old 6.5L diesel on the road), but I don't think *most* people could do what JM did. For someone who has the time and skills this is a great thing to do, but for those that don't it doesn't necessarily make them "stupid rich guys". Maybe they wanted the airbags and anti-lock brakes for their family's safety, which is reasonable

Last edited by instarx; 08-26-2008 at 08:22 AM..
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, my insurance went down when switching to the Metro. My truck was my primary vehicle and the Buick was my beater. The Metro was supposed to be my new beater until I realized how cheap it was to drive.

The "Stupid Rich Guys" should have been rephrased, but I know of quite a few of these type people who own a truck, 2 SUV's and want to buy a Prius to save on fuel. Kudos to them if they plan on keeping it as a primary vehicle and drive it well after it's paid for, but these are the same kind of people who trade in every few years and if fuel prices went back down, the Prius would end up beside the driveway in the grass.

Not all people are stupid or ignorant or lazy, only about 70% of the American population are.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Johnny -

Great post. The numbers are inexorable!!! (I got to use the word inexorable!)

As you implied, the numbers are even better in comparison to getting a new high-MPG car, because you are comparing your costs to a car payment. That's what I always do. Assuming a low payment of $250/month (60 month $13K loan @ 5.75%), I can spend up to $3000 on old-car unscheduled repairs and still come out even. I usually say the "win-win" point is about 50% of that, so $1500 a year is fine with me. My big outlay this year was a new radiator at maybe 135K @ $350, so I am well below that (knock on virtual wood). I think the next thing will be fixing the leaky AC hoses.

...

instarx -

Quote:
Originally Posted by instarx View Post
...

Oh, *I* could do it (I keep my 14 year old 6.5L diesel on the road), but I don't think *most* people could do what JM did. For someone who has the time and skills this is a great thing to do, but for those that don't it doesn't necessarily make them "stupid rich guys". Maybe they wanted the airbags and anti-lock brakes for their family's safety, which is reasonable
Ahhs ain't got the skillzzzz, so I couldn't do it, but I agree that it's the "right thing to do". The second best thing for people like me is to have an honest mechanic.

When I switched to my long commute a few years ago, getting a used Honda Insight would have been the most logical thing for me to do. But, I like the idea that I am trying to solve my problem with a standard-issue car. That way I am in the trenches with the majority of people, and my solutions will translate to their situation (if they ever ask me, ).

CarloSW2
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
The second best thing for people like me is to have an honest mechanic.

CarloSW2
The third best thing would be to ask one of your Wrencher friends to teach/help you out. You can get all kinds of books at local libraries on this subject too.

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