How much is worth doing to my truck?

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by shilohlee, May 13, 2012.

  1. shilohlee

    shilohlee New Member

    So, I really like my Sierra Z71 and I think I'm going to be sticking with something similar in the future. It's a 2000 with 170,000 mi. So, the question I'm debating is how many mi can I expect my truck to run if I take good care of it, and how much $ is worth investing in it vs saving that money toward a newer one in the future? Also curious as to which upgrades might transfer to a newer, similar model, and what the smartest and most cost-effective add-ons would be. Any input would be appreciated!
  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    I've got 140k on mine ... and it was bought used with 133k on it. I looked at the prices of new trucks and realized I could have pretty much everything from them that I wanted (without any of the things I didn't want, like TPMS and AFM) if I customized. I could also get a distinct look that's all my own ... and even some extras that a dealership truck just won't have ... for far less than a brand new, loaded truck from the dealership.

    Our trucks are 200-300K mile trucks if properly maintained. Sure we'll need to replace some old hoses, bulbs, maybe an actuator or window motor along the way. That's expected. Mine was lifted when I got it and the owner didn't bother to regear it, so I figure my transmission won't last as long as my engine. However, replacing the tranny and repairing/replacing the engine will STILL be cheaper than buying a new vehicle, even with the modifications I've done.

    So, my personal take on it from a long-haul perspective (that considers both costs and value gained) ... is customize rather than going new ... and do as much of it, yourself, as you can. (Cheaper and more satisfying.)
  3. The Heater

    The Heater Rockstar 100 Posts

    Hello, shilohlee:

    Your question requires making different assumptions for different answers. Let me ask you some.

    1. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most likely, how likely are you to buy a new truck in the next 5 years?

    2. If you answered less than 8 to the above, then how likely, using the same scale, are you to keep your current truck for 5 or more years?

    Here is my take. I keep stuff. Not everyone does this. In fact most auto/truck buyers replace their vehicle before any major work is needed in terms of a rebuild or replacement (if they can get away with it) of some major component. Since the banking industry crash in 2009, I would say this behavior has lessened, and more people are keeping and fixing what they drive, but new cars and trucks are still being purchased at a good rate.

    But I digress. I keep what i buy. Your questions are good ones. I decided to keep my truck because I like it and there is not enough from a newer truck to make me want it more than what I have. I have upgraded a few things, and most people would not spend the kind of money I have on a '94 truck. Like Recaro leather heated electric seats. But who is selling a new model truck with these? No one. Costs too much. I like the seats and they match my interior perfectly. They also support my back better than any new truck seat will do.

    So this is but one example of an upgrade I have done. Is it what you would do? Well, you seem penny conscious. And I believe you are weighing the very thing I was weighing about 10 years ago with my truck. I know this, from 40 years of driving and wrenching on cars and trucks and motorcycles in my spare time: everything needs things replaced and rebuilt eventually if you want it to run right. You asked "how much money is worth investing in it versus saving ...toward a newer one in the future"? That is totally personal, not objective as your question assumes. At 170,000 miles and now 12 years old, you will have to replace stuff like cosmetic items, trim pieces that break or fade, rip, etc, or just plain wear out. The drivetrain, hydraulics and electrical and AC will eventually need some TLC. Once you put the money into the vehicle, the only way it "pays" is if you keep the vehicle long enough to feel you got your money back on the investment.

    I have poured money into plenty of vehicles and then sold them, thereby losing that money invested. I sold them to get rid of them before they cost me any MORE money. And I walked away and did not worry about it. Cars don't appreciate unless they are rare collector vehicles. So when you talk about "investing" money in your rig, it is a figurative term. You are actually "investing" in your peace of mind. And as they say in the Mastercard commercials, that is "priceless". Me, I don't want to worry when I drive to Laguna Seca Raceway with my 20 foot red Wells Cargo trailer filled with motorcycles and camping equipment, to watch MOTO GP races for a week. If that means I have to replace a water pump or the alternator, or throw some money at the motor or transmission, I do it. I don't run an Excel spreadsheet on it to see if it all pencils out versus buying a new truck.

    For you, if you really are concerned about that cost versus a new truck, then figure out how much you can save a month during the worst possible month of having to spend on other things, and see how long it takes to buy a new truck. Then you have your answer as far as what to expect to have to do in terms of fixing the current truck.

    I have a friend who owns a 1995 Ford F-350 dually with a diesel, and he has 1.5 million miles on it. He replaced the engine at 750,000 miles (with a used engine), not having done any major work on it before that. He also rebuilt the suspension and hydraulics at 750,000 miles. He was meticulous on things like oil changes (every 3,000 miles and always put in an oil additive of his choice). This truck has a gooseneck in the bed trailer hitch and he hauls extremely heavy steel buoys for ships all over North America with this thing. So as you can see, if you are regular in your maintenance, and you use good products, your truck can last a very, very long time.
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  4. shilohlee

    shilohlee New Member

    Thanks for the input, guys.

    As far as buying a new truck, on a scale of 1-10 my answer would be "0" because I don't buy new vehicles. They devalue so much as soon as you drive them off the lot that I just don't believe you ever get your $'s worth. I save what I can and buy what I can afford with cash. If i was to consider buying something else, it would be a newer used vehicle.

    I also keep things. I'm pretty sure every vehicle I've owned has had over 200,000 mi on it. And none of them were bought new (by me). In fact, my Lincoln is still sitting in my driveway with 220,000+ mi and still runs. I only replaced it because the cost to repair/replace the AC would be more than the car is worth, and it's starting to get hot here in Roanoke!

    Luckily, my domestic situation is such that I'm not putting a lot of mi on my vehicle these days.

    So, on the heels of all that, I guess the best question is: What specific things should I start looking at or saving for now to prevent possible issues in the future with my current vehicle? BTW, I'd like to look at maximizing performance and effiency, but not to any extant so as to wear other areas out prematurely (if that makes sense).

    Thanks again.
  5. Coach24

    Coach24 Rockstar 3 Years 5000 Posts

    Longevity is linked to maintenance in most cases. I for one was shocked when I drove a friends 97 Tahoe and it turned over to 200,000 when I was driving. What shocked me is that this friend only has oil changed once per year and the original spark plugs are still in it. I replaced an )2 sensor and a pitman arm a few weeks ago. But nothing major has been done.
    The plan is to get all fluids changed before months end. Starting with a new oil filter and some fresh oil.Then the tranny needs a new filter and fluid. Flushing the power steering and filling the joints with grease for that firmer steering effect. This Tahoe passed Utah emissions with flying colors , How I am uncertain. But new plugs and plug wires will also be taken care of and I will try to buff the headlght lenses .
    That is the start besides the diff and transfer case fluids
  6. dogred

    dogred Member

    Another good note is to use synthetic oils whenever possible or affordable. I would also advise to use a higher end oil filter than the rock bottom priced ones. The higher priced ones usually have more filter material and remove more dirt.
  7. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I would agree with all that has been said. Change the fluids when they are supposed to be changed and keep an eye on your hoses and belts. Do these things and you can get many more miles out of your truck. I think the best way to decide if it is better to keep or buy a new or new to you truck is the car payment test. How much/many repairs can you do on your current truck to equal what a new/new to you truck woould cost. I bet you could do a lot of repairs on the old one and still have money left over.
  8. SupplySgt

    SupplySgt Rockstar 4 Years 500 Posts

    How much it is worth to you is relative to you alone. I daily drive a 93 Suburban with over 250,000 miles on the clock and just replaced the transmission. I'm about to do some custom work on the engine as well as upgrading the brakes, suspension, and fairly heavily modifying the interior. The transmission alone probably cost more than the truck was worth, let alone the upgrades I'm planning. But I'm putting it together the way I like it. The only reason I'm even looking at getting another truck down the road is that I want to turn the Burb into my emergency response vehicle for when I'm working with ARES and the local EMA. Having another truck means I can completely dedicate the Burb for that purpose and not have to keep some of the equipment out during the week when I'm driving to/from work or around town.

    For me, it would be more worth it personally to keep it and upgrade it for the long haul. For some people, it would not be worth it. I've driven many vehicles with tons of miles on them. Some of them (like my 96 Sierra with 220k miles when I sold it), I wish I had kept. I've had vehicles with less miles that I was much happier to get rid of (like the 98 Dakota and 98 S-10 I used to have).
  9. shilohlee

    shilohlee New Member

    All good points, thanks guys. Already upgraded the air filter to a K&N. Fluids will be next. From there, we'll see...
  10. donyms

    donyms Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    There is no doubt that new trucks depreciate quickly and you loose in that aspect right off the bat. I too think it is all up to you. How long do you plan to keep the truck? What is your budget? How do you drive? Myself, I have put way more into my truck than I could ever get out of it by selling but I plan to drive it until the wheels fall off. I am not hard on a truck, I do regular maintenance and if something is wrong with it I deal with it immediately so as not to let things build up. My truck is 10 years old and there is literally not 1 thing wrong with it. It does have 150,000 miles on it now and in 5 years it will have around 300,000 on it and to be honest, at that point I will probably buy a newer one with less miles on it and customize it to my liking because I enjoy doing this. I think you have to measure your question by how much you enjoy fixing up your truck also. Isn't doing things you enjoy worth allot too? Just my 2 cents. :glasses:

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