bk2w: (Miata)
[personal profile] bk2w
Finally heard back from insurance company regarding the Miata. Now I need to figure out what we're going to do.


We've some sentimental attachment to this car, so the waters are somewhat muddied. I've no desire to do the repair work myself, since I've got 3 other vehicles that want attention. My goal is to get back to having 2 reliable daily drivers.

The repair shop has estimated about $3300 to repair the car. It needs a hood, bumper cover, AC condenser, left headlight assembly, left turn signal, left radiator fan assemble, and upper tie bar (welded in beam across the front of the engine bay just above and in front of the radiator).

Insurance considers the car a total loss, so they won't pay to repair it, instead they'll pay me $3955 if they keep the car, and $3134 if I keep the car. There's "guaranteed bid" from a salvage yard to buy the car in the next 60 days for $700. The Hard Dog M2 Hard Core roll bar (installed in October of last year) is considered to add no value to the car. [livejournal.com profile] tshuma has already covered the $250 deductible.

I can see a couple of options:
A) Settle and walk away with the money. Go buy a late model car with the money as a down payment. This nets me non-trivial car payments for several years, and the least hassle.

B) Settle and retain the damaged vehicle for ~$800. Remove and sell the roll-bar ($535 new), then sell the car to a salvage yard for at least $700 (I'd inquire with the Rancho Cordova one in particular). Go buy a a late model car. Still get the car payments, have to deal with removing the bar and selling the bar and car, but likely to extract a bit more money than A.

C) Settle, retain vehicle, and have the body shop repair the car. I end up paying $200-300 past the settlement to get the car repaired, but I end up with our Miata still drivable, albeit with a Salvaged title.

D) Settle, retain vehicle, and sell it to someone interested in repairing it for driving or racing.


Arguments for keeping and repairing the car:
- the car figures prominently in a lot my time falling in love with [livejournal.com profile] tshuma and has a great deal of sentinental value because of it;
- it's an extremely fun little car to drive, very zippy and responsive;
- convertible driving in good weather is fabulous;
- no pressure to buy a replacement car;
- no additional monthly expenses in the form of a car payment (and I get to keep my savings balance instead of using those funds to decrease car debt);

Arguments against:
- the car has already suffered another hood impact under our ownership and suffered a rear-end collision significant enough to impact the trunk metal prior to our buying it;
- the transmission has a slow leak, and had been getting progressively shifting harder and at poorer RPMs than in the past (it likely needs to services, possibly to the extent of overhauling)
- it's not a comfortable car for long distance drives, thanks to the level of noise even with the top up, and limited cabin and trunk space;
- the cruise control system is flaky, giving up after 30 minutes or so of driving and needs repairing;
- it's 15 years old and that age is going to keep showing up in more and more systems.

I'm sure there's more on all sides of the argument that I haven't seen yet.

Need to decide in the next handful of days what I'm going to do.

Date: 2007-06-18 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsgeisel.livejournal.com
Keep in mind that for option D, as an automatic there's likely to be less interest from the racing folks.

Y'know, *new* Miatas have a power-retractable hard top option. Sure, it's a ton of debt, but this is America, and having a ton of debt is the American way!

Good luck.

Date: 2007-06-18 06:38 pm (UTC)
tshuma: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tshuma
We drove a new Miata this weekend in part for the purpose of seeing if it's something we'd want to buy. It's not out of the running, but there are a few issues we have with it.

Date: 2007-06-18 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bk2w.livejournal.com
power-retractable hard top option

And that's been an interesting idea since I first saw mention of it last year.

Date: 2007-06-18 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devonapple.livejournal.com
I don't know how much the transmission and other age-related repairs would be, but you could opt to keep the car, take what the insurance company gives you, then take out a loan that would cover the rest of the repairs, as well as an overhaul of the transmission and any of the other age-related line items. You'll be making some monthly payments, but hopefully fewer and smaller.

Date: 2007-06-18 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lrc.livejournal.com
If you want a perfectly restored car, from a "been there done that" perspective, it would be cheaper to replace your miata with another just like it without the damage. On the other hand "getting it back on the road" could be done pretty cheaply. When I rear ended someone with my Miata last year, I pulled a hood and a radiator from my spare parts pile, paid a friend with a shop a couple hundred dollars to pull the radiator support straight, and with an afternoon or two of work, had the car back on the road.

Would you have the ability to pull the rollbar and the softtop before the insurance company takes it?

Is the busted fan the radiator fan or the AC fan?

I have a large number of parts in a pile in my front yard. I may have an AC condensor. I may have electric fans. I don't have a hood. I have a bumper skin that isn't perfect, but isn't horrible.

Through my competition connection, I can also get new parts for dealer prices. Cheaper than body shops can get them for.

Call Steve Prosen at World auto body in Belmont 650-740-4174 and get his idea of what it would cost in labor to have him fix the car. Mention that you're a friend of mine.

I have at least two manual transmissions in my pile of stuff, and quite likely a master cylinder. So converting to manual may not be as expensive as you fear.

Krylon Fusion Patriot Blue paint is a near perfect match for Mariner blue. Look at the pictures at http://red4est.com/miata and see how easily you can spot the rattle can panels.

Does the car move under it's own power? If need be, I could loan you van and trailer, with proper scheduling. With [livejournal.com profile] zabster's broken foot, it's the only car in her stable (the only A/T) she can drive at the moment, but in a couple of weeks, she hopes to be back in regular shoes.

About 15 feet of this pile is Miata parts. I won't promise to give you everything you need for free, but if it's not something I need for my racecar, I can give it to you real cheap. We may also be able to find someone who could do the mechanical stuff cheaply.

Date: 2007-06-18 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ts4z.livejournal.com
Fifteen year old car that's worth almost $4K to the insurance company? Let it go. Sentimental reasons? Bah! You got the girl. Keep the girl, lose the car.

Regardless of what you decide to do for a replacement, paying $4K to keep a *daily driver* that needs to be dependable and is 15 years old is asking for trouble... and when trouble doesn't answer, you're calling trouble at home after a couple drinks and challenging him to a fight.

You could probably make a few hundred bucks trying to angle the insurance company, but that can't be worth the trouble, can it?

I think you should consider taking the ~$4K from the insurance company and buying a seven-year-old Miata for <$12K. I'm not sure (at all) that this is the right choice for you, but it has some merit.

Date: 2007-06-19 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rmitz.livejournal.com
I'm with Tim on this one...

Date: 2007-06-19 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alicelee.livejournal.com
I'm sorry to hear about the miata. Damn.

Perhaps this weekend you found the optimal path. Take the insurance funds and do not replace the miata: have some savings instead of debt. Then rent a miata when you want a fun weekend drive.

I bet if you run out the cost of (expected value to keep the miata running / # times you're likely to enjoy driving it before it costs you another big pile of money) you'll find just renting one is far better.

If buying a car means taking on debt, ok. That's how most people get to work. But taking on debt for a third car... that's a bit beyond what seems prudent to me. YMMV, of course, I just can't see it for myself.

If you put $4k into a CD, even with interest rates low, you have a "car payment" that pays you every month.

Date: 2007-06-30 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lrc.livejournal.com
Been cleaning up in the yard, have found:

several fans
bumper skin
several headlamp buckets

etc.

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