Why Mechanics Drive Junk Cars

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  • #631321
    EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

      Brink5 actually brought this question up in the Suggestion box. I thought it was a great topic. What are your thoughts?

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    • #631331
      Walt jrWalt jr

        With your background, surely you see the parallel between buying a new car and having your head chopped off.


          Question is – What do you consider a junk car ? In my opinion all new cars (2005- )are junk cars. I drive a 94 Volvo 850 and I wouldnt change it for a new one. Old cars are reliable cars

          Vic SorlieVic Sorlie

            Many reasons for this, but I’ll say a major one is time. When a professional mechanic spends his work day fixing vehicles, think he or she looks forward to going home and…working on the personal car? Some do, but most don’t. Same principle applies to others. I was a military and commercial pilot for 30+ years. Never did any personal flying while I was working and haven’t touched an airplane in the six years since I retired.

            Jason ThurstonJason Thurston

              I think it comes down to “total cost of ownership”. Parts for older cars are cheap, and as a general rule, older vehicles tend to be easier to work on. As long as it is reliable, who cares what it looks like? I have a 2000 Tahoe with severely oxidized paint on the roof and hood. It has a hellacious dent on the right fender where some debris hit it during a storm. Even with almost 200k miles on the original engine and transmission, it starts without fail and has only broken down on me once (fuel pump–which was temporarily remedied with a thud to the bottom of the fuel tank).

              Would I like a brand new shiny Tahoe? Sure! Am I going to spend $40-50k to get one? Heck no!


                This video captures my views so well!
                I’m a computer science student who works on my own car and cars in the family. My dad is an electronic engineer who has rebuilt a few classics and also worked on cars when he was younger.

                Since studying computer science in a formal manner at college and university, I no longer care about whatever the new fad is in hardware, as long as it can fulfil my needs quickly and reliably it can be whatever. My main computer runs loudly, with extra cooling fans, and the case has no side panel. But it runs 4 displays, runs all the development environments I need and its reliable.

                Similarly, my daily driver is a Yaris that I bought with no MOT certificate (yearly inspection where they check tyres, suspension, brakes, emissions, seatbelts, windscreen, wipers, headlight alignment, tail lights, bodywork etc), panel damage and a leaky exhaust. I bought it because it had full service history despite the current condition.
                Its got high miles but it gets really good MPG and is reliable touch wood!
                I didn’t bother fixing the panel damage, I just do service and maintenance stuff and whatever was required for it to pass the yearly inspection which was a couple of suspension and exhaust bits. Would I want a 2014 Yaris? Hell no!


                  Another advantage in driving a beater is insurance. You can carry liability and not worry about comprehensive/collision for the car. If it breaks big time (usually transmission), send it to the wrecking yard and get another beater.

                  Clearcoat failure has been my friend. It makes a nice old car into a ratty old car and I don’t have to pay as much for it. Get to work, haul the kids, get groceries. Keep brakes, tires, all that safety stuff good. To me it is an appliance, not a fashion statement.

                  Full disclosure: DIY, not mechanic.

                  Rene PerezRene Perez

                    If I can make a really good income I would definitely invest my money on a brand new car. After all, when you are a technician you can fix it yourself instead of having to worry about taking it to a dealer or repair shop to have someone else fix it for you.


                      Heh, I would not dare have posed that question on this forum, being a regular member but since Eric himself brought it up, it is interesting conversation.

                      It is cheaper, plus problems are not as intimidating.
                      Someone who knows next to nothing about cars, they do not want ANY B.S. from their cars cause they already know that something “simple” is still gonna cost several hundred bucks to fix at some shop. Like say a serpentine belt tensioner.

                      I imagine the everyday mechanics here have heard this several times; “I just bought it for (several thousand) and it is already having problems?!” When you buy an old beater and something breaks to the point of not being worth the hassle, it is no real loss.

                      An old beater may not LOOK as pretty but by then, several things have already been fixed, recalls probably done, etc. With a new car, when the transmission screws up at 15,000 miles, there is a long wait until the court orders the company to do a recall and all that.

                      Plus one thing that comes with any lifestyle is that when you are good at it or “found your groove” there is no need to prove anything.

                      Me, I am just a DIY’er and honestly cannot really afford a “good” car. So when I am shopping for my next heap, I always think, “Can I fix the problems it has?”

                      Rich BayerRich Bayer

                        I really want a reliable POS again.. I got into this field because I’m (still) super fascinated with all this. I had a pretty clear cut path from day one and knew I wanted to do this since high school. So I’ve been doing it since 2000 with a small 6 year side track as an operator in the USAF. But I’m back behind the wrench again and I still love it.

                        I drive a 2008 R32 and while I REALLY love the car, I’m just frustrated that it’s going to be very expensive for me to thinker with. (I can’t leave well enough alone.) So $6000 worth of mods in an R32 will get you a nice car, but $2000 into a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee is more along the lines of what I’m looking for right now. I just really need something I can tinker with so I can get my fix… (Because I love this S**t that bad where I do it all day and it still isn’t enough to feed the monkey… :D)

                        Anyway.. I plan on getting the WJ Jeep in the near future. A nice reliable POS that I can get dirty and not care about. My opinion may change in a year from now, but I just want to take a step back.

                        Oh yeah, I work on this stuff all day… 😀 (also add in sanders, dump trucks, JD Tracktors, a fleet of generators up to 200kw and other heavy equipment.. but this is the fun stuff.. XD )

                        David HayesDavid Hayes

                          They can repair and make it work again like new that’s why they can drive junk cars easily.

                          Alex MckenzieAlex Mckenzie

                            A mechanic can always modify an old car. Also, not all mechanics drive a junk car.

                            Steve AltenSteve Alten

                              Not all mechanics can modify junk cars but yes those who do that job can easily modify your junk car at cheap.

                              Steve AltenSteve Alten


                                • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Steve AltenSteve Alten.
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