Daily Driver Decisions....Need Honest Help

Wayne Waldrep

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Sorry, this is going to be pretty long. The topic is what to drive daily...my Mustang or a Crown Vic. I was going to go into detail on why I was in this particular spot but it would make this even longer so let's just go with this explanation. I've had one career and after losing almost everything in 2009, finances are almost non-existent. This factors into everything I do. One day it will change but not yet. Feel free to PM me if you need to know something as I don't mind telling any forum folks details. I just don't want it sitting out for just anyone.

So the dilemma. Most know I've had my car since new in '88. I do have a 2008 Suzuki Boulevard that I also bought new right before the bottom dropped out. Thank goodness I had money back then because it was paid for and I didn't have to worry about that. I tried selling it when it was 2 years old but motorcycles are difficult to sell. After 43k miles of riding it, I am not opposed to selling it now. It's an old motorcycle at this point and even though it still looks almost perfect, it's just not worth that much. It is very cheap transportation though at 50 mpg and almost no insurance costs.

Onward....I love my Mustang. It's been with me thru everything. I can't ever see myself selling it. Someone asks me almost weekly if it's for sale. I know I'd be sick if I did so unless it's totally required that's not on the table. I also have always been of the opinion that buying a second car is not a way to save money. Some of my friends always talk about buying a second vehicle that gets good gas mileage to “save money.” Ok, so cost of that vehicle plus insurance, tag, maintenance, etc. Where is the money saving? Nowhere. I am not doing this from that standpoint. What's needed right now is a solid, comfortable vehicle that is well known for longevity and low costs. I've been doing a lot with the guys online that are taking Crown Vic's and chassis swapping an old F100 on them. The Vic is a very solid car. Taxi's and Cop cars get tons of miles on them. The suspension, engine, and pretty much everything else lasts a very long time. The plus for me is they are big and comfortable for my size. At 6'3, not every vehicle is comfortable. I pretty much use every available square inch in a Fox body. The other plus is, for now, I can put a receiver hitch on a Vic and pull a small trailer to use instead of a truck. One day down the road (possibly only in my dreams) I can drop a truck body on top of it and have a nice driving truck.

I can get a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis for anywhere between $3000 and $5000. This would give me a 2005-2009 car with less than 100k. There's a guy close to me that keeps used Police Pkg Vics for $2500 all day long as many as you want. The only issue with these is if you are going to use it as a driver, the interior is pretty rough. They are all cloth cars with some radio stuff not there. It would be much better to find an older person that wants to sell and only has 75k miles on it. I've seen those with leather, nice stereo, good wheels, etc. That would be good to drive. They are harder to find that way but plenty out there.

It will be tough for me to drop the Mustang because it will just sit there. But I'm tired of spending money fixing something every six months. It's always something. The positive is I've been working on these cars since they came out. I've had my car completely apart in boxes before and down to a shell for a color change. Numerous engines. If something happens I can fix it. Most of the time it's not too expensive but a couple of times it has been. I want to just get in a car and DRIVE.

Ask me anything you want. I really need this discussion with other car folks because “normal” people don't get the whole car thing. Ultimately, my wants aren't the important part right now. I must do what's best for my current situation. No, I don't honestly know 100% what that is, hence this post. Last thought....IF I can sell my bike I could get close to buying the Vic with just that money. That's a big if though. Like I said I tried selling it before but you have to almost give them away to move them.

Anyway, any thoughts or ideas would really help me with this. Thanks!!
 
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95BlueStallion

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Sounds like your mind is made up on a Crown Vic, which honestly sounds like no better than your Mustang to me. I see a reliable daily driver as a Honda Civic or Accord. Cheap, reliable and great fuel economy while costing similar to buy as the Vics you mention. A V8 in a daily driver just doesn’t make sense if you are trying to be cost effective. That’s just my opinion.
 
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Wayne Waldrep

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Sounds like your mind is made up on a Crown Vic, which honestly sounds like no better than your Mustang to me. I see a reliable daily driver as a Honda Civic or Accord. Cheap, reliable and great fuel economy while costing similar to buy as the Vics you mention. A V8 in a daily driver just doesn’t make sense if you are trying to be cost effective. That’s just my opinion.
Thanks for the reply. Just to be clear, my question isn't which car to buy but weather to change my daily driver or not. I bought and sold '99-'02 Honda Accords and Civics for a few years. I picked those because my whole life I thought they were ultra dependable. Honda had some huge recalls on transmissions in those cars and I personally had a few that suffered from bad transmissions. I don't trust them. Yes lots of people do. But they are no more dependable than a Vic. And the V8 is irrelevant since the last one I had regularly got 26mpg. A years worth of driving (12k for example) @ $2.00/gal is only $275 difference from 25mpg to 35mpg. It's not as much as people think.
 

Mustang5L5

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I've kept my daily drivers 100% bone stock for a few decades now and resist the urge to modify.

I think if you had a DD, you'd get more enjoyment from the Mustang. It's been a long time since I DD'ed a mustang and I can remember sitting in traffic or highway driving in the rain used to make me hate driving the car. I stopped getting enjoyment out of it.

But, when you drive it once in a while just for fun, it's a whole different experience.
 
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Dan02gt

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I love driving my fox when it's nice outside and I can enjoy it, but it's been 20 years since I had to daily drive one. At this point given the choice I would rather drive the Crown Vic.

On another note I had to transport my 90 year old grandmother the other day and we took her '08 Crown Vic because it's easier for her to get in and out of than my F150. I was surprised by how well the car rode and drove.
 
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90sickfox

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The most reliable car on the planet is a ford mustang 2.3L with a 5 speed....most reliable truck is a 2.3L ford ranger with a 5 speed. My current car had 360,000+ miles on it and still ran....my ranger had almost 250,000 miles and still ran pretty good.

The crown Victoria's are very nice vehicles.... the lincoln town cars are basically the same car and can be had cheaper....with better options. The only thing is swapping the rear air bags to regular coil springs. Very easy and cheap. I like the square lincoln town cars from the mid to late 90s.

I needed a daily so I went and bought a new ecoboost mustang. I was in a situation and didn't want to play the " let's fix the new used car " game.
 
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Mustang5L5

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[QUOTE="90sickfox]
I needed a daily so I went and bought a new ecoboost mustang. I was in a situation and didn't want to play the " let's fix the new used car " game.[/QUOTE]

Same here. I have no desire to spend time performing repairs on the daily. Once little things start needing fixing....time to move on.

My current daily is at that point.
 
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CarMichael Angelo

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Thanks for the reply. Just to be clear, my question isn't which car to buy but weather to change my daily driver or not. I bought and sold '99-'02 Honda Accords and Civics for a few years. I picked those because my whole life I thought they were ultra dependable. Honda had some huge recalls on transmissions in those cars and I personally had a few that suffered from bad transmissions. I don't trust them. Yes lots of people do. But they are no more dependable than a Vic. And the V8 is irrelevant since the last one I had regularly got 26mpg. A years worth of driving (12k for example) @ $2.00/gal is only $275 difference from 25mpg to 35mpg. It's not as much as people think.

I too think your logic is skewed.

An old car is an old car. Whether it says Mustang on it or Crown Vic, they both will need the same stuff sooner or later. The only differences I see between the two, is that one of them is worth more if it's not driven to death, and one of them is more comfortable while you drive it to death.
It doesn't have to be a Honda, The rest of the world thinks a Toyota Camry is the poster child for reliability/longevity/comfort/economy. It can be a number of other choices from Korea or Japan as well.
The most obvious oversight is using current prices to budget the differences between cars. For you to bank on current gas prices in your grand plan and to use the best possible average is to ignore the inevitable, unless you are only talking about the next year. Gas will go back up. What happens to your math when it does?

A VVT engine will average much better efficiency than an engine that cannot compensate for different driving situations. While the ford engine may be able to average decent mileage while your foot is held in the same place for an hour, that all changes when you have to drive the thing in town. And then the pig comes out to play.
 
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General karthief

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I agree with mike, simply put, you need to broaden your DD horizon.
get the second car but don't narrow your choices.
a crown vic/merc marque frame with a truck body on it is still a car with a truck body. Makes it less a truck.
 
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Boostedpimp

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My little brother daily drives a reef blue 4 banger 5spd notch which now has over 300k on it. He's swapped the header to a newer ranger one for a little more torque and has played with tire sizes to obtain some good mpg numbers. I don't have them because I was never really too worried about mpg myself or I'd be driving a kia etc but I daily drive a 2010 4 cylinder ranger or my 88 5L/5spd hatch fox and enjoy my long commutes. The hatch has pretty much every mod possible besides heads or force induction and performs well as a daily driver if your not @nal about mpg
 
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Wayne Waldrep

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Good replies to all. Even the ones I don't agree with. I'm not like a lot of this country at the moment and hates everyone that disagrees with me. I'd hate lots of people if that were the case....lol. I want to hear all sides as you guys are doing. Otherwise known as bustin my chops!! :p

A couple of thoughts. My current situation is a DD that gets 22 mpg consistently. It also consistently needs something fixed. If I ended up with a _____________ (insert any car) that got better gas mileage then why the argument that "what if gas prices go up?" It will go up on my current car as well. Up is up. As long as whatever I might get is better or equal to current is all that matters.
Second thought. Let's use the Vic example So I find a clean 2008 or 2009 one with 75k miles and I'm currently driving a 1988 car with almost 400k on the clock. That's a 10 year old car as opposed to a 31 year old one. It's also an enormous difference in miles on every part of the car. How is that not better? Sure it's 10 years old and that could be called an "old" car but in terms of use, it's only 75k miles of use as opposed to a zillion. Seems logical to me but apparently, I'm missing something. Trust me. My choice would be to NOT buy anything. I really can't afford traditional insurance, traditional license plate costs, and another car. I've got my finances down to a point that I do not have stringent monthly requirements. The Mustang has a vintage tag that will never cost me a penny. I also have insurance that's stated value and it is less than $200 per year. I can handle that. I'm honestly scared to commit to regular insurance because of the costs. I would only be able to afford liability in any case.
This whole process would be irrelevant if I was working again. Pisses me off that I'm even in this situation.
 
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2000xp8

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The second car as a daily driver case makes sense sometimes and sometimes it doesn't.
In no way shape or form is the crown vic a good idea.
Yes you could beat it senseless and the engine and trans will live, but other than that, it's still a money pit with bad gas mileage.

It's not only the mileage of the used car that matters. Many parts still have a shelf life.
I had a dodge Dakota that had 70,000 miles on it (inherited).
In a 4 year span I spent triple fixing that thing as I did my work van with twice the mileage that I drive nearly every day.
A car that has sat is just as much of a nightmare as a car that has been driven to death.
Anything rubber still wears out, grease gets dried out, leaks (or whatever the hell happens to it) and parts go metal to metal.
Most of all the thing I hate most about old low mileage old vehicles, the god damn hard brake lines.

If i'm reading you right, you have stated value collector insurance currently?
If so, be very very careful with what you say and what you do with the car. Most of those insurances have stipulations on what you can do with the car. I know grundy (which I have) doesn't track mileage, but it's to be driven as a pleasure vehicle only. If you sort out the work situation, you will not be able to drive it there, if you goto school the same applies.
 
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Mustang5L5

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If i'm reading you right, you have stated value collector insurance currently?
If so, be very very careful with what you say and what you do with the car. Most of those insurances have stipulations on what you can do with the car. I know grundy (which I have) doesn't track mileage, but it's to be driven as a pleasure vehicle only. If you sort out the work situation, you will not be able to drive it there, if you goto school the same applies.

I was wondering the same thing. How are you getting away with collector insurance on a daily driven car? Haggerty has enough stipulations in their coverage that anything other than cruising around would be cause for denial of coverage for me.
 
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Wayne Waldrep

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The second car as a daily driver case makes sense sometimes and sometimes it doesn't.
In no way shape or form is the crown vic a good idea.
Yes you could beat it senseless and the engine and trans will live, but other than that, it's still a money pit with bad gas mileage.

It's not only the mileage of the used car that matters. Many parts still have a shelf life.
I had a dodge Dakota that had 70,000 miles on it (inherited).
In a 4 year span I spent triple fixing that thing as I did my work van with twice the mileage that I drive nearly every day.
A car that has sat is just as much of a nightmare as a car that has been driven to death.
Anything rubber still wears out, grease gets dried out, leaks (or whatever the hell happens to it) and parts go metal to metal.
Most of all the thing I hate most about old low mileage old vehicles, the god damn hard brake lines.

If i'm reading you right, you have stated value collector insurance currently?
If so, be very very careful with what you say and what you do with the car. Most of those insurances have stipulations on what you can do with the car. I know grundy (which I have) doesn't track mileage, but it's to be driven as a pleasure vehicle only. If you sort out the work situation, you will not be able to drive it there, if you goto school the same applies.

I agree with that second paragraph...lol. All that stuff is troubling. The last paragraph is not a worry. I've had numerous 40's, 50's and 60's Ford F1's and F100's as well as several Fox Mustangs with my same insurance company over the last 15 years.

You'll have to help me with the first paragraph. You are the first person I've ever heard say that a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis is a money pit. They are rock solid. Granted, I and my immediate family have only had 3 or 4 of them but not one single problem ever. I certainly don't get the "bad gas mileage" part. As stated in my previous post my last one got 26mpg almost every tank. That's better than the Mustang's 22 mpg so I'm not sure where that comment comes from. Could I rawhide it and make it get terrible mileage? Sure. Same with any car. I don't drive like that anymore though.
 
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95BlueStallion

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The more this goes on, the more it seems your mind is already made up. That said, yes I would get a second vehicle for a DD so that your fun car (Mustang) gets it fun factor back while also lasting longer.
 
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2000xp8

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Crow vics are really just mustangs on a different chassis for the most part.
The suspensions still wear out, so does the steering, brake lines etc. As do electronic parts on the engines.
They are tougher because they have an actual frame instead of a unibody that starts to fall apart at the seams.

The draw is that they are easy and cheap to work on and companies have stock piles of parts (something that you personally do not have).

MPG is a relative term. I view it compare to other cars that are actually good on mpg currently. For me 22 and 26 are essentially the same mediocre at best number. You could buy an old corolla for a few grand and get 35mpg-40mpg. Now those are numbers I consider good, imagine nearly doubling your current gas mileage.

I agree with stallion, seems like you want us to tell you to get a crown vic. If that's the case, go ahead it's your money, just realize you will essentially have a mustang with a frame.
 
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Wayne Waldrep

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The more this goes on, the more it seems your mind is already made up. That said, yes I would get a second vehicle for a DD so that your fun car (Mustang) gets it fun factor back while also lasting longer.

Like I said before, the question was never which car to get as a second although I love the various thoughts given. Never know what it might spark in my brain. I almost bought a 2 year old Ford Focus hatch 2 or 3 years ago. You'd be amazed at what a 10,000 mile example that's only a year or two old goes for at the dealer auction. I've driven a bunch of miles on those cars and they are pretty nice for what they are. The thing that canceled that plan was the cost of "regular" insurance. I couldn't do it. I hate it but even if I could afford the actual vehicle I can't pin myself down to that much insurance costs. It's just not possible right now. At the moment, I'm living on $4000 per year. No, I didn't leave off a zero...lol. I'm trying to change that but there are things that are prohibiting that.
But....just to be clear, my mind is very much not made up. This grand idea comes out every time the Mustang is causing me trouble and I eventually squash it. Proly will this time as well. I'm just thinking out loud and seeing what others think. I appreciate the thoughts.
 

Wayne Waldrep

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Crow vics are really just mustangs on a different chassis for the most part.
The suspensions still wear out, so does the steering, brake lines etc. As do electronic parts on the engines.
They are tougher because they have an actual frame instead of a unibody that starts to fall apart at the seams.

The draw is that they are easy and cheap to work on and companies have stock piles of parts (something that you personally do not have).

MPG is a relative term. I view it compare to other cars that are actually good on mpg currently. For me 22 and 26 are essentially the same mediocre at best number. You could buy an old corolla for a few grand and get 35mpg-40mpg. Now those are numbers I consider good, imagine nearly doubling your current gas mileage.

I agree with stallion, seems like you want us to tell you to get a crown vic. If that's the case, go ahead it's your money, just realize you will essentially have a mustang with a frame.
I want no one to tell me what to do...just asking for food for thought. Hate that's what's coming thru from me because that's very much not the case. Excellent comment about the Vic being a Mustang with a frame. Now that makes me think!!! It makes me think NOT to get one...lol. See....told ya :D
 

Wayne Waldrep

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At some point the faults of the Mustang should be ironed out though right? I mean there are only so many things that can go wrong with it.
You would think. Case in point...this morning I go out to open the passenger door with the key. It hangs. I feel that every year and a half or two. Door lock actuator....again. I have a whole thread on the things I constantly replace because no quality parts are available. So my point of this entire post is made by my car all on its own today....lol.