There have been times that I have wondered if it is better to buy a new 4WD rather than fix up the old one. These times usually coincide with being covered with oil and grease, skinning my knuckles and swearing underneath the old one. Fortunately, or not as the case may be, I usually feel OK about it all by the time I crawl out from under the vehicle and enjoy the thrill of having done the job myself. So I’ve never seriously looked at getting a new 4WD.
But what if I was serious about it? Well, the first obstacle is the mirth of the lenders when I front up with a request for $40-80K. Then there is my horror at the repayments if they actually agreed to my request. It would cost more each month than my mortgage, and all for a depreciating liability that will drop steadily in value as it sucks my bank account dry. On the plus side, and it’s a pretty big plus after 40 years of working on engines (yes I stripped down my first engine at the age of six to work out how it ran, and yes again, it still ran when I reassembled it!) I wouldn’t have to work on it to keep it going. At least I hope I wouldn’t have to work on it because I wouldn’t be able to.
My current vehicle is in the process of getting a heart transplant, which will end up costing me about $5000. The bonus to sweeten the deal is that the transplanted engine has a turbocharger on it. To fit a turbo kit on my existing engine would cost me around $2500 plus tuning plus pump calibration and probably overhaul, plus the engine rebuild needed before the kit went on. All that would leave little if any change out of $10,000, so the transplant is economical. However, there’s no way around the fact that I will still have an old-technology engine, with old-technology fuel consumption to match. While more modern large 4WDs boast fuel consumption of 10-12L/100km with their common-rail diesel engines, I typically count on 17-18L/100km. The newer engine with a turbo may hopefully do better, say around 14L/100km, but still well short of the what the new technology can achieve.
What it comes down to in the end is the cost of making the change. A new vehicle may be cheaper to run regarding fuel, but will cost a lot more in servicing and repayments. My old 4WD is debt-free, so I can drive it for tens of thousands of kilometres for the price of a new vehicle. So that’s the answer for me – the old 4WD stays, and gets some well-earned TLC with the money I save by not buying a new one. Not to mention going on some more awesome trips!!