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Diehard Rams Fan
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Many of us have talked about this and asked this question. There are many different views about this. Do I wait to pay it off? Do I do something now? Do I save up the money for it? These are among many other questions. I came across an interesting article that I would share with you all and may even help with some of you making a decision about some mod. This is an article by Jack Baruth on 5/11/17. He is an automotive journalist and makes some very interesting points. Here is the article.

"What Kind of Idiot Mods His Car the Day He Gets It? A Smart One."

The longer you wait to modify or upgrade your car, the more it costs.

I still remember the day that everybody in my college dorm got a credit card. Maybe I misremember the day, because I seem to recall that the cards just showed up in our mailboxes. That might not be quite correct. It might be that we all got preapproval notices and then we all sent away for our cards, which arrived at pretty much the same time.

Most of the fellows in my hall immediately maxed-out their limits on beer and pizza. There was a delirious couple of weeks where you could just walk from door to door and get a free meal at all times of the day and night. I took advantage of every extra slice, because I had different plans for my $200 limit. You see, I had a brand-new 1990 VW Fox with "radio prep" from the factory, meaning that it had four speakers and a bunch of wiring that terminated in the center console. But there was no actual radio, just a blank panel. I had plans to fix that on my very next weekend home.

In a perfect world, I would have worked and saved my money until I had $200 in cash. I could easily have done it in, say, six months. Maybe nine. Instead, I put a new single-DIN CD player on my new credit card, immediately stretching it to the limit. I made the minimum payment on a monthly basis. I bet that CD player probably ended up costing me $400 by the time all was said and done.

Sounds ridiculous and irresponsible, right? It may well have been–but that doesn't change the fact that I had a CD player in my car for maybe a full year that I'd have had a blank plate otherwise. Divide $200 in interest charges by twelve months and you get a monthly payment of $16.67 to have music in the car instead of the Fox's standard-equipment (and quite substantial) wind noise. It was a year of enjoying the car quite a bit more than I would have otherwise. Money well spent.

Twenty-seven years later, I find myself using that old example of fiscal insanity a few times a year at trackdays and club races. The typical situation is this: I'll have a student with a new Mustang GT. He knows the car needs better brakes, and he knows that it will cost him three or four grand to make that happen. Should he buy the brakes right now, often on a credit card, or should he save up to make the purchase in two or three years?

Now, I'm no financial advisor and I'm not qualified to give financial advice. You'd know this if you could see my bank statements for the past two decades. But there is something that I do know: the best time to buy durable upgrades for your car is right now. Not in six months. Not next year. And certainly not when you pay off the loan, whenever that is.

The numbers are in my favor. Allow me to explain. Suppose that we have two track rats with brand-new 2017 Mustangs. Driver A buys a $4000 brake system right now. Driver B buys it three years from now. Both of them keep their cars six years before selling them. When they sell their cars, the upgraded brakes bring an extra $1,000 in resale value.

How much did each driver pay for his brake upgrade? The answer is obviously $3,000 in both cases. But Driver B only got three years out of his brake upgrade, so it cost him $1,000 a year in depreciation. Driver A, on the other hand, got six years out of his upgrade. That's $500 a year, which is a much better deal even if you fail to consider the number of times Driver B had to buy new underwear at the end of the back straight during those first three years.

Note that this concept does not apply to things like R-compound tires, upgraded brake pads, bottles of NOS, or any other consumable. Those have a fixed service life no matter when you buy them. I'm talking about brake systems. Camshafts. ECU tunes.

Here's a great example of what happens when you wait to do something. Sixteen years ago, I bought a lightly-used Porsche 993. It came with cheap, crummy plastic window tint film. "I should get a new ceramic tint job," I thought. "It'll cost $200 max." I never got around to doing it. Instead, I just lived with the old tint. Watched it develop bubbles and streaks and weird psychedelic color patterns. Driving the car in the summer is like living at the bottom of a bowl filled with Easter-egg pigment.

I could put ceramic tint on the windows now. Probably should. But the tint is no cheaper now–quite the opposite, in fact–and I've had sixteen years of annoyance that I would not have had if I'd just done it at the start. In ten years, I'm giving the car to my kid. So any tint money I spend now has to be divided by ten, instead of by twenty-six. Boo hiss. I'm gonna leave the old tint on and make him pay for the upgrade himself.

The sooner you upgrade your car, the longer you get to enjoy that upgrade. The longer you wait, the less time you will have with your new shift knob or your slick new wheels or that LS7 swap you've always promised you'd do for the '79 Chevette Scooter out in the barn. Time and again, I see people put upgrades on cars they've had for years, cars that they are going to sell or trade-in at some point in the near future. That's the worst way to do it. I speak from experience: I once put a $3,000 stereo system into my Nissan Frontier four and a half months before I traded it in. You can imagine how thrilled my installer was when I called him to come take all the stuff back out.

There's this great scene in Macbeth where the protagonist gets tired of his wife nagging him about some murders she needs him to get done and so he stands up and roars:

From this moment

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand. And even now,

To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done.

That's the attitude you need to bring to your new coilover suspension or your Hard Dog rollbar or your LeMans headlight kit. Let the firstlings of your trackday heart be the firstlings of the hand that holds your Visa Infinite card. Get your car done the way you want it now, so you can enjoy it for years to come. Take it from a man who was once a young man–a young man with the windows down and the stereo blasting on the way to school, enjoying his life sixteen dollars and sixty-seven well-spent cents at a time.
 
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Diehard Rams Fan
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Corolla Fan
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I meant to attach the link and forgot! Thanks! :lol: So what are peoples thoughts? I completely understand what he is saying. Bottom line, life is to short so enjoy those mods!
Good point. I'm gonna try to spring for having my TRD Sportivo wing and 4 mudflaps paint matched and installed, sooner rather than later. Same with my 18x9.5 MST TE37 replicas with the proper tires.:grin:
 

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Having been down this road more than a couple times. The one and only consideration I'd now give it is this.
IF THE VEHICLE IS UNDER A WARRANTY. Check to see if what you are about to do is acceptable, and will NOT
VOID their warranty commitment!
The bad time to find out is after the thing breaks, and the cost would have been covered under warranty... . . . . . . . .
. had I waited or checked.
 
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For myself, I'd mod if it'll brings improvement, practical upgrades to performance, comfort. Time, when I feel like it.
 

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@SuperchargedMR2,

In response to your driver A/B upgrade, I see your point but offer a few more for consideration. If the upgrade is purchased on credit, Driver A is paying interest on that, so is it really cheaper?

Let's crunch some numbers real quick. $4,000 put on credit. 15% interest. (current national average)

In order to pay off in two years, you would need to pay $195.95/mo. For 24 months. Comes out to a grand total of $4654.80

Paid off in 3 years/36 months @ 15% interest. = minimum monthly payments of $138.66. Grand total of $4991.6

When it's time for resale, Driver A's brakes are now 3 years old and have considerably more wear and tear on them. So in my opinion, as a buyer I would less willing to spend money on a 3 year old upgrade then a one year old upgrade.

Now back to credit, know up front exactly what it's going to cost you and consider the value.



EDIT: Didn't read the whole article till now and I thought it was your post. He covers the interest. Boy don't I feel silly now I guess in that regard it all comes down to personal preference and priorities. I havn't used a credit card in years, so obviously I'd be in the waiting and saving crowd. ?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
 

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straight cash homie
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I meant to attach the link and forgot! Thanks! :lol: So what are peoples thoughts? I completely understand what he is saying. Bottom line, life is to short so enjoy those mods!
I somewhat agree with it, but one of the things I see with folks modifying cars these days is that parts are cheaper, because many counterfeit and/or inferior parts have proliferated the marketplace. For the younger enthusiasts with less disposable income, the route to a built vehicle became much easier. Before in the 90s and the market centered on Civics, most had to save their money in order to buy those pricey SSR/Volk/Work wheels. Nowadays, one can just go buy Rotas that are similar in appearance for half the cost.

http://www.onallcylinders.com/2016/...counterfeit-parts-and-how-you-can-avoid-them/

Many parts and wheels are cheap because they are manufactured to a sub-standard quality, but with our society's desire for instant gratification rather than saving up for quality things, short cuts are taken and we have to wonder if one is building for themselves or just for the Instagram likes (where we see a lot of Corollas pop up).

http://jdmphasis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-02-23T18:30:00-05:00&max-results=5


For cars like the Corolla, IMO there aren't as many quality parts available. Long time tuners such as HKS and Greddy don't offer anything for our platform. Meanwhile, companies like Megan Racing are able to because their manufacturing costs are much less, but the quality is YMMV. Even then, most of the available exhausts for the 10th Gen are either Borla or whatever company sells it on eBay that comes from China.

TEIN makes springs and coilovers for the 10th Gen, and are known as a reputable suspension company in the aftermarket. They are a Japanese company, however, some of their products are made in China besides Japan (to my knowledge). Obviously it is a strategic business decision obviously influenced by money (cheaper in China to make, Japan increasingly more expensive). Eibach to my knowledge makes theirs here in California for the US/NA market but are a German company.

http://teinusa-blog.com/tein-has-two-manufacturing-plants/

SCMR2's Corolla is unique. Much of his mods were not done overnight, especially that Turbo kit, and its not even finished(?). Many of his parts aren't off the shelf either.
 

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I buy cheap if it's useable, non strategic, easy to replace part/item. High priced name brand parts are overpriced. Of course their price have to cover their R and D. Factories that produce them don't have R and D cost.
As a common street saying goes. "If it's not Made in China, you cannot afford it".
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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Discussion Starter #10
@SuperchargedMR2,

EDIT: Didn't read the whole article till now and I thought it was your post. He covers the interest. Boy don't I feel silly now I guess in that regard it all comes down to personal preference and priorities. I havn't used a credit card in years, so obviously I'd be in the waiting and saving crowd. ?
I just thought it was an interesting point when he used the example of a stereo. In that case I completely understand doing the mod early. Mods have to be weighed by the person doing them and some may fall into the buying early. As far as the brake mod, if new pads were installed before selling I don't thing most buyers would care that it was done 3 years ago. For the seller he got to benefit from it for 3 years compared to one. If he his tracking his car it would be worth it IMO.

For me, I use a credit card to purchase everything. It's free money as I can leave my money in the bank fro 30-45 days earning 3% interest and earning free air miles, Amazon $$$ or other benefit from using the credit card. I just pay the credit card off every month. If I can't pay it off I don't buy it. Doing this also allows me to have an excellent credit rating which can be helpful in many other aspects of life these days. :wink:
 
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Diehard Rams Fan
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Having been down this road more than a couple times. The one and only consideration I'd now give it is this.
IF THE VEHICLE IS UNDER A WARRANTY. Check to see if what you are about to do is acceptable, and will NOT
VOID their warranty commitment!
The bad time to find out is after the thing breaks, and the cost would have been covered under warranty... . . . . . . . .
. had I waited or checked.
Many mods won't affect the warranty at all. People get concerned with it but in the big picture it's not an issue. Stereos, speakers, spoilers, wheels, tires, springs, struts, bars, window tint, axle back exhaust, etc won't be a warranty deal breaker.
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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Discussion Starter #12
I somewhat agree with it, but one of the things I see with folks modifying cars these days is that parts are cheaper, because many counterfeit and/or inferior parts have proliferated the marketplace. For the younger enthusiasts with less disposable income, the route to a built vehicle became much easier. Before in the 90s and the market centered on Civics, most had to save their money in order to buy those pricey SSR/Volk/Work wheels. Nowadays, one can just go buy Rotas that are similar in appearance for half the cost.

http://www.onallcylinders.com/2016/...counterfeit-parts-and-how-you-can-avoid-them/

Many parts and wheels are cheap because they are manufactured to a sub-standard quality, but with our society's desire for instant gratification rather than saving up for quality things, short cuts are taken and we have to wonder if one is building for themselves or just for the Instagram likes (where we see a lot of Corollas pop up).

http://jdmphasis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-02-23T18:30:00-05:00&max-results=5


For cars like the Corolla, IMO there aren't as many quality parts available. Long time tuners such as HKS and Greddy don't offer anything for our platform. Meanwhile, companies like Megan Racing are able to because their manufacturing costs are much less, but the quality is YMMV. Even then, most of the available exhausts for the 10th Gen are either Borla or whatever company sells it on eBay that comes from China.

TEIN makes springs and coilovers for the 10th Gen, and are known as a reputable suspension company in the aftermarket. They are a Japanese company, however, some of their products are made in China besides Japan (to my knowledge). Obviously it is a strategic business decision obviously influenced by money (cheaper in China to make, Japan increasingly more expensive). Eibach to my knowledge makes theirs here in California for the US/NA market but are a German company.

http://teinusa-blog.com/tein-has-two-manufacturing-plants/

SCMR2's Corolla is unique. Much of his mods were not done overnight, especially that Turbo kit, and its not even finished(?). Many of his parts aren't off the shelf either.
These are valid points and why every owner has to look at the mods they want or are doing and how they use their car. As in the article one example was for a head unit on a car that didn't have one, no brainer IMO. The other was a brake upgrade that someone races or tracks so I can see that too in that particular situation.

And yes, my turbo install is done and running great! See my threads for videos I just posted. :grin:
 

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I just thought it was an interesting point when he used the example of a stereo. In that case I completely understand doing the mod early. Mods have to be weighed by the person doing them and some may fall into the buying early. As far as the brake mod, if new pads were installed before selling I don't thing most buyers would care that it was done 3 years ago. For the seller he got to benefit from it for 3 years compared to one. If he his tracking his car it would be worth it IMO.

For me, I use a credit card to purchase everything. It's free money as I can leave my money in the bank fro 30-45 days earning 3% interest and earning free air miles, Amazon $$$ or other benefit from using the credit card. I just pay the credit card off every month. If I can't pay it off I don't buy it. Doing this also allows me to have an excellent credit rating which can be helpful in many other aspects of life these days. :wink:
Very true. And I've actually been thinking about picking up a card for this very reason. In the past when I used a credit card, that's how I used them as well. I still have open accounts, just never use them. Need to find something with a good rewards program.

Your right on the brakes too. When I do an upgrade, I'm not concerned with what happens when I sell it. The reason I purchase is purely for my benefit.

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