Commuting with your tow rig

Clubbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Location
Blounts Creek
I run 150 miles a day round trip for work rolling coal in my 2018 megacab. Lie-o-meter says I get 19mpg, but realistically it's probably 16.5. So thats about $7,500 a year in fuel. Got lots of folks tell me to get a beater economizer car, but it just doesn't seem to make much sense.

If I got a beater car for $6k i'd still have to put gas in it, insurance, tax, registration, and maintenance. The math says I'd have to run the beater for 4 ish years and 150k miles. And 150k more miles seems to be a lot to ask for a $6,000 car. So if it did a major puke it may never pay for itself.

I enjoy the truck, it's big and comfy, 4x4 for snow, and I can haul stuff home if I need to.

Anyone else think this way or are y'all preserving your tow rigs for hauling only?
 
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Croatan_Kid

How's your hammer hangin'?
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
Location
New Bern
I'd be driving mine if the transmission didn't die.
 

UTfball68

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Location
Granite Quarry
My answer to the commuter question is, has, and always will be…I don’t care what it is, as long as I don’t have to hang my ass over a fender to get to work the next day. Frankly, don’t care what the commuter costs to drive, if there’s a payment, etc etc…I just want to turn the key and go…and if it doesn’t, I want it to be someone else’s problem.
 

Clubbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Location
Blounts Creek
It is more than just fuel cost. Buy a Toyota Camry for commuting.
My wife had a Camry for awhile. Worst car I've ever owned. Leaked every fluid, had weird issues I nor the dealer could ever figure out. Everything was cheap plastic... The list goes on.

I'll admit tires, depreciation cost, filters, etc are way more expensive on the truck than a car though.
 

DSM Turbos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Location
Raleigh, NC
You are right the math often makes it hard to make sense. It does save wear and tear on the truck also though and the costs associated with it
 

77GreenMachine

Phillip Talton
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Location
Trinity, NC
In 2014 I bought an 04’ Camry with 174k for $5200. I sold it in 2021 with 320k on it. I only put tires, 2 batteries, brakes and a valve cover gasket on it. Oil changes of course. I hit a deer and insurance have me $2200 for it, drove it another 18 months, then I sold it with a salvage title for $1800. It averaged 29mpg and the day I sold it I would have driven it to the west coat without hesitation. My answer will always be have a gas saving beater.
 
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JNO

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Location
Shelby NC
I have always had a beater car or truck and left my diesel at the house but when I say beater my beater is no where near the $6,000 mark
 

Darkbloodmon

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Location
Concord, NC
I run 150 miles a day round trip for work rolling coal in my 2018 megacab. Lie-o-meter says I get 19mpg, but realistically it's probably 16.5. So thats about $7,500 a year in fuel. Got lots of folks tell me to get a beater economizer car, but it just doesn't seem to make much sense.

If I got a beater car for $6k i'd still have to put gas in it, insurance, tax, registration, and maintenance. The math says I'd have to run the beater for 4 ish years and 150k miles. And 150k more miles seems to be a lot to ask for a $6,000 car. So if it did a major puke it may never pay for itself.

I enjoy the truck, it's big and comfy, 4x4 for snow, and I can haul stuff home if I need to.

Anyone else think this way or are y'all preserving your tow rigs for hauling only?

I daily my 03 6 speed, but I'm in the market for a DR/XR650 for commuting. My current job is 20mins away and I intentionally take a longer way to work just to get up to temperature.

I've finished all my prep/catch up repairs and upgrades in preparation for tuning but I'm just waiting to sort out clutch issues before getting custom tunes for fuel economy and power.

If your round trip is mostly highway then its fine in my opinion, needless to say if you're rolling coal with a common rail you're throwing fuel out the exhaust and not helping anything; but do as you will. Your tires will make a difference aswell, a decent HT tread tire will be more beneficial than an AT or MT. Wheel weight is something to consider if you're running something bigger than the door jam sticker. I got an aluminum set form @Croatan_Kid 285/70/17s and they weigh much less than my factory 265/70/17s steelies which were about 88lbs for the tire and wheel combo.
 

Clubbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Location
Blounts Creek
My 18 is stock with one size larger tire than stock. With the factory rubber the mpg gauge stayed around 21. Now it's at 19. Don't know that I believe it since when I hand calc it I'm closer to 17.

As far as rolling coal - this truck simply won't smoke. My old 05 would belch some carbon clouds if I hammered down after a couple days of driving like an old lady.

Maybe I'll switch back to a hwy tread on my next go.
 

Jody Treadway

Croc wearing fool
Moderator
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Location
Hendersonville, NC
A delete and tune will give you 3-4.5 MPG. Whether or not the math works long term is your call.
Historically, I have had a random ZJ,XJ or WJ that I DD to keep miles off my tow rig. My commute is 60 miles a day FWIW.
I recently put a price on my most recent fixer upper and it was sold in a day. So it's time for another one.
My dogs go to work with me 4 days a week, so it's not as simple as a beater Camry, Focus or whatever. I need an SUV and one that's relatively reliable.
 

drkelly

Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
My wife had a Camry for awhile. Worst car I've ever owned. Leaked every fluid, had weird issues I nor the dealer could ever figure out. Everything was cheap plastic... The list goes on.

I'll admit tires, depreciation cost, filters, etc are way more expensive on the truck than a car though.
That is shocking to hear. A coworker of mine has one he put over 300k miles on commuting 40-45 minutes each way to work for many years. He never had any trouble out of that car. Fuel, tires, oil changes, wear item parts are all super cheap.
 

shelby27604

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Location
Efland NC
I've been back and forth on this topic through the years. $3-4/gallon fuel makes it easy to justify a 35-40mpg DD, and diesel VW prices are exceptionally attractive right now compared to most other vehicles.
This!

I like my truck, but I snapped up an old VW TDI for just this reason. 80miles a day in that car means I only need to fill up twice a month. I fill the truck up twice (or more) a week.

I think if you add up all the maintenance for a diesel pickup, PLUS fuel costs you will find a beater car to be a good financial decision. Wear and tear alone on a diesel.....you will need a new IP at some point. A new IP will cost as much as my VW TDI did.

After insurance, taxes, reg. Etc....all that cost added up is about as much as 2 fill-up for my truck.
 

WARRIORWELDING

Owner opperator Of WarriorWelding LLC.
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Location
Chillin, Hwy 64 Mocksville NC
It's a toss up. Are you comfortable owning a 2018 you've put 450 thousand miles on in 3 years? It's 2022 now. So not knowing the current miles by your estimate your looking at a 7 or so year old truck with half a million miles on it. Me thinks maintenance and oil changes will cost during and a lot more the higher it gets.
Resale won't be great either.
Rinse and repeat with God knows how expensive they will be then????

I like my 07 with about 160k on it.
I throw away the beaters.
 

jeepinmatt

..l.
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Location
On the internet
Just to throw out some quick math:
$7500/year at 16.5mpg
$3100/year at 40mpg, plus $400/yr insurance, plus $100/yr tag and tax, plus $100/yr in miscellaneous to make it a nice round $2500/year savings

But you also are looking at $500/set on DD tires vs $1400 (the CHEAPEST 285/70r18 tires on Discount's website, not counting taxes and fees). At nearly 40k miles per year, you'll save a set of tires too. And wear and tear on $300 hubs and $200 brakes instead of $100 hubs and $50 brakes. So you're probably saving another $1000+ per year in wear and tear on truck cost vs econocar costs.

Bottom line a $7000 DD would pay for itself in a couple years, IF you only drove the DD. I know this is obvious, but the math only works if the DD is your primary driver. A few years ago I sold my diesel sipping, extremely fast BMW 335d because I was driving my truck 2 or 3 days a week anyway because I needed to haul something or carry my mountain bike, etc (also sold it because I needed to sell it before I got arrested, man I miss that car).
 

UTfball68

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Location
Granite Quarry
If you don't care what the beater is, there are lots of nice beige Buicks out there looking for love.

I also know a bunch of people with 400k mile Avalon's

That’s what my old man did for years…sub-$1000 late 90’s-early 2000’s GM ‘old people cars’. He’d snag one with 125-150k on the odo. Do a solid tune up…drive it for 2ish years (he commuted 30k/yr). He could usually scrap it or sell it for at least half of what he paid…then do it all again. Not sure what a $1000 car looks like in todays market…but at the time, those GM’s were pretty damn reliable and comfortable.
 

paradisePWoffrd

Recovering Project Junkie
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Location
Newton, NC
They are $3k today.....$1k doesn't buy what it used to....
Yup. I used to say, if it runs and drives, you can get $1k for it easy. Now its more like $2500. Shape of the rest of it, doesnt seem to matter.

I only drive my 2500 when I need to tow or do truck stuff. I have a commuter car, but rarely commute these days. Thought of selling it, to buy something more fun to drive, but the math doesnt really make sense in todays market.
 

JSJJ388

GREEN GREMLIN
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Location
HAMPTONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
I dont have a diesel, but I do miss the savings that my little PT loser offered. Got it cheap and it was honestly pretty fun to drive. Had plenty of room in the back for hauling crap around. Sold it because I was in a company truck, and now im driving my dakota 120 miles/day at like 16 mpg.
 

DonYukon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Location
Fayetteville
So my Tow rig is a Gas variant and only gets used to pull and the ocasional trips to lowes and around town my work truck is a Nissan Frontier. Could be worse i avarage 12-3 mpgs in the 6.6 gas. but i will say oddly consistent as when im pulling 10k plus it only drops to around 11
 

89wrangler

Not a new member
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Location
Bostic,NC
I have always been a beater DD guy. That IS WHY I drive a 2010 HHR. Bought it for $1500 with 136,000 on the clock to replace my 2005 Mazda 6 with 266,000 that I sold for $1400. Insurance company just gave me $3750 for hitting the deer in the HHR, fixed for $500 and will continue to drive. Hope to upgrade the wife to a newer vehicle this fall, if that happens I will take over her '15 Altima, sell the HHR and may for the first time have a nice( for me standards) DD. This is also the reason my 02 7.3 F350 that I bought new has 131,000 miles on it. They way I figure it, that should last me another 20years.
 

Clubbs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Location
Blounts Creek
I
It's a toss up. Are you comfortable owning a 2018 you've put 450 thousand miles on in 3 years? It's 2022 now. So not knowing the current miles by your estimate your looking at a 7 or so year old truck with half a million miles on it. Me thinks maintenance and oil changes will cost during and a lot more the higher it gets.
Resale won't be great either.
Rinse and repeat with God knows how expensive they will be then????

I like my 07 with about 160k on it.
I throw away the beaters.
I think I'm good owning a 500k mile truck as long as I've owned it it's whole life. Sort of get in a cadence of maintenance and upgrades along the way.

Resale will be negligible for sure.

Valid point on tire cost, hubs, brakes and so on. Half way through my second set of tires now...

Looked to see what sort of beater small cars were out there. Ended up momentarily deciding on an 01 Z3 roadster... But the 290hp just isn't that good on gas and it's German so it's going to be expensive, unpredictable and impractical. Somehow missed all the civics and corollas during my search I guess.

I think it's that I generally enjoy driving if Im in a vehicle I can appreciate. If I was commuting in a diesel beetle I'd soon end up loathing my commute instead of almost enjoying it.

Driving the Cummins 45k a year probably makes as much since as taking a seaplane to work. But it's hard to beat the sound of the turbo digesting burnt dinosaurs when I send it to the floor at the hwy17 on ramp leaving work.

Anyone know of any seaplanes for sale?
 
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