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Reply to "Car buying and owning."

I have never personally owned a car that was newer than 11 years old, and that has always been great for me. Here's some points to consider:

The literal SECOND you drive your fancy new car off the lot, it dramatically depreciates in value. It will never again be worth what you paid for it.

Consider financing: many car dealerships have fancy promos to talk you into buying a car, like no down payments, 0% interest for 12 months, on site financing and the like, but most of these tactics are actually predatory in nature. By not providing a down payment, you have to borrow more money which means they earn EVEN MORE in interest over the course of your car loan debt. 0% interest SOUNDS like a great deal, but often after these promotions expire, you're locked into an ungodly interest rate, especially if you're a young buyer or if you don't have great credit. 

Consider insurance: The newer the car, the higher the insurance rate. And if you owe money on the car, the banker providing your car loan will often require you to have full coverage on your vehicle, which can also be incredibly expensive. When the car is paid off in full, you have more flex in what you want to insure on your car, and how much you want to pay. 

New cars don't stand the test of time, because not enough time has passed. If you buy an older or used vehicle, enough time has passed for a series of recalls to be put out, and common mechanical failures have been exposed, so you can actually get a better idea on what to expect - long term - mechanically from your car. 

Most older cars don't have nearly as much computers and wiring in them, which means electrical failures are less likely to happen. This is great because electrical issues can be the hardest to diagnose and fix. 

So speaking of fixing things, I ran through a lot of beaters since my first car - I've driven nearly every car I owned until it was no longer drive-able, and this was great for me, because I never paid more than $800. So I knew I was getting an older car that I was going to drive into the ground, and the car was well worth the investment considering how many miles I still managed to eek out of it. I once paid $400 for a van and drove it for 3 years, commuting on average 45 minutes one way a day. I once paid $400 for a beater car, put $450 into it in repairs, drove it from Montana to Colorado when I moved out of state, and sold it for $800. It literally had a fan duct taped to the radiator that you had to turn on with a switch to prevent the car from overheating, and no AC and no radio, but it drove like a queen and got pretty decent gas mileage too. It was plum purple and the new owners loved it too. 

And one of the fun perks I had growing up with beater cars is I actually got a decent education in common place mechanical repairs. A lot of popular older cars have corresponding youtube videos on how to do car maintenance yourself, which means you don't have to pay a mechanic $60 an hour for labor plus parts, and you can learn an important and rewarding skill too. Obviously you can't handle all repairs yourself, but you can definitely handle many of them.

And when your car eventually runs into a mechanical issue that costs more than the car's value, (like replacing transmission, which is usually the death of my cars) it's just time to sell your beloved old beater, and get another one. And since you're not paying ridiculous monthly car loan payments, or overpriced premium insurance rates, and you know you're driving a beater you'll eventually need to replace, you can set aside some money every month so when your car goes to junkyard heaven, you can already have a nest egg saved up to put toward your next vehicle. 

 

Now let's consider some pros of a newer vehicle.

Consider you're driving needs: Do you commute incredibly long distances? A newer car with better gas mileage might (MIGHT) pay for itself. Do you have kids? You may want to consider a safer vehicle. Do you drive on treacherous terrain like icy mountain roads? Consider that too. 

I do think there are two main perks in buying a newer vehicle (again, not new, just like no older than 5 years.) The first is the gas mileage. The older cars I grew up with ('87-'97) would never get better gas mileage than 18 miles per gallon on a good day on the highway. That is NEVER going to compare to the whopping 60 mpg some newer cars offer. Gas prices aren't outrageous right now, but they may be down the line. 

Second is safety. I saw a GIF of a newer smart-style car that seriously made me reconsider my beater car lifestyle. The car was parked at a stop light next to a big white cargo van. The light turned green and all the cars started pulling forward like you would expect them to. The smart car suddenly screeched to a halt as a dark blue vehicle off screen blew through the intersection inches in front of the smart car's bumper. The blue car slammed into the cargo van side on, pushing it several yards off course and forcing it to roll over onto the opposite side. This was something no human would have been able to see, and if the smart car hadn't done it's job, its driver would have been on the receiving end of that wreck instead of the cargo van. This GIF had me absolutely mesmerized by home important just a few inches and half a second can be between a totally normal day and a devastating accident. 

 

So that's my thought's on vehicle ownership. Sorry for the novel of a post, but I hope there's some tips in there that may be helpful for you!

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