You probably have a list of reasons to buy a new car. They might include the newest safety features, modern styling, you just want a new car. The list goes on. Still, with all the good reasons to buy a new car, there is a very compelling one to consider holding on to the old car: Cost! There is the common consensus that most don’t follow that says buy a car outright with no credit debt and then drive it until it dies completely or until it is no longer practical or safe to keep driving it.
It is true that older cars generally cost more to maintain, and are more likely to break down, resulting in an expensive and aggravating repair. In other respects, older vehicles are cheaper to own and operate. There does come a time when every vehicle is just plain exhausted, when it becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Moreover, when will the typical car or truck reach that point? Not too many years ago, the furthest reach of a vehicle’s useful life was 100,000 miles. By then, if the mechanicals weren’t worn out, then the body, chassis and interior would be a conglomeration of squeaks, rattles and rust.
Today, many modern vehicles can breeze right past that 100,000-mile mark with not a great deal more than a tune-up and maybe a new fuel pump or timing chain.
Chances are you have paid off the loan on your current car or at the least, are close to making your final payment. Freedom from car payments is one of life’s nicer pleasures.
Buy a new vehicle, and unless you’re rolling in cash, you’ll be facing several years more of monthly principle and interest payments on a loan. Finally, annual taxes and license fees should be lower on your old car, depending upon the state where you live.
Brand new cars cost more than they are actually worth, so it’s best to let someone else take the financial hit of being the first buyer of a car. Some people buy brand new cars expecting to “save” on maintenance costs and repairs, but all cars require occasional maintenance and repairs and parts for new cars tend to be more expensive.
You are wise in considering a newer “used” car when you replace an older car. Usually, you get the best buy on a car that is new enough to need few repairs, but old enough to be relatively inexpensive. You have to shop around to make sure that you find a good used car with no signs of trouble and have your mechanic check it out before you sign anything.