My car is pretty ugly. The ceiling fabric is falling down (so I stuck some tacks in it), the air conditioning doesn’t work, the plastic window casing is peeling off, some rust spots are starting to show on the hood, AND there are times when the car doesn’t realize it’s in park, and therefore won’t let me start it, so I have to open my door, put my foot out, and rock the car until I hear a *click*….and THEN the car will start.
Admittedly, this can be a little embarrassing, especially when I’m in the bank’s drive-through and I can’t open my door to rock the car…which leaves me only one option – rock my body back and forth vigorously inside the car until I can turn the key and get the heck out of there!! (Yes, this actually happened once… ;))
12 Reasons Why I Still Drive a Used Car
I have absolutely no debt. My house is completely paid for and I have $10,000 sitting in the bank. So why don’t I just go out and buy a newer, shinier car? I have definitely thought about it, but after weighing the pros and cons, I realize that I would be happier with my somewhat crappy car than I would be with a new one. In fact, I have a solid 12 reasons why I’d rather stick with my used car for a while longer.
#1. Depreciation is basically nothing
I bought my car in 2012 for $2,500. Since then I have put 30,000 miles on it and it has aged by 2.5 years. Today, the car is worth $2,325 — just $175 less than what I paid for it over two years ago! If I would go out and purchase a $10,000 car tomorrow, it would probably depreciate by $200 by the end of the month! Buying a cheap car has one huge benefit – it really doesn’t depreciate.
#2. Super dependable
Over the last 2.5 years, I have incurred the following expenses with this car:
- $75 hood latch
- $300 ball joint/tie rod
- $230 brakes and rotors
- $20 tire repair
- $200 for oil change/general car maintenance
In total, this car has cost me $825, or approximately $330 per year. According to Five Cent Nickel, the average cost per year for maintenance and repairs is $1,200 per year, which is almost four times what I have paid so far! One of the best reasons to drive a used car is if it remains dependable, and my car has certainly proven to be dependable thus far.
#3. Serves my needs just like a newer car would
At this point, what would I gain from buying a different car? Is it going to get me to work any faster? Will it dress me as I drive? Will it pump up its own tires so I don’t have to? No, no, and of course, no. The purpose of a car is to get a person safely from Point A to Point B. A car that’s worth $2,500 will often be just as effective as a $10,000 or $15,000 car. Sure, the more expensive car might look a little better, but there is absolutely no added benefit in terms of basic transporting.
When I bought my car, I had two main things in mind: dependability and gas mileage, which is why I gravitated toward a Honda Civic. Thankfully, everything panned out exactly as planned. My car had been amazingly dependable and I often average 33-34 miles per gallon (or more). Unless I spend big money on a hybrid or electric car, there aren’t too many other vehicles out there that are going to beat the gas mileage that I’m already getting.
#5. No worries of door dings
I already said it – my car is relatively ugly. It doesn’t have blemishes all over it, but it has a little hail damage on the roof, a few door dings on the sides, and the front bumper is starting to separate from the rest of the car. There is just enough wrong with this car that I don’t really have to worry about it getting tremendously worse with a simple door ding. If someone accidentally opens their car door and it hits mine, no biggie. I probably won’t even notice anyway.
#6. No worries of theft
I drive a used car that costs less than $2,500. Do you think there are a bunch of robbers out there that want to go to the trouble of breaking into my car, trying to start it up, and drive it away to earn themselves a grand or less in the black market? Ummm, I don’t think so. Even if they didn’t want the car, would they look at it and think to themselves, “Oooo, I wonder what’s hidden inside that car! Probably some expensive jewelry and cash!” Yeah…probably not. They’re thinking, “Whoever owns this car has absolutely no money. Where’s that Audi I saw earlier?”
Since I have owned this car for over two years, I know absolutely every issue that it has. It certainly has a few quirks, but none of them are safety concerns and none of them are going to cost me a bunch of money if the problem grows into something bigger. If, however, I buy a different used vehicle, it could have a bad transmission, a severe oil leak, or even a bad motor. Instead of taking on an unknown car, I’d rather keep the inexpensive quirks of my own vehicle.
#8. Keeps my ego in check
I have seen a couple of guys upgrade their vehicle from a Saturn to an Audi or a Cobalt to a BMW, and they seem to get an immediate chip on their shoulder. At that moment when the dealer throws them the keys to their newer luxury car, their ego triples in size. Suddenly, they are sophisticated and no longer need anyone else’s opinion on anything in life. Their car tells the world that they know what they’re doing and that they are a stand-out success.
I drive a used car because it suits me. Sure, I could afford a more expensive vehicle, but what’s the point? So I can let people know that I have more money than them? No thanks. I’d rather be one of the unknown millionaires next door that everyone feels they can relate to.
#9. Nobody asks me for money
If someone drives an expensive car and parks it in front of a McMansion every night, you would probably assume that they have money. So naturally, when someone has a new business idea or is just plain hard up for cash, who do they go to for funding? Well, to the dude that looks like he’s rich of course!
Chances are that Mr. McMansion is up to his eyeballs in debt, but because he wants everyone to think he truly is rich, he probably will scrounge up some money and give it to you. All the while, I’m driving my 2001 Honda Civic in peace – attracting very little attention from the many moochers in this world, which is perfectly fine with me!
#10. Don’t waste time cleaning it
I drive a used car that doesn’t look terrible, but it doesn’t look amazing either. If there’s a little mud spattered on the back fender, I could really care less. On average, I probably take about 10 minutes per month cleaning my car.
And then there’s the other side of the spectrum. There are those that love to see peoples’ heads turn when they drive by, so they spend every fricken Saturday giving their car a complete detail. What a waste of time.
My car is great for gas mileage, but I have to admit that it does lack a little bit in the speed category. Under the hood is a 4 cylinder motor with 1.7 liters of gas sipping technology – but I just can’t seem to find that power sector anywhere. Honestly though, it really isn’t all that bad. It’s not zippy, but I can get it up to speed on the on-ramps. What it lacks in power, it makes up in police repellent.
Cops know that my car isn’t fast, and it’s pretty obvious that I’m not out on the highway looking to race someone. Beyond this, it’s white in color and blends in to the other traffic pretty well. Those red Corvettes and Mustangs, on the other hand, are pretty much limited to the speed limit or they’re going to get noticed and WILL get pulled over. I figure I can speed by about 10% without gathering a whole lot of attention.
#12. I can spill without tears
The interior of my car isn’t too shabby, but again, it’s nothing to write home about. There are some cigarette burns in the driver’s seat from the previous owner and there are a few small stains here and there. If I were to drop a cheese curl in my seat, I probably wouldn’t even bother looking for it. I’ll find it later in the year when I perform my annual interior cleaning.
With a newer car, however, I would probably get pretty anal. Eating in the car wouldn’t be allowed and if anything were to stain the seat, I might have to rent a steam cleaner to get the stain out immediately. I drive a used car so I don’t have to care about the little insignificant things in life, and this mindset is keeping me perfectly happy.
What about you? Do you drive a used car that you’ve had for years?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.