While most of my friends and family are driving fancy new vehicles, I’ve been content driving my thirteen year old car – a 2003 Honda CRV. It has 170,000 miles, faded paint, and a combo CD Player/Tape Deck. The electronic locks stopped working about 20,000 miles ago.
I named my car Handy because it’s a hand-me-down of a hand-me-down. My sister in law bought the car brand new but eventually gave it to my wife who in turn gifted it to me when MY CAR needed to be replaced. So my wife got the fancy new automobile while I got her aging Honda.
Happy wife, happy life right?
So while Handy is getting a bit older, I don’t plan on replacing him anytime soon. I plan to drive this sucker until the wheels fall off. Then I’ll try to squeeze another 5,000 miles after that 🙂
So here’s to you Handy, may you last another thirteen years. Let me revel in the awesomeness that is owning an older vehicle.
I Am Not a Car Person
As long as the car can reliably get me from point A to point B, doesn’t cost too much to gas up, fit my wife and kid comfortably, and have a stereo where I can jam to the latest Katy Perry album, I don’t really care what I drive. My CRV fits the bill. I’d even drive this proudly if someone handed it down to me…
I Don’t Care About Its Appearance
The awesome thing about having an older vehicle? You don’t care as much about keeping its appearance. It’s one less thing to worry about. When you’re actually inside your car driving it, you can’t even tell what it looks like on the outside. I wash it on occasion so my car doesn’t look like complete crap and it doesn’t rust, but I don’t obsess about it. A stray shopping cart accidentally bumps into my car in a parking lot? It’s all good.
I Don’t Care About Fancy Tech
Maybe I’m just old school, but I’m not that impressed with all the bells and whistles that come with new cars. Dashboard GPS? I have a smartphone. Heated seats? I live in SoCal. Cameras to help you park? I don’t think parking is that difficult. Shout out to my beautiful wife who shamed me into learning how to parallel park. 🙂
It would be nice to have bluetooth in my car though. Luckily, I have a wired solution for that:
My Car Still Runs Fine
As long as you take care of the car and keep up with maintenance, vehicles nowadays last forever. I hope Handy reaches 300,000 miles. Actually, I hope one day to gift Handy to my daughter when she’s able to drive in 15 years. Highly unlikely, but a man can dream right?
Less Expensive Overall Costs
Someone could point out that one might have to spend more for maintenance on an older car than a newer car. I actually need to replace my axles and a couple other things which will run about $1,000. Still, it’s a helluva lot cheaper fixing that than having a car payment. Also, most people don’t factor the higher costs associated with owning a newer car, such as registration and insurance. Mine is crazy cheap because Handy is so old.
Who Needs a Car Payment?
I don’t. Between my car and my wife’s (2012 Hyundai Tucson) we haven’t had a car payment in years. I’ve been fortunate to have a wife that hated debt of any kind so we quickly paid off both of our cars. This might be a drastic thought for those who don’t follow Dave Ramsey or Mr. Money Mustache, but I don’t plan on having a car payment ever again.
According to USA Today, the average car loan is $482 a month, with an average loan period about 66 months. There are so many things I would rather do with that money than make payments on a vehicle I already bought. To me that’s $31,812 that doesn’t go towards retirement, investing, or my daughter’s college fund. If I invested that money over that same period, I would make about $7,330 in interest. Compounding interest is magic, ain’t it?
When I Have to Replace My Daily Driver
There are times when I want to replace my CRV with a brand new Corrolla, Accord, or Prius (I know, I know – my fancy taste surprises you), but that thought lasts about 10 seconds. Cars are just a big money pit, and getting a new car will make it harder to attain our financial goals, from yearly vacations to eventually retiring my wife to become a stay-at-home mother.
When the day comes that Handy needs to be replaced, I’ll most likely get a slightly used car from a site like Auto Trader or Craigslist and pay cash for it. You might think that getting a car from Craigslist is crazy, but my friend Ambar bought two cars from there for $4000, and it worked out for her. Well, until one of her cars got stuck in a hail storm. Sorry, buddy – you should’ve have never left sunny SoCal for Colorado.
It might take a little more due diligence to find a good used car, but that work could save you a huge amount of change. Since cars lose about 46% of their value after three years, I’ll let someone else eat that depreciation cost and then buy it off them.
Hopefully that day isn’t anytime soon. 😉