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5 Reasons I Love Our Older Vehicle


Guest post from Rosanna of Extraordinary Everyday Mom

Several months ago, I was browsing Facebook and saw that a friend had posted a question about their vehicle.

The question went something like this: “Our vehicle is just nearing the 200,000-kilometer mark and I’m looking for opinions. Should I keep driving it or buy something newer so I can actually make a little bit of money on it?”

The friend went on to say that they didn’t really have the cash to buy a different vehicle that this point, but they also didn’t want to have to worry about a lot of repairs. I was amazed by how many people suggested that they should buy a newer vehicle even though they didn’t really have the money.

I replied and suggested that they begin paying themselves a car payment each month now so that they would be able to replace when they needed to. It was clear that my opinion was unusual.

I drive a 2005 SUV with a little more than 200,000 kilometers. My husband drives a 2005 truck that’s nearing 300,000 kilometers. We maintain them regularly and neither of them has ever left us on the side of the road.

If you’ve never owned an older vehicle, you might be surprised to know there are many benefits (at least in my opinion). Here are a few of them!

1. It is paid for and has been for a long time!

If you’ve ever owned a vehicle that you don’t have to pay payments on, you know exactly how I feel. It is an incredible feeling of freedom to know that you own what you drive. It’s all yours.

2. I don’t have to worry about every little scratch.

My vehicle already has scratches and scrapes. Another new one won’t hurt.

3. It doesn’t have a bunch of gadgets.

I know this isn’t a bonus for everyone, but I’ll be honest… I’m not all that excited about keyless cars or cameras that turn on every time I turn on the blinker. I feel like simpler is better because there is less to go wrong.

4. Freedom

Because we don’t have a car payment, we have the freedom to do other things with our money. Two major things that we have been able to do are pay off debt and give more.

5. You don’t lose as much money on depreciation.

I’ve heard that a new car loses about 60% of its value in the first 4 years — after that, it doesn’t lose nearly as much value. This is important to me because buying a car is probably one of the largest purchases that most of us make that also loses significant value.

These are just 5 of the many reasons we love our older, paid-for vehicle. And just so you know, we HAVE lived the other side of this coin.

When we got married, we both came into the marriage with car payments. My husband drove a brand new car; I drove a used car I didn’t save up to buy. However, our finances were so tight that we had to sell my car and become a one-car family for many years. Even with that change, we still struggled greatly with paying for that car.

These days, we are blessed to have a vehicle that’s paid for. Now that’s something to be proud of!

Rosanna is a wife and mother who homeschools her three children. She loves Jesus, her family, Praise and Worship, writing, and hanging out with friends. You can follow her on her journey at Extraordinary Everyday Mom.

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  • Laura says:

    We also own a 2005 vehicle. It has been really good to us and we are living in the “sweet spot” between payments and onerous repairs. I know the day will come when this car won’t be reliable. We are thinking and planning ahead. There is a 2012 or 2013 model we have our eye on for when that day comes.

    I am actually in both camps. I love the reliability that comes with a new car. It’s just the payments that sour the experience. Paying cash for a low-sticker new car gives you the security of knowing, down the road, that your now-used car has been taken care of. You can drive it for 15 years and get your money out of it. If you have to take out a loan, make it as short as possible, maybe 3 years. It is a mistake to buy a more expensive car and get a longer loan. Ask me. We had a car payment and no job! We bought a new gas-efficient car with a loan so we could get to work. In the second year of payments we found ourselves with a shiny new car in the garage, but no job to drive it to! That was very stressful. Buying a car you can afford (new or used) with cash is worth the peace of mind it provides.

  • Bethany says:

    We have found this to be a great way to save money, too! We buy well maintained Hondas at 100,00 miles (that are usually about 5 years old) and we pay cash for them. It has worked very well for us. We typically sell them around 170k miles, but we kept one of our current vehicles to 200k miles and for the first time in 15 years of marriage we’ve had to spend money on two repairs. But we are planning on driving that vehicle for a few more years, and the repairs cost less than a newer vehicle. I enjoy saving and paying cash for vehicles, and I love never having a car payment.

  • Rosanne says:

    Yeah for older cars! We have a 2001 and a 2004, and even if I had a lot of money, I don’t know that I’d ever buy a brand new car. They depreciate significantly as soon as you drive them off the lot! We drive our cars until they die and give up the ghost! lol

  • Diana says:

    Insurance is usually less costly for an older car too!

    • HokieKate says:

      Actually, the insurance is slightly cheaper on our 2016 Subaru Forester than on our 2004 Honda Accord, even though the Forester is worth eight times as much.

  • Kathi says:

    I agree! A paid-for car is a blessing!

  • Michelle says:

    I wholeheartedly agree!! #4 is my favorite.

  • Charlotte Sellers says:

    That’s just under 125,000 miles in America. I have two cares (2000 and 2006) and each have over 200,000 miles. I plan to drive them until they die. Keep your oil changed regularly and service up to date and you can keep them a long, long time. Oh, I never buy new and always buy used. Both vehicles had over 40,000 miles on them when bought.

  • Aimee Hadden says:

    Love this! Not having car payments has been one of the factors which has made it possible for me to stay home. While I would not mind having a newer vehicle, my 13 year old minivan totally works for our family.

  • Sandy says:

    I own a 2009 SUV with 54,000 miles on it and plan to keep it for years to come! I have it in my budget to save a car payment every month so I can purchase a”new to me” used car….someday. I agree with you in taking care of my car by having regular maintenance done. Wish me luck that I too, make it to 300,000 miles!

  • Carrie Willard says:

    I completely agree. I also joke that my van is “carjack proof”, which is important in the area where I live. It seems that every week, there is another news report of a car being stolen *with a child in the backseat* here (Atlanta, GA).

    Nobody would want my car. They steal fancy, brand new SUVs.

  • Jessica says:

    In 2012, we replaced our 14 year old car with a new minivan. Best decision ever. I was pregnant and with me and my 2 year old having asthma, the old car’s lack of air conditioning was a serious health hazard. That car broke down on my several times, stranding me with a broken alternator belt, a broken starter, dead battery… all with a toddler. With the new minivan, we got 5 years of free roadside assistance, the latest safety features such as LATCH for car seats, the recommended side wall air bags. We didn’t get the fanciest minivan by any means. But we got one that is dependable and safe. My husband’s car got totaled in 2013 unexpectedly in a bad accident. We got a new vehicle for him then also, for the same reasons. When my kids and I were in our minivan this summer and got rear-ended by a distracted driver in a huge Ford pickup truck, the van’s big, heavy rear gate likely saved my children from serious head injuries. That pickup would have smashed right through my old car. We pay cash for our vehicles and pay ourselves a car payment every month to save for the next one.

  • HokieKate says:

    I bought our 2004 Accord with 40,000 miles in 2008, and now we’re up to 140,000. We’ve had to replace the clutch and the headliner and a few rounds of tires, but otherwise only routine, scheduled maintenance and cosmetic issues (my four year old scratched up the side, my husband hit a retaining wall and knocked the bumper out of alignment). I love not worrying about my car. Sure, it’s not perfect. It has some large scratches. The power locks don’t work. But the engine is great!

    Ever since we paid off the loan we put the same amount into a “car fund” account to cover maintenance and prepare for the next vehicle. We bought a beater car in cash from that fund that only lasted three years, but it was cash! We supplemented that fund to buy a nice second car earlier this year that we plan to keep for over a decade.

  • Heather N says:

    I have a 2001 Honda CRV that I purchased new. I LOVE my car and will continue to drive it for the foreseeable future.

  • Nancy says:

    Once we saw cars as just transportation and not status symbols our behavior changed. Now we embrace our old cars with joy! Just lost our 1997 accord when our daughter was rear ended. 16 years without payments! No repairs, only scheduled maintenance. I drive a 2003 Odyssey with +300k miles. Totally reliable. Why on earth would I want a new car? I can park anywhere (including next to the cart corral), I never have to worry about thieves, insurance is dirt cheap, and gas mileage has not really improved unless you get a hybrid which we won’t consider now due to battery replacement costs. Plus with new teen drivers in the house we want safe, but expensive new cars are NOT budget friendly when you look at how often new drivers have accidents. Plus every person (almost) has a cell phone. The days of being left on the side of the road and walking for miles are just over. At least where we live. For extra piece of mind, auto clubs are vastly less expensive than payments for the nervous.

    We buy and keep and it has worked beautifully for us, but to each their own.

    I see old cars as status symbols: hundreds of dollars every month that can work FOR us instead of evaporating in depreciation, interest costs, and extra insurance.

  • Nichole D. says:

    I am laughing as I am reading these comments. I have a 1998 – yes a 1998 Lexus ES300 (my husband purchased this car 10 years ago for about $6,000) and it has been hands down by far THE best car either of us has owned. We have not have a car payment in over 6 years and very minor repairs (tires, battery, wiper blades, etc). My car has 214,000 miles on it and I plan on driving it until it quits (hoping for 300,000 miles first – LOL). Yes the screen on the radio doesn’t work (radio still does so not replaced), the seats are getting worn in places and a little rust here and there. As long as the car runs I am keeping it. 🙂

    My husband has a 2006 Toyota truck that has been paid off for almost 3 years and we keep paying his truck payment and put into savings for when either of us needs a repair and/or new car. Glad to see so many people driving it until the “wheels fall off.”

  • Jill says:

    We drive older cars too. Our 2003 mini van has 230,000 miles and our 2007 suv has 130,000 miles. After dealing with 3 cars in a row that killed our budget with repair after repair, we bought our 2003 van brand new (on a loan). We paid it off early and then kept making that payment to ourselves each month. When the time came to replace my husband’s vehicle, we paid cash for the 2007 used suv. We will be able to pay cash for the van’s replacement when the time comes. Believe me, many people would’ve stopped driving it a long time ago because it is so full of rust. But to us it is a very dependable car that only requires regular maintenance and has extremely low insurance costs. We’ve put in synthetic oil from the start and have kept up on all the regular maintenance. Being proactive saves you a lot of money and headaches in the long run.

    We joke that our van is the worst car in our subdivision, but we don’t mind. It also is a good example to our kids about the value of not driving the latest and greatest. To me a car is just a form of transportation not a status symbol. It is very freeing knowing there is no bill to mail in each month.

    A couple of points to keep in mind when shopping for a car: always research it’s reliability/dependability in Consumers Report magazine and secondly, always get insurance quotes on cars you are thinking about purchasing. You’ll be surprised on the price difference between different types of vehicles when it comes to insurance.

    I don’t think people price out insurance on different cars when they’re looking to buy. Also be sure to research different cars in Consumer Reports magazine.

  • Lea says:

    We joke that our older vehicle is old enough to “drive itself” (2000) and the newer one isn’t *that* new (2011). The older one has over 250,000miles on it (just over 400,000km) and is just now starting to have some real issues. We’ve owned it since 2005 and it had just 30,000miles (48,000km roughly) on it when we bought it and we’ve driving it a TON. Yes, we just started looking for a new vehicle and we’ll trade in this one sometime in the new year on something that has under 50,000miles on it and is 2-3 years old or so. Our dealership where we do our maintenance is more than willing to give us a very nice trade in value because they know we do regular maintenance and the van would work well for parts if nothing else.

    Things that have helped us do this: Buy well made cars, a few years old, paying at least 50% down (we pay ourselves the car payment after we pay the car off so we have that on hand), and regular maintenance and care. Far cheaper than car payments for sure!

  • Ashley says:

    Another (for our family) is that my husband is able to work on our older cars more easily. Newer cars have so many more computer/electronic components that is is harder for a shade tree mechanic to make repairs.

  • Rachael says:

    We are driving one car with 240,000 miles. My husband and I have been together for 13 years. I love that he still drives the car that he picked me up for our first date!

  • Stephanie says:

    I have a 2004 Nissan car that has over 175,000 miles on it. I tell everyone I am going to drive it until the wheels fall off.

  • Alex says:

    I totally agree! I took my 2000 Ford Crown Vic in for an oil change and the mechanic suggested I trade in Old Faithful for a down payment on something nicer. She has scratches and dents and likes a lot of oil but I’ve never been stranded, and at 115,000 miles, she’s still a spring chicken! I told him we buy our cars for cash and I plan to get at least another five years out of her. I don’t want to have a nice thing that I know I’ll damage (somebody *ahem* made those scratches and dents!). It’s one less thing to worry about keeping nice that allows us to put our money toward things that we care about. I’m glad I’m not the only one with an Old Faithful!

  • Melissa says:

    We have a 10 year old vehicle that has been paid off for quite a long time (paid $25,000 for it). We’ve been saving $600 per month for when it needs replaced but now I don’t want to part with the $27,000 in the bank. I hope to drive it for a few more years and maybe only pay $15,000 for another used vehicle. We all need to remember that a car does not define us. Lots of people with high paying jobs choose to drive older vehicles and save their money and lots of low income people stress themselves out with a high payment because they want to “look” like they have money!

  • Blessed says:

    We had a 2001 Honda odyssey with 330,000 miles and she only died after all the oil was let out accidentally. She never broke down or left us strained and we did not maintain her at all. She had a few quirks that we worked with. We called her Grace. We replaced with same care that had 125,000 and cost was very minimal. As I walk out this earthly journey each family should do what is best for them. If you can afford and like a newer car get it. If you can’t afford get the most reliable car you can with the resources you have. There is value in peace of mind and if you enjoy a nicer car and can afford it enjoy it.

  • GStanley says:

    We have all older vehicles. We have a 1994 Toyota truck with 96,000 miles, a Chevy truck 1998 with 87,000 miles, Toyota 4Runner with 215,000 miles and my car 2003 Toyota Corolla with 197,000. I love no payments. In the event we have to drive a long distance we rent a car. It is usually $200-300 dollars to rent. Cheaper than one car payment!

  • Rachel says:

    We are kinda in between both camps. We drove a used card (paid off) until it wasn’t reliable anymore (around 250,000 miles) but put aside so much each month into a savings account for our future car fund. Once our car died, we paid cash for a newer model vehicle and got a big discount since we used a cashiers check. It is paid off and we plan to drive it for at least 10-15 years while still putting aside cash in that fund. Has been a great system so far for us!

  • shannon says:

    A big bonus not mentioned or needs to be included with the others is the lower taxes on used vehicles…..the better the deal the lower the taxes or possibly no tax.Can never say that for a new vehicle unless it is an incentive at the car lot and if it is make sure the price of the vehicle is not used as a way to compensate for that….

  • Becky Seitz says:

    We are leasing a new Rav 4 and I love it! $200 per month for a brand new car with free oil changes for two years. This is the first time we have leased, and will probably always lease from now on. I love not worrying about paying off a huge loan or having the transmission go out etc. After three years we get another new car ?

    • That’s definitely another perspective. I guess it really depends on your lifestyle. I know enough people who put too many miles on their leased vehicles, thus making the trade-in for another leased vehicle really expensive. That being said, I live in a more rural area in Canada and there is a lot of driving required to go anywhere.

  • Tina says:

    Ours are paid for too and the feeling is amazing. For the first 10 years of our marriage I battled family members who traded their cars in yearly or at the most two year. It had to be brand new and driven off the lot. They were constantly bothering us to “get a new car” even though nothing was wrong with ours.
    Now we have sick kids and there is no way we could afford new car payments and $700-$1000/month in meds and Dr. Visits.

    Thanks for sharing. This post is spot on.

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