20 Reasons Why We Still Drive a 20 Year Old Car

Last updated on February 20th, 2016

Long-time readers know that we decided to sell Vanessa’s white Toyota Camry when we got married to pay off debts. We decided at that time to share a car – The Green Machine (as seen below) – which has resulted in minimal auto expenses.

Nearly four years have passed and we are still sharing. Our current situation is convenient, and both of our employers are located within a mile of each other.

Sharing a car won’t work for everyone, but it is a great way to reduce gasoline consumption, insurance costs, repairs, and the other costs of car ownership.

Drive Old Used Car

My path to owning our little green machine was plagued with poor vehicle decisions which will serve as an interesting story to help other readers.

The Path Well Traveled

It was 2006ish when I first caught car fever. I was spoiled enough to have parents who would purchase my first car. They weren’t rich, so I had to decide on something roughly $3,500 or less.

After a few months of obsessive searching, I found a 1984 Porsche 944 that looked in good condition. Adult owned and driven. As seen below.

Porsche 944

First of all, this was a neat little car. I still have a soft spot in my heart for clean 944s.

Second, I had short-term-itis at the age of 16 and couldn’t stop to think about the future. I didn’t consider the fact that these cars have high maintenance costs, poor gas mileage, and tiny back seats that are good for nothing.

Also, I hated the gold color but thought I could get it painted for cheap. Except paint jobs are not cheap, and the cost of aftermarket upgrades (like paint jobs) are rarely recaptured when selling the car to the next owner.

But, I wanted it, so I had it painted. I chose Maaco to paint the car. Long story short, they messed up the color, did a botch job, and wouldn’t fix it (typical, Maaco). I was out almost a grand that I would never again see.

Despite the loss, I didn’t learn my lesson with the Porsche 944. I sold the 944 and bought a faster and newer sports car with my hard earned money earned from working my minimum wage job as a grocery bagger.

Greener Pastures

Roughly a dozen cars/motorcycles later (Don’t worry, I became a little more savvy half-way through college and started buying/selling vehicles for profit), I finally settled on the beautiful Green Delight that we currently drive.

A 1996 Saturn SL1 with absolutely no options added. It’s bare bones with manual locks, manual windows, black steel rims, a ghetto CD player that doesn’t play CDs, and a number of other incredible features. I’ve never looked back.

I thought readers might like an entertaining post that details just a few of the many reasons we choose to keep this particular car, and why we won’t be getting rid of it any time soon.

  1. It Runs
  2. It’s Fully Depreciated – I bought it 5.5 years ago for $1,700 and have put more than 40,000 miles on the car. Without a doubt, I could get $1,500 today. Probably $1,700 with my Craigslist mojo.
  3. It Gets Good Gas Mileage – 30 MPG city, 40 MPG highway. Somehow, brand new compact cars can’t seem to top that after nearly 20 years of engineering improvements. And like clockwork, they continue to advertise 36 MPG highway.
  4. It’s Worry Free – I don’t have to worry about the people of Walmart dinging my door in the parking lot, or rocks causing the occasional paint chip. If that happens, who really cares.
  5. It’s Simple – With less bells and whistles, less power everything, and less engine complexity, there are fewer opportunities for problems and maintenance.
  6. It’s Unbelievably Slow – The 98 Horsepower (in 1996) 4 cylinder engine prevents my adrenaline junkie wife from racing those pesky Honda Civics equipped with mufflers the size of your head.
  7. It’s Practical – My primary desire is that my vehicle get me from A to B. This car performs that task well.
  8. It’s Reliable – I’ve had one maintenance repair for $1,000 that shouldn’t have happened. That sucks, but I don’t anticipate any problems going forward.
  9. It’s Uncomfortable – This is especially true when it’s cold outside. The Saturn rattles and vibrates, which makes you want to drive as little as possible.
  10. Insurance is Cheap – Liability only + tiny engine = low price.
  11. Taxes are Cheap – Personal Property taxes are next to nothing.
  12. Tires are Cheap – 14 inches of frugality, yeah!
  13. Keys are Cheap – What is going on with those new computer chipped keys that cost $250? Ours can be replicated for a dollar at Walmart.
  14. Free Theft Insurance – No one would ever choose to steal a 1996 hunter green Saturn with body and paint flaws.
  15. I Love to Eat – After a certain number of years pass, you just stop caring about keeping the carpets spotless. I’ll eat anything and everything while driving. If it falls on the seat or floor, I’ll still eat it. And never for one moment do I worry about stains.
  16. Cars Aren’t an Investment – Buying a new car is like flushing money down the toilet. Vehicles do nothing except depreciate, and I prefer allowing someone else to eat that depreciation before buying.
  17. Temperature Control Issues – It takes forever for the heater to work in the winter, and the A/C works well enough but the lack of window tint makes for a hot ride in summer. Both of these encourage less driving.
  18. It Keeps Us Humble – A 20 year old car draws no attention and helps us remember that cars are meant to get from A to B, not to impress the person in the next lane who is financed up to their eyeballs.
  19. It Makes Me Kind – Life is inevitably stressful, and sometimes difficult. The last thing I want to worry about is my car. That lady with screaming children who bumps me from behind at the stop sign. No Big Deal! Accidentally backed into that pesky telephone pole again? Just another Monday my friend.
  20. It’s Sexy – Saturn is now an extinct and exotic species. Plus, they just don’t make them like they did in the 90’s.

I know someday I’ll have to move on and find something a little more civilized, but til then, I’ll be rockin’ that Green Machine and stackin’ that money.

I’d like to know what year, make, and model you drive. Please share with a comment below.

Comments
    • Julie
    • June 18, 2017
    Reply

    I love this post – very valid points. I’ve bought & paid off three new cars since graduating college. However, I will never buy another new car again for many of the reasons you listed above. I still have my 2008 Hyundai Accent – it’s been trouble-free and still running at almost 125,000 miles. Just routine maintenance. It even survived a slow speed unavoidable deer strike (just popped out the bumper a little ).
    I will probably get a mid-sized cat or SUV next year (but it will be used) . For the time being, I have a reliable ride, low repair costs and low insurance costs. My co-workers laugh at me for my car, but they have loan / lease payments. Shouldn’t I be the one laughing? 🙂

    • Old guy
    • June 8, 2017
    Reply

    Old guy again,
    Hey, waaay up there in the blog I thought I saw that you kids got a newer car and got rid of the green Saturn, but I don’t think I saw the post about what the newer car was. Wahaddya git?
    So here I am within a few weeks of my truck turning 200k (199734 mi today) and 15 years (June 28). And since my last post I had to dump another grand into the truck . Like I said at a certain age you start to loose the fiddley bits (coolant leak-old rubber, engine idler pulley assembly (and belts)- just dang old , and broken parking brake cable – corrosion). There reaches a point where maintaining the old car becomes an expensive hobby. After 200k, I have reached that point. I am glad you have the confidence in your car to drive 22 hours. I dont. I am waiting to loose a radiator, starter or an engine mount past 200k. And thats a good indication that its time for a new (or newer) car. For me, Ill take the depreciation hit, Ill go new, nobody abused the vehicle except me. I don’t care about resale value because I’m keeping it at least 10 years anyway. it doesn’t have resale value at that point . Fortunately I have had 15 years to fund my “next car ” piggy bank so no financing for me. I actually paid cash for the truck 15 year ago too.
    Let me throw a financial conundrum and an observation out there :
    I have had some folks say since the truck is long paid off I should simply keep it AND buy a new vehicle, that way I would have a backup vehicle and have a truck if I need to haul stuff. This doesn’t sound to financially practical to me, the truck will sit out on the curb waiting for me to drive it (vehicles really should be driven up to operating temp a minimum of once every 2 weeks in my experience) and in the mean time, I’m paying insurance and taxes on it. Plus I’m sure more stuff on the truck will break due to non-use rot and I still have to change the oil . The alternate is rent a truck from my local enterprise rent a car when I need to haul at $75 a day. and Rent from enterprise at $45 a day for a backup vehicle (plus $15 cab each way) . Your thoughts?
    I know the U.S. lawyers hate it, but I’m actually thinking of having a class 1 hitch put on my new car (likely subcompact sedan) and getting a 4ftx4ft harbor freight utility trailer.That should meet my minimal hauling needs and the personal prop tax should be alot lower (and no insurance).
    An observation, for those few new car models that have not grown into behemoths and changed size classes in the last 15 years, pricing stays steady with inflation. A Hyundai Accent is a good example. It is still the same subcompact class. In 2002 a 4dr GL auto Accent would MSRP at $11249. Today the equivalent model 4dr SE auto will MSRP at $15745. the CPI inflation calculator indicates inflation from April 2002 to April 2017 should take 11249 to 15298. So new cars really haven’t gotten more expensive, if the model your comparing at hasn’t radically changed over time. And the cool thing is that so much that used to be options is now standard. I don’t think you can buy a car without air conditioning anymore. And as for Hyundai , their quality has vastly improved from way back then, so maybe taking that into account, adjusted for inflation that brand has become cheaper over time?

    • Phil
    • May 29, 2017
    Reply

    Im 27 years old and i’ll probably be driving 10-20 year old cars and trucks the rest of my life. They have already met their depriciation, and not only that, they’re still going to do what the brand new version does. Your 1995 chevy silverado can still haul wood and cement from the home depot as good as the 2017 model. Your 1988 honda prelude still gets good gas mileage like the 2017 civic. Your 2000 ford explorer sport can still get through the snow in winter or through the mud for a camping trip as well as its 2017 version. These vehicles are still good. Sure these cars and trucks might be lacking in bluetooth stereos with Wi-Fi capabilities, maybe they dont have a key fob or an immobilizer…or maybe they dont even have air bags. But you dont need those bells and whistles and even so you could modify your old vehicle to include those features anyways!

    But just wait 20 years and see one of these vehicles at a grocery store lot. Youll remember owning one and all the memories come back. And by that time, the 2017 model that some sucker spent half his income on, can be yours for 2 grand.

    • Shawna
    • May 19, 2017
    Reply

    I recently had to replace my bought as new 2001 Honda Accord, I was not happy about it but unfortunately it failed to the point there wasn’t much of a choice. Between a likely transmission fault (or solenoid, but everyone running into this check engine says it ends up being the transmission), necessary break repair, a cracked radiator and loose belts the repair cost would have been about $6500 at the dealer and I’m sure less at another repair shop or some DIY but not enough less to justify the cost. $2500 or less I would have had it fixed, but $4000 – $6500 is not worth another component failing in the next few years. Weighing the options I got a used 2016 car with a lot of warranty left on it. The plan is to give the new car to my son as his first car when he hits 16. He is 5 now.

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    • Rex
    • May 5, 2017
    Reply

    I prefer the older vehicles, and I am currently transitioning from a 2010 Camry to a 1998 Acura RL 3.5. The Camry is a great car, but I doubt it will hold up as well as this ’98 RL has… my father purchased it new.

    • R. Gannon
    • April 15, 2017
    Reply

    Aloha.

    Well, I drive an 1998 Audi A8. Yes, in 1998, this car cost over 40 k. But I bought it in 2006 for under 5k with 80 k on the clock. A lot of money? Well, it’s an Audi, the A8 was their flagship premium car when it was manufactured, it was in great shape when I bought it, and it’s ALL ALUMINUM. Yes, the BODY is Aluminum. No rust.

    I have put over 90 k on it since 2006 and it has cost me exactly $3,478 for maintenance and parts and tires and brakes and other replacement since then, a full 11 years later. That includes an Alternator I just replaced this week. When you divide $3,478 by 11 years of driving 90k miles on a premium luxury car, that’s great.

    It’s all wheel drive, has all the bells and whistles (that all still work) and has been super reliable. It only broke down ONCE when the fuel pump gave out at 155 k. Can’t blame the car for that. The car gave me plenty of warnings that the fuel pump was failing, but I ignored them until it finally completely failed about 20 miles from home. Otherwise, it has never made me call a tow truck.

    One more thing. It’s a TANK. Even though the body is Aluminum, the car weighs close to two tons. You have massive protection around you with airbags galore and strong crash impact beams to protect you from people texting and running into you because they had to Tweet how fabulous they look driving with their new iPhone. And it’s comfortable. After all, in 1998 it was the finest car Audi ever produced. Yet, it gets about 28 mpg on the highway, and that’s good enough for me, and it’s great for a 20 year old V8.

    My goal was to keep it until 2018, the 20 year anniversary. But it still looks and drives like a vehicle a full decade younger, so I may push it to 25 years. Trade in value is probably only $1,000-$1,500 and I’ll never find a car of this quality or reliability for a grand. So I’m keeping it for a while longer.

    • Poppy
    • April 9, 2017
    Reply

    My husband I have 1999 Toyota Solara. Leased 4 years and then purchased it. It has more than 380K miles as of now.

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    • Patrick
    • March 16, 2017
    Reply

    I love my 1998 Gmc Sonoma. Got it for$850 and had to do some minor fixes like tune up, replace belt and hoses, water pump and cleaned out the radiator. It ran a bit rough and so I ran 3 big bottles if fuel injector cleaner through it during the first 3 tanks of gas. Ran smoothly after that. Now needs a few things fixed, but nothing major. Body is in extremely good condition. Has original paint. Can not be happier with this truck. Takes me everywhere I want to go without complaint, though it gets a bit toasty during summer since the act needs replaced. Why should I buy a new or newer truck when this truck is perfect.

    • E_mme
    • March 12, 2017
    Reply

    My beautiful 2002 Saturn SL (also green) is in the shop today for a tune-up, and leaving it behind actually brought tears to my eyes. I love that car so much. It’s very low-maintenance, easy to keep tidy, super-reliable, and completely devoid of any unnecessary bells and whistles. It gets me from place to place safely and comfortably, and that’s all I need my car to do. It drives like it was made for me and I can’t imagine how I’d get around without it.
    My dad reminded me that cars don’t last forever, but with any luck (and being extra-kind to it) I’ll be driving this car for a long, long time.

    • JOHN
    • February 12, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve only purchased one new vehicle in my life. That was 20 years ago. Well sort of new….it had about a thousand miles on it. Currently our family has three cars a 2004 Toyota Sienna with 178000 miles 2005 Saab 9-3 with 116,000 miles and a newly acquired Saturn sw2 wagon 1996 with 275000 miles. All these cars were purchased way below cost. All from private owners. The Saturn was just purchased for $500 and the car is immaculate even has a new engine cradle and completely redone engine and no rust. I have no doubt that we’ll go for at least another five years. The car that I bought new 20 years ago was a Saab 900 which just died due to someone putting too much oil in it. It had 218000 Miles. This is why we got the Saturn. I maintain our cars meticulously and do almost all the work myself unless it’s something major. We have no use for a car payment… life is too expensive already. People say that an old car is more expensive though and that is simply a lie. Fact is that the amount of expense we put into a used car is far lower than a car payment plus the high insurance cost. On my Saab 900 even though over the past two years it was a very old car it gave me very little trouble until someone messed it up with a bad oil change. My favorite car to date is the Saturn because it’s DIRT cheap it’s in great condition it’s easy to work on and I don’t have to worry about people messing things up in my car, like I have to worry about with my beautiful Saab 9-3. I keep that car in the driveway and only drive it a few times a week. Never to Walmart!

    • springer
    • January 31, 2017
    Reply

    Great points! totally agree with everything. Just wanted to mention one more reason why you really don’t want newer car. Automakers have gone nuts with computers and cars are becoming more and more computerized. Even worse, with more computers, every part in a car becomes more proprietary. These days, lots of critical cars in newer cars aren’t even available through third party. so bottom line: If your clunker from way back in 1999 breaks down, you can probably find spare parts and fix it yourself. If your newish clunker breaks down 20 years from now, nobody will have parts to fix it except dealer (if they still have it in stock). So most new cars being made now are pre-destined for junk-yard regardless of anything else due to proprietary pars and sheer lack of pars availability.

    • Wendell
    • January 2, 2017
    Reply

    I have a 17 yr old Volvo, that was my mom’s, until 8 yrs ago. She became too ill, to drive. It has 130k miles on it. It needs major work, which will amount to about $2000. I am reluctant to spend that much on it, but can’t afford a car note. Plus the car has sentimental value to me( once being mom’s).
    I need to decide what to do, soon. Fortunately, it is still running.

    • bruce gaylord
    • December 31, 2016
    Reply

    I have had three Saturn SL s. It is all I have had in the the last 20 years. I had all three in the yard until November. My roommate owns the first SL1 which is a 1996 green one like yours, bought in 97. I guess I could have kept it bought I bought a 97 SL 2 with only 9,000 miles from an old lady. I was T boned in that one. I had to buy another 99 SL 1 from an old lady with 19,000 miles on it . I now have 117K on that one. In total about 240,000 miles of Saturn driving. I was looking for another car but each time I return to Saturn and think that my car can do that and it doesn’t cost much. Some rust is eating my undercarriage now – brake lines, transmission lines, oil pan. Most expensive repair was $215 because most things are doable on your own that go wrong. It helped having the T boned car of the same color in the back yard. Mine looks pretty shinny still. You can paint the black bumpers with black plastic furniture paint to make them look new again with only cleaning them first. The 99 seems to be the best year for lack of repairs. This post goes on forever, so many people replied.

      • Bill
      • January 13, 2017
      Reply

      In 99 they updated the engine for the third time, a lot of the other things stayed the same but it would make sense there were no major issues as they had 8 years to work the issues out by that point. I had a 94 SC2 totaled, 99 SL2 traded for 02 SC2 and briefly a 95 SW2 I used as a beater/hauler that I picked up for $500 and sold for the same. The only real issues I had were oil consumption and the sunroofs never made it past 60k.

    • RL
    • December 18, 2016
    Reply

    I HAVE A 2009 CAMRY THAT I BOUGHT NEW IT HAS 70K ON IT NOW . AND I BOUGHT A 1997 CAMRY WITH 223800K AND I DRIVE THE 97 EVERY DAY AND THE 09 REARLY . NO PAYMENTS ON EITHER OF THEM BUT DRIVING THE 97 IS MORE FUN TO ME, IT COULD USE SOME PAINT BUT THE INSIDE IS AS CLEAN AS WHEN IT LEFT THE SHOW ROOM. AND THIS IS THE 3RD OLD CAR I HAVE BOUGHT SINCE THE NEW CAMRY OTHERS WERE A 1994 940 VOLVO A FRIND JUST WOULD NOT STOP ASKING UNITILL I GAVE IN AND SOLD IT TO HIM AND THE OTHER WAS A 2001 TACOMA PICK UP TRUCK, WHICH HAS NOW BEEN SOLD AS WELL. NO MATTER WHAT ANY ONE SAYS OLDER CARS ARE MORE FUN WHEN IN GOOD CONDITION ,

    • Lauren Neher
    • December 2, 2016
    Reply

    My older daughter bought a 1987 Toyota pickup, in 2004 or so, very basic but with an automatic transmission. It has the R22 engine which will last forever. Parts do fail, the master brake cylinder has gone out on it twice, and after she moved on to a newer (but less reliable Subaru) I took it home and fixed it up for something to do. I found an 88 in a nearby junkyard, and scavenged the interior, changing it from vinyl hell to upholstered seats and carpeting. I stripped the cab down to the bare metal (left the dash in place though) and treated a tiny bit of rust, put spray can bedliner down, paint over it, then the new carpet, door panels, seat and uncracked dash. I also fixed the fan with a new switch and some replacement wiring from the donor truck.

    For the outside, I spray can painted it myself under my carport. I have had training, so I prepped and taped it off, and used a Rustoleum appliance epoxy that was a pretty good match to the original paint. 5-6 coats later, I started on 4-5 coats of satin clear. It worked great, is easy to touch up and has been very durable, after it hardened up.
    I took the sides off the inside of the bed, cleaned up inside then sprayed primer and more spray on bedliner inside them then resealed them. I treated surface rust with por-15 rust conversion treatment, and fixed one hole through the bed, with JB Weld.
    Then I made a mistake. I did a herculiner do it yourself bedliner. Wish I’d done a commercial one, it was not as durable, at all.

    After my daughter had the truck back for a while, and rear ended two cars, I had to do some work to push the front end back out. I did that with some help from some friends (with hydraulic rams) and installed a new bumper and front fender.

    My Mom and I eventually bought this truck from daughter #1 for daughter #2, but d2 was going to college and didn’t need a vehicle. So this truck was a spare, and was borrowed by friends and driven infrequently for a few years. D2 finally got her license at 24(!) and Mom and I took the truck to Seattle from Idaho to deliver it to her. It’s pretty basic, yes, but it has legs. I can pass people at over 75, going uphill. It may not get up to speed fast, but once there, it goes and goes, at remarkable speed.

    I drove to Denver once in one day, in about 15 hours. The thermostat needed to be replaced once I got there, but I got there. When I drove it back, I took 2 days headed home.

    The factory ac still works. It hadn’t been serviced in years, but a local shop checked it out, replaced one $5 seal, recharged the freon (yes, freon) and it works great. Not new car cold but it works.

    Before the final delivery to D2, I replaced a few parts (the jack went missing at one point) and got a nice plastic bedliner for $30 that worked great, with minor repairs. I also touched up the paint on the newer fender and tailgate I’d gotten from a boneyard (already repaired and installed) that I’d been meaning to do. I also got the windshield replaced (man, did it ever need that!) and they treated some rust under the winshield trim when they installed it. I also got the side and back windows tinted.

    It was a 29 year old truck when I delivered it to D2. The rear axle seal went out recently, which is the second time for that. My wife asked me to think about if needed repairs were more than the truck was worth. Nada listed this truck as low $1200, high $2700. I read up on the engine and the reliablility, and the simplicity, and gave the repairs the go ahead. The truck now has over 230,000 miles, and is still chugging along.

    I’ve probably put way more into the truck than it’s worth. That’s just money, not just the time I’ve spent. But the time was fun, a labor of love, and the darn thing just keeps going, reliably. Can’t ask for much more than that.

      • Sheree
      • December 10, 2016
      Reply

      Love the story…proud owner of 1996 Nissan Quest!

    • GettyEm
    • November 28, 2016
    Reply

    I have a 2003 Ford Focus that I’ve had since it was new. I got myself into financial trouble back then and my dad bought me this car and told me I was going to drive it until it dies. I’m still driving it 13 years later. It does have a little more comforts than some of the cars mentioned here like power windows and locks, keyless entry, heated seats, CD changer, sunroof, etc. But it’s still pretty minimal compared to today’s cars. It has 125,000 miles on it and has never needed any major work other than an alternator.

    • Ken Williams
    • November 28, 2016
    Reply

    I always find a 5 to 6year old car and buy it for cash . Then put 10 to15 years on it. It isNov.2016, and I drive a 2001 Toyota Corolla. 32 miles a gallon,and no oil burning.

    • Chantel
    • October 26, 2016
    Reply

    I agree about driving old cars. I have a 1990 Ford F150 with 140,000 on it. It’s a blast to drive. My mom has a 1998 Ford Ranger with 221,000 on it and a 2005 F150 with 275,000. She says she will never buy another new car. I won’t either. My price is 5,000 max. I don’t see the need to spend more than that. It’s also a plus when you can do repair work yourself.

    • Jason
    • October 16, 2016
    Reply

    I love this post. It reflects my feelings about cars pretty well. I love cars, don’t get me wrong. But they are expensive to own and operate. All I need the car I drive every day to do is get me to work and back economically and maybe with some added quirky flair. I may take it too far some times but I haven’t paid more than 1,200 dollars for a vehicle in more than a decade. If you’re handy with a wrench and can read a manual then you can really take your savings to another level. I have a 1987 VW Fox that I’ve had for about 4 years now. It was in nice shape when I bought it and ran well but needed some things. The brakes front and back needed to be rebuilt, it needed some brake lines replaced as well as a couple of wheel bearings and the timing belt changed. All total I did the work my self for under 250 in parts on top of my 600 dollar investment and then I tossed a local shop 50 bucks to check my work and just like that I had an 900 dollar running driving automobile that has paid me back in spades. It’s never left me stranded and has needed nothing but oil changes since I did all the initial repairs. It consistently averages 31 MPG and costs me my state minimum in excise tax (25 dollars). Now a 600 dollar car isn’t for everyone. The work I did for 250 in parts would have easily exceeded 1,800 dollars in labor alone on top of the 250 in parts at a shop and they wouldn’t have taken the time to find the parts for the best price. They would have called NAPA and paid much more.

      • springer
      • April 28, 2017
      Reply

      Yes I agree completely. To drive a very old car, you need detail knowledge about the car, and what can go wrong. Not many people are willing to invest that kind of time and effort. But once you have that kind of familiarity and skill in maintaining your old car, these old clunkers can go a long long way for heck of lot less money than any much more expensive newish cars.

  3. Reply

    My husband loves buying new cars, but I have been thinking lately that it could be beneficial for us to keep our old cars and work on getting them back to the point of functioning. I like how you point out that older cars get better gas mileage and are more practical. I imagine that we could do some research and find out how we can use new parts to get our old cars and trucks running again.

      • springer
      • April 28, 2017
      Reply

      Yes new cars cost a great deal of money. I saw my parents buy multiple new cars at eventual cost rivaling that of a home purchase. That is a serious financial mistake. I own a very very old car, and a very old truck both of which are my daily driver. My car is very easy to repair as everything is within easy reach. Truck is a bit harder, but at least I don’t need to jack it up to do most things. Key here is to get an older car which is easy to maintain, and learn to do the work yourself. Things like replacing brake pads, replacing fuel filter, even water pump and timing belt are within reach of DIY owners. All told, I spent about $4000 for all my car/truck purchases during last 30 years of drving (that’s 2 compact cars and 2 trucks), and no more than two or three thousand dollars for total for parts costs. All very easily manageable financially!

    • Manny
    • September 22, 2016
    Reply

    I still drive my car which is about 15 years old. I was thinking about buying a new one, and then i decided i didnt want to stress out about people dinging my door and full coverage insurance. I would rather spend money doing other things.

      • Pradeep
      • April 11, 2017
      Reply

      Exactly my thoughts. When my car was new, I was stressed out about people dinging and used to park far away etc. Now, I park in the tiniest gaps that my car can fit in without worry. Love the freedom to park anywhere.

    • Dee
    • September 11, 2016
    Reply

    We drive an 89 Camry with 73k miles, we bought new. And a 90GT Celica with 74k miles, we bought new. People wave us down or stop to ask if we are interested in selling the cars. Garage kept, so. Look like out of the show room. Had two 77 Celica hatchbacks, bought new back when. One got beat up, but in 1989 sold it to someone beating down our door for it. Sold for approximately $700.00.
    Only had 110k miles on. Great fun this website turned out to be and your blogger comments are right on the money. Reading these comments have been like walking down memory lane. Also back in 1972 my husband had an opportunity to pick up a slick, one owner, 1970 Buick GS Stage I. We bought it for $2,800.00 and in 1989 sold it to a great goy who put it into his Car Collection in Ohio. He even sent us pictures of our gold, with black top, Stage I sitting along side the others beauties he had in his massive heated garage area. We kind of hated to let it go but two new cars had to take over our two car garage. The Buick we know is in good, loving hands.

    • Bruce Gattis
    • September 8, 2016
    Reply

    I have a 1993 Ford Taurus with 70,000 actual miles on it. I take good care of it. I had an electrical harness get chewed on by fruit rats. I got a replacement for $20 at the junk yard. Everything else has been items that you expect to wear out. If I live long enough to get to 250,000 miles, I will probably let it retire.

    • Tommy
    • August 26, 2016
    Reply

    1995 F-150 Inline 6 198500 miles and running strong. Been driving it for 21 yrs. and I do love this truck. No frills, manual drive and windows. AC works great. Knock on wood it will take me to retirement….
    1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee is my wife’s and is just as dependable with 248,000 miles. Gets us where we need to go. She mostly drives her 2003 Volvo wagon with our three girls. It is a little cramped but ill be dang if I’m gonna drop $30000.00+ for a new car.
    Thanks for these posts. I was saved from making a financial mistake. I never new there were so many cheap skates out there. I thought we were all alone in this world. Thanks.

    • Jim Kurinsky
    • August 13, 2016
    Reply

    Proudly drive a 1991 Saturn SL2 purchased 3 months after production began. We bought 2 Saturns that day. The SL2 and an SC2. The SC has since departed but we still have, and love, our old SL2. It was equipped with minimal options. No power windows or door locks, simple AM/FM radio and not much else. The clear coat paint has worn off most of the surfaces but that just helps make it unappealing to thieves. Slightly less than 100K miles on it and I expect to see 50K more before retiring it. Too bad GM chose to close down Saturn. It was one of the best cars that came out of the US in decades and the company was “unwilling to have an unhappy customer”. That made it unique.

      • Jacob
      • August 13, 2016
      Reply

      Agreed Jim, Saturn made quality vehicles. It’s too bad they were shut down.

        • carcarman
        • December 30, 2016
        Reply

        Saturn may have made quality vehicles at one time, but they were garbage by the 2000’s. Plastic throwaway mentality building by that point. That’s when they lost their way. If you want to buy an old one, just make it 1999 or earlier, or you will regret it.

    • Grace
    • August 8, 2016
    Reply

    My son’s first car at 16 is a 1996 Covertible Manual, Red Miata. She turns heads at her age with 130,000 miles. So cute, she is a little sister who would protect her owner- my son for many years to come. Many more fun memories Mia. ♡♡♡

    • Anonymous
    • August 4, 2016
    Reply

    My 20 year old Saturn just left me. I was so heartbroken. This car was amazing and I wish they would make vehicles that well. I really hope I can get 20 years out of my newer car.

    • Allen
    • August 2, 2016
    Reply

    I found this article by chance, and it’s funny that I recently bought a dark green 1997 Saturn SL1 that is the spitting image of your Saturn! Mine had only 98,000 miles when I bought it for $2,350. That’s high for a 1997 Saturn but it is in really great condition. It was a one owner and definitely had been kept in a garage. It is like yours was with the manual windows. I’m delighted it has a manual transmission, too! The air conditioning works quite well and it appears to heat up quickly. By the way, the reason your Saturn was slow to heat up in the Winter was because the thermostat went bad. They get stuck in the open position when they go bad, so that’s why it took so long to heat up in cold weather.

    My plan for getting a car was to save up $500 cash each month and look on Craigslist every day for cars that had less than 100,000 miles, were built in 1997 or sooner and were selling for $5,000 or less. I had $3,000 saved up when I found the Saturn. I noticed the choice cars were Ford Taurus, Lincolns and Cadillacs that met my criteria. Some of them had extremely low miles. It would have been a lot more work and money to keep a luxury car in perfect condition. I have an old geezer neighbor that had a 1986 Cadillac in absolutely perfect condition. That’s a geezer hobby and I suspect I’m falling into that trap because I turned 62 this year. I honestly prefer the simplicity of my 5-speed spartan Saturn hobby as opposed to managing the maintenance of an old Lincoln.

    Anyway, my Saturn is in excellent condition and when I took it home, I went on youtube and learned the art and science of automobile detailing. I used compound on the finish and followed that with fancy wax. It’s totally deep shine now. It almost looks black from shade-side angles. I treated the bumpers and I love those non-painted bumpers — nothing looks worse than modern cars with big paint chips knocked out of their painted bumpers. I cleaned and rinsed the carpet with the help of laundry detergent, scrub brushes and a wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner. No more stains! It looks new. All I had to do was wipe the seats with a cleaner. They were in pretty clean condition. I learned to sew up a little tear in the driver’s seat by watching another vid on youtube.

    I cleaned and treated all the rubber window and door seals and all the black plastic that is exposed to the elements. I learned how to clean the engine and engine compartment and now that looks new, too. My previous car, a 1991 Toyota Camry had awesome Michelin, expensive tires with only about 20,000 miles on them, so I had them put on the Saturn wheels. After I did that, I scored a combined 40mpg (I live in a rural area with 2-lane roads and 55 mph.) I have the standard Saturn plastic wheel covers, but thankfully they are in good shape and cleaned up nicely and look shiny.

    I changed the brake fluid, transmission oil, coolant, just to make sure they weren’t also 20 years old. I’ll probably get four struts soon. I want a rebuilt power steering pump because I think it is too noisy. All in all, I’ve ended up with a nearly 20 year old car that looks and drives new!

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    • old guy
    • July 23, 2016
    Reply

    Paying cash for a car, always a good idea. Going with a used car to let somebody else take the depreciation hit, usually a good idea. Keeping a car past 20 years maybe not such a good idea.
    If you can own a car for 20 years at all may be dependent on several variable factors.

    How much you depend on the car (i.e do you have a second car as backup or public transportation)
    How much you drive a year.
    What sort of climate you live in (hot and dry, near ocean with sea salt spray, in cold where rock salt is used on the road)
    Ability to find replacement parts easily after 20 years.

    I have recently run into all these issues with both my mother’s 1996 Chevy Cavalier and my 2002 Nissan pickup in the past few months . Both were bought new.

    My pickup (with 188k) stopped dead in the middle of the road coming home from work a while back and I had to have it towed in to the shop where Jim, my mechanic works. This particular mechanic has been working on my vehicles and moms vehicle for 20 years. I did mechanic work in my younger days, transmissions, engine rebuilds, struts etc. but I no longer have the tools or patience, Jim does. I just do the simple stuff, fluids, belts, filters.

    The next day, while my 14 year old truck was in the shop, I was driving mothers 20 year old car (with 79 k- yes, seriously 79). While I had her car, the transmission went wacky in a parking lot and I couldn’t get it to go forward, backward lock in park, nada. So I ride back to the same shop in a tow truck again. When I call mother , she says to have Jim check the brakes too, because they feel funny.

    Jim had already repaired my truck in the morning. Apparently some of the insulation had degraded off the 14 year old wire harness and it was shorting out the ignition system against the block. So I took my truck to work from the shop.

    Later Jim called and said ” You are fortunate that the transmission went out, if you put your foot on that brake much more, you wouldn’t have had any rear brakes” .
    Moms car looks great from the top, no rust and paint is intact, but looking at it from the underside is totally different. The steel rear brake lines had rusted to the point where they were leaking. He showed me where the brake fluid had eaten the paint off of the rear suspension arm. The deterioration to the underside was very evident once I got under the car on a lift. The transmission only required a simple part, but because the car was so old it was no longer available. Fortunately he was able to fabricate a piece that worked. While we were under the car he started poking at the left rear frame rail with a screwdriver and rust flakes started falling on the floor. Then he tells me to turn around and check out the rear bumper from the back side. Its rusted, Swiss cheese. You can’t tell from looking at the car when it’s on the ground because that piece of steel is totally wrapped in a big plastic cover.

    Jim only agreed to fix mother’s car, if I agreed to get her a newer car within one year (the frame rails and bumper really bothered him). I’m working on that now, expect to have her in something newer before fall.

    From your blog, it sounds like you kids either avoid driving or have some alternate means of transportation. That’s great. Not all of us are in that situation though.

    Even if the vehicle isn’t used much, the environment takes its toll on all the materials in the car. Nobody thinks about all the plastic and rubber “fiddly bits” in a car that degrade a little bit every day. Some of those “fiddly bits” could affect the cars safety. Ironically mothers car passed state safety inspection every year for 20 years.

    From my personal observation and experience, the safe and economical lifespan of a car is 13 to 15 years average, depending on the manufacture of the car and assuming good maintenance. A little used car may get 20 years on an outside estimate, but beyond 20 years it becomes a hobby. And hobbies can be very expensive and time consuming.

    13 to 15 years gives you lots of time to sock away money in your “next car” savings account.

      • Jacob
      • July 24, 2016
      Reply

      Good thoughts. Vanessa and I just sold the Saturn and bought a newer car. I have a post on that going live soon, so please check it out.

    • Joan
    • July 23, 2016
    Reply

    I usually buy used vehicles. New or used, I generally drive them into the ground at about 300,000 km ( 186,000 miles). I had a F150 I bought used. At 15 years and 200,000km, it was not worth repairing anymore. Too many things going wrong. And it’s replacement was also used and my current F150 has 200,000km and still running ok at 15 years old. But if it blows another spark plug, it is going to auction or the wreckers. My used Blazer died at abuot 300,000km. It died on me in town and the service people never could find the reason for it not working. So bye bye for that one. Then I replaced it with a used Dodge Neon one year old and I kept that ticking till 300,000km and then it had way too many problems to keep it. I did replace that with a new Toyota Corolla and it has 194,000 km on it now and I plan on keeping it till it dies or becomes too unrealiable. I live in a rural area and can’t risk having a so so vehicle. If one lives in town, you can risk using older vehicles that have problems as you are never far from help. Out here, a break down in the winter would be extremely unsafe. But why someone would waste money buying or leasing new vehicles every 2 years is beyond me.

      • Jacob
      • July 24, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Joan.

    • Lee
    • July 17, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for the post. Cost of Ownership is so important on keeping older cars.
    I liked the saying; “If is cost more to fix it than it worth?”. It is time to consider moving on.
    Many new cars have New Tech that is has not been in production many years. The CVT Transmission, Direct Fuel Injection, and Computer Infotainment management systems.
    One could imagine what price or where you have to take it to get it fixed when the warranty is over.

    • Clarence Bussius
    • July 7, 2016
    Reply

    I’m 69 years old and have a 1997 Toyota Corolla with 79000 miles and a 1998 GMC Sonoma with 105000 miles. I have spent a total of just over $2000 in the past 2 years for repairs. Total insurance and tax cost is about $400 per year. Many of the reasons for keeping an old car apply to me, but the cost of taxes and insurance are primary.
    I’ll keep both these vehicles until they die and only then will I replace. I just think of the money I save each year.

    • RJ
    • June 29, 2016
    Reply

    Every car my wife and I have ever owner has been more than 10 years old and was paid for in cash or check. No matter how small the value is, it is a positive value and contributes to our net worth. Financed and leased cars contribute zero to net worth and deduct from it — you can’t claim to own something you don’t really own. Plus, I can actually change brakes and do other reapirs on my own on older cars. With newer cars there’s not much you can do and some require special tools that only dealers have.

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Money Tips from Around the Web - June 2016 - The Money Professors

    • Shelly
    • June 16, 2016
    Reply

    It’s great to read through posts like this. I live on what I call a “smart” neighborhood block. Most every one drives a 10-5 year old car or van, but sends their kids to nice private schools. I feel very strongly that there are better areas of life to spend (or save) your money. I also stress buying nice vintage furniture!

    • Ede Vetsch
    • June 12, 2016
    Reply

    I currently own and drive a 1971 chevy C10 longbed. I love this old truck. It’s got a bit of rust and several dents and a faded worn out original paint job. The air and heating are non existent. Crappy little radio and nothing powered. BUT… Its been reliable for the most part and the fact that it turns heads every now and again is kinda nice. I mostly like it because I can do most of the repairs myself, I can haul things or go camping. And it still gets me from point a to point b. Just today I replaced a hose on it because the hose was cracked.

    • Jason Santiago
    • June 8, 2016
    Reply

    Our Toyota has been with us for around 15 years already and bet it can still reach above 20. If it runs and is still reliable, why bother getting a new one, right? Good read!

      • Carol
      • September 17, 2016
      Reply

      I agree, Jason. My Toyota is 16 years old with 145,000 miles. It is reliable, gets good mileage, has a large trunk, and looks great. I have driven some new vehicles (SUV’s) that were nice but I can’t seem to part with my 2000 Camry!

  6. Reply

    I am driving a 2000 Durango I picked up for $650 cash. It’s a little rough looking but a great suv and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my Durango. Nothing wrong with keeping an old vehicle.

    • matt
    • June 2, 2016
    Reply

    I have 2 cars. A 1990 Honda Civic hatchback and a 1995 Honda Civic sedan. Both cash cars, very basic, both run great and are excellent gas savers! Got them cheap too. People around here do not seem to like them though… probably because they are slow (I do not understand the ricers. Gives regular civic owners like me a bad name…) The 90 is pretty fun to drive actually. I hope to never get rid of it any time soon. They are both manual so unless I abuse them, they will not have transmission problems. On a long trip of 200 miles or so, either one will get about 42-45 mpg. I try to keep them running in top shape so they do not break down at the worst times (not that they really break down to begin with…) Glad to see someone who has similar views about cars like I do! Drive that saturn until the wheels fall off and then some!

    • js
    • June 2, 2016
    Reply

    I love that I came across this charming post. I absolutely love my 93 Plymouth Acclaim…I will be so unhappy when I have to give it up. If Chrysler was still selling this car I would buy it again. What I love is the simplicity… Zero frills…simple dashboard… Great visibility.. No cockpit feel…bench seating..classic unique profile…proud that it has the orig Chrysler hubcaps…incredibly roomy for a smaller mid-sized car.

    • Dariyenn
    • May 31, 2016
    Reply

    I hvae had 2 brand new cars a BMW X1 and I currently have a 2014 Dodge Durango I’m the only owner purchased it brand new and I love it but, I’m sick of the monthly payment almost $600 plus tags are about $500 a year too UHG. I have 2 kids who are messy too. Looking into selling it and just buying a Used 2004 Ford Expedition for cash safe, reliable and still big enough for our family. Trying to be fiscally responsible. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a brand new car again. Thanks for this article!!

  7. Reply

    I drive a 16 year old Honda Civic. 4 years to go and i do agree in everything you have pointed out. It is being practical for me. If it drives it works for me. Thank you for sharing this! Good Read!

    • Abhiroop Pakrashi
    • May 20, 2016
    Reply

    Great reading this. I’m from india and I drive an 8th generation 2007 Honda Civic that I bought for around $3000…the 1.8 litre I-VTEC mill is pretty peppy at high rpms, efficient at low rpms and gets ok gas mileage (10 kilometres per litre with sedate driving)….it’s been 6 months since I got the car and i haven’t spent a penny on it apart from fuel and a new Honda badge as the original one had become dull…plan to drive it for 50k kilometres and upgrade to a 10-12 year old accord …buying used is definitely a financially sound move! Specially in countries like india where new cars are priced exorbitantly.

    • Andrew
    • May 17, 2016
    Reply

    I’m only 17, so I haven’t driven long, but I drive a 1991 Chevy s10 2wd 4.l v6. It is the best $450 I’ve ever spent, and if it breaks, we have 2 similar cars for free parts

    • Jenny
    • May 16, 2016
    Reply

    I drive a 2001 Buick Park Avenue in Toronto. It has 266,000 kms on it and I paid $9200 for it ten years ago when it had 129,000 kms. It is by far the best car I have ever owned. Three years ago it needed $1200 worth of repairs for tie rod ends, lower control arms and struts and then $300 for a water pump. I spent $450 last year fixing the air conditioning. Those are the only repairs it has in ten years besides routine things like tires, oil changes and breaks. Our winters and road salt have been hard on the paint and it is starting to rust pretty bad. But it still drives so smooth, and it has the most comfortable leather interior and cushy seats, it is like driving a couch. I only pay $40 a month to insure it and I plan on keeping at least 5 more years. I love my Buick!

    • John
    • May 5, 2016
    Reply

    I drive a 1984 k20 Chevy

    • Jill VH
    • May 3, 2016
    Reply

    I have a 2003 Saturn Ion. I bought this baby new with a six year contract. I laughed out loud when I was reading this article. I can relate to all these pointers, except 6, 12 and 17. The driver’s seat is extremely flat- There is no cushion! I have driven my car 240,000 miles. (It is now in the shop to replace the ORIGINAL clutch.) I will never get rid of my Saturn. Even when I buy a newer car (used). I will pay cash. There is no freedom like being out of debt! There are other things I’d like to spend my money on, and a nice fancy car is not one of them!

  8. Reply

    Glad I came here. It is freaking 2016 and I got so used to my 95 Jaguar xj6 that I’m considering travelling 4 hours to get the same car. I used and abused the 95 beyond repair and will save it for parts. The 97, I expect to grow old in it. Still the second best thing to a Rolce Roy out there. I will never pay a car note and I expect to replace my wife’s 2002 Santa Fe with a 2012 model. I cannot do car notes, and I know that with proper care, if the 97 Jag powertrain is solid, I will have it for at least another 10 years.. Thank you for the great site 🙂

    • Phil
    • April 22, 2016
    Reply

    I drive a 2000 Odyssey. We have 4 kids, one who just started college. It has 189,000 miles. We got it 4 years ago when we moved back from overseas. We thought we were going to move again— but are still here. I’ve had to put more money into it than I wanted, paid $4500 plus at least $2500 in a couple major repairs. I try to do everything I can myself, but cars are more complicated than they used to be. I totally agree that cars depreciate and are a lousy investment!

    • Sharon
    • April 22, 2016
    Reply

    I owned a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue, best car ever. Unfortunately, went to a dealer just to test drive a newer vehicle and walked out of there several hours later buying that vehicle. My husband coerced me into thinking it was the best deal ever. Have regretted it ever since. I am now considering this “newer” vehicle and buying a newer Intrigue. They are an excellent car on the open road, handle really well and hug the road & I think they’re pretty safe. The newer vehicle has to many “gadgets” on it and I want it gone. To much technology.

  9. Reply

    I love this! I work and my wife stays home with the kids. We have a few rules for cars that fall into line with what you are saying.

    1. If you can’t pay for it with cash, than you don’t need it. A car payment is the worst. It ties up money on a monthly basis, and you loose a bit every month to interest.
    2. Get something that is easy to work on. Almost all common issues with older models have been hashed out on car forums, and there will usually be a step by step tutorial on how to fix the car on Youtube.

    Any car made in the last 20 years is not going to have much of an issue getting to 150,000 with little headache. I would say with that Saturn, you may want to change that timing belt at around 100,000. That’ll be the thing that does it in, and it’s totally preventable. They are crazy easy to do.

      • Jacob
      • April 22, 2016
      Reply

      Great points, Jason. Thanks for stopping by.
      Our Saturn actually uses a timing chain, which typically won’t need changed. But solid point for other readers.

      • Reply

        Dang it! Sorry about that. I thought for sure they used belts. Awesome site!

  10. Reply

    I think driving an old car is better if its original owner knows how to take care of it. No matter how old a car is, if it was well taken cared of, it can still last for many years.

    • Sam12587
    • April 19, 2016
    Reply

    I have a 2002 Prizm I bought at an Insurance auction for 2-3k when it was a year old. It needed new hood, headlights, radiator. I agree with all your notes.
    I’m a bit longer in the tooth then you & I will say the lack of car payment & all the associated extra costs has saved my bacon during layoffs, career building jobs, etc. Parts started to be easy to get after 5 years & i find it relaxing that I know what every little noise is & which to disregard.

    • Bub
    • April 15, 2016
    Reply

    I currently have a 16 year old Dodge Durang0 (yes, from 2000) that still runs. Recently, I’ve been considering buying a new used vehicle in case this truck dies all of a sudden. I’ve been considering manual transmission, but I don’t want to be stuck with a car if I break it on the test drive as I currently don’t have enough (if any) confidence driving stick. I haven’t practiced since the one time with my dad, due to my busy schedule. There’s a few in particular that are less than 3 grand. Yes, they are about as old as my truck but they have less miles on them and they have a lot less rust on the outside than my truck. I would be using the car for every day use (driving to work and to the grocery store, among other things). The question is: do these cars run (well)? That I’ll have to find out. I’m like you. I tend to be frugal in just about everything, but especially cars – at least until I can afford a bit of a younger one. I understand younger doesn’t necessarily mean better – after all, look at the human analogy of that? Our younger generations aren’t necessarily better.

    • Ronald Dorfman
    • April 12, 2016
    Reply

    Great to save money, but the older cars are just not as safe…. grisly stories of people who just loved their old cars but in a slow speed crash suffered terribly. Be safe first. And now most cars have wonderful new affordable safety features.

      • Tom D
      • November 7, 2016
      Reply

      The best safety feature in a car is the brain that is driving it .

      • Jacob
      • April 14, 2016
      Reply

      To each his own, Ronald

  11. Reply

    I make more than enough money to be a new car, even a really nice one. In my youth I would have bought a new car every few years. However, as I’ve gotten older, the appeal of saving is more attractive to me than driving a sexy car. I drive a 1993 Ford Taurus, with over 200,000 miles. It gets me from point A to point b, which for me is home and a train station. That’s all I need it for.

    • Elizabeth Hennessey
    • March 15, 2016
    Reply

    1996 Oldsmobile Ciera with 163,000 miles on her…Always starts, comfy ride, 26 mpg. Looked good until this last winter now has some rust on the side chrome (chrome or plastic, I don’t know) that I haven’t been able to remove – tried everything anyone said but nope..and the upholstery is starting to give at the seams. Costs about $1000 a year for tune-up, oil change, maintenance….Keep good tires on her. Friends tease me horribly, but they are making $300/month car payments and I am not – hah! Hope to get another 100,000 miles out of the old girl!

    • usedup66
    • March 8, 2016
    Reply

    I THINK I HAVE TO DISAGREE IN GENERAL AND SAY THAT : THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN DRIVING OLD CARS NOW V.S. IN THE 70s and 80s and 90s I HAVE NOTICED THE PRICE THEY WANT FOR USED VEHICLES AND IT IS INSANE. TOO TOO MUCH MONEY FOR VEHICLES WITH 150 TO 200 THOUSAND MILES THAT IF YOU FIGURE THE REPAIR COSTS THAT SHOPS WANT / REALLY/ MAKES THEM WORTH NEXT TO NOTHING. example 2001 tracker last year 140 thousand miles and price 6000 dollars. Huh? 14 year old car. Bought a old ranger with 156000 and its been nothing but fix this fix that service this service that. told them its not worth that much. dealers are so over priced and want to give you nothing for trade in and do nothing to the car but toss it on the lot and double the price. i tell them are you crazy? i can buy a new one for 20000 but you want 9000 for one with 100000 miles on it ? no warranty and repairs to come. well really id say if your lucky you might get a cheap car and get good service out of it. i just do not believe its the bargain it used to be as repair costs are 4 times more expensive and the cars themselves at least double what they used to be.

      • Sam12587
      • April 19, 2016
      Reply

      Just like any purchase, you need to check over a used vehicle. A vehicle is only as good as it’s been driven & cared for.
      And just because a dealership(or seller) wants X dollars doesn’t mean that’s what they will get for it.

    • Jen
    • March 6, 2016
    Reply

    I love this! I drive a 16 year old car and I plan to drive it as long as possible. Most people would consider my car “embarrassing”, but the amount of money I save is definitely worth it! It’s getting me that much closer to paying off my student loan debt, and that’s what matters.

      • Bub
      • April 15, 2016
      Reply

      I don’t find it embarrassing to drive a 16 year old vehicle. I have one myself. I just hope that I can drive it for as long as possible. I’m looking for another vehicle, just in case it dies on me.

    • Mauck
    • March 5, 2016
    Reply

    94 Dodge Shadow baby!!

    • Jordan
    • March 3, 2016
    Reply

    Funny, my daily driver is a Saturn. I own a 1998 SW2 Wagon and a 1999 SC1 Coupe. I purchased both for less than $1k, rebuilt the engines, replaced bad parts, and own both for less than $3500 combined and they run like new (with all new parts.) They’re basically new cars. I love my Saturns. I plan to run my Wagon into the ground, and sell my coupe soon to buy a truck so I can haul boats. My 3rd car is a 2014 Mustang GT. It cost me $40k out the door. I love the 400 horsepower, but having $40k in my bank account would probably have been nicer.

    • Kelly
    • February 26, 2016
    Reply

    Been using my dad’s car. It’s a 14-year-old car and I have no problem using it because it looks so classic and crazy! People are amazed and ask how we still maintain the car.

    • James
    • February 20, 2016
    Reply

    I just don’t want to spend a great deal amount of money on car instead I’d rather invest it for it to grow. I am comfortable using my 12-year-old car and as long as it is safe to drive.

  12. Reply

    I am still driving my grandfather’s car. It’s 16-year-old car. I don’t see any problem with driving an old car at all as long as it’s usable and reliable. And, I agree with you old car is sexy!

    • Steven
    • February 17, 2016
    Reply

    I still drive a 2004 Chevy Cavalier (automatic) that i have to manually shift the gears in because the transmission has been giving me problems for going on 2 years now. But at over 200,000 miles, it’s still kicking …. and spitting, vibrating, rattling, etc., etc. I hate that if I leave it sitting more than 2 days I have to jump it off, but I love that I have not had a car payment for a lot of years now!

    • Ciaran
    • January 24, 2016
    Reply

    I also went down a similar route of upgrading/downgrading cars until I got to my 8th car, a 2003 ford focus. I intended to upgrade again this summer but after reading this excellent post I have changed my plan. I shall run the little focus into the ground. Maintainance costs are so much lower than getting that newer,shiny car. Even when you get that new car it still has to be maintained, more money on top of the thousands it cost to upgrade. It is the most economical method in getting the best value from something . This same method of frugality shall now be applied to my smartphone,clothes and all my “stuff “. I shall say no to upgrading.

      • Jacob
      • January 27, 2016
      Reply

      Love the new ‘tude!

    • Clarence Bussius
    • January 22, 2016
    Reply

    I’m still driving our 1997 Toyota Corolla ans 1998 GMC Sonoma. Both need some costly repairs – – the Corolla needs about $700 and the Sonoma needs $2000. Even that is far less than buying even a used car. I will probably fix the Corolla and just drive the Sonoma until it dies. By the way, the Corolla only has 78,000 miles and the Sonoma 104000. Low mileage for old cars. This blog made up my mind to repair and keep!!!

  13. Reply

    Great blog post. We bought a used Mazda 6 several years ago and sold an older vehicle that had high maintenance costs. Transitioning to a one-car family was tough at first, but now we have it down and don’t plan to go back. Thanks for sharing the benefits of owning a used car. I look forward to reading your other articles on hypermiling.

  14. Reply

    Buying used cars is an insanely huge way to save money! Of course, you do want to look out for major damages and check the vehicle’s history before you buy it. If the car is in fairly good condition, it won’t cost much for repairs. You can even buy used replacement parts!

    • Cassandra Surette
    • November 21, 2015
    Reply

    I drive an 11 year old car because the overall cost of the vehicle is far less than owning a new vehicle.

    • Gurumurthy
    • October 29, 2015
    Reply

    Hi I drive Ford ikon petrol 1.2 ltrs I changed clutch starter motor alternator shock absorbers tyres silencer steering pump rebored engine electrical dashboard and so many.My car is running well and I feel like a king.My car saved my life in accident.Ford car saves life by stopping engine.Body super strong other cars scared to come near!

    • Shane
    • October 23, 2015
    Reply

    I’ve still got my first car. 1992 Camaro RS v6. It gets close to 30 mph on highway and runs forever. Only difference is, I do care how it looks and regularly shampoo the carpets ect.

  15. Reply

    This is a great post. Am so in agreement. Our Toyota Corolla is nearly 20 and still passes its MOT every year. Its hilarious, the garage don’t know what to say. Am in the UK and getting parts is proving increasingly difficult (small things like a recent door hinge) but we will carry on using our car as long as we can. It cost us $1000 and we’ve had it for around 8 years. Its not a beautiful car but very beloved by us.

    • Matt
    • October 15, 2015
    Reply

    Here’s a pic of my 1993 Taurus Wagon. http://imgur.com/GRRSg5n Taken about a week ago. Its only got 95k on it, and I owned it since 2007 (when I bought it with about 60k on it). I also have a ’05 Impala, but the wagon seems to have a smoother ride, I love the thin steering wheel and even the steering is smooth. I can haul a lot of stuff in it, but I tend to baby it now, because I want it to last forever.

    It got a little rust on the bottom of the doors, but I ground that down and repainted. Someone had cut the rear defrost wire, and I never bothered to see why they did that. The drivers side window is a little weird…you have to press the switch in a certain place for the window to go down, and the rear doors only open from the inside. I bought an instrument cluster from a Sable, and now I have a working tach in the car. I modified a garage door remote where I just push a button on the glove box to open the garage door.

    • Brandon
    • October 12, 2015
    Reply

    I’m 17 years old and bought my 2nd car which is a 86′ Toyota Corolla Sedan, it’s a pretty rare car, people love it, it’s basic, gets great gas mileage, has a sunroof, and no blindspots what so ever, plus it’s easy to take care of! I’m also a fan of stanced cars and that scene but I feel like being different and having a car that works wonders (probably better than cars today except for speed wise) is just as great.

    • Wade
    • September 28, 2015
    Reply

    I’m still driving a 93 Saturn I bought new and now just curious how far that little car will take me.

      • Jacob
      • September 28, 2015
      Reply

      Nice!

  16. Reply

    I love this article! I own a 1998 Toyota Camry. I am all about frugality. The paint is chipping off of it pretty badly now, but it’s nothing a new paint job can’t fix. Painting isn’t all that expensive either. I would say that owning an old car is completely worth it in the long run and will save thousands of dollars.

      • Barbara Smith
      • January 21, 2016
      Reply

      Painting a car isn’t cheap by any means. If you go to a cheap place to get it done, then thats what you will get——————A CHEAP WORTHLESS PAINT JOB. I think its a good thing to buy a great car with low miles and keep it for a very long time. My car is a 2003 honda S2000. Yes I paid a fortune for it brand new, however I am keeping it for a very long time.

    • Jordan Baker
    • September 8, 2015
    Reply

    I think that it is really wise to drive older cars if they are reliable. I really liked how you said that they are quite affordable. It seems that a lot of people don’t understand that. However, I do think that it is important to make sure that the vehicle is reliable through things like repairs.

    • Steve
    • August 29, 2015
    Reply

    I think we’re leading the pack…

    2003 Civic Hybrid – bought at 102k, sold at 154k. Depreciation only $50. 43 mpg

    2001 Honda Insight – bought at 145k back in 2009 when gas was low. Sold at 188k. Depreciation only $1. 55 mpg

    We actually made a couple thousand on the Civic. We bought a Civic Hybrid with a bad battery and got it rebalanced. Then we sold it at an auction for a $2500 profit.

    The trick is to never fall in love. Sell them when the depreciation is nil, rinse and repeat. Otherwise you wind up with a POS that nobody wants.

    All the best!

    • Richard
    • August 24, 2015
    Reply

    I have a 1986 Pontiac Bonneville, she old as hell and eats gas, but it get me from a to b and it hasn’t broke down once. I paid $900 for it and it does as good of a job getting around as any other car. I think I’m driving this old beast til this planet runs out of oil.

      • Elizabeth Hennessey
      • March 15, 2016
      Reply

      Glad to hear it! Same with me and my ’96 Olds….didn’t cost me anything..willed to me by a dear patient who took really good care of it.. Hope you don’t mind I’m going to make this my new slogan “I plan to drive this old car ’til this planet runs out of oil” LOL

    • Kevin
    • August 8, 2015
    Reply

    I drive a 1992 Honda Accord with 491,000 miles on it. I drive 60 miles a day, but it gets me from point A to B. I recently changed the timing belt. I’ve learned that cars only have so many parts and as long as the body holds up, you can just keep on driving it. I get teased sometimes when I go on dates, but I just like the larger balance in my savings account from not dumping money into cars.

    • Bimmerman
    • August 2, 2015
    Reply

    My current car is a 1995 BMW 318i. It’s fun to drive, eats up highway miles well, and only sips gas. I don’t see the reason to purchase a newer one. I’ll have to admit, seeing the newer ones does bring on slight jealousy that fades when I see part prices. I’ve had no real problems out of it like my old Accord from the same year. Most parts are easy to find and cheaper online. It will literally save you THOUSANDS if you avoid the dealer like the plague! It runs well, except for a small oil leak and broken ABS sensor.

    • Aaron Howell
    • July 22, 2015
    Reply

    Still driving my 17 year old Accord. Why quit a good thing? 😀

    • Paul
    • July 12, 2015
    Reply

    I live in London England I have two yes two 22 year old Rover 214s. One of them I bought for just £155 bidding on e bay without even looking at it beforehand. It needed a new clutch but had covered just 37k miles. I did the work myself but I’m no mechanic – I just learnt it from a book. Since thin I’ve had it about 9 years. It has now done about 100k and still going strong. Mind you in terms of reliability it was never its strong point. I’ve had to replace the clutch, gearbox, brakes, cylinder head gasket and all 16valves when the timing belt broke. It was even written off in 2011 when a BMW hit it but again I repaired it myself with secondhand panels -new bumper, lights, bonnet, wing. Would I ever sell either of them (the other is mint with just 24k)? – not as long as I can help it as there are also very few of them around. We don’t appear to make much in England these days as it has become a dumping ground for foreign goods and cars.

      • Roscoe
      • November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Yeah, man. U get it!!!

  17. Reply

    My husband’s car hasn’t worked in a while, so lately we have been sharing my car like you two. He actually has an 80’s Porsche 944 just like the one in your picture. How long did you have it for and did it require a lot of auto repair? We can’t keep sharing a car, but I’m wondering if we should fix his Porsche or sell it for another car.

      • Jacob
      • July 7, 2015
      Reply

      Had it around 2 years, and luckily it didn’t need many repairs (which can get expensive on an old Porsche). They are fun little cars, but I would sell it and get something better on gas, and cheaper to repair.

    • Albie Cardew
    • June 22, 2015
    Reply

    I enjoy your humor about your car. Having to not worry about dings and stains in your car would be wonderful, but I’m not sure I could handle how slow it would be. Do you ever see yourself selling your car for salvage parts in the future?

      • Jacob
      • June 23, 2015
      Reply

      No, but I’ll sell it on Craigslist when it’s time to upgrade!

        • Tamika
        • March 19, 2016
        Reply

        I have a 1995 Ford explore with over 200,000 miles on it as well 1997 Mercury Mountainair with over 2000 miles on it… that looks a lot like the Ford explore .I’ve had the 95 for 17 years second owner and it runs like a charm… but i’ve had it on non opo..for three years now it won’t pass the The smog omissions…so I’m going to retire it and give it to cars for kids and hopefully they can bring it back… I still drive my 1997 Mercury and I’m gonna drive it until the wheels fall off… I love not having to Car payment!!!thanks for sharing and reminded me why I have an old car 🙂

  18. Reply

    When I was growing up, my parents always bought used cars. My dad felt like they were less expensive to have repairs done on them. Surprisingly, we never had major car troubles throughout my childhood.

    • Jack White
    • June 17, 2015
    Reply

    This is why I still keep my 21 year old vans! It runs good enough and there is no big license renewal that is needed. Used car are the best for these reasons, especially eating in the car.

    • Brian
    • May 23, 2015
    Reply

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your post – I just want to share my own experience/wisdom with driving an older car.

    I used to drive a 2000 Ford Taurus up until 5 months ago. Bought in in ’11 with 87k miles on the clock. It now is too unsafe to drive with 139k miles and 15 years. Worst car buying decision ever. It has cost me over $5000 to keep it on the road. The work I’ve done to name a few: brake pump, A/C compressor, several coolant hoses, several suspension components, CV boots and joints – so many repairs, I’ve lost track. Now, the brakes nearly locked up on the freeway and need $600 in work, the exhaust needs replacing, Ford quoted me $3100 to fix several oil leaks, the CEL was on for a while because of a failing fuel pump, it needs new struts, and I can’t sell it because it is currently unsafe to drive even around the block. To repair it, it would probably need at least $2500 in repairs for a car that’s worth around $1800 – not worth it to me. I bought it for $4500 in ’11, put $5000 in repairs, and it needs about $2500 in repairs now. If I would have spent $8000 on a 2004-2007 Civic or Corolla in 2011, I would have been way ahead.

    I agree with you about new cars – brand new cars are the stupidest wastes of money on the planet. I would never go out and buy a shiny, 2015 car because in 2-3 years, it’ll no longer be a shiny 2015 car. It’ll be an older car that’s exponentially losing it’s value. Cars loose a ton of value the moment they drive off the lot.

    If I had to recommend something, buy a 4-7 year old used car, drive it for 10-12 years, and then replace it with another 4-7 year old used car. I just bought a 2008 Toyota Corolla and plan on driving the damn thing till the wheels fall off. Sure – it’s not brand new and is a little dated, but it gets 30MPG, parts are common and cheap, and I paid cash for it. Compared to a new car, it was a steal. It cost about $5,000 more than what the Taurus would have cost to repair – but at least I don’t have to keep dragging it back to my mechanic every month and getting worried sick every time I hear/smell something funny. Oh, and I have A/C again! Woohoo! Lets be real here – there’s a certain point where stuff starts to break faster than the car’s worth.

    If the 2008 Corolla is still running and not costing me much to maintain in 10 years, you’ll be damn sure I’ll still be driving it. But once that thing starts costing more than it’s worth, I’m selling it and finding another “new to me” car.

    I would not recommend to ANYONE to go out and buy a 20+ year old car today. Just look around – how many <1995 cars do you see driving around? Not many because after 20 years – the car becomes an antique. The only way driving a 19 year old car makes sense is if you have owned it for 19 years and know exactly it's maintenance history. Buying an extremely old used car like that is a HUGE risk.

    Don't get me wrong – I LOVE the Saturns, Toyotas, and Hondas of the 1990s. Great cars. But there isn't a huge difference in the early-mid 2000s Toyotas and Hondas, besides the age. They still are A-B cars, still get good gas mileage, they're still humble and worry free – they just aren't falling apart.

      • Shelly
      • June 16, 2016
      Reply

      Well said. This makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks for both of yall’s input. Four to seven year-old cars seems to be the soft spot.

  19. Reply

    Hi, I ordered a 1993 Mustang 5.0 coupe Calypso Green from Ford in February 1993. In March 93 I picked it up with my girlfriend who would later become my wife. We went on our honeymoon in that car. It’s still my daily driver, the Noble Steed. 260k miles, she can still laydown some patch, chirp the tires shifting into 2nd (with a near empty tank of gas), and I get 2-3 solicitations a year from guys who want to buy my car. I think I made my last payment in March 1997. Great car.

    • harrison simpsons
    • May 11, 2015
    Reply

    Generally, people like and love their old vehicle, whether cycling or car and sometimes they attached to vehicle by heart and they always want to use it so they care their vehicle in a good way. I am also using my car for past ten years and it gives good feelings. Your reasons also good and right. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  20. Reply

    Absolutely loving all the stories on here! I also own a volvo 340 thats just over 24 years old with a little surprise under the bonnet. But the rest looks standard and “of the era” Interestingly everyone seems to grow fond of older cars, they carry stories and memories that new cars just don’t. I feel this is what gives them a character and makes one smile. I love the 944 above, I always look at them and 924’s aswell but the logical mind outways the heart unfortunately! all those points you mentioned are very valid, interestingly I’ve gone the opposite way with regards to point 17. I used to not care at all what happened, and now I actually care! haha.. maybe i should move on before its to late!

  21. Reply

    Thanks for this post. It was fun to read and inspiring to see someone else who appreciates the benefits of an older vehicle. My husband and I own a 1982 Toyota Corolla wagon. Everything is still original as the day it was born. The as mileage is mind boggling for vehicle of its’s age. 36 mpg city driving as we never take it out on interstate. We get offers to purchase it on a regular basis. The highest offer so far has nee $4000. 4cylinders and 5speed transmission. Needless to say, my husband refuses to sell.

    • jk
    • May 4, 2015
    Reply

    I drive an 87 chev s10 blazer that I bought in 97 or 98, so I’ve had it for about 18 years. I don’t make much money and haven’t had a raise in over 10 years. The brake and gas lines were replaced on it, and the mechanic says everything is so rusty underneath. They put “too much” salt on the roads in Wisconsin. Good enough. I had some painting done on it about 5 or more years ago but when I start looking at what they want for an SUV and it’s practically got 3 tires in the grave it is a huge investment and how long witll that vehicle last and what was fixed on it already. I look around and everybody is driving a pretty new car but once the roads are bare of salt, it seems like I’m the first one at the car wash washing my almost 20 year old truck. People drive around too much and the car as almost 200, 000 on it and it is only 5 years old. Com on. Then they want over $15,000 for it. In today’s world everybody is always trying to keep up with the Joneses. So far my Blazer the heater works, the 4×4 works, got me out of a steep ditch, reliable in witner when it gets cold out. After reading the posts I feel much better about my almost 30 year old blazer.

      • Carol
      • February 15, 2017
      Reply

      I live in Wisconsin and I know what you mean. I had a 2000 2 door hatch focus with 205,000 miles. I should of bought used I was a fool and got new. I only did because 2 mechanics were saying it was getting soo rusted underneath and risking to put up to fix when needed. I miss that car now I have car payments I am soo sick with disgust how stupid I was. However I keep my cars forever. I had a chevy sprint 234,000 miles on it til a cylinder went so I thought I should get a new vehicle. Geo Metro 200,000 some miles on it was starting to use oil way too much. I use to drive alot those cars only lasted maybe 6-6=1/2 years. then my focus would of been 17 years almost 4 months but it was gone to need a few expensive repairs. So I thought it was time now I regret it. All i can say I hope this new one lasts as long as my great focus. Why did they have to give up the 2 door hatch. all the hatch space in these new vehicles I call it a cubby hole. My focus hatch was unbelievable nothing compared to all the stuff I stored in there all the time. Or what I could store. I miss my car soo much. though after this I don’t know if I will ever buy new again but then again I only buy new and inexpensive vehicles is because I want to keep them for at least 200,000 miles if possible. I hope my new yes a kia soul lasts like my last gems I owed!!

  22. Reply

    I drive a 23 year old car for almost exactly the same reasons. Especially 16. Temperature Control Issues – my front electric windows don’t work so we have to avoid driving in the heat of the day during summer. Certainly encourages less driving!

    • Kyle
    • April 20, 2015
    Reply

    I drive a 95 chevy silverado and it has 0 problems

    • Karl B
    • April 14, 2015
    Reply

    Great reasons. I drive a 2007 Chevy Cobalt and hope to continue using it for a long time. I still miss the ’96 Corsica I drove in high school.

    • Tom
    • April 10, 2015
    Reply

    I love my 72 Dodge. I’m putting the 6th body in the Trunk now. I think I can get 4 more in.

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  24. Reply

    Love it!

    Old cars rock. I drove my last car to 304,000. The odometer literally broke on it at 299,999…..the sales guy didn’t know what to say when i purchased my last (used) car.

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  26. Reply

    I got the car my paternal grandfather bought when it was a year or two old. So, it’s been in the family since 1985 – And other than maintenance and fuel, the car hasn’t cost me anything. There’s something nice about that. It’s fairly low-option and the A/C doesn’t work now, but the car does run. It’s a 1984 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Sedan, and I expect it’s retaining its value since it already hit rock bottom – and maybe it’ll go up from here too; Two people inquired about buying it since 2010.

    • Cee
    • March 22, 2015
    Reply

    Love this post! We have a 99 Honda Accord that we bought for $1,500 3.5 years ago. Sometimes I get the missing-the-new-car smell moment but I don’t want to go back to the time when we had car payments. You’re right about the associated costs of owning old cars. Even with our car’s age and 171k mileage, we pay $550/year on comprehensive insurance. I read that insurance for newer cars with monthly payments could cost over a thousand. Just this fact is enough to make me allergic to buying new cars.

      • Huskie_Jon
      • September 30, 2015
      Reply

      I have essentially the same car you have, except mine is a 99 Acura TL. Ijust had a huge repair bill, but I bit the bullet and decided to keep the car, because I am already paying on another car loan, and fixing the old Acura was the only way I could continue to drive an Acura.

        • PH
        • October 19, 2015
        Reply

        I bet it was the transmission?

    • Ben
    • March 21, 2015
    Reply

    Been reppin’ a 1999 Camry since I bought it used in 2002. Thing runs like a champ 16 years later in 2015.

    • Lee North
    • March 21, 2015
    Reply

    1986 Cutlass Ciera ! My parents purchased it off the Showroom Floor when I was a kid, then it got handed down to me after many well cared years with them. The car is 29 years old, been stolen twice, wrecked several times and resurected from the dead with a Salvage Title. Has enuf miles on it to have driven to the moon and back. Its my daily car, hard to find parts for it now, usually have to McGuyer stuff together and modify alot of stuff. The heater doesnt work right anymore and its not the most efficient on Fuel..and the Muffler is tied on with wire for now…but it still starts & drives… did put a $2000 Transmission in some time ago and the Shop tried to talk me out of pouring that much money in an old car…but the occasional big fix and having NO car payment is pure Heaven. I still have the original owners manuel and pictures of it from advertisements out of a 1986 magazine. The File with all the Repairs and Maintance over the Years is Thicker than a Bible. The car outlived the place we bought it from (Winders Chevrolet) in Columbus Oh.

    • Jace
    • March 21, 2015
    Reply

    I used to drive a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback, but then it died just shy of 200k so I decided to forego buying another one and my wife and I would share one when needed and I would ride my bike or take public transportation and it’s been great.

    • Adam
    • March 20, 2015
    Reply

    Love the humor. We run an old junker too and enjoy all the same benefits.

    • MP
    • March 20, 2015
    Reply

    Cool story you got there!
    Being a car aficionado since my birth because of parents and grand-parents being in the field, I also did mistakes by driving sporty cars. Thankfully not to big mistakes as people who buy new car!
    I always let people pay the big first-second years of huge depreciation!

    Since we live more a mustachian lifestyle, we sold our two cars and bought an old good Toyota Prius from 2006 with 100’000kms.
    Since then, every single cost tied to the car decreased dramatically – compared to our previous cars!
    It is such a great and huge car that every forum I checked mentioned it. Even taxi cab driver like it a lot as I read stories where people drove it until 500’000kms with doing only regular service and changing few times the tires and breaks.

    I can’t stop to recommend it!!!
    Even though since less than a year we first recommend our new daily habit which is biking 😉

    Cheers from Switzerland!
    MP

    • B
    • March 20, 2015
    Reply

    You failed to mention another fringe benefit of an old car:

    Inconspicuousness. You’re going 10 over on the highway right next to the BMW. Which car is the cop going to pull over?

    Unless of course you look like you’re hauling drugs then the equation may change. 🙂

  27. Reply

    oh man, your green saturn brings back so many memories. My best friend in high school (2000-2004 era) had one of those saturns, with no bells or whistles.

    My car is still depreciating. I bought it new (yeah, I know), and it’s now rolling up to 9 years old. I’d love to get another 10 years out of it. It still looks pretty good and hasn’t started to show its age, but I think in a few more years it should get interesting.

    • Ken
    • March 19, 2015
    Reply

    I’ve got you ALL beat!!! One of our two cars is now, in some circles, an ANTIQUE as of this month! It is now 20 YEARS OLD — and purchased new by us! (The other one is 15 years old – also purchased new).

    The key is to choose carefully – including Consumers Report articles on ratings/mechanical longevity, be regular and meticulous on maintenance, and even train yourself in auto mechanics so you not only can do a lot of your own maintenance and repair; but, know what’s up when something may need periodic replacement and repair.

    Keeping a vehicle for so long has many advantages…some already mentioned. But I find some additional ones. You get to know the quirks and mechanics of the vehicle like the back of your hand. Even a change in the sounds made you’ll recognize and even many times pinpoint (even if having another do the repair). Additionally, from a financial standpoint, it allows ANYONE to get the nicest, most “decked out” car that they desire! Why? Because even though all of those options will add thousands to the initial cost — it really comes to nothing when prorated over 15 or 20 years. You get to drive the car of your dreams…and don’t have to pay a lot for those “goodies”.

    The last benefit (at least potentially) is whenever you want to sell your car, you get a huge PREMIUM for it. It’s a one owner, excellent condition/well maintained vehicle with all of the maintenance records since day one (we keep ours on an Excel spreadsheet with date, mileage, item(s) and cost listed. Someday, it’s quite possible a collector may pay $5K for our now 20 year old car…to then put into their auto museum… 🙂

    • Jeremy
    • March 13, 2015
    Reply

    Gonna be honest my car cosmetically is in amazing shape it’s a 02 Nissan sentra with 75k it was my moms 8 years ago. She left it to me in her will when she passed. Took me almost one year to bring myself to drive it. But it’s the best car I’ve ever owned only had to invest in new brakes and struts normal ware and tare. I had to modify it alittle to get rid the “old lady look” (love you mom) but I absolutely love this car and wouldn’t trade it for a Rolls Royce.

      • Patrick
      • December 16, 2015
      Reply

      I liked your post (-:

  28. Reply

    My chariot is a 1999 Explorer Sport named Buster. I’ve put all but the first 3 miles of the current 113K on him.. The only rust is on the running bars and I’m leaving them on (like sacrificial zincs on a boat) which is appropriate because I run Buster on the beach year-round.

  29. Reply

    Nineteen years. Impressive. I’ve been driving my current car for eight years, the longest stretch for one car for me. Unlikely I will make it to nineteen with it, but I’m hoping for at least five more.

  30. Reply

    I’m still driving a 2006 Civic… not as old as yours though. The car has been super reliable. Love it.

    It amazes me to hear fellow co-workers talking about getting $70k+ cars in the next while because their cars are 3 or 4 years old.

    • Meg
    • February 21, 2015
    Reply

    My husband just sold his 2002 Mazda Protege and upgraded to a more “civilized” car – a 2012 Infiniti sedan. He needed a nicer car for his job (he drives for hours at a time with his boss/colleagues and calls on executives) and I fully supported him, but he still has some buyers remorse and is thinking about trading down again to save on gas/ins/car payments.

      • Jacob
      • February 22, 2015
      Reply

      Tough situation. Perhaps he could have got a newer, budget subcompact instead of Infiniti?

    • Kathy
    • February 20, 2015
    Reply

    MY 1998 Honda Odyssey’s nickname is Foxy Loxy. 176,000 miles. 200K more to go!

      • Jacob
      • February 22, 2015
      Reply

      Nice, and I like the nickname!

    • Alice
    • February 20, 2015
    Reply

    Sometimes I’m a little embarrassed by my mothers car, 1991 Subaru Legacy when I look around the church lot and see all these much newer, glam cars/suv’s. However, this car is a tough one. Has a few bumps /bruises and cat scratches, down to 3 hub caps, air that doesn’t work but, it also has comfy bucket seats, a deep trunk for hauling, power windows that still work and it’s ALL wheel drive so she can travel in the snow. Well that’s is if it isn’t too deep as it is a lower car. It runs and is in decent shape under the hood…. Mine is an 11 yr old Hyundai Santa Fe with 98000 miles which I can only hope will continue running as well as that Subaru. Certainly don’t make them the way they used to. Now it’s all plastic, no bumpers to help soften the blows and runs by computer. I’ll take the old any day.

      • Jacob
      • February 22, 2015
      Reply

      You make some excellent points Alice. Thanks for sharing.

    • George
    • February 20, 2015
    Reply

    While we have a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo as the “family car”…aka my wife’s, I drive a 1989 Isuzu Trooper, The heat works, the AC almost works, it has an AM/FM Cassette, lots of body rust, & a drivers seat that needs to be reupholstered. The straight shift is geared low so its like starting off in a tractor trailer but it runs good, with the seats folded, it’ll haul anything and I don’t worry about messing up the carpet with lumber or topsoil. I put about 10,000 miles a year on it and love that SUV.

      • Jacob
      • February 20, 2015
      Reply

      I wish our Saturn had Cassette! I love those cassette decks that plug into your headphone jack on phones, iPods, etc. Our drivers seat also has a few holes in it!
      Sounds like a great vehicle George!

    • Carolyn
    • February 19, 2015
    Reply

    I love it! Our 1999 Taurus station wagon suddenly needed a new engine (blown head gaskets and heater core – a few thousand $$ repair) so we decided to let her go. [Moment of tearful silence, please.] We have a late model Honda Fit and a Ford Fiesta in the driveway for real life commuting. What we needed was another take-stuff-to-the-dump, bring-home-lumber, take-dogs-to-the-beach vehicle like our station wagon had been. So we replaced a 1999 wagon with …. a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder. It has “only” 101K miles on it and the service we bought through completely inspected it, cleaned it up and put new tires on. It is fantastic, and I hope it lasts another 19 years and 100K miles, because I love that we paid cash for an SUV that can get snowed on, bumped into, etc etc and we don’t have to care!

      • Jacob
      • February 19, 2015
      Reply

      Cash all the way Carolyn!

    • Michael
    • February 18, 2015
    Reply

    I also always liked your first car . . . that 944 had class & style! But it is obvious the 19 year old Saturn is saving you a ton of hard earned cash. Cash that will build a nice nest egg over the coming years!

      • Jacob
      • February 19, 2015
      Reply

      Very true and accurate comment, Michael. Thanks for reading

  31. Reply

    Ha! Way to go! Better to save the money, anyway. I always buy used and make the previous owner eat the worst part of the depreciation. Going to try to get my current car to 200K!

    • Reply

      Go for it!

      I’ve got 143,000 miles on my 1996 Dodge Dakota but my wife puts me to absolute shame with 243,000 miles on her 1998 Subaru Forester.

      Oldie-goldie vehicles rock!

    • Brian
    • February 10, 2015
    Reply

    We have a 10 year old Sienna and a 9 year old Tundra. We’ve decided to sell both of them to upgrade to something newer that better fits our big family…probably a Suburban. With six in the family there are few options that fit that many. But I definitely won’t be buying new. 70k for a new Suburban is a bit much.

    • Chuck
    • February 8, 2015
    Reply

    94 lincoln towncar. i only get about 19 mpg, but it beats having a payment. i’ve enjoyed learning how to do a little maintenance myself: oil changes, air filter, fuel filter, fuel pressure regulator, relays. nothing serious but it makes me happy to learn a few new tricks. this old thing barely has any paint left on the outside, the windows dont work, the radio antenna was stolen, the (huge) trunk doesn’t close all the way, several other cosmetic/electric problems, but the engine and transmission have never given me any trouble. it’s only got 168k miles and i’ve got my fingers crossed for another 100k. i’m taking that $300/mo new car ‘payment’ and stashing it in my savings every month. at one time i did the math and it would take driving 50k-80k miles/year (cost of gas) in a new $18k 50mpg car to be cheaper than the linc. no thanks.

      • Jacob
      • February 9, 2015
      Reply

      Nice, Chuck! Love how you aren’t real worried about the appearance as long as she keeps running reliably. Sounds a lot like we share a similar mindset.

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  33. Reply

    My car is now 11 years old, and is still running great. It has lower mileage compared to most cars that are as old because I didn’t use it very much while in college. I think the reason that most compact cars don’t get gas mileage as good as older cars is because of all the safety features (and other features) that have become standard/required over the years. So even if you make technology improvements to squeeze a few extra MPG out, all that added weight cancels it out.

    I’ll be happy if my car can last 15 years for me!

      • Jacob
      • February 9, 2015
      Reply

      You may be right about safety features, but I really don’t know enough about the topic to agree or disagree! Our car also has low mileage. Something like 133xxx on it.

  34. Reply

    I’m not saying that I don’t get why you still drive it because I do, but I personally will be trading my car off in the next couple of years to get something a little newer. Being a single girl with not much car knowledge means I need to make sure I have something newer and a little more reliable.

  35. Reply

    It makes a lot of sense to keep driving such an old but reliable care when you lay it out like this. My wife and I spent a ridiculous $30,000 for each of our cars in about a years time. Yes, that is $60,000 for two cars. I have regretted that decision for a while now, because at the time we both had cars that were not even 4 years old yet.

    When we first graduated college and started earning good money, we were caught up in the rat race and were all caught up in material things. Not that we don’t like nice things, but really $60,000 for cars??? I don’t even like cars that much.

    The good news is that we both bought Hyundai’s that come with a great 10/year 100,000 mile warranty. And we don’t owe anything on them. The silver lining…LOL!

    The goal is to drive these cars into the ground. We will see if they make it 19 years. Our initial goal is at least 10 years.

    Anyone reading this comment and thinking about dropping a huge chunk of dough on a car, think twice. That feeling of joy right after the purchase is very fleeting and fades to regret pretty soon. Especially when you start thinking of what you could had done with the money to move you closer to financial independence.

    Cheers!

      • Carol
      • February 15, 2017
      Reply

      I totally agree I just gave up my 2000 2 door hatch ford focus with 205,000 miles on it. bought a new one didn’t spend as much as your vehicle. To me I’ve been all stressed out kicking myself. Should of ran it til the wheels popped off. But it needed a few pricey repairs and was getting rusty underneath and the mechanics were saying it was getting unsafe to fix. I can see there concerns because it’s hard to see the underneath. I just hate all the technology in vehicles and I wonder if I am able to keep my new car will things like my radio die if something in whatever runs it the computer dies. Then I will have to listen to the hum of my tires down the road. I miss old vehicles and I plan on keeping my new kia soul at least 10 years hoping to get more. Still trying to get over taking the plunge. I just fear used because everyone I know who buys used get lemons with tons of repairs. I’ve had 3 cars all with over 200,000 or more miles on them. I’m glad I don’t drive as much. With hopes that this one will last forever. Oh yeah my vehicles were a 3 cylinder chevy sprint great car and my Geo metro not as good as my chevy. both got me through every snow storm never stuck and I drove 45 minutes on dry pavement more in winter. My focus have to laugh I changed jobs drove less then 5 I get stuck in a giant drift down the street. Only because they don’t do snow fences no more. I wish they would. Then I wouldn’t of had to get my soul so I would have more ground clearance. I know I should of bought a used AWD SUV like I said fear of other people’s experience but after reading this page. i might next time then again I hope not to. Oh yeah all my cars were manual never had no motor or clutch work. I really hate having to pay car payments makes me soo stressed and I keep trying to calulate how long til I am done.

      • Sundeep
      • March 20, 2015
      Reply

      Bummer on making those car purchases before you saw the light, but I’m curious as to what Hyundai models cost $30k?! I thought they were the budget brand…

      • Jacob
      • February 9, 2015
      Reply

      Thoughtful response that I very much agree with!

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    • Arielle
    • August 2, 2014
    Reply

    I have 3 cars. A ’67 Ford Ranchero my dad purchased new. A ’53 Studebaker Commander I purchased a year ago, and a ’03 Subaru Impreza WRX (yellow). I have no payments for any car, and I’ve never had one. I don’t mind driving an older car and even though I live in a well to do town, most of the people here see older and modified cars regularly so it doesn’t seem to matter to them.

    As much as I’d like to own, ok wait no, I’d like to drive a nicer car once in a while, but not own one. I have no desire to have a car payment, nor drop however many thousands on a new car. I’m approaching 200k mi., on my car, and a friend of mine with a car one year newer (STi as well) has 307k. He tells me that if I maintain mine and keep it stock, it’ll just about run forever. it kind of deturs me from purchasing a new car, or modifying mine as the dependability will drop. Everything on mine is so far in perfect equilibrium and as long as it keeps running, I’m happy.

    I also like that my car is a special edition colour, and it becomes cooler every year because people whom are younger and have the same colour of car seem to find more and more creative ways to destroy theirs. “Oh, I installed X new part in my car to make it faster, then because of a fuel leak caused by the faulty install, my car burnt to the ground.” Yep, no thank you. I’d rather see my car to failure from old age.

    My other two cars, well The Ford has sentimental value, and the Studebaker is just rare and cool. I’m also restoring it. I could go on and on about what I think people think about when i see what they drive and value, or what I think they value, but again I’m not them so it’s only speculation.

      • Jacob
      • February 9, 2015
      Reply

      Wow, some classic cars you’ve got there!

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  39. Pingback: Inspirational Posts of the Week (December 08, 2013)

    • Amy
    • December 15, 2013
    Reply

    We currently have a 2006 Saturn Ion 2, I bought it 8 years ago on the 22nd of December. My husband and I met 7 years ago this week and we’ve been sharing the car since then. He bought me a van that I had for 2 years but after it was totaled in a head on collision thanks to the poor choice of the other driver who had no license, no insurance and was high we decided not to replace the van and just share the Saturn again. It’s been a little over 2 years and it’s still going well. We bought some Radian carseat so we could have 2 car seat and our older son in the car, that was 2 years ago. We still all fit in the Saturn but recently switched our almost 5 year old son into a booster instead of the Radian so that the adult sized 13 year old ( 5’7″ & 135 lbs) boy could be more comfortable back there with his little brother & sister.

      • Jacob
      • January 9, 2014
      Reply

      Great story and thank you for sharing! My dad and brother both own Ions about that same year and they have been good cars. I love how you guys don’t complain about it, you just share it and make it work for the whole family. Well done!

  40. Pingback: Common Sense Reads for Your Weekend | Common Sense MillennialCommon Sense Millennial

    • Vince
    • December 7, 2013
    Reply

    I am a “collision” repair person …. I use the term loosely because I really restore old cars but it shares the same knowledge. Some years ago I discovered the salvage auto auctions, bought my wife a loaded kia van. In all we had 2k in a 8-9k van. Sure I had my time but that’s free right? So with that initial “buy in” we recycle every 3 to 5 years, always selling for enough to pay for the next. When we sell the mileage and residual value are such that the ” salvage” is no longer a concern to a buyer. Not talking about buying cars cut in half or anything… I wouldn’t put my family in anything unsafe. I know I have an advantage in this area because of my ” knowledge” but I intend to live out my days never having had a car payment!…. And I’m 43…

      • Jacob
      • December 11, 2013
      Reply

      Great story, thanks for sharing Vince! I’ve not yet gotten into the salvage game, but I know it can be profitable. Kudos to you for being wise enough to avoid the payments, I’ll be right there with you when i hit 43! Thanks for commenting and please stick around!

    • Erin @ Gen Y Finances
    • December 5, 2013
    Reply

    After a lot of bad luck with cars we bought a 2012 Ford Focus, which was idiotic. We are seriously considering going carless once we flip it right side up (like I said, idiotic!). Our city is walker/biker/public transportation friendly so it really isn’t necessary.

    • Elroy
    • December 5, 2013
    Reply

    Cars are unimportant to me. I still drive the same car I had in college. It took a dump on me the other day, and I was kind of in a bind, so I had to shell out the $950 to replace the fuel pump. Under normal circumstances, I would have fixed it myself.

    I still take the bus, ride the train and ride my bike to commute. It keeps me sane.

      • Jacob
      • December 13, 2013
      Reply

      Well done, Elroy! Mechanical auto repairs is one area I wish I knew more about. Can save a boatload of money doing it yourself…

        • Goddessoflubbock
        • December 17, 2013
        Reply

        I recommend YouTube for that. Our son bought a car back in January (his money, he pays insurance, all my kids have to be 18 to get licensed). He shopped hard. Found a 1996 Volvo. Seats were worn but otherwise it was solid.

        He who once couldn’t work the automatic doors on our van now changes his own oil, his own plugs, various filters and other parts. He took a pt job at an auto parts store near his college, for the discount! He even goes to u-pull it for small parts. I’m so glad to see we aren’t alone out here in frugal land!

    • H
    • December 5, 2013
    Reply

    Good for you! We just bought a brand new (2013) Toyota Sienna. I wanted a slightly used one, husband insisted on getting brand new. I let him have his way because its cheaper than a divorce. But, oh my lord, it pains me to drive it! It’s a great ride, the kids love it, but I keep looking down at the fuel gauge. I keep thinking, what??? I used up a quarter tank already??? I just went grocery shopping! So, me and the kids go for lots of walks now. If I really have to drive somewhere, I wait til the husband gets home and I drive his fully paid 2005 Prius. We hardly drive the van anymore and if this keeps up, my husband is gonna end up driving this van when he retires. Hahaha!

      • Jacob
      • December 13, 2013
      Reply

      This is a hilarious comment! Thanks for the laugh! I suppose a new van is cheaper than divorce, but apparently almost as traumatic for individuals like you and I! Make him drive it! 🙂

    • FI Fighter
    • December 5, 2013
    Reply

    Awesome! Reminds me of a Honda Civic I had in high school… I would probably still own it today if it didn’t fail in college. My current car is a lot nicer than what I need (first real dumb purchase after college), but I imagine I’ll drive that thing until it gives out.

    Props to you for being able to resist all the temptation (new cars) out there!

    • Kim
    • December 4, 2013
    Reply

    We played the new car revolving door game for years and now realize how stupid it was. I have an 08 Altima with 110,000 miles and plan to keep it for at least another 5-7 years. I used to commute over 300 miles per week, but have cut way back over the last couple of years.

    • Karin
    • December 4, 2013
    Reply

    I drive a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. I bought it used this year with less than 70,000 miles and I love it! It doesn’t have power locks or power windows but it drives well, is great for hauling things around, and gets decent gas mileage. I plan to drive it another couple of years and then sell it to buy a newer (2008-2009) Vibe. The Vibe is actually the same car as the Toyota matrix, but Pontiac has stopped making them. Being that they are all Toyota parts I never have to worry about not being able to get parts if I need them. Thankfully I have not needed any work on my Vibe so far!

    • Tara
    • December 4, 2013
    Reply

    I really want my ’02 Corolla to last forever but with a check engine light on from since before I bought it, I don’t know how things are now (I still get great gas mileage so part of me thinks the engine light is actually a malfunction, not an O2 sensor or catalytic converter issue). My ’02 Corolla really makes me miss my 2000 Ford Focus wagon which I’d still be driving if it weren’t totaled as that car was pretty loaded.

    I will say I do like the luxuries in a vehicle (power doors and clicker for safety reason, power windows, adequate A/C and heater, functional radio) but more so because while we’re not frequent drivers (we both take public transit to work), when we do drive, it’s often for a long haul to see my in-laws about 4 hours away or to my father about 3 hours away. I do pay cheap insurance on my

    • dojo
    • December 4, 2013
    Reply

    My husband’s 16 years old car is no longer running, but I have mine which does and is in great condition. I got it new in 2008 and it has a great mileage, it wasn’t driven too often (around 25k miles on it) and will surely serve us for at least 5-10 years. Insurance is VERY cheap, we don’t need too much gas, really a good deal.

    • Bobby
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    My car is a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. It’s a grandad’s car, literally. My dad bought my grandfather this car a year before my grandfather could no longer drive. When he stopped driving it, the car sat in a carport for 3-4 years, then my dad started driving it. By the time I graduated from college and the car was passed on to me, it was 10 years old, but only had about 66,000 miles on it! It’s worth about $2,000 according to property tax assessment and I plan on running it into the ground. Then, my next purchase will be a nice, used Camry 🙂

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Fun fact, 2003- Cavaliers share the same engine as the Saturn Ion. I briefly owned a 2005 Cavalier that I flipped for $1800 profit. It ran well!

        • Jayme
        • February 5, 2015
        Reply

        Got a 2003 Cavalier here, bare bones, all that I have added is power locks and an alarm since someone decided to break in once. Runs like a champ.

          • Jacob
          • February 5, 2015
          Reply

          nice!

            • Marina Jackson
            • March 6, 2016

            I have a 2006 Saturn Ion and I still drive it, sinse the Saturn had the recalls about people wrecking and dieing, that is GM’s Fault, they knew what was wrong with it , but look what they did Oh go ahead and drive it it will be fine, im so pissed at them, its not even funny that’s peoples lives, they didn’t even care, when my Saturn dies, Im never buying a GM car ever again…

    • cj
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Brilliant and chock full of witty humor, Jacob. Carry on, young man!

    • Levi @ Wealthnote
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I love my old clunker (a 2001 Ford Focus with 140,000 miles) . It’s cheap, and if something happens to it I won’t feel like my life is over. I can replace it for around $4,000 if needed, and to get it fixed all the parts are fairly cheap. It has been pretty reliable as well.

    • Mrs
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I agree! My first car was a 1997 VW Jetta. I put many miles on it and was sad to see it go. My husband and I also shared a 1998 Honda Civic and put over 200,000 miles on it. Funny how an old car can become a dear friend… my earned the nickname “Rock it!”

      • Ellen
      • June 7, 2017
      Reply

      We have a 1998 Honda Civic DX that’s been in our family since for, yes, 19 years now. She now has 227,000+ miles and needs a new engine. Still driving it now with a broken water pump and bad head gasket (Blue Devil sealed up the leaks for awhile but doesn’t last forever, apparently) but it seems silly to sink $2k into the car, lest the transmission goes next (it’s an automatic) — which is the next thing to go. So sadly, I may need to put our beloved Civic out to pasture. If I were a mechanic, I might keep her running, but it just doesn’t seem worth the risk. Thoughts, anyone?

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Rock It, nice. I feel a bit connected to this old green machine and will be sad when I eventually replace her.

    • Lizz
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Keeping an old car might work in certain places, but here in the UK we have to have our vehicles tested each year for road safety, road worthiness and emmissions. Old vehicles don’t cut the mustard and you will barely see a ’96 anything over here anymore. The government have massively increased road tax on these gas guzzlers and it’s already shocking over here, so there is no incentive to keep one!

    I got rid of my ’96 Rover 4 years ago mostly because the Government introduced a ‘scrappage’ scheme and I got £2,000 off the price of a new car. Combined with some serious haggling, I got an awesome deal and my car could have been sold 1 year on for more than I paid for it. When I bought my husband’s brand new car for him, I also got an awesome deal- so again, 2 years down the line we could have sold it for more than we paid for it. Tip- buy the model that is going out, that the dealer have some stock of. You can’t choose everything, but they just want shot of the old shape model.

    Old cars might ‘seem’ economical, but they are often not and you don’t realise until you have gotten rid of it. I put far less fuel in my new car, than I ever did in my old one because new technology has moved efficiency on and this one’s engine is twice the size! I no longer have to waste 10-15 minutes of fuel trying to defrost or keep it warm in winter. I no longer get locked out because the locks have frozen. I cannot believe the improved quality of ride in my new car either. I am happy to take it on long journeys because of its comfort and reliability.

    If you are savvy when buying an old car, you may get a few years out of it, but when you’ve got to shell out more on fuel, more on tax, more on breakdown and repairs and you have to keep replacing it every few years, well it’s not looking so savvy to me.

    Even on a ’96 you will still find they have an onboard computer and it’s not like you can do all the repairs yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to keep my car for as long as possible and run it into the ground. But as a single female, I could not take the risk and expense of keeping on breaking down. Breakdown companies have limits over here to how many times you can call them out.

    Out of interest, where do you all keep your car? It’s money saving to keep a car in a garage where it’s not exposed to the elements and where you don’t have to waste fuel and deicer defrosting it.

    Contrary to the popular opinion on this thread that having an old car keeps you humble, there seems to be a good deal of pride around having an old car! Just because I have a newer car doesn’t mean I see it as a status symbol, doesn’t mean I’m not money saving or not humble. After all, if you work so hard to save all this cash and you own your own home outright and don’t have any debts etc, you don’t have to sit on all your cash like an old miser. It is OK to enjoy some of it and having a reliable car is a very sensible purchase.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Hi Lizz, thanks for sharing your opinion but I’ll have to correct a few points that simply aren’t true for the majority of readers.
      1) New cars are almost never a good deal. They depreciate quicker than used models.
      2) Cars in the U.S must also past inspections for all those reasons. That has nothing to do with age, if it runs properly.
      3) You must not have read the article. Our car is more fuel efficient than brand new compacts being released today. We average 41MPG on the highway. Again, you’ve set up a straw man about a gas guzzling tax, which isn’t applicable.
      4) I drive my 1996 Saturn on a 22 hour “journey” at least 3 times per year. I’ve never had a single issue.
      5) I don’t spend any fuel when defrosting a car, and neither should you. Try elbow grease. In addition, I’ve never had my locks frozen .
      6) Taxes are much cheaper on an older used car. You are taxed on purchase price.
      7) We don’t own a garage and renting one might be more ignorant than buying a new car.
      8) If you choose to buy a car new, so be it. But please refrain from setting up arguments that aren’t true in an attempt to sway others. The fact remains that a new car purchase is often a poor financial decision. It will depreciate. And you will always be better off looking for a 2-3 year old car if you insist on having something newer.

        • Ellen
        • August 7, 2015
        Reply

        Hey, I think that’s a bit harsh. I’m not one for buying brand new cars either but here in the UK the maths of it are a bit different with the government trying very hard to make it too expensive to run older more polluting cars in order to get them all off the roads. So road tax in the UK is a *lot* more if your co2 emissions are too high for example and they’ll load your insurance premiums too if your car doesn’t have all the current safety features. If I drive very carefully I get over 62mpg from my car, I couldn’t afford to run a car that got around 30mpg with current petrol prices here. And I won’t get started on the astronomical repair costs but will point out the last two repair bills on my old car came to more than the purchase cost of my current fairly new one. On the bright side you can buy small cheap city cars here – I’m talking something like a 1 litre or smaller engine new enough to still be under manufacturers warranty for around $5000 maybe less. The moral of the story is you need to do the maths rather than just deciding older is cheaper. And that learning to do your own car repairs is probably one of the best financial investments you’ll ever make (at least the way they are charged over here).

        • Chris
        • May 24, 2015
        Reply

        Love the content on your site! This is my first visit. Thank you for addressing the inaccurate opinion left above. Glad to see I’m not the only one who’s done the math and knows how much we’re saving.

  41. I drive an ’07 Mustang that I bought brand new once I got my first “real” job out of college. It wasn’t the smartest financial move at the time, but I paid the car off early and plan to drive it at least at least another year or two. I have a weakness for cars & have a constant internal struggle with myself when I see all the new models come out each year 🙂

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Fair enough, friend! At least you know its a weakness. Maybe you could find a way to enjoy cars but avoid the cost and depreciation as much as possible!

    • Bill
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I have a 2002 Saturn SC1 (Sport Coupe, which makes it cool) with 120,000 miles on it. I got it back in college in 2005 for about $10k and have driven it ever since. I think its been paid off since about ’08 and the payments were only $152/month anyway. I get a lot of crap from co-workers about the car, but it runs fine for the most part (does suffer from all of the same issues as noted above, must be a saturn thing). I will never understand why people care so much what I drive. I don’t care what they drive so why is this such a big deal to them? Usually when someone gives me crap I just point out that its paid for and I have enough cash set aside to buy the next car with no payments. That usually shuts them up pretty quick.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Bill, cool indeed. Really funny that you have the same issues. My father owned an early 90’s SC and it was an excellent car, but also suffered the issues. As you said, must run in the family!
      It really is amazing that other people feel the need to judge your wise financial decision to drive an economical car. Happens all the time. I think it’s because they are insecure about their terrible purchases, which leads them to attack your wisdom. Well done, good sir.

    • Done by Forty
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    We moved from a 1996 Jeep Cherokee to a 2006 Toyota Matrix, mainly because the costs of consistently the Jeep seemed to make switching a positive ROI. At least that’s what the CBA said…always hard to predict future repair costs of a vehicle…I suppose past costs provide the best forecasts.

    Still, we hope to have our car until it’s at least 17 years old. Maybe until our future kid is 17 years old. 😉

    Cool post, friend. I applaud you guys for doing what’s smart, rather than what’s cool, with your vehicle choice.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks 40! I bet the gas savings would justify that switch, but as you say, repairs can be tricky. I have a huge problem with people forecasting big repair costs based on age alone. It’s not accurate and my parents have owned newer cars that were far more trouble than ours…

    • Laura @ RichmondSavers.com
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Like the point that it keeps you humble – it’s true! Cars are only a means of reliable (usually!) transport. Good for you guys for only having 1 car, and for keeping this one for so long. I’m sure it makes your budget REALLY happy.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Happy indeed! Thanks for the comment Laura!

    • Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    That’s impressive. I bought a used Pontiac Sunfire in 2003 and drove it for nearly 10 years. Many of the benefits you listed above applied to my “baby” as well. Folks would always give me a hard time, but I didn’t care. It was paid off and inexpensive to operate. I finally had to retire it when the a/c went out and it was going to cost more to fix it than the car was actually worth. Plus, we had a real baby joining the family, so it was time for an upgrade. I’ve never understood the fascination with fancy, expensive cars. They get you from point A to B just like the beaters do. Anyway, be proud of your Saturn and keep on driving it!

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks for a kind and thoughtful comment Mr. U! Did that Sunfire have the 2.2 Ecotech engine? If so, it’s shared with the newer Saturn Ion. Good engines!

  42. Reply

    ’99 Accord with 263k. I agree with your list, except my car runs very well and is still fun to drive. I will upgrade when my wife can no longer stand her car (an ’06) and hands it down to me. I spend ~$1/k per year on repairs/regular maintenance, but I drive 15-20k/yr, so this is still much cheaper than a car payment. My last Accord was sold at 287k, so hopefully I will hit the 300k mark this time.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Good stuff David. Accords are great cars and I’ll bet you’ll get close to that 300k. Keep up the great work and thanks for commenting.

    • Koneta
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    I am loving your post! We have three cars that are up there in age and miles…..they run, they get us from point A to point B, and we are not financed up to our eyeballs.

    1996 Ford Explorer–308,000
    1997 Chevy Suburban–267,000 (just spent 1000 on it, but still cheaper than a car payment)
    2000 Chrysler Town and Country–270,000

    All run great, all maintained by our trusty mechanic, the explorer will rust apart before it blows up.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      No car payments? I approve. However, is there any way you could downsize to two vehicles? Cost of any vehicle is quite high! My brother owned a late 90s Explorer and those things do run forever. I think we sold it to a family friend who drove it close to 300k!

  43. Great stuff Jacob! No need to purchase a new car when yours works just fine. I drove my ’97 Altima which was bought used for 10 years. It didn’t even have a CD player…it was a tape deck, but I had a converter thing which could play CDs from the tape deck if I really wanted. There were some mechanical issues but I think I could have kept it a little bit longer. (It did break down on my a week before my wedding). And since we were planning on starting a family…I wanted a car with the newer safety features: ESC, anti-lock brakes, etc. Pretty crazy that you can sell it for more than you bought it for.

      • Jacob
      • December 4, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks Andrew! You know what, I really wish ours had the tape deck instead of CD! Those tape decks allow such easy ipod hookups through the speakers and they work far better than those stupid over the air transmitters!

  44. Reply

    Props to you if it works.

    I no longer own a car (no need in NYC) – but I would have probably gotten rid of that bad boy awhile ago depending based on my geographic location. It doesn’t look like it would handle well in bad weather (especially snow) and I like the creature comforts of being able to play my music and control temperatures. They may cost me extra, but if I have to spend quality time in my car I find them worth the money. Good to point out that you should never view a car as an investment, unless you’re Jay Leno.

  45. Where do you live? I can’t see me being comfortable driving this vehicle in MN winters. But that’s just my own sense of comfort-ability. I sometimes get nervous with my little ’04 Corolla. 😉

      • Jacob
      • December 3, 2013
      Reply

      Missouri, and now Texas. Missouri has cold winters, and old Green doesn’t like them, but she keeps running! 🙂

    • Brian
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    Great list. I could argue #13 isn’t true since many older or super high end cars do appreciate in value, but then again people who buy those don’t drive them, so they are really buying art…

      • Jacob
      • December 3, 2013
      Reply

      Of course we could argue the point, as I’m certain “many” older/high end cars do NOT appreciate after taking into account inflation and the foregone cost of actually investing in other assets. But we won’t argue because it’s not applicable to 99.9% of people or vehicles. 🙂

  46. Reply

    Love that it is fully depreciated! I was super excited when my 1996 Pontiac Sunfire I was gifted at 16 got over $1500 for scrap metal!

  47. My friend had that exact car (in that exact colour) back when we were in high school ten years ago. I have some fond memories of that Saturn.

    My car is seven years old, and I am planning on getting at least another three years, possibly more (just depends how expensive it starts getting to fix). I love looking at new (to me) cars and dreaming, but then I realize my car is still pretty darn new… It doesn’t look that old. It’s a hatchback that we share as well – works fine for us.

  48. Reply

    We have three (3!!!) cars right now. A very old Toyota Corolla that my wife uses for commuting. A six year old Rav 4 that will serve as a car and as a truck once the third vehicle moves on. And a 22-year-old Toyota pickup. The pickup was purchased long ago to help me with my rentals and I’ve kept it because I had so many other remodeling projects going on. But once my current basement project is done, the truck can finally go away. I guess I’m going to have to go ahead and write the mandatory car post one of these days to explain myself. (:

    • Kathy
    • December 3, 2013
    Reply

    As long as it is reliable and safe driving older cars are fine. Do you feel secure enough to drive it on a 6 hour road trip? That would be my only concern.

      • Jacob
      • December 3, 2013
      Reply

      Of course I do, I’ve taken 3 trips in the last year that were 11 hours each way (22 hours round trip)

  49. Those points you share are some of the sames reasons why I still drive a car over 12 yrs old with close to 200k in mileage. I wasted a lot of money in my twenties buying car with payments. It’s always good to see a young couple like you and your wife who are wise and diligent with their finances.

  50. Reply

    I have had the same car for 11 years. It was the same one that I got at age 16. I used to be one of those people who wanted a new car desperately. I then realized how ridiculous it was. My car may not be shiny and new and has no features whatsoever, but it runs. It has been way more reliable than my friends’ new cars. People may have made fun of it, but mine is paid off . I’m not the one with $600 month car payments. I would die if I had a car payment, because I’m more frugal than I used to be. I see brand new 22 year old graduated college students purchase brand new 2014 vehicles and can’t help shake my head. I just couldn’t throw money like that away. Over the years, I’ve realized having a new car isn’t that important (at least to me anyway). I’m hardly ever in my car.

  51. Great and entertaining post! Made me laugh – especially the last one! A rare and exotic breed, indeed 🙂 I drive a 2007 Mazda 3, and I am hoping it lasts me 17 years! It’s got 94,000 miles on it right now and I absolutely love the little thing. It’s no frills, too – base model and manual to boot. I know it’s newer, but it was still a frugal purchase. Brand-spanking new, fresh of the dealership lot, it cost $14,000.

  52. Reply

    Haha, I love it. I think you missed one Jacob. Some cars were just built better back in the 80s and 90s. I had an old 1988 F150 that was that way. My dad made me sell in when I was in college. I never should have listened to him.

    I’ve bought exactly one new car, and I promise it will be my last. I got an amazing deal (for a new baseline Honda), but in the long run it was a mistake.
    -Bryan

  53. Reply

    Love #15 – funny how an older car can keep you safely bathed in humility, isn’t it? We’ve got a 14-year-old truck and a 10-year-old truck, and they work just fine for us.

  54. Reply

    That’s all valid reasons 🙂
    If it run & doesn’t break down too often : no reason to waste your money !
    I’m lucky enough to have a shiny leased company car, but if it was my money I would never spend dozens of thousands in a tool to move me around.
    If I had to buy a car, it would be a pretty old but robust one 🙂
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Ladaniva.jpg

  55. Reply

    I love it! I drive a 1990 Honda Civic that my mother bought for me when I graduated from college. Over the years I’ve put some money into maintenance and repairs, but it’s nothing compared to what it would have cost to buy a new car. My father is fond of quoting some Consumer Reports article that said that it’s almost always cheaper to repair a vehicle than to replace it, and I think he’s right. It will probably need a new transmission in a few years, but since I only drive around 1000 miles per year, I’m hoping to put it off as long as possible. And I’m totally with you on the manual everything car… less stuff to break!

    If you want to read about my automotive saga, I did a post on it a few years ago: http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com/2011/07/month-without-car.html

 

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