Saturday, December 16, 2017

Advantages of Driving an Older Car

Why I Like Driving an Older Car

My $450 Pickup Truck
My $450 Pickup Truck

This picture of my $450 pickup truck still makes me smile.  I saw a classified ad in the paper (this was a few years ago) for a pickup truck for sale for $500.  I called the number and arranged to go and check it out.  The truck was owned by a young guy with a big bushy beard who literally lived on the edge of a dump.  He had built a homemade topper on the back of the truck, which seemed to be in OK mechanical condition for a 16 year old vehicle.

As I was checking the truck out, he mentioned he needed some money for the weekend coming up.  I offered him a check for $450 and he signed over the title.  I was the proud owner of an older vehicle!

The only thing this truck needed was a new gas cap.  I drove it for a year with no problems at all and then sold it.

The car I drive now is 13 years old.  It is in better shape than the old Dodge Ram pickup, but it has some quirks.  One window does not work, and I taped it closed with duct tape as a permanent repair.

Driving an older vehicle does have some disadvantages.  Reliability may be reduced.  Occasional repairs may be needed (or deferred).  But overall, driving an older vehicle has some significant advantages:

Low Cost

The most obvious advantage of driving an older car is cost.  Older cars are less expensive to buy, and it is much more feasible to buy an older car with cash instead of financing it and making payments every month.  I have made car payments that are more than $450 per month, but if you are willing to drive an older car, you can buy it outright for the cost of only one car payment.

No Depreciation

Another thing I like about driving an older car is you don't have to worry about depreciation.  Once a car has a lot of miles on it, the amount of value that is reduced by driving more miles is almost nothing.  But the cost of putting miles on a new car is very expensive in terms of depreciation and reduction of resale value.  When you drive an older car, you celebrate putting more miles on it instead of dreading it like you do with a newer car.

Cheap Insurance and Registration

Older cars are much less expensive to insure and registration fees for older cars are almost nothing.

No Worries About Minor Damage

Plus, with an older cars many repairs are optional.  I was just telling my kids a story about the time when I was in college and someone bumped into my car when it was parked on the street, scraping it.  The person left a note on my windshield offering to file a report with his insurance company to get it repaired.  I called him and told him not to worry about it.  If I had a newer car, I would have worried about it.  Another example of this is the broken window that I repaired with duct tape.  I wouldn't be able to save money and hassle by doing a quick homemade repair like this if I had a newer car.

Expensive Options for Almost Free

One of my favorite things about my current old car is that it is loaded with features such as heated leather seats, a sunroof, a towing package, and a 6-disc CD player and awesome stereo.  When you are buying an old car, it doesn't cost much more to get one that is fully loaded with the most expensive options.

You can always find a nicer, more expensive car with better features.  But it is hard to beat an older car that runs and that is paid off!

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