If your car is roadworthy and drives fine, why on earth would you get rid of it and buy a new one? Don’t get me wrong, if you have money sitting in the bank and you want to do your bit to support business, then buying a new car may be a good thing for you and the economy, but not many of us are lucky to be in such a secure financial position. However, if you’re buying simply to impress, then I’m not impressed.
Our consumer driven society tells us that we need a shiny car on the drive, parked outside our three bed semi, that contains our 2.4 children and spouse. You’re meant to spend your weekend washing the car because, how horrible is it for your neighbours to spy a dirty car on the street?
If I’m describing you, in my opinion, and this is just my opinion, you are wasting too much of your life on this tool. Yes, I see a car as a tool. Who wants to have ‘always owned new clean car,’ on a list as one of their life achievements? For those who said yes. Really? Who are you trying to impress? If your neighbours are impressed by your car dedication, then they have life’s priorities wrong too.
Here goes, my reasons to keep your old car.
1. It probably owes you nothing if it is over 5 years old.
I wouldn’t consider buying a car if it wasn’t at least 5 years old. Buying a new car is throwing money down the drain. We all know that as soon as you’ve put your foot on the pedal, its value suffers a huge dent. It’s an expensive asset that will do nothing to maintain its value. If you have extra money, you’d be wiser chipping it off your mortgage. Your property will increase in value. It makes financial sense. Also, paying for your house quicker will ultimately make you financially freer. Who wants to be someone’s lackey until the day they die just because they wanted new cars? Are cars worth sacrificing your financial freedom for?
2. Many cars are now mechanically sound for at least 120K miles.
We have an older car with 90K miles on the clock. For the past five years, it’s cost us no more than £400 per year in repairs and maintenance (approximately 1 to 1.5 finance payments on a bottom of the range car). We may just be lucky or it may be that a lot of cars are just up to the job now, for longer. This car owes us nothing and I wouldn’t be upset if it fell apart tomorrow.
3. A finance agreement is as much fun as serving a prison sentence.
I’ve calculated that if I want an average new saloon car, I’d need to spend a few hundred a month on finance repayments. Fair enough, I’d save on an MOT which would be approximately £40 per year (big deal), but then I’d be hit by the mother of all balloon payments at the end of the 3-year term if I wanted to keep the car. So, while paying the finance, I’d have to save for the humungous final payment. I then put my salary into hourly rate and work out how many hours a month I’d have to work to pay for this car. Do I really want to go to work for 1.5 – 2 weeks per month just to provide myself with a mode of transport to ultimately get to work? Do I look dim?
4. Car cleaning is not a weekend pastime.
Let’s get this straight, I loathe car cleaning. Our old car goes for its biannual trip to the drive-through car cleaning centre in March and September. It costs £1.99 a wash. Polishing it regularly until I can see my reflection in the bonnet will neither increase nor decrease its value. Giving my time to this ‘work transporting machine’ is ultimately wasting my time on this planet. Get a real hobby and don’t worry what the neighbours think, it’s their problem not yours. I’ll admit at this point, I realise that a car can be someone’s hobby. Maybe I’m being a little harsh. I’m happy the car makes you so happy but I’ll never understand that feeling. It doesn’t exist within me.
5. Someone scratched your car in a busy car park?
Lose no sleep. The new scratch can sit proudly amongst all the others. Not caring about your car is rather empowering. There are plenty more things in life to care about. A scratch here, a scratch there, a muddy drive out, who cares?
Anyway, you may totally disagree with me, but my philosophy on cars won’t change either way.
I may well be looking for a new car in the near future as Donnie the Daewoo is getting on a bit. While he still runs and costs so little to keep, he will stay exactly where he is, looking dirty and chipped, in our car space. When I hear people outside, late at night, I don’t even need to check that he’s safe. No one wants to steal a car stereo that still plays tapes anyway.
Life is short. I know I say this a lot, but it’s not what you managed to buy that will matter in the end. All those things you own, guess what, they own you. They force you to work longer and harder. Get the balance right and happiness is yours for the taking. Feel free to shoot me down in the comments section below.