5 reasons for keeping your old car

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.

Toodle pip,
Carla Kovach




About Carla

Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of the DI Gina Harte Series, first book is called The Next Girl. I love and live for writing and reading (and sketching - haha). My other passion is filmmaking. My feature film 'Penny for the Guy' is a work in progress. If you enjoy a bit of horror, look out for it in the future. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Feel free to join me on other platforms. I blog about many random things but books, travel and art are my favourites.
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10 Responses to 5 reasons for keeping your old car

  1. Mark Wallace says:

    5. Someone scratched your car in a busy car park?
    Sort of agree. To a point.
    If the car already has a few odd marks and trolley dinks then unless washing the car regularly will another even be noticed?
    Depends on how you view the car.
    The Focus is the ‘workhorse’ in our household so an odd extra dink or scratch is neither here nor there. A badly dented door might be another matter – that’s damage that costs to repair.
    The MX5 is much smaller and therefore should have less chance of being dinked, even so it gets parked where there is plenty of surrounding extra spaces to reduce the risk. Its a nice shape and we look after it, so when someone else doesn’t bother and leaves a scuff on the paint or small dent in the door that IS annoying – though I don’t lose sleep over it.
    Yes, its only a car, but if someone walked pooh stains over your carpet it would bother you (and rightly so – I’d rub their bloody noses in it!) because they have not taken care around your property regardless of it only being a replaceable posession.

    So, time for a recap/summary.
    We’re in agreement – broadly speaking – though I’d advocate a little more love and care for the older car.
    Look after what you have and it will last longer. I think that holds true for pretty much everything.


  2. Mark Wallace says:

    4. Car cleaning is not a weekend pastime.
    And here we part company. 😉
    I do understand your point of view – and you are in the majority here – you view the car as a tool or piece of equipment, a bit like a fridge or a washing machine but in this case a transportation device. Nothing wrong with that.
    And I am assuming that windows and lights are kept reasonably clean.

    There are those of us that ‘connect’ with these machines (and no, not in a pervy way) and can appreciate ‘some’ cars as an art form, mobile sculptures, a symphony in steel and alloy. We like the way they look, the feel of how they drive, the sound they make when the accellerator is pressed just so. We also enjoy being able to look after and preserve what we are lucky enough to have.
    I’ll expand on this further at another point, but for now I’ll lay out a few practical and general thoughts regarding cleaning cars.

    a) Paintwork protects the steel bodywork from rusting. Stone chips that break the paint can start to rust. Rusty cars eventually need to be repaired – which costs money.
    You can detect these chips when washing the car by hand and then (once the car is dry) touch the paint in to stop then from rusting and so preserve the car for longer and therefore save money.
    Or once the car is clean (you don’t have to do it yourself!) check around the car and touch in the chips.
    Prevention is cheaper than cure – but you do need a clean car to do this.

    b) Waxed paintwork will shrug off water and dirt better, meaning more protection from the dreaded rust as well as being easier to clean in the future.

    c) Clean and polished cars ARE worth more – or rather are easier to sell for a better price.
    If intent on keeping a car forever and not selling it then by all means forego the wax if you want.

    d) A clean and presentable vehicle – it doesn’t have to be gleaming and waxed within an inch of its life – shows that the owner looks after their things.
    What would you think if they had dirt mud-caked and scuffed shoes? After all they are also just a ‘transportation device’…
    The make/model/year of the car doesn’t matter. If you met two people, one turns up in a battered, scruffy and dirty £100,000 Rolls Royce and the other in a clean and shiny ten year old Ford Fiesta, who would you think takes the most care over what they do?

    Car cleaning IS a chore. I can acknowledge that (and freely do).
    However I like the satisfaction of completing it and knowing I’ve done a good job – and as far as claying, polishing and waxing is concerned I won’t need to do that gain for at least another 4 months (probably 6).
    Car washing – depends on the weather and the season. Once every couple of weeks is ample in my book. Once a month seems about right for the 2 cars I deal with. Depends on mileage done and filthiness of the roads really.


  3. Mark Wallace says:

    3. A finance agreement is as much fun as serving a prison sentence.
    Totally with you here.
    I have taken out loans in the past to buy cars but never again. Utter millstones.
    Now we save up and pay cash – which of course means keeping ones vehicular aspirations in perspective. No £30k Audis or BMWs here.


  4. Mark Wallace says:

    2. Many cars are mechanically sound for 120k+ miles.
    Provided they are properly maintained (including preventative maintenance) then this is VERY true.
    My 2003 model Focus Estate (13 years old now!) has done just over 141k miles and I have no reason to doubt it will see the far side of 200k before requiring any significant engine work. At around 6k a year that means I should get another 10 years out of it. That’s a big win.
    Even when taking into account it will probably need a new clutch (and flywheel – it’s a Ford Focus thing!), I don’t expect anything untoward other than ‘consumables’ – the most serious being a couple of dampers maybe.
    Our MX5 sportscar has done over 118k miles and runs beautifully, but that probably has something to do with having an encyclopaedic service history and my tender spannering.
    The key is to find a good mechanic unless you can do it yourself (and even then finding a good mechanic is still invaluable!)


  5. Mark Wallace says:

    My dear friend, I’m going to respond to this post – not because I disagree – but because I (mostly) agree but from a different standpoint.
    I am one of those strange beasts known as a ‘petrolhead’.

    Let me address each of your (well made) points in turn, and for clarity in separate responses to make it easier to deal with:

    1. The car probably owes you nothing if over 5 years old.
    In principle I agree with your statement.
    I guess this depends on the finance agreement, but generally speaking I would guess if someone has owned/been paying for a car for over 5 years then this should be the case. Unless they have fallen into the trap of ‘trading up’ to a new car and perpetuating their misery, which means the car wouldn’t be over 5 years old in any case.
    What you go on to say in this section regarding finance is also patently true.
    Cars cost money and (except for rare cases) always lose money.


  6. Barbara Camelford says:

    Most of that makes complete and utter sense Carla. I did buy a new car some 6 years ago thinking that it would last me for many, many years but the payments including the balloon payment added up to a lot and now I wonder and have done for some time that it probably wasn’t the wisest move although it was done because I thought it would be safer for me driving it around. i.e. less likely to break down which has probably been true. Would I do it again? NO!


    • griffbuck says:

      I’ve done it myself in the past too Barbara and I know how you feel. Those balloon payments are the worse things ever. Never again. I shall go with cheap motoring for the rest of my days.


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