By on December 5, 2011

There are a lot of things you can do instead of spending five figures on a new ride. Travel the world. Pay off debt. Get a house. Heck, you can even pursue that elusive shangri-la known as retirement. Or have lunch at Waffle House for three years straight so that you can completely avoid that ‘growing old’ business.

A new car is a big chunk of an expense for a lot of folks. But sometimes it’s worth it.

The ‘Keeper’: Are you the type of person who likes to keep things until they completely wear out? Do you hate risk, change, or dare I say it… cars?

A lot of car buyers simply want a long-term transportation tool that works well and nothing more. They follow the maintenance schedule. Go about their business, and couldn’t give a flip about what amounts to a once-in-a-generation expense.

The ‘Bourgeois’: They have the money… in cash. It may be other people’s money. Or yours for that matter.  But they still have the means to enjoy the finer things in life.

For them having a nice ride on their driveway is part of the benefits of their ‘Yuppie union card’. It’s what they aspired to have through years of hard work. Or marriage. Or an inheritance.

So if freedom and happiness equate to an automotive status symbol, then you have lots of options out there. None are cheap… but plenty of them are fashionable.

The ‘Fear’ buyer: Grandma knows she’s getting old. But who wants to give up their mobility?

Hmm. That new car over there. It’s got a backup camera. Blind-spot detection.  Emergency brake assist. 10 airbags. Adaptive headlights, and a roll-over protection system.

Her current ride? It has twenty-seven dents and a broken car horn.

It’s not only Grandma on this boat. Feel free to consider those who have a ‘growing family’. Or the parent offering financial help to a single mom. Or a new driver who has two left feet.

Truth be told safety is one of the biggest reasons why consumers buy new cars.

The ‘Enthusiast’:  Homer J Simpson loves his Canyonero SUV. It has oversized wheels. A winch strong enough to tow the neighborhood ice cream truck against it’s will,  and triple sealed windows so that Homer doesn’t have to hear the curdling screams of nearby commuters while he plows through traffic.

But it doesn’t have a built-in ‘texting’ keyboard on the steering wheel. Or a voice activated phone that lets him reserve his bar stool at Moe’s tavern.

Nope. His corporate arch-nemesis Krusty has all those things in that brand new 2012 Canyonero.

Does Homer spend a couple grand to retrofit his Canyonero? Or take a $25,000 hit on his ride. Why he takes the hit of course… and charges it to his clients.

The ‘Tightwad’:  Tightwads buy NEW cars? Yep. A few of of them do. Let me give you an example.

Terry bought a brand new Volvo 240 wagon way back in 1987. He maintained it all himself with a factory manual. Bought his tires and auto supplies on sale or on Black Friday. In time Terry also  joined the ‘Brickboard’ and other Volvo forums so that he could always tend to unexpected maintenance and repair issues.

Yep, I know Terry. No, he’s not a blood relative.

Ten years after buying the Volvo, Terry goes to a neighboring auto auction and buys himself a used, but well kept Volvo 240 sedan for $2500. He now has the means to maintain both his vehicles using the same tools and supplies.

Terry also has three kids who become drivers as well. All of whom end up getting… guess what? That’s right. A Volvo 240. Hey it keeps the insurance cheap and the newbie’s slow.

It isn’t until late this year that Terry and his wife became empty nesters and finally bought their new ‘retirement car’. Another 240? Nope. They’re long gone. Terry buys a Volvo 940 wagon from yours truly for $1500… and his wife gets a 2012 Mazda MX-5 for $25,000.

Has Terry missed out? Not at all. Sometimes you have to ‘buy the new’ to enjoy the old.

 

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102 Comments on “When It Makes Sense To Buy New...”


  • avatar
    grzydj

    The used car market is just insane right now, especially for the vehicles I am particularly interested in: The Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Wrangler or a Subaru Forester. I’ve seen some Tacoma’s that are 3 years old with 30k + miles on them that are only 2 grand less than new.

    Foresters are only about 3 grand off of new prices, and that’s with the old EJ engines.

    May just as well buy new and get a full warranty at this point, which is exactly what I’m going to do.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      i think sadly part of this is not just cash for clunkers, but people with bad credit just accept this high price and the astronomic interest rate. also, the community mindset of everything is more expensive so you just universally accept it.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Agreed. The used car market bubble is a great reason to buy new. Plenty of people need something more reliable than a heavily depreciated 10-year-old car for a daily, and I think most used cars younger than about 7 years are a non-starter at current market prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      When have used Tacomas and Wranglers ever not been insane?

      Strong expected resale on a particular model has always been a good reason to buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      It’s one of the primary reasons I went new. When you’re stumping up $100-$200 per month in repair bills on a 10-15 year old car, and you’ve saved up several $k for a newer ‘used’ car, why not avoid paying a premium on the used market, slap those few thousand down, and suck up a little more every month for piece-of-mind driving in a vehicle with a 3-5 year warranty?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      There are some relatively undervalued used cars out there. If you’ve already decided you really want a Tacoma, Wrangler, or Forester, though, you can stop reading….

      Minivans from American manufacturers without stow-and-go seats can be had for a song, and are incredibly useful per dollar spent.

      Also, several CUVs like the Ford Escape (the AWD version is comparable to the Forester if you don’t look too closely) are undervalued. The Saturn VUE, Buick Rondevous, and Pontiac Aztek all appear to be undervalued compared to their utility and price.

      But, if you want the same thing as everyone else, you can’t beat the market (on average).

      I’ve had my eye on the Subaru Outback and the Subaru Forester for several years. But, alas, I’m looking for a car with particular kid-safety features (LATCH) and modest towing ability for a very low price, and I can’t really afford the Subie options — presumably because guys like you and me (except slightly better off) are buying them up at higher prices. Such is life. I’ve almost talked my wife into an Escape or Grand Caravan (provided I can find one with the stow-and-go seats).

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        I shop for invisible cars in the used car market – cars that give the best value for the buy. Name brands like Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Subaru and even Nissan are not good values because their prices do not reflect reality. If Consumer Reports recommends it – don’t buy it.

        What is important is the wear and tear of the vehicle itself. Whatever you save not wasting your money on a used Tacoma, you can have handy should anything really go wrong with your used Ranger, which probably won’t anyway.

        Keeping an eye out for the low mileage invisible cars can save you thousands. An open mind can be invaluable.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Luke

        The deprecation curve on minivans is huge, but that’s a bit too much vehicle for my needs really.

        I’m pretty much set on a Tacoma or Forester at this point. I like the 4WD or AWD respectively as fireroading is a fun past time while camping. I like the idea of a Tacoma, because I’d finally be able to take the tandem bike along, and it would be a versatile vehicle to use for home improvement projects etc.

        The Forester would probably be a lot more comfortable and get about 10 mpg better and it would have an olympic pool sized moonroof, like I had in my old Forester, which I really enjoyed.

        The Jeep is still a possibility, but I’m leaning more towards the former. Thanks for the other ideas though.

      • 0 avatar

        I do not know where people get those weird resale values on Wranglers, but I know I’m not getting one. I already have a bunch of cosmetic damage on it, from stuff like taking the top off by myself, scratchy vegetation, and ditches. Also, it has a 3.8L, which is made entirely obsolete by the Pentastar. Not having to worry about the resale actually makes me feel oddly liberated: I can install any mod I like, drill holes anywhere I like, etc.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My 67-year old mother is firmly in the camp of “the keeper!” She has a paid-for 2003 Corolla that she bought new (never even test-drove it). 9 years on, it only has 88k and is worth more today than it was last year, thanks to CforC. She has $30k in cash sitting around waiting for her “final” car purchase, but she refuses to budge off of her self-imposed 10-year ownership rule. When she finally pulls the trigger on her last car in 2013, she’ll keep it for another 10 years, if not longer, as her driving mileage will go down considerably. If her next car winds up wiht 50k in 10 years, I’d be surprised. Sadly, she’ll more than likely walk into the local Toyota dealership and order up a mid-level Camry, when secretly every time we drive the local M-B dealership, or see a new C-class commercial, I know she wants to own one…

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Sadly, she’ll more than likely walk into the local Toyota dealership and order up a mid-level Camry, when secretly every time we drive the local M-B dealership, or see a new C-class commercial, I know she wants to own one…

      Does she want to own one or do you want her to own one?

      My dad has always wanted a Cadillac or an Infiniti, but he’ll inevitably buy another basic Camry when he’s ready to trade. He’s well aware he could get a CPO car for about the same money as the Camry, but he’d rather have new and has no interest in spending over $40k on a car, let alone over $25k. Moreover, he’s pretty happy with his Camrys.

      You’ve mentioned your mother’s car on here before, and it sounds like you’re more worried about it than she is. She’s in no rush to trade and even if she’d love a Mercedes, she clearly doesn’t have to have it. Why push her into spending more than she cares to? If anything, tell her to hold off even longer.

      I used to be really bothered by my dad’s lameass cars growing up. Now I’m an adult and don’t have to ride in them anymore…I couldn’t care less what he drives. Then again, I’ve been buying those lameass cars off my parents at trade in time for the last 10 years. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Fortunately, my father was a mechanic and truck driver, so he stuck to his Chryslers and he loved the 300: he owned a ’66, then a ’69. He bought a ’77 LTD because it was a steal, but he regretted it. Yep, the famous Ford ’70s rust problem AND craptastic plastics. Oh, those fun 1970s….
        This reminds me of the story of Mark Richardson, editor extraordinaire (in his mind) of the Wheels Section of the Toronto Star, who about 7 or 8 years ago (when I still read that rag) tried to badger his ancient mother into a Corolla. She had an old Cavalier, loved it but was time to trade it in. So, in a national newspaper he published the exploits of him trying to convince his 70-something mother to buy a Toyota.
        Then there was my boss of 5 years, whose million dollar mid-town townhouse, fantastic world boat cruises and son’s gold-plated ivy league education were all paid for by his 30 years at GM. When he passed away, I had the thrill and privilege of removing the plates from his wife’s 3 year old leased Alero GLS, while the bank executive 30 year old son sat in his brand new BMW 5, waiting to take his mother to the BMW dealer to pick up her factory ordered BMW 3-series.
        Circling the drain, North America is.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    My “sense meter” is simple: $0.10/mile capital cost. Example: a $5000 car should go 50,000 miles under your ownership, or 40,000 if you think you can realisticly sell it for $1k at the end. A new, Japanese-like keeper might make sense if you drive enough miles to reach $0.10/mile before it rusts into oblivion. A $45k minivan? No way.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      A “capital cost per mile” approach makes sense, but I think the $.10/mile figure is rather arbitrary. Also, it is unrealistic to assume that you can get 50,000 miles on a $5,000 car without major repairs, so to compare new cars with old cars, you have to find some factor for estimated repair costs. I like Edmunds’ TCO (true cost to own) approach.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      So the $0.10/mile is only based on the difference between purchase price and residual value? Where do repairs factor in? Do unplanned repairs count the same against cost per mile as planned maintenance (for example, a broken AC vs new tires and brakes)? Where do you draw the line between a repair and maintenance? If you consider that just about everything on the car has a limited design life, almost anything can be considered maintenance at some point.

      I like the idea, but I agree that $0.10/mile sounds like an arbitrary figure that can be influenced by many variables.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      If you’re breaking it down to $/mile, you’re bound to consider the fuel economy of your ride if you want to be realistic.

      In my situation I’m paying $0.18/mile just for gas. Fuel mileage is probably a bigger factor than depreciation for a long term vehicle, unless you’re driving very short distances or already have an efficient car.

      In many cases, people will let $25/month car payment difference decide which vehicle they purchase, while pooh-poohing “a few bucks a week” difference in fuel costs.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Agreed on the mileage. I traded a car with a leaky a/c and failing power steering pump that averaged low 20’s mpg to a then new 2008 Elantra. I justified a new car purchase using the Keeper mindset, long warranty, much better mpg, low price, and I’d keep it forever. Being my 12th car purchase I should have known driving something that practical wouldn’t last long. but I just can’t justify going from the Elantra to something better. The new car would be bigger, more powerful and more expensive the the Elantra ever was, so it just doesn’t make sense. At only 3 1/2 years old the car still looks and runs like new. At least the resale value seems to be going up instead of down.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        10 cents a mile is a rather unrealistic expectation. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 cents is probably more justifiable if you don’t drive your car to 200K in 10 years. I seem to be in the minority in that the last several cars I owned barely cracked 110K before I got rid of them and all of them were around 7-8 years old. I just don’t have to drive 20K a year. But if the average new car price is around 28K and you drove it to 100K miles you’re already on the hook for nearly 30 cents a mile. Decent gas mileage (in the mid-20s) and you’re adding in another 12-20 cents per-mile and factor in maintenance and you’re talking a minimum of 20 cents over the lifetime of the car.

        Luxury cars are nearing a dollar a mile in ownership costs.

        I believe it’s just a matter of willingness to pay over perceived value. Is 10-25 cents a mile a worthwhile cost? It works out to be the difference of 1-3K yearly. That’s the rough difference between new cars versus slightly used (1-3 years old) and entry-level luxury versus new.

  • avatar
    foojoo

    I am a mixture of the Keeper and the Tightwad. I am finally contemplating a new car purchase, because my car (’90 Oldsmobile Cutlass) is on its last leg. I’ve had the car for about 10 years and it has been extremely reliable, but it will not pass the next inspection this Summer without a substantial amount of costly repairs.

    I am trying to decide between a 2012 Mazda3 or a 2012 Kia Rio5. Part of me thinks I should buy the Mazda, because if I am going to have the car for 12+ years it should be something I enjoy driving. The “Tightwad” is telling me to buy the Kia, because it is cheaper and has a better warranty. Plus I only drive around 4000 miles a year.

    I typically buy used cars, but the used car market is absurd in my area. Used cars which are a few years old with 75k+ miles are practically selling for the same price as new cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      What are the repairs needed on the Olds?

      As for the ‘Keeper’ vs ‘Tightwad… it’s almost always cheaper to buy the car that you believe you will enjoy more. Even most Tightwads I know don’t mind spending money on a quality product.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      Foojoo – Your new buying decision sounds similar to mine: Mazda 3 vs Kia Rio – Still waiting for Karesh to review both vehicles

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Go to car-part.com for the tranny issue and have an independent do the R&R for $300 to $400.

        Tires, look for a Bridgestone or Michelin $100 discount and go to a store that does price matching.

        Shocks/struts, you can always do the same type of price matching deal. Advance Auto Parts usually offers $50+ discounts if you order online plus you can combine it with a factory rebate.

        Give it one of those ‘pamerped car’ details. Throw in a GPS or a stereo system upgrade, and you should be rolling for another three years or more.

        But if you want buy new… that’s fine too. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Butterfly

        Count me in as another near-future shopper for the Rio, which is currently my provisional number 1 choice. Mazda3 is also on the list, but not very high- IMO it’s too pricey for what it offers, although 2012 revision may change that. Besides, my current ride ’04 Mazda6 has been merely adequate in all areas over last 3 years of ownership, so I’m not exactly rushing into Mazda dealership. Rio on the other hand looks to be a near perfect car that I’ve been waiting for a long time- right size, right features, right looks, right price.
        Anyhow, it’d be great if Karesh reviews the Rio sometime soon (or 2012 Mazda3 for that matter).

    • 0 avatar
      VelocityRed3

      Go for the Mazda. My manual 06 3i is almost at 161,000 with no problems, but a dead battery last Thanksgiving (in 2010). I’m going to have the clutch replaced between 180 & 200,000 thousand miles & I expect at least another 4 years or so after that of trouble free driving :)

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I keep cars for 10 years, do my own maintenance, and really could care less about the latest trends. I’m more of a Terry.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I bought new because what I wanted does not exist used. A rwd 6-spd manual transmission BMW 3-series station wagon that has been maintained “properly” since day one. Without iDrive, and without xenon headlights. While with a LOT of searching it is POSSIBLE to find a manual transmission RWD wagon (BMW does sell a handful a year) the “free” BMW maintenance means it hasn’t really had any. So I sucked it up and ordered a new one, and I plan to keep it a VERY long time.

    As to why? Because it is absolutely BRILLIANT to drive, of course. A sports car that can carry a big screen TV home. I could not possibly care less what the nieghbors think, I’d put Wartburg badges on the thing if I could. Life is too short to drive boring melba-toast mobiles.

    And realistically, when you factor in the 1.9% financing, the fact that it does not have a bunch of crap that I did not want, and the savings from doing European Delivery, it was not THAT much more than buying a CPO used one. I was going to Europe this past summer anyway, so the trip was effectively free.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      My search back in 06 was similar and your right it was tough. I finally found a 03’ 325iT 5spd with Sport/premium in Silver/Black 36k miles but damn did I have to fight for it. I did get stuck with the Xenon self adjusting headlamps but they have been fine. It’s a great car.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        What’s the hesitation with Xenons? I don’t have but they always seem cool to me? Cost to maintain/replace?

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        @vbofw

        HID headlights manufactured by ZKW installed on certain production dates (I believe ’03 and ’04 model years, not sure if it is more specific) had a tendency to burn out the reflector bowl. The result was significantly dimmed headlights. The reflector bowl is not sold separately – you need a new headlight assembly. Fortunately, all the people installing aftermarket “angel eye” assemblies leaves plenty available used.

        Besides the reflector bowls, the plastic adjusters disintegrate (at least they do in E39s, not sure if the assemblies in E46s are any better). I imagine this is a problem with halogens as well though.

        Finally, if anything goes wrong with the self-leveling sensors the headlights won’t be aimed properly. I don’t think this is a common problem, and you can probably aim them manually and then disconnect the self-leveling motor anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        On the e9Xs, the Xenons are very fancy “adaptive headlights” that self-level and steer into corners. Which is all well and good until you hit a pothole wrong and break the mechanism. Or it wears out. Or the software throws a wobbly. One of THE most commonly reported issues on the BMW forums are headlight issues. I plan to keep this car 10 years plus, plain old halogens work just fine. Bulbs that cost 1/10th as much are nice too, even if theoreticaly they don’t last as long.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I just bought a CPO CTS wagon. The 323 wagon was in the running, but it was just too expensive compared to the sedan (lease cost was about $75/month more than a similar sedan).

        The CTS wagon seems to depreeciate like a stone. With only 11k miles on it, it went for about 9k under sticker. The biggest advantage was the warranty which outlives the loan by almost a year.

        One surprise was that it came equipped with adaptive xenons. I knew it had xenons, but not that they were adaptive. I *love* these things. We drive on dark country roads and they make a huge difference, especially during deer collision season (january 1 through December 31).

        I simply don’t understand why wagons don’t get more love from the buying public. Compared to my sisters SRX, the CTS gets better fuel mileage, handles better and is quieter. The problem is that it’s more expensive new. So, I guess that I shouldn’t complain considering what I paid for it. BTW, my sister wanted the CTS wagon, she just couldn’t justify buying one new last year when she got her SRX.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      I did too. The Acura TSX wagon just came out and used ones were non-existent. I also bought a Saturn SL1 when they came out, another too new for used car.

  • avatar
    Syke

    You missed the “last toy in life” buyer. My mother-in-law. 93 years old and recently widowed. Life was a series of second-hand Buicks or Jeep SUV (they live in Bangor, ME), all picked out by her late husband. Without asking for one word of her advice or preferences.

    She just bought a ’12 Ford Escape Limited. I spent a few weeks with her writing up a primer on car buying (she’d never been into the showroom of a dealership in her life). Started looking for Escape XLT’s, she took one look at the Limited and said, “that’s what I want.” Getting the figures of the final deal (once all was said and done, she didn’t ask for interim advice), I figured I could have done about a grand better . . . . . but . . . . . . she can afford it, she was treated properly, she knew enough to sidestep all the (gently offered) dealer mark-up add-ons, and she’s happy with the deal. And very happy with the car.

    Sometimes getting the absolutely lowest possible price, to the penny, no matter how nasty the effort isn’t worth it. After all, the whole idea is to walk out of the dealership having gotten what you wanted at a price that you’re happy with.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      The “last toy in life” scenario. That’s exactly what happened with two late family friends of mine. Both ended up with the same car somehow…

      One had saved up all of his life for a “nice” car, and bought a 2005 Corolla S. He was so happy with it that he returned a year later to buy what was likely the first 2007 Camry XLE in the region. He enjoyed his “Lexus” until he passed away four years later.

      The second one had totaled her 2001 Camry in 2010, and in uncertain health, decided to splurge on a new Camry XLE. However, the dealer happened to have a very low-mileage, certified pre-owned 2008 XLE, so she bought that instead. She was very enthusiastic about it, even naming it “Alleluia” and I was the car’s “godfather” since I helped her pick it out! Unfortunately, she didn’t get to drive it much, and passed away less than a year later.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Life’s funny. I’ve spent the last three months getting my ducks in a row (and bank account built up) for the long-promised new car come 2 January. Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Mazda2, Kia Soul or Rio (hadn’t come to a split on that one), maybe a Fiat 500.

    Then everything went tits-up . . . . . . happily. While I was prepping for a new car, I kept my internet searches going amongst a few used cars that I really liked (either they were no longer made new, or out of my price range). And a week and a half ago, one of my minor holy grails appeared.

    2005 Scion xB. 20k on the clock. Manual transmission. Not a thread out of place, excellent Carfax, and the local CarMax was selling it – which means no haggling but past experience has me comfortable with what I’m buying.

    The seats are at a perfect height for my invalid wife’s entry and exit. Enough rear space for a wheelchair, rollator, or whatever bit of invalid technology we need to carry around. Enough roof space (and a low enough liftup height) for my 3-bike Yakima roof rack. And, out the door it ran about $6k cheaper than I’d expect to get that new car. Final joy: First tank of gas, all stop and go commuting was 31.5mpg.

    I’ll try for the new car in about five years. By which time maybe I can afford a D-class if I want one.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Nicely done. I’m on the opposite side – just about to sell my 2006.5 xB. (manual, 49k) Absolutely fantastic little cars with shocking cargo capacity. We average a little better than 30mpg – city, highway, mixed, it didn’t matter. Even though they only have 100 horsepower they’re quite good little drivers, and far more tossable than the shape might suggest. If it doesn’t have it already, the Rostra cruise control is a godsend for long highway hauls.

      And when someone gives you grief about the aerodynamics (or lack thereof), just remind them that the box is slightly MORE areodnamic than a lamborghini countach.

      Pity TTAC doesn’t host forums where the B&B could offer cars to one another…

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Add me to the club. I paid $11.5k OTD in 2009 for my ’05 xB with 22k. It was the most I’d ever paid for a car.

        They have incredible resale value, which is why I paid only $3k less than new for a 5-year-old car. Then again, with the current used-car bubble, it’s still worth $9500 or so.

        I get 35mpg around town, but only 31 on the highway! It has a bit of cult status, combined with Toyota reliability.

        What more could you ask? Okay, maybe better gearing for the highway, but that’s about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Actually, I think offering a forum where the B&B bought and sold cars from each other would be a huge mistake. Think about it for the moment. We’re talking The Best and the Brightest, absolute authorities on the value of the automobile. And always right, of course.

        Now visualize one B&B, absolutely certain and correct on the fair value of a car that he owns, attempting to sell said car to another B&B. And this person, of course, is an absolute authority on what that could is truly worth, every error made by the manufacturer, and every possibility of the car breaking down sometime in the next 400,000 miles and leaving him stranded in the road.

        The attempt at negotiation between both B&B’s would make Israeli/Palestine look like a group sing of “Kumbya” by comparison. Now multiply that by a hundred or so attempted deals per month, and then add it the group’s ability to go public with their venting . . . . . . . .

        On the other hand, if this energy could be harnessed, we could probably recharge a Leaf in less than five minutes.

  • avatar
    slance66

    These all make sense, but it makes me wonder if the market is considerably different in Georgia than in suburban Boston.

    The most common new car buyer among my neighbors and acquaintances is something of a hybrid of The ‘Bourgeois and The Keeper. In fact, I suspect most folks go through fazes. My only new car was a Volvo S60, drove it for 9+ years to 112k. Those last 3-4 years I behaved like The Tightwad, going on Brickboard and doing my own AT flush, plugs, bushing replacements, motor mount replacements etc. Even ordered new/used wheels from Erie.

    But I was bored with it after 9 years. New? Hell no. CPO BMW 328xi fit the bill. My commute was 70 miles round trip when I bought the Volvo. Now it’s 7. But since I’m something of a Keeper, I wasn’t willing to lease.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    I’m a combination as well, especially as I’ve gotten older. I’m more concerned about having good, reliable family transportation for the family than I am for myself since I have a company car for my daily commute.

    That means new for my wife’s primary vehicle and used for me, although I do plan to keep my cars either way for ten years or more. With a new car for the family I get warranty coverage for at least the first three years of ownership, plus I know for a fact what maintenance has and has not been done, any accidents or recalls, and any other hiccups that might have come along. My wife’s car is a 2006 Honda Odyssey that I plan to keep until 2017.

    Since I don’t have to rely on my personal cars to get to and from work, I’m less worried about having an older car that I have to tinker with occasionally to keep running right. I have a ’95 GMC Sierra and ’02 Chevrolet Camaro SS for me.

    If something were to change and I lost my work ride, I’d probably have to do some scrambling to figure out what I was going to use for a commuter car. I don’t have enough confidence in the truck to subject it to the daily grind of a 50 mile round trip commute. It’s also a low- optioned SL model that isn’t exactly comfortable.

    As for the Camaro, I would hate to subject the car that’s been my pampered weekend toy to the daily commuting grind as well. Overall, I guess it’s one of those “good kind” of problems to have, especially since it’s just hypothetical at the moment.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    I think people have heard the old saw about how “a new car loses 1/3 of its value the moment it drives off the lot” so many times they believe it. I’d be interested to see a serious calculation of the “newness premium” after accounting for the new-car warranty, available incentives, cheaper financing (even aside from incentives), the fact that it’s generally easier to get the selling price all the way down to the bone, and the fact that every single component in the car has 100% of its useful life remaining. I suspect it’s pretty small, and of course it’s easier to get exactly what you want.

    I buy used, but may go new next time. My wife always buys new. She’s part “keeper” (put 188,000 miles on her last car) and also has the unusual taste krhodes mentions above — wanted a 2010 Outback with a stick (not an easy thing to find used) for her latest car.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Take a look at edmunds true cost to own calculations: http://www.edmunds.com/tco.html. They do exactly what you are looking for. It goes back six model years for most vehicles.

      And you’re right that the newness premium is small.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        Interesting link. Thanks for that. By the time I’ve penciled in my own figures for my first years ownership (which is less than their estimates), my actual cost will be close to a 3rd less than what they are predicting after 5 years.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    People needs to understand that they live once, and if a new car will make you happier and you can afford it, why not? Life’s not “graded” on how much money you have accumulated or how much you save. Of course don’t go buy the BMW 7-series you’ve always wanted when you’re currently flipping burger at McDonald’s, but still…

    Basically, do what makes you happy, within your means. If keeping that 15-years old Panther is what makes you happy, be all means! If you would be happier trading that old clunker for a new car, do it!

    Generally, though, people did not change their car if they’re still happy with it. They buy new cars when the old one is starting to give them problems. An alternator here, a power window switch there… it gets to you eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Mr Whoopee: “They buy new cars when the old one is starting to give them problems.”

      Generally, that’s when I start to look for another car. If the one I have is nickel & dime-ing me, that’s when I start cruising the lots.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Thank you! Yes, my brother just got a new car because his old one is started to give him problems, the last one, the radiator has to be replaced… and it’s a Toyota! At least the new one will be under warranty for a while.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    One more reason to buy new, even now: The “R” word.

    Steve didn’t mention it because he lives down south where it isn’t a problem, but up north your average carbody lasts 12-17 years, and the last five of those it’s a pain to work on due to stuck bolts.

    Buy a new car and you get to write it off over that entire time span, with an anticorrosion warranty for the first 3-6 years. Buy a 5-year-old one and the anticorrosion warranty is close to the end and you only get 7-12 more years out of it. If it doesn’t have to go out in the salty slush it will last a lot longer but one car per household has to be lost to it. People used to bring up cars from the south and advertise them as “Carolina Cars” or “Dallas Specials”, but I haven’t heard of that for years.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I don’t know where my wife and I fit in to what category, but if we get a good car, we tend to keep it. We kept our 1981 Reliant for 7 years and sold it only because her great-uncle gave us his 1988 LeBaron coupe, and it had A/C!

    We kept our 1984 Chrysler E-Class (bought in 1986) for 8 years.

    Our 1992 LeBaron convertible? 8½ years. (a fun car, not a daily driver)

    Our 1990 Acclaim? 10½ years.

    A few others were only temporary. (1993 Spirit, 1996 Intrepid, 1999 Stratus)

    Our 1996 Ranger (bought in 1998)? 6 years.

    Our 2002 CR-V? Still have it, in today for its 90K maintenance.

    Our 2004 Impala? Ditto. Going in soon for its 90K maintenance.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I unintentionally bought new in my college years when my first clunker bit it… unintentional in the sense that I had no idea that it would last this long. 16 years later, hardly anything breaks… except for the want of something new, there’s no rational reason not to keep driving it and doing something more productive with the other-wise new-car money. When I do get a new one, I’ll load it up… if it’s another 16-20 years, this time I’ll prepare for it.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    With interest rates being as low as they are now, buying new is definitely something worth thinking about, especially if you plan to keep the car a long time. It was something I thought long and hard about as I could have afforded a new Focus or Mazda 3 easily and both are good cars that would have been cheap to own in the long run. In the short run, however, I was looking at 5 years of $300/month payments, and with plans to buy a house in the next year, that just didn’t seem prudent. Some may question the prudence of my choice, a used 2004 BMW 330i with 99k miles, but the car will be paid off in a year, right when I go to buy the house. Yes the gas and maintenance on the Bimmer are more expensive, but that $10k price difference (or those $300/month) payments will pay for a lot of maintenance. Oh, and I’m driving a BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      I mean this honestly – best of luck! It can be surprising how much maintenance $10k will buy on a newer Bimmer – not all that much. In my experience, each thing that goes wrong is at least a grand. Leaking auto-dimming rearview mirror? $1k at the dealer. Airbag seat sensor? Power Seat motor? Sunroof Track? etc. All this stuff can start creeping up around this time… None of it mission-critical, but all of it very expensive at the dealers.

      It can easily go in your favor; you mightn’t have any issues at all for the next 100k – in which case you win. But the best thing you can do is establish a good relationship with an independent BMW mechanic. Their rates are usually about 2/3 the dealer rate, and a good one can explain what needs to be done right, versus what can be fixed or ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        A friend recently had to replace the alternator in his 2001 540i…$1200 at an indy mechanic. Yikes.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I have said before on here – you have to be borderline mentally incompetent to take any car out of warranty to a dealer for repairs and maintenance. Unless you absolutely MUST have the world’s most expensive cappacino while you wait. A brand-specific independent will save you a fortune, while learning to DIY will save you several fortunes. And in my experience, most dealership mechanics are only borderline competent – the really good ones open thier own shops.

        And even the occasional $1000 repair is a whole lot cheaper than car payments. Which for my sparsely-optioned deeply-discounted e91 are $650/mo even with 1.9% financing. I will be mighty happy when it is paid off in a few years.

        e46 BMWs like the OP has are not difficult cars to service, they have FAR less electonics than the current generation, and age quite gracefully with proper maintenance. Which anyone who can read and turn a screwdriver can do themselves, for the most part. The most profitable couple of hours you can spend is reading up on your car on whatever model-specific Internet Forums you can find. BMWs in particular are very well served by the Internet age.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        @krhodes1:

        I agree completely, though in terms of DIY, the e46 is no e30. That list I threw out there wasn’t random – it as this past year’s to-do list on a 2004 e46 xi w/94k miles on it. And they’re common problems.

        The auto-dimming rearview is filled with fluid that eventually either evaporates or leaks down and damages the console. There a sort-of “quiet recall” out there, but you’ve got to contact the manufacturer directly, and it’s been a pain. The passenger airbag seat sensor can’t be fixed within reason, so the light will stay on indefinitely. The power seat motor was replaced with a used unit. The sunroof track is a common repair that was DIY for <$300, but it took a weekend and still wasn't quite right. I weekly pray that we don't lose an auto-leveling Xenon!

        The car was CPO four years ago, and still well more expensive than a new Mazda3. Don't get me wrong – it's a fantastic car in almost every way. It has been well worth it, and it wont be sold for a few years at least. However, as far as finances are concerned, it's a tough argument to make. Thank goodness emotions balance that out.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      I bought the new Mazda 3 when I was in your situation (as a keeper.) My thinking was that if I buy a 5+ year old used car, in 5 years I’ll have to buy a new one to replace the 10 year old car. If I buy the new car, in 5 years I’ll have a 5 year old car for free. That’s where the 10k price difference gets lost.

      Of course I’m driving a Mazda and you’re dribing a beemer…

      A large part of my decision is that I like C-class sized cars and am not very much a bells and whistles person so am happy with econmy cars (As long as they drive well which the “Mazda” thing covers.). In other words it really comes down to personal preference as much as complex financial calculations/assumptions.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      As the BMW forums will tell you: put aside $3,000 to $4,000 a year for maintenance. So, the $10,000 “bargain” Beemer won’t seem like such a bargain, 18 months from now! I speak from sad, painful experience… next time, the vehicle will be a $10,000 Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        Actually for an e46 the forums wiki said to budget $1-2k per year if you have a good independent mechanic (I do) and you plan to do much of the maintenance yourself (I do), and even at your $3-4k per year budget, that’s still roughly equivalent to my $300-350/month car payment (which would be $3600-$4200 annually). Also, my particular e46 is relatively lightly optioned. No Satnav, no heated seats, no auto dimming mirror. Only options I can think of are the zhp performance package, xenons, sunroof, and leather. the car has good maintenance history with a lot of work recently done (entire ac and heater core, water pump, front bushings, brakes, etc). besides, the mazda or ford wouldn’t be totally free to own maintenance wise. They don’t have free scheduled maintenance so you’ll still be paying something, and that will have to be done at a qualified mechanic so as not to void the warranty. Financially, I realize the Mazda or Focus would have been cheaper in the long run. However, in the short run, having just started a new job and preparing to buy a house in a year, the lack of payments gives me freedom and flexibility to do what I need to to realize my other goals, esp since 2 years from now I’ll be able to afford Jeffzekas repair estimate and still have enough left over to finance a used S2000.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    When my kids were young, I was not going to have my wife and kids in a beater; we leased for several years. I still think it made the most sense, back in the late 90’s through the mid 2000’s, GMAC leases were super cheap, with the high residuals loaded on to the back end. The warranty was generally enough to get me through the lease period.

    One car I thought I would buy at the end of the lease turned out to be less than stellar so we leased something else, another car I should have kept I returned.

    Once the poop hit the fan in 2008-2009, I hunkered down and bought a new Pontiac G6, and still feel that was the best course of action. With our supplier family discount and a fair amount of money down on the car, we have a manageable payment for about a couple of more years. With 2+ years in, the car has had only minor issues, so I don’t think I will be looking for another ‘good’ car after we tear up the payment book on this one.

    If my work car gets wrecked or a major component expires, I may find myself on the car lots. If that happens, I’m hoping it happens after this used car price bubble bursts. Knowing my luck, it ain’t gonna happen that way…

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      @geozinger:

      The GM Supplier discount is basically what put me behind the wheel of my Impala. That, coupled with the 3K rebate made it a very, very sweet deal, one I have never regretted. Now if the wheels fall off tonight, I’ll have a different story come tomorrow!

      Interestingly, the 2004 Impala and 2002 CR-V are running neck-and-neck as to reliability, even tho’ the Honda is two years older. It may still outlast the Imp, however. Time will tell.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I’ve been using the supplier-family deal for years now. It was sweeter back when I was directly working for a supplier, but all of those deals have gone away with the BK.

        I don’t know for sure, but I would hazard a guess to say that the old Impy should hold up pretty well to the duty it’s seeing now. No doubt it’s not a bad idea to have an idea of what you might need to buy next. But by 2003, the W’s were pretty well sorted out. Freeway driving is usually pretty easy on a car. Unless you have LA, Chicago or Atlanta levels of rolling gridlock. I know you’re in Cincy somewhere, are you traveling between suburbs?

        Hopefully you can stay away from the really bad traffic…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “I’ve been using the supplier-family deal for years now. It was sweeter back when I was directly working for a supplier, but all of those deals have gone away with the BK.”

        Geo, you’re not kidding, my neighbor across the street just bought a new Equinox. He had access to a family plan, too. What did he get? A whopping $500 bucks! Period. He told me that discounts apply to each vehicles’ demand. What a difference!

        In May of 2004, I had the supplier discount which averaged somewhere around 7.5% I thought, but works out to well over that if my math’s right. Add to that the $3K rebate at the time, and my out the door price was $19,050. Sticker was, I think, $24,900. maybe they dumped the car on me, but never have I been so happy after being dumped on!

        I live in West Chester, which is off I-75 in the northern suburbs. Once I get on the highway (not I-75), my commute is almost all highway. 5 miles to I-275, another 2 off the highway to work. Just about 50 miles each way. It still stinks, and will get worse when the snow and ice hits.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Years ago the discount was much higher, like in the 10% range. I think when they started pushing out the discounts to the general public, the discount percentage got smaller. To be honest, I have no idea if the general public ever got the same amount of discount as actual employees and families. Having worked for some less than scrupulous dealers, I would guess not.

        EDIT: Sounds like your daily journey is fairly stop’n’ go traffic free? If so, bonus. The one thing I hated when living in bigger cities was the stopping of traffic, for no apparent reason. I know it’s the accumulation of cars into the freeway system, but still it was pretty aggravating.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I dated a girl in high school (this was 2004, mind you) who drove a hand-me-down ’00 Impala LS that belonged originally to her father. It had over 230k miles on it. I realize that’s quite a bit of driving in a short amount of time, so it isn’t an exact comparison to an older-in-years vehicle, but it looked almost brand new aside from wear on the driver’s seat pleather and the carpet. I doubt her dad was a more-than-mandatory maintenance person, too. I don’t think she ever had trouble with that car. Not sure how long she ended up keeping it, because her relationship with it outlasted her relationship with me. Was leagues better than her previous car – a ’99 Alero GLS V6 coupe that gave nothing but trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Kalpana Black: True story. My BIL bought a brand new 1997 Chevy Cavalier. At the time he was selling home improvement all over the greater Youngstown area, probably about 100 square miles. By Y2K he’s put 192,000 miles on the car. He meets a nice girl, starts his own business, doesn’t need the Cavy, parks it. For four years. I buy it from him in 2004 for $1000. Start the car up for the first time in months, drive the 360 miles back to Grand Rapids. No problems.

        Fast forward to the present, car is still on the road, still runs well, but rust is dissolving the body. The car has the 2.2 OHV motor with the 4T40 auto trans, nearly bulletproof combination. Even with the accelerated rate he was driving the car, my BIL kept up the severe duty service levels on the car. It thoroughly paid off.

        FWIW, I would never consider buying a car with almost 200K from anybody but my BIL, as takes good care of his equipment. Anyone else, I would have walked.

        Best $1000 I’ve ever spent.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Cars are generally bad investments, but they provide personal transportation and it’s hard to go without. I lived overseas for years and did not own any vehicles. I saved thousands a year.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I needed an inexepensive 4wd machine for my daily commute to a new location and purchased a Suzuki SX-4 (6 speed) as depicted in the lede pic.

    Love it, love it, love it.

    Fun, reliable, and cheap to run.

    Just thought I’d throw in an unsolicited kudo.

  • avatar
    chris8017

    Early this year my trusty old Saturn developed bad clutch hydraulics and the timing chain in the motor was on its way out. Plus it had numerous other issues.

    After tons of research and consideration I purchased a new 2011 Mazda6 2.5L with 6spd manual base model earlier this year. I wanted to buy a vehicle a few years old with maybe 30,000 miles on it but they were a few grand less than a brand new vehicle and many of these used cars were off a lease. I also got 0% financing so I could hold onto my cash and pay off in time.

    At the time, a $7k-9k car came with 120,000+ miles. No way.

    I’m in the first category…”the keeper.”

    If someone has a stable job and is in the market for a new car I think these days buying new isn’t the worst idea. When you swap cars every 3-5 years is when you really get hit in the wallet IMHO.

  • avatar

    Steve,

    My best laugh of the week so far. My first laugh ofthe week.

    I’ve bought three cars, one of them new. I think I was figuring on keeping the ’93 Saturn 5speed for 20 years. I did have it for 11 years and 147k, but by that time it was nickeling an diming me to death, and going to the shop every other month, once with an electrical problem that took 5 trips to diagnose. Still, my capital cost amortized was barely more than a G.

    If I like the new Toyota FT86–or whichever twin is available in the US–as much as I think I might, I may well buy one new–after it’s been out a year so I can get some idea what the bugs are, and wait for them to be expunged. I’ll plan on keeping it for at least 15 years, again, giving me a low annual capital cost. By the time I get it, my ’99 Accord 5-speed, which I got for $5,500, will have about 225k on the clock, at at 9 years ownership, an annual capital cost of less than $500.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Buying a new car offers a certain non-economic value as well: you know how well the vehicle has been taken care of. Buying new and taking excellent care of your vehicle virtually guarantees that you will get exactly the vehicle you want and many years of use from it.

    With a used vehicle you don’t know if it was driven by grandma or a would be fast and furious teenager, if the oil was ever changed (VW did not check when I turned in my leased vehicle), or it was a rolling meth lab.

    Starting out with a “virgin” car makes it less likely you will discover an unsavory past.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      When I was a young Airman in the US Air Force and poor I was forced to buy used cars for my family. It made me a believer that you buy other people’s problems when you buy used. I never had any luck with buying used cars. They looked and ran great when I bought them but things always started to break down not long afterwards.

      One good thing resulted from buying used cars during my years in the Air Force. I became an ace-mechanic with the help of the Auto Hobby Shop on Base by being forced to do all the repair and maintenance work myself. I’m forever indebted to Chilton’s and the Fisher-body manuals. Good stuff!

      Buying used just doesn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense in the past, and it makes no sense now. If you need dependable transportation you’re better off buying something cheaper new, than buying something more expensive used. At least with the new you have warranty coverage. That isn’t always the case with buying used.

      One of my kids ended up buying a new Corolla instead of a 3-year-old off-lease BMW 325. The guy who bought the BMW was a High-school friend of his and that BMW was always in the shop for one thing or another and kept the new owner broke most of the time.

      Buy new if you can!

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    and some people don’t buy used cars becuase they don’t have the time or patience to deal with smarta$$ slimebag used car dealers. A lot of people appreciate the value of a warranty, too. Most of those people owned a VW product at some point in their lives.

    Besides, where do you think used cars come from? Without new car buyers, from whom would used car buyers and attendant used car dealers bottom feed?

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    You just can’t keep cars a long time in my neck of the woods regardless of miles because the tin worm will eventually claim otherwise road worthy vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      What about the undercoating or Rhino Liner? Isn’t it just neglect or letting rust get out of control?

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Cars come from the factory with undercoating. Most of the rust that I see is on the body panels which there isn’t much you can do to prevent other than not driving your car in the winter. The rust starts in areas that you can’t really clean very well and can’t see until it is too late like seams, folds, and under moldings.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        One thing I took from college was the term “winter rat”. “Sibercuse” salt destroyed cars…this was early 80s, so the salt was munching on 70’s crap. By four years old, maybe five, almost all cars were sporting at least some rust. Certain cars by 7 or so years were loaded with holes. You could see the backside of interior panels through the 7 inch wide holes in the body. I never saw corrosion like that where I grew up. Today’s cars do much better, but I wonder what 10 years does to a 2001 car in that environment. So, in college I would avoid driving through meltwater running across the road as it was super-concentrated with salt. After any exposure, I went to the quarter actuated wash and pressure washed the underside of my car. I was lucky because early 70s C body Mopars were pretty good on rust resistance, unlike the typcial Dart/Valiant…

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s all the trading-in/devorcing that makes cars/women expensive. Make double sure you’ve got a good dependable one and more importantly, one that gets your ‘motor running’.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    Terry – yep, that’s exactly the guy from Brickboard. Lamenting that 850 went front wheel drive and buying older 940 as an upgrade. Love it.

    My father used to say that I am too poor to buy a used car. By and large, he was right.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Well, a 940 was the more expensive car when new and being sold in the same showroom as the 850. Never forget, THE overriding design goal of the 850 was that it be cheaper to build than the 240.

      I am firmly of the opinion that a non-turbo 940 is THE cheapest car you can run over the long haul. They don’t rust even in New England, they are so simple there is very little to break, and they are good enough to drive as long as you are not in a hurry. And safe enough even by modern standards. And if the non-turbo is too slow, the turbo is not THAT much more to buy or to run.

      A 940 is what a Panther would be if Ford had actually cared.

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        The whole thing about 240/940 being “slow” is a crock of $$##. You drive as fast as the traffic. Traffic drives about 10 mph slower nowadays that it should be due to proliferation of prescription drugs and car/phone connectivity. An average speed over time is about 26 mph – that’s what my leased Mercedes computer used to tell me. I never feel that my 240 is slow. I would like an airbag or two, however since everyone else got them.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @tallnikita

        All depends on where you are driving.

        Around Boston, a 2/940 is a slow car. Not saying it is dangerous or anything, but you will drive with your foot planted hard on the floor a good bit of the time. Rt1 North of Boston can be 75mph flow of traffic speed outside of rush hour, and nearly bumper to bumper. Doesn’t bother me particularly, a 2.3l redblock will spin 5000 rpm for 4-500K miles, and they can go ahead and hit me, I could use the money! Though I admit, at the moment my “Boston beater” is a 965, which is damned near as fast as my BMW in a straight line. But I have probably driven 5-600K miles in 2/7/940s.

        Average speed might welll be 26mph around Boston too – but it is an average of 80mph and stopped. Usually within the past 30 seconds. It’s not at all like NYC where you are mostly just stopped.

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        I lived in Boston for 9 years, and this is my 9th year in NYC. Believe me, I’ll take LIE or BQE any day over Rt. 1 between Kappy’s Liquors and Peabody exit. That stretch is just mental with all strip malls exiting. And Rt. 3S on Fridays, of course – that’s just made to sit in your Brick and laugh at all the AMGs and M-classes crawling the same 3 mph as you are.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Wow, I’m gonna turn into “Terry.”

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    My daily driver is 20 yrs old and that is how long I have been driving it. I have a newer car for long road trips, only 8 yrs old. My truck is 10 yrs old and that is also how long I have owned it.I bought these vehicles used when they were less than 1 yr. old. It would take some kind of a super bargain to fall into my lap before I would even think of a different vehicle. These are all full size rear wheel drive and have needed nothing more than normal repairs.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “…have lunch at Waffle House for three years straight so that you can completely avoid that ‘growing old’ business.”

    Interpreted as clutching chest, collapsing upon floor or ground and commence ever-decreasing thrashing and gurgling-type sounds as ceased blood-flow to brain results in loss of consciousness and inevitable departure from this existence plane.

  • avatar
    redav

    I buy new. I realized that if used cars really were a significantly better deal, people would be willing to pay more for them (because they would still be getting a better value than buying new). However, because of all that economics mumbo jumbo-equilibrium-efficient markets-stable points-etc, used and new cars are priced pretty close to their real value.

    Thus, I choose to go new. I pay a bit more up front to get a car that lasts longer overall as well as get to enjoy the full warranty & lowest maintenance period. I also highly value not being surprised dirty little secrets left behind by prior owners.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Ubermensch

    Thought it was the dealer that sprayed on the undercoating and sold as an add-on like paint/fabric protectors. They mostly spray it where you can see it and not necessarily in all the crevices. Maybe things have changed since I worked at a dealer as a kid but either way, seems like you could control rust by frequent inspections and vigorously attacking it when it surfaces.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      If you look at most modern cars, they come from the factory with that rubbery undercoating already applied to most of the surfaces. Without disassembling the car you can’t really get the rust proofing everywhere you would need it anyway. It is up to the manufacturer to build in rust resistance. Most cars a much better than they used to be, but I still see many late model(2000+) cars with terminal cases of body rot.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Why is getting the full life of a car considered being “cheap”? I feel that buying quality, and what what you like and keeping it for a long time makes sense on many levels…so “keeper” it is….

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Sydney

    I’d love to see TTAC do a “Most depeciated” model for a few categories. I know you don’t have them in the USA but I am currently considering a Citroen C5. They have the same model for many years, lots of luxury and features, cost about the same as a BMW 3-series new and about 1/5 as much when five years old.
    What does this in the States?

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I’m a Terry , except that I’ve never bought anything new. In the last 15 yrs, Ive had 5 BMW 528es. I bought the 1st one with 150k miles on it. In 12 yrs, I put 200k more miles on it. I am able to maintain it and the others to a level such that I’ve only used a ramp truck once. They may not be 100% but they are reliable. I couldn’t do it without the guys at mye28.com. “a loosely united drinking club with a car problem ” and inter-net World Pac parts guys.

  • avatar
    ex007

    I’d like to be a keeper, but I get bored with a car after several years (or months, as it turns out with my latest ride) and so I buy new whenever I get the itch. I’d really like to find a way to lease a new car every 4-6 months. There are so many rides out there that I’d like to experience that it’s hard to believe anything could keep me happy for 10+ years. For example, I’d love to have a C4S, but I can’t imagine using one as my daily driver for the next 10 years. But I would love to drive one for a summer or two.

  • avatar
    jtk

    I would like to buy a new car, but every time I get a decent down payment saved up, my current car needs a repair that is eerily close to the amount I have saved. And to think I was originally hoping to save enough to buy a new car outright!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    My computer froze and I am going to be very embarrassed I if the comment I made shows up from deep cyberspace after I do this again. I live in east texas where the rust worms don’t really thrive. I am retired, 68 years old, and don’t make much money but have very few bills. I sort of fall into more than one category.

    After ridding myself of the fever blisters known as Saturn/Opel we bought a new Nissan Cube. We enjoy getting 32 mpg and going anywhere. The buy new crowd.

    Donkeys need hay. Chicken and Ducks need feed. I bought a 91 S-10 with 79k miles that had been a plant truck. It has about 81k now and fills these needs. I will probably keep it forever or until I fix car number three. Whichever comes first. That would be the low mileage used crowd.

    In 1971 I bought a 57 Handyman 2 door wagon that I still have. Drove it till 2007 when gas prices killed me and I parked it. Have been working on it and it will be street ready pretty soon. May convert to LP. That would be the buy it and keep it forever crowd.

    Frankly don’t see why anyone much cares what others think of what they drive. Some of my most fun rides were in the POS category. The 57 may have been/possibly will be, the most fun of all along with some old beetles.

    • 0 avatar
      Banger

      We, too, bought a new Cube roughly one year ago.

      For $15,990, it’s a heck of a buy. We probably could have got a Versa hatch a little cheaper if we’d haggled, but its just not as cavernous inside, nor as easy to “see all the corners” when parking, as my wife says. It’s her car, primarily, so why not? Cheapest car payments we’ve ever had, and our previous two cars were used (a two-year old, 12,000-mile 2002 Kia Spectra sedan and a two-year old, 50,000-mile Nissan Sentra 1.8S). When you go back and look at the papers from our old Sentra, we honestly spent as much on it due to the higher finance rate as we did on the Cube. Crazy stuff.

      I have an old Ford Ranger I’ll likely keep until it dies. Then, I’ll have it fixed up and keep it some more. I’ve been eyeballing a potential daily driver for my future, and have been considering either a new Nissan Cube base model with the 6MT (just to spice things up a bit from my wife’s CVT model, even though I honestly love the CVT more than any automatic trans I’ve driven) or a new base model Mustang. ‘Cos Daddy needs a cool car, after all.

      Either one of those models is a lousy deal on the used market. Save another $2,000 and buy new, and you’re likely to save at least that much in repair costs because you’ll know the car was maintained correctly and driven with care from the very beginning.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Personally when I buy, I buy new as I don’t want other people’s problems as a lot of people just don’t take care of their cars (where I do). Nor do I want to sit where some other fat SOB farted, or did other things in my ride. Just think rentals. Yuk!

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Having gone car shopping with the wife for a new small hatchback, we found that in the current market USED cars were going for 1-2k LESS than new ones, both from private sellers and car dealers. There are a lot of car auctions in our part of Florida, but we were quickly edged out by power buyers from the local dealer lots–and those deals weren’t that much more appealing. We got a new Impreza 5-door base model for 1.5k more than the average used deal we could find, unless we wanted some 10 year old piece of junk with no warranty. Newer used cars are a hot market right now, and often not worth the hassle.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    For too many years, I’ve traded cars like every year or less – major dumbass mistake. I finally stopped, years to late actually and I live pay check to pay check due to big payments. But, one day I will have it all paid off and can sit back and put a few bucks in savings each month. My advice, buy a car that you can afford comfortably, cause other things will happen, you’ll need cash for this and that and it won’t be there. Now I work my regular job and detail cars on the side to help out. I agree that some used cars you should avoid, I sometimes wonder how anyone can drive around in a garbage can.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “Tightwad” describes me well enough. I bought my ’04 Mazda3 new with no intention to ever sell it and ordered the FSM at the same time. Nobody else has touched my car except for a couple minor warranty issues. I tend to keep all my possessions until they’re worn out, but I’m also passionate about them and research all my options before purchasing. I consider buying a new car to be a huge hassle, since I have to modify much of the electronics so that it doesn’t annoy me, and it’s getting worse every year in that aspect.

    Small Japanese used cars also happen to be priced insanely high here in Western Canada.

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