By on October 6, 2017

2012 Dodge Charger

Every now and then, life takes you by surprise. One minute you’re hanging out with your buddies, deploying the 225 horsepower of a tattered Mustang GT to do donuts in the parking lot of the Muddy Shag Lounge. The next, you’re weighing the benefits of a variable rate mortgage.

It’s an alarming reminder of age, not unlike the sudden predilection of my knees to sound like nails in a Cuisinart when I attempt to alight from my sofa after watching the Pittsburgh Penguins get shellacked by the Chicago Blackhawks.

One such life event snuck up on me a couple of weeks ago: I finally kept a car long enough to pay it off.

Ford Edge SEL

Our 2012 Dodge Charger found itself in our driveway after a particularly alarming crash involving our Ford Edge. Props to Ford for building a safe crossover: my wife walked away from the driver’s seat of the machine you see above with merely a seatbelt bruise and the annoyance that she had brimmed the tank with fuel five minutes prior to the wreck. Physics does funny things, including wedging a wayward soccer ball between the Edge’s headliner and a front seat headrest with such force that it took several strong and well-placed kicks to remove it. Newton’s First Law is proven once again.

Anyways, after the insurance company’s cheque cleared (a remarkably rapid experience, devoid of the usual horror-show stories), we decided our family did not want another crossover vehicle. The Edge was a front-drive machine, the product of the belief my wife and I share that a good set of winter tires trumps traction to all four corners if those corners are inhabited by rubber whose surface resembles that of cooked bologna. All-wheel drive, then, was also not a must-have for our next vehicle.

I’m tall. So is my wife. Our son will probably also be NBA-sized once he grows into his sullen teenage years. With this in mind – along with pleasant memories of large sedans – we sought out something that would provide stretch-out comfort but not put a V8-sized dent into our fuel budget. The 2012 Dodge Charger, whose interior was recently restyled from a PlaySkool plastics bin to a relative zenith of plushness, fit the bill. I had but two must-haves on my list for FCA’s rear-driver: the 8.4-inch uConnect system and the ZF 8-speed automatic.

2012 Dodge Charger

After some polite haggling (we’re Canadian, eh?) and a good deal of jocularity at the dealership, we drove away happy. I remarked at the time – and continue to remark today – that the Charger represents a modern day Fifth Avenue: large, spacious, and gloriously rear-drive. Powered by the Pentastar V6, it even gets good fuel economy, regularly averaging 8.0L/100km on the highway (that’s nearly 30 mpg, for my American friends in the audience).

My past has been riddled with both beaters and financed vehicles, not all of which were sound financial decisions. Many machines were brought (or dragged) home for less than $300, including a janky Crown Victoria whose seller lacked answers to straightforward questions such as, “Do you actually own this car?” In another instance, an LTD Station Wagon dated from the year of wife’s birth found its way into my garage, so riddled with rust that when I went to change a tire, I extended my Motomaster floor jack to its limit… yet all four tires remained squarely on terra firma.

Even my financed vehicles didn’t stay around too long, for a variety of reasons. I signed the note on a three-year old, off-lease Honda Accord coupe in 2005, resplendent in its silver paint and black leather seats. That one only lasted a couple of years before giving way to a jet black five-speed Mazda 6 hatchback, which then vacated the driveway for the Edge I mentioned above.

So what caused me to keep the Charger long enough to pay off the note? Inattention? The relentless march of time? Perhaps. In reality, it simply boils down to finally finding a car with which I was completely satisfied. It is, praise the pharaohs, the first car I’ve ever owned whose positives far outweigh the negatives.

Is it perfect? Hardly. Five years in, several minor features have stopped working, including the sunroof and heated seats. I’m not spending the money to fix the sunroof, simply because we rarely used it beyond opening the shade, and the heated seats will probably only become a vexing issue later this winter when temperatures drop to levels seen only on the surface of Hoth. I’ll grumble then, I’m sure.

2012 Dodge Charger

Which leads me to the whole point of this post: right now, the Charger is worth more as transportation than it is in monetary value. A new Charger isn’t all that different than my 2012 unit and, if past experience with optional feature vs. essential mechanicals is any indication, this car will run badly longer than most other cars will run at all. I fully expect our son to use it for driving practice when he goes for his license in another few years.

Our pickup truck, on the other hand, is a different story. It, too, is mechanically sound, requiring only the replacement of a starter and a regular maintenance items since buying it as an off-lease used machine four years ago. Still, Ram’s famous over-the-rear-wheel rust has reared its ugly head at a rapid and exponential rate, and new trucks have far more tech and power than my eight-year-old 1500 Sport. I’m not sure I feel the same way about keeping the truck as I do the car, leading me to firmly believe that it is foolish to make blanket statements about whether it’s a good idea to pay off a car or not. It is most definitely a case-by-case deal.

But in the case of the Charger? I had no qualms about ringing up our local sign shop, the fabulously named Sid Sells Signs, and requesting an oversized novelty cheque. The lads at Blaikies Dodge, where we bought the car five years ago, were more than willing to play along with my ridiculous picture request. I’m proud to have kept the Charger for the length of the note without complaint. We’ll see what happens with the truck.2012 Dodge Charger

Life, then, does present itself with surprises. One group of people that won’t be surprised any time soon? My neighbours, in reaction to a new set of wheels replacing the Charger in my driveway. This is one case in which I’ll be keeping the thing ‘til the wheels fall off.

Or, more likely with the air and road conditions around here, the whole thing returns to the earth in the form of fine iron oxide filings.

[Images: © 2017 Matthew Guy]

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49 Comments on “Paid In Full: Why I Finally Kept a Car Long Enough to Pay the Note...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “wedging a wayward soccer ball between the Edge’s headliner and a front seat headrest with such force that it took several strong and well-placed kicks to remove it”

    Next time, try deflating the ball first.

  • avatar
    Opus

    I think the Penguin goalies missed the flight.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Good on you for making wiser financial decisions of an automotive nature. My only advice here is to examine future large repair bills with respect to replacement car costs instead of your car’s market value, as many people do. A $1000 bill on a $4000 car may not make sense on a percentage basis but that’s only 2-3 months of payments on a replacement car and if that large repair gets you another two years of use out of the old car, you’re way ahead.

    The big problem that I have with this article is the assertion that a Charger is a good car for a family of giants. My experience was the exact opposite having rented one about four year ago. The interior was surprisingly cramped and the backseat practically nonexistent for a car of its exterior dimensions. A car on the opposite end of the spectrum is our in-laws CRV – gobs of interior and cargo room in a relatively tidy package.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The issues with the older vehicle breaking down isn’t the cost, but the timing. It always seems to happen when things are the least convenient. When I drove old vehicles, I was always fixing something on them. Wasting too much of my time. Major things would fail when I needed to drive somewhere. Now I have to work out getting it towed to my shop, then getting a ride. Then I have to rent a car. This always happens when I need to get somewhere. On the other hand, the new car has little chance of leaving me stranded. If it happens during dealership business hours I’ll get a loaner within 20 minutes of dropping it off. You pay for the peice of mind.

      That being said, my truck is driven so infrequently because I usually have a company vehicle, that once it is payed off, I think I’ll be able to risk it.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Agreed.

        From a financial standpoint, repair costs are pretty trivial compared to buying a new or newer car. The sales tax alone on a new car is probably several years of repair and maintenance on an older vehicle. To say nothing of the real cost which is depreciation.

        But the frustration/headache factor is why I’m a “newer” car owner now at this point in my life.
        that, and because I have the tools and experience, I feel obligated to try and make most repairs myself and it takes up too much of my time.

        But a 2012 model is not terribly old. But it is a Dodge.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Our 2000 Durango is up in miles (195k now) and it has been pretty reliable. The only two times it really let us down was when we had all the cooling system hoses replaced the new coolant cap was defective which let it vent enough coolant that it started to overheat. The other was the idler pulley bolt broke off and I could drive about 2 miles before having to pull off to let it cool down nursing it home. That was only 6 miles from home so it wasn’t bad. We seldom take it on long trips so we don’t worry much about it.

        Even if the motor went out I would probably get a replacement motor. they don’t make anything similar these days.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      At 6’4″ (36″ inseam), I found the Charger very roomy and comfortable. It, and the Challenger, are the only two vehicles I know that do not require me to push the seat all the way back to the end of its travel.

      German sizing and packaging FTW. I dread the day they are replaced with dinky Italian-sized roller skates.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “A $1000 bill on a $4000 car may not make sense on a percentage basis but that’s only 2-3 months of payments on a replacement car and if that large repair gets you another two years of use out of the old car, you’re way ahead.”

      So true. Funny how people only think of monthly payments when they purchase the new car, but when sacked with one good sized repair bill (like 2 months worth) they just give up. However you know its time to bail when lots of little repairs come up constantly, because at that point your back to making payments thus a new car makes sense.

      Having no payments is so awesome! I’ve got 4 vehicles (if you count my boat) and all them are paid off except one which we only got 10 months ago. Buying used helps as the 50% depreciation gets you something nice with payments so you low you can double them, thus cutting the note in half.

  • avatar
    mikey

    No monthly payments !!..: )..Yeah !…The old Charger, and the Ram will soldier on for while..Your right though, eventually the rust monster will send them to a premature date with the crusher.

    Just some advice from an old fellow Canuck..Both vehicles are too old for a “Krown” spray..Find a local guy to give them an old fashioned oil spray..Yes, a little messy, but it will buy you some more time.

    BTW.. Excellent writing Matthew ..I loved the reference to the Motomaster floor jack..Every Canadian boy that has ever done his own wrenching has such a tool in his garage.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Indeed. All Motomaster tools for me when I was driving my old ’85 Jetta diesel in Ontario as a younger guy. Now that I’m in the U.S. a lot of the tools are from Harbor Freight but I still love my Motomaster socket sets that I’ve had for about 20 years now.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      Mikey, why do you say that they are “too old” for Krown? Both my previous and current pickups still had good bodywork but were 8 model years old when I bought them and started taking them to Krown every fall.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        B.O.C. I should have worded it better. Yes, I’m great believer in Krown..I do theorize that once visible rust has made an appearance that a Krown job isn’t worth the money.

        My buddy bought a 2003 Silverado with some serious rust..He gives a guy $75 cash to soak it in a concoction of used motor oil, and transmission fluid. It looks awful, and makes a terrible mess. 3 years later, and the rust has slowed considerably. Without it, the Chev would be crusher food by now.

        I spend $129 with tax, for a Krown job every year on my 15 Mustang..Way less mess, and I figure the car is worth it. YMMV ??

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      “I loved the reference to the Motomaster floor jack..Every Canadian boy that has ever done his own wrenching has such a tool in his garage.”
      Word!

      My own Motomaster floor jack has got to be 30+ years old at this point. I’m planning to use it this weekend to put Winter tires on my daughter’s and my mom’s cars.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The fact that some of the interior amenities have completely failed only five years in would drive me nuts!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah good lord. The reason I’m comfortable with a 60-odd to 72 month car loan is that almost any modern vehicle should be reasonably expected to last that long and still have all of it’s bits fully functioning.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Y’all never rode in ‘indestructible’ Volvo 244s with half-functioning seat heaters in the 1990s to early 2000s? Those are supplier/parts issues, not likely manufacturer-specific.

        In my family’s experience the sunroof always went bad– so I don’t think anything’s changed. Are Chrysler still using Webasto roofs? Our neons both had them and they always needed love.

        Sunroofs are nice– in other people’s cars :)

        • 0 avatar

          My father’s 2010 RDX and my mother’s 2008 Civic both have sunroofs. No issues. I’m not sure why this is rocket science but Chrysler seems to continue to find a way to make simple things break easily.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            It might seem counter intuitive, but sunroofs usually fail on vehicles where they are not used. Using them regularly allows the cables to stay free and clean themselves. If they are never moved corrosion will build up over time, and eventually lock up.

          • 0 avatar
            PenguinBoy

            @mbella – that sounds plausible to me. I’ve never had a problem with sunroofs, but I use mine regularly and clean and lubricate the tracks occasionally.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Sunroofs are not an automatic problem. The one in my 92 Sable still works and has never had a mechanical problem. What does become a problem is leaks. The perimeter gasket dried out and began to leak at year 20. The Sunroof Doctor had a replacement which took about an hour to install. While the roof was out I found that three of the four drain lines were clogged. An electrician’s snake took care of that in short order.

            Old cars just require a bit of maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The exterior gasket of a sunroof is not designed to keep 100% of the water out. What keeps the water out of the interior are the sunroof drains. When they get clogged or disconnected, then water will come in.

            I actually drove one of my Volvo 740s around with NO exterior seal for a while when I removed one but the replacement was backordered. Still no water in the car because the drains were clear. Wicked LOUD though!

        • 0 avatar
          Forty2

          Pfft. The seat heaters in my 1991 240 work fine, to the point of OW MYASSS!

          And yeah, indestructible. This thing will not die. Also, the last MY was 1993 for the 240, not 2000s.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Absolutely – sunroofs and heated seats are minor features?

      Buddy…here’s some advice – take the $ that would have gone toward your next month’s car payment and start maintaining your car. Things break, and YOU need to get them fixed.

      Also, you look maybe 40 at the outside…stop making pitiful joint-replacement-candidate noises.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    As a person with a bona fide case of automotive ADD, this article hits close to home. I genuinely believe that it is a minor psychological addiction. Over the last 8 years, I’ve probably had no fewer than 32 different vehicles either registered in my name or pass through my driveway. And I might even be light on that number. Fortunately, outside of taking some excess time, peace of mind and skin off my knuckles, it never caused me marriage-ending levels of stress, but it’s certainly come close.

    At this point in my life, my kids are more important to me and I’ve made an effort to shift priorities (I’m working toward the point of this). There have been points in times past where I’ve allowed myself to fall down the rabbit hole that a vehicle defines who you are or helps establish your identity. I’ve realized now that that’s a tremendous fallacy. Instead, we should seek cars that are the supporting actors in our lives, not vying with us for the starring role. So, I’ve owned Jaguars, Land Cruisers, SAABs, Volvos, RAMs, Toyotas, Isuzus, the whole gamut.

    What am I driving now? A 2005 Pontiac Vibe with 168,800 miles on it. I’ve gotten rid of all the car payments in my house and it does feel as though a burden is lifted. To use a phrase employed here previously, by going with the Pontiac née Toyota, I’ve hit ’em where they ain’t. Now I can count on basic utility and reliability to help me focus more on me, not what I’m driving. Fortunately, all that shadetree experience over the years has provided me with tool set, literal and figurative, to maintain or repair this vehicle without a worry. I believe there is a sweet spot where something is old enough to get cheap but modern enough to be reliable, but not too expensive to service. If you want to simplify like me, that’s one easy way to do it.

    No longer am I a buyer of warranties or widgets, because say what you want, but that’s a large portion of what we’re signing on for with a new car. This path probably isn’t for everyone, but it works for me and probably a handful of other folks.

    Congratulations on seeing the loan through, Matthew. You’re probably right, service ‘er on time and you’ll be offsetting any financial duress from previous automotive flights of fancy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Congratulations on the payoff! That’s very satisfying.

    I paid off my 13 Optima Hybrid last month, a week before its warranty expired. Since it just had some warranty repairs done recently, that milestone made me a bit nervous.

    I’ve had cars with flexi-frames like you described. The good part is that they tend to keep all 4 tires on the ground during cornering.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I don’t know if there is truth to this or not, and someone in the B&B would likely know if this is fact or fiction. It “seems” logical.

    I was told to never put your full weight on your knee with a car that has heated seats, one or twice a year is fine but not repeatedly. I was told that the pressure of your full weight on a smaller area (like your knee) strains the elements until you have a failure.

    I’ve had one heated seat failure in my life, driver side only. Kept driving for two years after was we don’t get Hoth grade in the Pacific Northwest, but I sure did miss the perk.

    Curious if anyone has any insight on if that is true – or complete Bantha fodo.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Just the name of that dealer sounds so Canadian.

  • avatar

    Congratulations, but I could never be satisfied with a vehicle where such basic things break after just 5 years of ownership. Jeez, no wonder Chrysler is a dying company.

    That and everyone mistakes you for either a) a cop or b) a tourist in a rental. But, different strokes.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Were I to drive cars and not trucks; I’d look solely at the Charger regardless of irritating issues. RWD and a Hemi forgive those faults for me. I could be an a perfectly reliable Avalon or Impala and hate every torque-steering minute of it. A leaky sunroof sometimes is better than a hood I can’t see while driving, and engine whose exhaust note annoys me (assuming I can even hear it without tromping the pedal), and that FWD steering feel that I don’t like. I just wish Ford or GM would wield an RWD V8 competitor to the Charger (and the SS doesn’t count GM, it’s styling sucks and rock hard suspension also sucks) in style and spirit.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Congratulations on successfully climbing out of the car loan hole. Now that you don’t have a monthly car payment, what are your plans for the money? Since you have become accustomed to making the payment, it won’t change your life in the short term to contribute the same amount toward another goal. My suggestions in descending order: high interest debt like credit cards, vehicle purchase fund so you can pay cash next time, extra principal payments on your home mortgage, post high school education fund for your children, retirement fund for you and your wife.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Now what you should do is keep making those payements to your savings and beating down other debt.

  • avatar
    raph

    See this is why I’m not cool enough to hang out with the cool kids. The only time I’ve never paid off a car was when I had the chance to trade up my 07 GT to an 09 GT500. I made sure I was out of the negative equity territory before I walked into the stealership (owed 13k IIRC and got 17k in trade in). Every car with the exception of that one I’ve paid in full. Now I can’t say I didn’t immediately go out and finance another but with the current purchase I think this will be the last till I retire so I can take the extra money and pad my retirement as well as invest it in conjunction with a bit of savings so that I’ll end up hopefully with a nice fat self-funded retirement bonus.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    I dont think I’ll ever buy a car with a sunroof again, not on purpose anyway. My 98 Buick Riveria’s sunroof failed while open, meaning I had to deal with a huge hole in the roof of my car for a week. My 2002 Saturn SC had an issue where the sunroof drain would malfunction and I’d end up with huge puddles of water in my trunk. My 2007 Chrysler Sebring(I know) and 2007 Volvo S40 both had the same issue where the sunroof drains would clog and fill the floor of the car with water. My current car doesnt have a sunroof and I dont miss it one bit. The seat heaters though, that would drive me up a mountain. Have you checked for any blown fuses?

  • avatar
    CaseyLE82

    Things must be VERY different in Canada. Down here a 2012 car is basically a new car and I looked up the 2012 Dodge Charger. The cheapest I found was $8,788 and the most expensive was $18,900.

    Currently my small fleet includes:

    1991 Toyota Previa minivan
    1999 Subaru Forester
    2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac (daily driver)
    2009 Audi A4 Convertible (daily driver)

    We don’t have really any issues with any of them except that the Previa right now needs a new master cylinder for the brakes.

    I keep cars for a long time and NONE of these vehicles have a car payment nor were ANY of the purchased brand new.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I also keep cars way beyond what most are willing to do. BTW a payment isn’t the end of the world if you’re smart about it. I put a 30K loan on my Corvette and plunked down $50K. The credit union was offering rates that were barely above 1%. I gladly make those payments while the funds that could have paid for the car are making me many times more than that 1%.

  • avatar
    threeer

    This is how I felt (for the most part) about the 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart I had. Bought used in 2009, I kept it right up until the engine failed (timing belt went) at 170k or so. It had been replaced at around 115k, so I wasn’t expecting it to go that soon. Was it a perfect car? No. I always wished it had been offered with a manual transmission. But it made *just* enough of a sporting sound, came with the Ralliart interior, was the perfect size for me (not a fan of big cars…how un-American of me), was super utilitarian and looked the business with the pearl white paint, subtle body kit and Ralliart rims. Most youngsters who were into the who tuner car scene always would come up to me and ask me about it, assuming it was a true Ralliart (meaning that it came with the much more powerful engine). Mitsu only offered it in the US for that year, and I rarely ever saw another Sportback, much less a Ralliart variant. The car fit me to a tee, and I had zero desire to part with it until the fates intervened and toasted my engine. And I’ve had a fair number of cars, so having kept one for as long as I did was something of a revelation.

    Sometimes, “just right” is good enough, satisfying enough and comfortable enough to make you not keep looking around for the next garage queen…

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I purchased an ’04 LS Sportback new for 6000 off MSRP after it sat for a year on a local lot. I was working as a contractor for a courier service (pre-Uber, but the same idea, except with boxes) and the Aerostar I bought was dying and no longer reliable. I had a Focus ZX-3 with a stick, which was fun, but it’s not fun shifting all day when you make a living at it. It wasn’t a permanent job, but it worked for me at the time.

      I put 75k on that Lancer in 3 years and it ended when it was rear-ended by an Impala, which bent the car, totaling it. The extra $300 I spent on the gap insurance meant I walked away from it, which was fine.

      It was reliable, only out of service once, battery went bad(something I’ve had with the 4 lot queens I’ve purchased). It wasn’t exactly comfortable for all-day driving, though I imagine your Ralliart had slightly better seats. Mileage was so-so, but being a wagon, I could take some of the more lucrative bigger jobs rather than just small car jobs. In short, the Lancer literally earned its keep, but I wasn’t sad when it was totaled.

      I’d do another Mitsu, but they have nothing I want. I like the Outlander Sport for it’s sorta updated Subaru GL look, but the powertrain options are not good.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        $6,000 off MSRP and you needed gap insurance to avoid being under water?

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Yeah, I still owed a bit on my Focus I traded and had little to put down at the time. Plus, I knew I’d be driving it a ton and Mitsubishi resale is non-existent unless its an Evo. $300 to hedge my bets was a small price to pay and it kind of paid off.

          I put nothing down and walked away with nothing after it was totaled 3+ years. Not a win, really, but I didn’t lose much either.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Very nice piece Mr. Guy.

  • avatar
    Kerfuffle

    Two steps to freedom from car payments. Good job getting step 1 completed!! Step 2, keep making the car payments, into your own “future car” account. Do that for as long as you can. If your old car lasts long enough, It’s possible that you may save enough to buy your next car with cash. If not, repeat the process. You’ll still be way ahead of the game with a large down payment. Eventually you’ll have the ability to pay cash, whenever you want, even if you decide to take advantage of a super low financing rate. Knowing that you could always pay off your loan, if it makes sense to do so, gives a wonderful feeling of freedom and economic power.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I paid off my 2011 BMW 328! wagon a couple years ago. It is a nice feeling to send in that last payment and get the title in the mail. Since there is nothing that can replace it, I plan to keep it forever. Helps that its current mileage accumulation is sub 3K per year.

    I feel much the same about my ’17 GTI, will probably pay that off in a year or two and keep it a long time too. There just is very little out there I have any interest in buying, and getting less by the year. My next purchase is probably going to be a tintop classic to play with in Florida, a BMW 2002 or an MGB GT – with aftermarket A/C mandatory! Need to build the second garage/shop first.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Loved reading this. Both Mr. Guy’s story of the Charger, as well as stories shared by the B&B, are about cars that somehow fit into their lives really well. I can’t explain it why, but it makes me happy to read about things like that.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Having just sold our Mazda 5 after 8 years and taken on a real car note again besides our leased Sienna, I’m torn on the subject of keeping a car until paid off.

    -Like many of you, I’m a serial car person and I like driving different things. Leasing works for me because I drive my own car so little at about 5000 miles a year. But it’s also kind of a waste to lease for other reasons because the lease company will profit off the low miles, not me. My Cruze will have 9000 miles on it for two years of driving when I turn it in. But it’s only cost me $110/month for two years. But, since “sign and drive” leases(the best kind) are rare now and many “good” leases require $3000 down to make the payment reasonable, it’s not the “deal” it was. I bought my Golf for this reason.

    The Mazda was fine, it served well for 8 years and rarely missed a beat or was in the shop. But a few seals were starting to seep, the suspension was making noise and the Mazda rust was starting to happen faster and in places I couldn’t use my noob bodyman skills to keep in check without ruining the car.

    I COULD have put $1000 into it and kept it going as the third car it was. But it was only worth about 5k and we’ve put so little into it over it’s life that I decided it wasn’t worth doing it. Better to quit while you’re ahead.

    If the Golf proves worth, I might keep it a long as the Mazda. But I suspect in a few years, a GTI will take its place.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Lousy edit function. And, I’ve had time without car payments enough that I’ve put some money away. I can afford the Golf and should be able to make double payments on it. And it’s nice to come home from a trip and know that I’ve got a new car with no issues to take me home. If it does have an issue, it goes to the dealer.

      I’m not a good enough mechanic or have a schedule that really allows purchasing cheap cars and keeping them running either. Paying for piece of mind, as others have mentioned. It’s why we keep leasing minivans too.

  • avatar
    turf3

    When I was a young married man, my wife and I kept her (modest) car for 13 years and my (modest) car for 17 years; I did every lick of work on both cars that entire time.

    The money we saved during that time by not having car payments essentially allowed us to buy a (small modest) house near the end of that time and pay the house off in 1 year.

    Until you have a paid for house and two paid for cars you don’t realize just how much stress the inelastic demand of house and car payments causes. Just imagine that you could say to yourself any time you wanted to, “I don’t owe a dime to anyone in the world and I have money in the bank”.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    For some reason “The Big Bank of Sergio” makes me laugh.


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Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States