How much do you spend on car maintenance?

How much do you spend on car maintenance?

A lot of you that have followed M$M from the beginning know that I used to drive around a VERY bare-boned little red truck through college and a few years after. I’ve recently “moved up” to my 2004 Yukon (which I bought for $6,000 cash), and I’m very happy with it. My wife also drives an old car that keeps breaking, which is why I want to talk about car maintenance today!

Actually, the real reason is that I just dropped $877 on a new A/C compressor, fan, and liquid line in her 2004 Jeep Liberty this week. And I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Don’t worry…I’ll explain.

We have a pretty sick emergency fund (not to brag), so it really wasn’t a big deal at all spending that type of cash on an old car. When you live in Texas and the A/C goes out, it’s actually a really big freaking deal.

It’s hot as hell here. Seriously.

Our Car Maintenance Total Spend for 2016

This year has probably been the worst one we’ve had so far in terms of car maintenance honestly. As of July 21, 2016 we have spent a total of $1,639.22:

“The Beast” (2004 Yukon XL)

$436.62 – Fuel sensor peaced out and some kind of popping sound in the suspension that was driving me nuts

$45.52 – Oil change (I accidentally said yes to the “full-service” without realizing it…ugh)

“The Jeep” (2004, well…Jeep)

$877.43 – A/C compressor, fan, and liquid line went bye-bye

$254.15 – Back passenger window motor punked out and died

$25.50 – Oil change (She’s due RIGHT NOW for another one…gotta get on that)

Again, we’ve spent $1,639.22 so far on car maintenance this year.

As I just wrote all this down, I’m realizing that it really hasn’t been nearly as rough as I thought it was. I actually put all of these purchases on my credit card ($$$for the points$$$) and as always paid off the full amount at the end of the month.

Millennials are car-stupid

One of the biggest reasons I hear from millennials about buying a new car is that they don’t want to spend money on the maintenance. So….let’s just see who is kicking whom’s @$$ when it comes to money. 🙂

If you happen to have a newer car – why not make some money? You’ll get $100 extra after your first Uber drive when you sign up with my exclusive link!

THE NEW VS. OLD CAR COST COMPARISON

Let’s imagine that Coral and I made the excuse to ourselves that we needed new cars because maintenance is just SUCH as hassle *rolls eyes*. And…we can “afford” the monthly payments.

So, we go down to the dealership, trade in our cars, and then borrow some money with interest from the people selling the cars for some SHINY new ones.

I’ve tried as hard as I can to keep the old and new vehicles the same in terms of quality and style. However:

  1. They don’t make the Jeep Liberty anymore. It was replaced by the Cherokee.
  2. They put a lot of crap in cars now that they didn’t back in 2004. My goodness. I did get the trim and options pretty freakishly close though.

2016 Yukon XL SLTCar maintenance

Car maintenance

2016 Jeep Cherokee

Car maintenance

Car maintenance

I didn’t put a down payment on the cars in this scenario, I just traded my old ones in and used that as the down payment (people do that right?). I think I could reasonably trade or sell my current vehicle for $6,000, and Coral’s car for $3,000.

Now it’s math time!

 

POTENTIAL NEW CARS

New Yukon payment = $932/month

New Cherokee payment = $306/month

Total combined monthly spend on cars = $1,238

Total combined yearly spend on cars = $14,856

OLD CARS

Our total spend on maintaining our old, paid-off cars this year = $1,639.22

Difference between new cars and old cars for the year = $13,618

There are a lot of variations I could have used, like buying used cars or cheaper new ones, financing at lower rates, bigger down payment, etc. I’m still not sure that you would come out winning in any scenario, unless you had an $8-10,000 repair….for the next 6 years. 

I don’t give a $hit what kind of car people see me driving. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m poor, or my peers think I’m cheap. I doubt they would want to compare bank accounts. It doesn’t always take a massive salary to have multiple digits to your name if you were wondering.

Sometimes it just takes common sense. Stop buying new cars to reward the “success” you haven’t actually achieved yet. Please?

My car posts are EASILY some of the most popular on the site! Here are some others that you’ll love if you enjoyed this post:

10 Used Cars You Can Buy For Under $10,000

“My car hit 100,000 miles. Is it time to buy something new?”

I deserve a new car, right? Wrong.

How to Get Rid of Your Car Payment: The Ultimate Guide

Questions for you:

  1. Do old cars scare you?

  2. What’s the biggest car repair expense you’ve had?

Live differently, your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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50 comments… add one
  • Bria Jul 22, 2016, 6:54 am

    Thanks for writing this. It’s so timely for me right now. To pay back my student debt I moved across the country and accepted a job an hour from when Grand let me live for $160/mo. I had planned to buy a $5k old car and hope for the best. However, my aunt talked me into buying a nearly new used car because she explained how many miles I’d typically put on a car in one year and she knew I planned to do this for 3 years until my car was paid off. So, I put the 5k down and financed $10k. It bothered me to have a $200 car payment and insurance. It added a huge extra slot in my budget I hadn’t planned for when I decided to pay my loans in 3 years. However, she was totally right that it was safer and less annoying to have a newer car than a beater for where I live, lots of snow, potholes, legendary traffic. Also, I’d missed 3 payments on student debt which tanked my credit score and was the catalyst for my decision to beclme debt free so these payments have actually helped me get to the mid 700s now. I drive soo much, like over 20k a year and now that my student debt is paid off, I’ve been contemplating just writing a check for the remaining 4k left on my car. I’d save hella money in interest if I did that. Think I should do it? It’s going to hurt but I have a kickass savings and emergency account too and no more other debt.

    Plan B would be to trade this 2011 for a newer car and just keep having a newer ish car and some car payments. I certainly enjoy having a new car but in college and high school my beaters were always breaking down and stranding me alone in the cold at night. Have scars from that.

    Buy I gotta tell you…I treat my car like a princess. Just finally needed brakes after it had 84k Miles on it!!! It’s in great condition and I’d really love it to serve me for a full decade. I think it could make it to 2021-2023.

    What do you think? Should I pay it off and take the car payments and use it to invest and pay for some guitar lessons?

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 7:22 am

      PAY IT OFF!!!!!!!!! That’s my vote.

      84k on a car is nothing, I’d pay it off, become TOTALLY debt free, and then start putting what the car payment was away or start investing and make a return rather than pay interest. You should reasonably be able to make that car last 5 more years at a minimum. Hope that helps!

      On another note…so happy for you that your student loans are gone!!!!! Congrats!!!!!

    • Nick Aug 15, 2016, 7:25 am

      Bria,
      Keep the car!!! Pay it off! It’s got a ton of life left in it. When you consider the average car on the road in the US is 11.5 years old, and the average driver drives ~12,000 per year, that’s ~140,000 miles. Now, consider the AVERAGE American is no where NEAR as meticulous as you sound with repairs and maintenance. Your car should push north of 175,000 without much issue. I had a 94 Saturn I sold in ’07 with 220,000 miles (bought it for $700 with $164,000). Only replaced a ball joint, muffler system, and put new tires on. My friend then drove it to north of 250,000 and ended up scraping it because the frame was rusting out. He drove it to the scrap yard.

      We have an ’07 Santa Fe with 120,000 miles on her. Yeah, control arms and mechanical things are starting to wear but this is the side affect of living in Western NY for winters with salt on the roads. Trust me, snow and potholes are a way of life. We have two seasons here in Rochester, winter and construction. Rubber gaskets fail, rust creeps in. Still WAY cheaper than buying new as Bobby so gently laid out the math. 🙂

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Jul 22, 2016, 7:05 am

    Thus far in 2016, we’ve spent $2,187 on auto repairs. Our 2007 Volvo S40 also needed an air conditioner compressor (used unit, fortunately), a new battery, shocks, struts, and a few other repairs. You reminded me why it’s worth it to keep out Volvo running. 😉

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 7:32 am

      We aren’t quite done with her Jeep – probably have about $5-700 more in repairs to do this year.

      No problem BTW – we probably all need a new reminder to keep our old cars every now and again 🙂

  • Marcia Jul 22, 2016, 7:34 am

    I’m going to talk age experience again! When I was in my 20s I bought a new car every two years. I loved fast racy cars and had lots of fun, or so I thought. Then I realized my best friend had kept her little Datsun for 10 years and had a HUGE savings account while I had no money. I had lots of fun memories of racing around, getting tickets (more waste of money) and buying tires. Let’s not even mention the money spent on higher insurance rates! Higher due to tickets and types of cars I was into. Also a money waster is that new cars require both liability and comprehension coverage where a used car you can just get liability.

    Soooooo, Bobby is so on target!!!!! Now I drive a luxury Lexus SUV that I bought used for $17,000 10 years ago. It still looks new. I have put a total of around $10,000 in it over the years. It’s a $50,000 car. Do the math.

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 8:07 am

      Woah that car was only $17,000? That thing is nice!!!! Very impressed.

      The point I guess I try to make to people is that they can have the fast car later on. Drive the POS for a while….it’s ok for other people to think you’re poor. When I drive around now I always just assume that the people in the nice cars are struggling with a payment, or are totally broke and just pretending to have money. It’s really crazy how much people will spend on new cars now for the sake of a “low” payment.

  • Josh Jul 22, 2016, 7:57 am

    IT’S ALWAYS CHEAPER TO KEEP WHAT YOU HAVE! This is what I tell myself every time I have to pay for repairs, salivate over a new car I see, or look at the 232,000 miles on my 2003 Avalon odometer. I also use this as inspiration:
    https://consumerist.com/2011/10/25/man-drives-honda-1-million-miles/

    BTW, I am also a former HS Band Director and I love your blog. Thanks for all your great work!

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 8:05 am

      Hey Josh! WOW – another band director…small world haha. Do you miss it?

      You’re totally right, it’s ALWAYS cheaper! I wish I had a new car just like the rest of us, but I’d rather have money in the bank instead. It feels good knowing we could write a check for a Mercedes if we really really had to (not sure why that would come up though)!

      • Josh Jul 25, 2016, 8:21 am

        Actually, I don’t miss the HS work, but I still get my music fix… I am a music professor at the university level… percussion… and I have also marched snare in DCI. (One year I got cut as the 9th snare at Cavies during a February drill camp… they decided to march 8 that year. Let’s see how small we can get our world.)

        I just read your latest blog entry and agree with you and your happiness level in your job. I feel like I am scamming the entire world by getting paid to do what I love to do. I get paid to listen to music, teach music, make music, and talk about music ALL DAY LONG! The joy about teaching at the college level is I don’t have to deal with all the HS tedium of waiting for parents to pick up kids, dealing with administrative death-grip on budgets, etc. I get treated like the expert in my field and I am trusted to do my job in the way I know is best for the students. I really enjoy impacting the lives (and eventual careers) of a gaggle of 20-somethings that love making music.

        On a side note, if you think you would be interested, I would love to consider hosting you at our university sometime for you to give a $$ lecture to our music students. They are eager learners and would appreciate your info very much, especially with your DCI street cred. I also know the faculty would benefit. Send me an email if you would like to talk more about it. We could even coordinate it in conjunction with a Percussion Ensemble concert weekend… 🙂

        Thank$,
        Josh

        • Millennial Money Man Jul 28, 2016, 12:02 pm

          Ha Josh that’s awesome – I’m glad you’ve found your happiness with work!!!! I always thought that being a college professor would be much more enjoyable that a high school band director. All the college professors I had seemed so relaxed all the time. I guess that comes from doing your passion all day long.

          Shoot me an email about meeting with the students – especially the date that you are thinking! Thanks!

  • Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto Jul 22, 2016, 9:08 am

    Too funny, my 2011 Nissan just got towed this morning! Fuel pump. Again. Argh. No worries. I’ve always paid cash for a 2-3 yr old car, then drove it into the ground. It’s the ONLY way to go! Thanks for making it real, and reminding me why I do this!

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 10:31 am

      No problem Fritz! Ahhh yes the magical fuel pump. I wonder if that’s a consistent issue with Nissans? Thankfully I think Yukon’s like mine are pretty solid cars. You see a TON of them still driving that are 10 years +, which was one of the reasons I decided to go with that instead of an Expedition in the same year range.

  • Britt Jul 22, 2016, 12:10 pm

    Yes, love this comparison! I die inside a little bit whenever I hear anyone talk about how they were tired of shelling out for maintenance, so they buy new.

    I also recommend always looking into some Youtube tutorials before you pay to get things fixed…with some tools and some time, there are a lot of things that can be done at home for WAY cheaper!

    When we bought our ’05 Mazda 3 last year, it felt so new and fancy after coming from my ’92 Acura 🙂

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 12:17 pm

      Haha I die a little on the inside too Britt! Heck yeah on YouTube! I have fixed a ton of car things by searching online. There are some really really really good/talented auto-mechanics out there who are putting up easy-to-follow videos for DIY repairs.

      I actually moved BACKWARDS in years and UP in mileage with my car. I had a 2006 Chevy Colorado with no power windows, locks, cloth seats, etc. My 2004 Yukon has leather and lots of other goodies (and a big engine so I can tow my boat). We love it because it’s dependable and super comfy for long rides!

  • The Green Swan Jul 22, 2016, 12:50 pm

    I would say my preference is an in between. Old cars do scare me a bit but more because of the safety (you know… Toting kids around and such). But brand new cars with car payments are not good either!!

    Also, was it worth it to repair the backseat window motor? I would have just left that most likely.

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 1:03 pm

      Hehe I wondered the same thing about the window, but unfortunately it got stuck in the DOWN position and even when I manually pulled the window up it immediately slid back down. My wife wasn’t having an open window on her car as much as it rains here.

      Safety is actually a big deal, especially with kids. I’d be weary of going 2004 like I have because side curtain air-bags weren’t that common back then. If it was something a little newer like 08, I wouldn’t have much of an issue (I don’t think anyways).

  • Jeff Jul 22, 2016, 2:20 pm

    I keep a running tally of my auto services on mint.com for all 3 of my vehicles (my car, my wife’s car, and a truck only used for hauling). My car nd truck are both about 10 years old with just under 200,000 miles. About a year ago I read a similar article (either yours or MMM) and decided to start tracking repair costs vs what a new car would cost since my car seemed to be having a lot of issues at the time. I figured a $30,000 car loan would cost $500 per month, so as long as I’m under that, I’m doing all right.

    Last year service and parts for ALL 3 vehicles came to an average of $361 per month! And that includes oil changes, which are still required on a new car too. I’m a firm believer of driving a vehicle until it won’t drive anymore. My car was actually totaled 5 years ago and I got a big insurance check for it, bought it back, fixed it to be legal to drive and ignored cosmetic things like a couple scrapes in the bumper, and I got another 70,000 miles out of it so far (for a car the insurance company decided wasn’t worth anything)!

    PS – I don’t advocate totaling your car. But sometimes good things can come from bad situations.

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 2:55 pm

      Wow! Never heard a story like that with a totaled car – that’s INSANE! (But very awesome at the same time).

      Who knows, I’ve done several car posts on here! It’s one of my favorite topics to write on, so I try to get one in every two months or so. Everyone always has interesting stories about their cars and cool ways they have saved money.

      Less than $5,000/year for 3 cars is pretty incredible in my opinion. Just imagine the yearly cost with 3 car payments! Using this example of just two cars it would be more than twice that amount.

      It’s mind-boggling how people are able to afford just living expenses in general with all of the extra cash they spend on their cars.

  • Millennial Moola Jul 22, 2016, 3:48 pm

    When you put it that way, makes me feel a whole lot about the $1500 dropped on my 06 Chevy equinox. How would u say safety ratings compare between older and newer models?

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 22, 2016, 4:27 pm

      Ha yeah those repairs suck but prorate that out for the year and you’ll feel great about it!

      I honestly don’t know the safety ratings on every car model by year, but I do know that generally 04 was a turning point on cars starting to have side-curtain airbags. These are basically the ones that keeps your head and body INSIDE the car in the case of a bad wreck. These are a game changer with safety (thanks to my buddy Beau that brought this to my attention years ago)!

      Here’s a good resource for people that want to know what cars have these airbags: http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/Air+Bags/Vehicles+with+Side+Air+Bags#2004

      IF I had kids, I would really consider these when looking to purchase a used car.

    • Jess M. Sep 15, 2016, 3:12 pm

      Hey Millennial Moola, now you’ve got my curious! If you don’t mind me asking…what was the $1500 repair for? I have an 06 equinox as well, we have had it for 16 months (projected pay off is in 5-6 months, so close) and have spent just under 2k in maintenence and repairs since we have had it. You have me scared. That IS a lot to drop at once.

  • RC Jul 23, 2016, 8:02 am

    I have a new car fever these days and am trying to fight it big time. I find myself going to the Internet to price out different cars all the time.
    I have been putting a lot og money into my current car – 08 MDX @239K. New suspensions cost me 1400 and differential and AWD fluid were changed recently, too.
    My current car is paid off so my rational plan is to save up a sizable down payment until my current car dies.

    • Millennial Money Man Jul 23, 2016, 8:24 am

      RC I’m not going to lie to you – 239k is a crap ton haha. Most of the cars that I refer to with these kind of posts are in the 60-100K range when people could still get plenty more life out of their cars but buy new anyways!

      200k plus is when the major crap starts happening consistently. I would still ride it out unless it just gets ridiculous, and then either try to buy a used car with cash like I did (tons of cars out there on Autotrader for ridiculously low prices), or get something used.

      You aren’t the only one that fights it, I’d LOVE a new Denali pickup truck. Just can’t do it, wouldn’t make any sense.

  • Jim Jul 23, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I just had to put $1845.16 into a 2003 Yukon with 135,000 miles and was happy to do it.
    It is always cheaper to keep her. Even newer cars break down when they are out of warranty and then you have the repair expense plus you still have the payments too. No thanks! I will take the repair expense any day of the week.

  • Kate Aug 4, 2016, 9:57 am

    I have a 2008 Nissan Sentra, purchased in Dec. 2008 (brand new for less than $16k) which now has around 85,200 miles. Being the nerd that I am, I have my car maintenance schedule in excel to track all associated costs. In the almost 8 years that I’ve had that car, I’ve only spent $3,091.18 in maintenance/repairs. Love this car and I really hope it lasts another 8-10 years (*knock on wood*).

    For me, the concern about older/high mileage cars becomes safety. If I’m by myself late at night or driving long distances, the last thing I want is to be driving an unreliable vehicle. I have AAA, but would love to hear more women express their thoughts on this as well, since I really do think that there is a gap in the perception of safety between men and women, especially single women.

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 4, 2016, 1:44 pm

      I think you are right – there is a gap in perception, although my wife does drive an old car and I do worry about her from time to time. The problem is that there is no guarantee that a new car will not break down and leave you stranded.

      Perfect example – my mother-in-law just bought a newish car with only 30,000 miles on it this week. Last night? Battery randomly died and she was stuck.

      I think if someone truly has an unreliable vehicle that is not consistently able to stay on the road, it’s ok to look for something else, but it doesn’t have to be new. Even if you only buy slightly used cards you will still come out far better financially than the people who buy new cars every few years for fear of maintenance or breakdowns.

    • Branalyn Oct 10, 2016, 2:29 pm

      I drive an ’08 Expedition. When we bought it (in ’14) it was the newest car I’d had with the fewest miles when we got it. My first two trucks were oil field work trucks in their former lives. Not only were the mikes way up there but they’d been rode hard and put up wet. (Second one is still running, my brother had it after me and my mom drives it now because she totaled her car. Well over 250K on it. I digress.) They gave me some trouble a time or two. Besides a flat tire twice, it was never something I couldn’t limp back home. When the flats occurred, I had strangers help both times before I could get it done myself. I was on the phone with my dad both times and he knew where I was and what was going on. But it was totally fine. All by myself, I never worried much about it at all. I’ve had my license to carry for a few years now and I carry a pistol most of the time. I can’t wear it while working but I keep it in a lock box in my car. I drive a lot for work and I’m out in the boondocks a lot because I drive to kids’ homes to provide therapy for them. I’ve also taken some self defense and would like to take more. Once my son was added to the mix, I got a little more nervous. But I keep a stroller and baby carrier (to put him on my back) in the car. I could walk a good ways to get signal or to somewhere safe if I had to and, like I said, I’d be carrying. I made sure I knew some very basic things about my cars before driving-how to change a tire, for one. Physically, I’M not sure sting enough to change one completely on my own without some major work but someone always came along and helped so it hasn’t been a problem. Driving a new car is no guarantee something bad won’t happen and driving an old car is no guarantee it will. I choose not prepare but not to worry.

      • Millennial Money Man Oct 10, 2016, 3:37 pm

        So smart. People assume new cars don’t break down – but there’s no guarantee they won’t leave you stranded either! Your point on being educated in some way about cars is a great point. It’s kinda strange that a lot of us operate a vehicle that we only know basic level things about!

  • Amber Aug 14, 2016, 1:09 pm

    We have spent $2400 on car maintenance between our two vehicles this year. My Yukon XL got a 100,000 mile service, and a few repairs equaling $1000. New tires for my car and my husbands truck was $1400. It has been an expensive year so far in vehicle repairs/ maintenance and I am hoping the rest of the year is better. My car will be paid off in 2 months and we will no longer have a car payment!! I can barely contain my excitement👍😀

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 14, 2016, 2:45 pm

      Wow 2 months till no car payment?! Woohooo! 🙂 Tires are a big one when you drive the larger vehicles like we do, but they last a long time!

  • Steve Aug 24, 2016, 7:25 am

    This is a great article! My family has bought used cars for the last 11 years once we finally got our last ones paid off and then have paid cash to kove up!

    As far as the car repair budget goes, we’ve only spent $2,336 in the last 12 months, but that includes 2 sets of tires! I have a separate spreadsheet that I track this on so that I can whip it out to make the comparison with friends when they say they want to buy a new car lol!

    It took some time to acquire our cars, but we did it through patience. Currently we are driving a 2010 impala and a 2004 PT Cruiser (maybe not our first choice but the price was right for the time)

    I would agree that buying used and keeping them and fixing them is just about always goinng to be cheaper then purchasing new!

  • Josh Aug 24, 2016, 9:37 am

    I have totally bought in to your argument about maintenance costs here. I love to DIY my auto repairs (when reasonable and sometimes unreasonable) and doing it this way allows you to trade labor costs for your own time.

    Unfortunately, I was not in any position to pay cash for my current vehicles, but I reaffirm constantly that once these are paid off I will do just that in the future if/when I ever need to replace them.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 24, 2016, 9:39 am

      No problem Josh! I have done a lot of DIY car work as well, but I can’t say I’m great at it or anything. On my old car I did some easy stuff like the blower fan motor and even the brakes (which I won’t ever do again….they were super sketchy afterwards!).

  • Antone Vidulich Aug 24, 2016, 9:42 am

    If this all sounds like too much of a hassle, or if you are a person who gets bored with a car every couple years then never buy a new car unless you are wealthy enough to spend a fortune on depreciation and financing.

  • Joe Oct 23, 2016, 9:46 pm

    I have a 2001 Camry with 222k miles. Might spend $1,500 a year on maintenance. New Camry would run about $4,800 a year, plus regular maintenance.

    My goal is 300k miles

  • Elise Oct 28, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I love the idea of keeping my 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport with 115,000 miles on it, but over the last year I have put $1,800 in repairs and the AC compressor needs replaced (estimate of around $1,500 to replace). I was told when the transmission needs to be replaced it will be rather expensive and take awhile to find a replacement. So my thought was to trade in my car and purchase something with cash for around $3,000 including the trade-in value. It’s either put $1,500 toward my current car or $1,500 toward a slightly newer car.

  • Phil Oct 30, 2016, 9:22 pm

    Great article dude! I actually just purchased a sweet 2005 BMW 525i for $3250. It has 200k miles, but it runs great.

    All my cars have over 200k miles and I never buy something with less than 150k miles.

    And I make very good money. I just like to keep it.

  • Dani Nov 5, 2016, 7:55 pm

    I’d like to see a comparison of old cars versus buying used cars. It seems a decent compromise. My husband and I have 2011 models purchased used. Peace of mind and much smaller payments/shorter loans/easier to pay cash. Personally I’ll never buy a brand new fully loaded car unless we win the lotto. I’d rather follow the Dave Ramsey method and buy a car a couple of years old. I’ve had 8 old paid for in full cars (all under 7k) that always gave me grief. I wouldn’t trade the fact that I don’t worry about my car every morning for anything.

  • Amanda Hicks Nov 12, 2016, 8:43 am

    Love this! Hubby and I are Dave Ramsey fans and we maintain our cars, while saving to upgrade right now. If you haven’t heard it yet, you should look up the artist Dee-1 and his recently released song called No Car Note. It’s spot on!

  • Andrew Nov 27, 2016, 1:11 am

    My problem was that I needed a 3/4 ton diesel pickup(faced a 7,000 parts bill to repair my old one, as I would do all the work myself) and I had a hard time finding one that wasn’t modified and abused (lift kit, big tires, emissions deletes, etc), that people wanted a decent price for(15,000 for a 2001 with 190k miles seemed a little bit excessive). So I went to a dealer to look at a used one, and ended up leaving with a new one for less money.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 27, 2016, 8:14 am

      Definitely a different situation – those diesel’s aren’t cheap!!!! They do seem to last forever though based on what readers keep telling me.

  • Doug Nov 30, 2016, 6:02 pm

    I drive ~700 miles a week for work.. that’s nearly $20,000 annually in mileage reimbursement. I’m a millennial that drives a 2013 Cadillac which I financed at ~2% for 48 months. Sure I could pocket more of that by driving something cheaper but I still spend $0 of my take home pay to drive the car (actually I net additional income).. and after driving for free I own a 2013 Cadillac when it is paid off in 2 more years. I ran the numbers a ton of different ways and if you factor in all costs (capex, opex, depreciation) and final asset value there was only about $4000 savings over 4 years in comparison to a $6000 car requiring $1000/yr in repairs (remember, I drive a lot) @ 30mpg average. That savings lessens further after 4yrs due to the payment of my car ending and the new car requiring fewer repairs.

    With that said, my point is that you have to look at all factors to determine what works for you. For me, where I drive a lot and depend on my vehicle for my work, the $1000/yr is worth it for me to drive something nice and new.

  • Luke Dec 19, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Old cars don’t scare me at all. I own a 1999 4Runner with 291k miles and a 2002 4runner with 221k miles. Both run well and my wife and I plan to keep them until they need a repair that costs more than the car is worth AKA new engine. Last month I had an $800 repair and last year I had another $800 repair both on the 2002. Those were my only two large repairs since I’ve had the 2002, and it was gifted to me by my parents in 2007. I’m riding out the free car as long as it’ll last.

  • Tom Dec 26, 2016, 12:49 am

    I want to throw in the argument for newer low budget cars. You made the comparison if you had dropped 65k on a new GMC. I know you wouldn’t do something silly like that. It would still be a rather big deficit still if it were compared to something like a Sonic or something similarity reasonable that someone our age would actually buy. The deficit certainly wouldn’t be 14k.

    I like to use the example of me. I had a 10 year old Impala. It had about 120k on the odometer. I was looking at an upcoming tranny rebuild/replace ($2,400). I do all my maintenance and repairs myself, but I wouldn’t dare crack open an auto tranny and attempt to do it myself. It also needed two wheel bearings immediately, and another in the near future ($250 each, I had already done one of the four). The A/C wouldn’t hold a charge and the window washer fluid tank had a crack in it about 1/4 from the bottom. I made the smart decision of getting a brand new Chevy Spark. A manual base model too. $12,250 brand spankin new. With the trade in of my impala my loan was only four figures. That year my impala would have racked up $3200+ in repairs, and a lot of downtime for the tranny job. That was over a years worth of car payments. At the time I worked two jobs (one of which I had to use my car for deliveries) and commuted to school almost every day. My gas bill went from $280 to $130 a month as gas prices at the time were close to $4/gal. We also had our daughter that year, so I really had no time for breakdowns, getting stranded, or having to make repairs. Sure that car devalued faster than melting ice cream, but it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

    Be frugal. If you know nothing about cars and maintenance, try to learn. Find a trustable car savvy friend. If you are prone to getting worked over by mechanics, running a car past 100k might not be the best for you, as that is generally when things will wear out and need replacing. Alternators, belt pulleys, water pumps, suspension components, brake system components, sensors, lights, etc. I hate seeing my friends pay multiple times more than they should for simple repairs…. If a new car is the better option, and that can be the case even if you pay a bit more for it, get a car well within your means! I’ve seen a 45k truck almost kill a marraige. Find what will work for you for the lowest price. You don’t need the options. You don’t need leather. Keep it simple, silly. There are many great cars to be had for less than $20k. I’ve found that sometimes there are cars, usually base model ones in less desirable colors, that can sit on a lot and collect dust. We got my wife’s equinox for almost $6k off its sticker because it wasn’t what people wanted. It was a base model FWD in blurple. It was as if we got it for a used price, yet it only had 8 miles on the odometer. I once saw a new Mitsubishi that had a sticker of $32k that hadn’t been sold for almost two years. The guy was trying to get it off the lot for $18k! Steal deals can be found!

    Those Jeep Liberty rear window motor/mechanisms are fantastically terrible by the way! I’ve replaced a fair amount of them for friends. Awfully engineered little unit.

    End rant.

  • Justin Dec 26, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Not exactly Apple’s too Apple’s as eventually you’ll need to replace. You’d need to set aside for the eventual replacement which should figure into the number. Best comparison would take into account depreciation for both. Old car would still win by a mile of course.

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