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

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

100,000 miles

No. Next?

The sarcastic side of me would love to end this post right here, but my readers are the best in the business and deserve a bit more from me for taking the time to click through. Let me be direct – I have a hard time answering that question without coming off like a jerk.

I think it’s well documented by now that I literally hate the thought of young people buying new cars or expensive used cars. Other than student loans, I feel that it’s the fastest way for Millennials to set themselves back financially for YEARS (48-72 months if we are trying to be legit here). It’s unbelievably easy to buy a new car, and pushy lending departments fueled by shady car salesmen prey on mis-informed young people every year. It’s a sad industry in my honest opinion.

Want a legit free tool to track all of your money? Check out the app my wife and I use here!

Now, please let me yell at you for a second:

Cars are built to last WAY longer than 100,000 miles with routine maintenance. It’s 2015, not 1967. Pluto isn’t even a real d@#n planet anymore, because science sucks less than it used to. Cars don’t blow up at 100,000 miles either.

 

I’m sure someone out there doesn’t believe me. Fine, believe these fine websites instead:

“Today’s cars are built to last as long as 250,000 miles or more with simple routine care,” – Forbes.com

“We have tested our newest breed of EcoBoost engines, in our F-150 pickup, for 250,000 miles. ”  – NYTimes.com

“Every new car today is built to last a quarter of a million miles,” – CBSNews.com

My current vehicle has 110,000 miles on it, and I’ll happily drive it for years to come. I paid $6,000 cash for it, and kept $30,000 in future money to myself. People always want to know what the big mystical unicorn flavored secret is to having money when you are young. I hate to break it to everyone, but personal finance is not a complicated math problem. I really sucked at math in high school, and I’m good at money. Here’s what you do:

You spend less money than you make, don’t buy crap that you can’t afford, and YOU CAN’T BUY NEW FREAKING CARS EVERY 4-7 YEARS BECAUSE YOU DON’T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY.

 

I’m sorry if that hit you right in your pride area.

If you’re wondering why I’m so concerned about cars this week – all I need to do is point towards a conversation I had at lunch with a waitress last week. She was really cool, and I hate to even share this exchange, but it was too similar to conversations I’ve had with other young people about cars not to use it as a cautionary tale.

My friend that was eating with me randomly pitched my site and the M$M brand to the waitress in what could only be described as a shameless plug (thanks Jim). She was immediately pretty interested in talking about personal finance, which took me by surprise. Most people I’ve met hate talking about money in person. We went on to talk about debt, and she mentioned that she had a car note that was almost paid off. I was thinking “Awesome, you’re almost done, congrats!”, when she hit me with: “My car is almost at 100,000 miles, so it won’t make it much longer”.

Welp, there it is.

 

I tried to convince her that she should keep the car for a while to avoid a payment, which ultimately didn’t work at all. She was afraid that the car would break down, and clearly wasn’t going to budge. When you talk with people about money, you have to know when to pull the cord on the conversation to avoid offending nice people – I still suck at this, but I didn’t blow it this time. Our time and my influence had obviously run out in this case, so my friend and I bailed on the conversation. I was bummed for the rest of the day because I failed to save someone from future debt.

Just a little tip for you bloggers in the personal finance game – you win some and you lose a lot more.

I don’t care how much you think a car will make you look cool, it doesn’t. Nobody ACTUALLY cares what kind of car you drive. The likes on Facebook are from people who wouldn’t give you a dime of their cash to pay your car note. Also, cars don’t show anyone how much money you have.

“A new car doesn’t show how much $$$ you have. It shows how much cash you DON’T have or never had in the first place.” [Tweet This]

^^^Wrap your mind around that and then join me below^^^

If you blow it on every other aspect of personal finance in your 20’s, for the love of everything good in this world get the car thing right. If you already own a car that you bought new – keep it for as long as you can after it’s paid off and put the old payment amount away or invest it. A car payment does NOT have to be a thing that you just always have. MONEY IN THE BANK is supposed to be the thing that you always have.

Question for you:

  1. Is my take on new cars wrong?

  2. How many miles are on your car?

Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. – M$M

 

BTW – I got that picture from a reader. He’s not buying a new car, because this site made him more smarterer about money and stuff. 🙂

Don't miss another M$M post.

Sign up for the M$M newsletter to get new posts sent directly to your inbox when they go up on the site. As a bonus - I'll send you reviews of my favorite free personal finance tools and ways to make extra money with a side hustle!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

91 comments… add one
  • Denzel Oct 29, 2015, 8:07 am

    This!!! All of this!!! Personal finance is NOT complicated, we just over complicate it by letting pride get in the way. Or as my mother puts it some folks suffer from the “Keeping up With the Joneses Syndrome”. To take it a step deeper, Dave Ramsey writes in his Total Money Makeover book that “The Joneses are broke”.

    Love this post man!!

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 8:40 am

      Heck yes. Your mother is a smart lady!!!!!!

    • Nate Oct 22, 2016, 10:50 am

      I’m a 24 year old. The most I’ve ever paid for a vehicle is 2200 dollars. I just bought the nicest ruck I’ve ever owned for that price. Before that I had a 1995 geo prism I bought for 500 dollars at 174k miles. I put another 80k miles and it still runs but the maintence was about to get above what I could fix myself and I needed a truck for my job. Anyways I haven’t had any problems owning cheap used vehicles that I bought for under a grand becauae if something went bad I could always find another vehicle for under a grand.

  • Mrs. C Oct 29, 2015, 9:20 am

    Yes, everyone should read this. When I was 21, I didn’t get the Lexus I wanted, I got a Honda. It had good gas mileage, and no mechanical problems in the 10 years I drove it. I drove it til the sides rusted!

    BUT, I no longer agree that new cars are built to last forever…. After the transmission DIED in my last car at 70,000 miles….3 months after the warranty expired.

    My approach to cars is to only buy what I can afford…but I no longer force myself to stay in a vehicle that is going to leave me stranded on the side of a highway! It’s a crap shoot, and yes there is always the “what if”. Even a car with only 20,000 miles on it can be a lemon. But at least that lemon will still be under warranty!!

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 9:34 am

      Glad you liked the post – sorry your car broke down. If my $6,000 ride breaks down, I’ll suffer through the inconvenience and buy another $6,000 car afterwards. I could go through 5 cars and still come out ahead of buying new! 🙂

      • Mrs C Oct 31, 2015, 5:49 pm

        haha- yes, you 100% have a point. But, man it really burned me up when that transmission died…..

      • Gizmo Nov 16, 2015, 9:33 pm

        I dont buy new cars i buy old cars! Im 25 and own a 1995 dodge ram paid 2,500 for it plus 800 more for a used engine when the original one blew at 288,000 it now has 298,000 miles on the body 150,000miles on the engine also buying me a 1972 muscle car for a restoration project paying only 1,000 for it

  • Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless Oct 29, 2015, 10:18 am

    So, I’m part of a slightly different audience than you’re aiming at for this post, as I don’t own a car and want to keep it that way for as long as possible. BUT, I still totally, totally appreciate everything you’re saying here. I’m from rural-ish New Hampshire, where not having a car is really not an option, and so I’ve had many in my day. (Now that I live in Boston, I’m fortunate to be able to rely on a combination of public transportation and my own two feet to get around.)
    From my experience, one of the reasons that someone might opt to get a new car rather than an old one (assuming they’re in a position where they have to buy a car) is that the used-car market is pretty chock full of people not being super straightforward about how much their car is worth and which parts of their car are likely to fall off as soon as you’ve signed over the title. But I think that most of that can be overcome through doing a lot of research and, if possible, buying a used car from someone you actually know. (One of my best cars was a Honda Accord that I bought from my dad at the Kelley Blue Book price — it lasted quite a while.)
    Anyways, great points! 🙂

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 10:20 am

      Man – not having a car sounds crazy! It’s true, buying a used car takes a ton of research. I found mine after about a month of looking at terrible cars and dealing with shady sales people that want to scam you. Totally worth not having the car payment though.

  • Ian Oct 29, 2015, 10:58 am

    Since it sounds like you have this conversation a lot, and I don’t know the specifics of what you say, it might be a good idea to find a mechanic you trust and have them explain some points you can relay to those who fear vehicles breaking down after 100,000 miles. The modern car of a reliable brand (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and the Big Three for their pickups) will easily last 200,000 miles as long as you do regular periodic maintenance. My truck has 222k miles currently and I’m sure it could last another 50k. One argument to be made as well is maintaince/repair costs vs loan/payments. My old Volvo was a money pit and made buying my truck a smart idea. However, if you’re not having to spend much on repairs then save the money.

    Also, once you have the money saved up to buy a new-to-you car and want “new”, I recommend trying to find dealerships’ lease and rental vehicles as they are often low mileage and in like-new condition and often still have warranties.

    If you have any questions or think differently I would love to discuss. Enjoy reading your posts!

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 11:13 am

      ^^^ This actually gives me an idea for a post…I could interview my mechanic for the inside scoop on which cars last the longest and what to avoid, etc. I can understand your point on the Volvo – but those are generally more expensive in the repair arena than domestic brands (like my GMC Yukon for example). Am I saying people should avoid buying new cars at any point in their lives? Not really – but I think young people would be served much better early in their careers by essentially buying and holding for an extended period of time or buying used cars from sites like Autotrader.com (where I found mine). There are tons of cars out there that other people dump too early. Great points – thanks for reading!

      • Garrett Nov 5, 2016, 12:33 am

        I haven’t had a car payment in almost 10 years. When I got a new job 45 miles from my house my (paid for) 4×4 f-250 got pretty expensive to drive, so I did the math, and bought a 1997 civic for $900 with 235,000 miles on it. That car has cost me $30 in repairs and has paid for itself 4x in just fuel savings, not to mention the cheaper maintenance. Plus since my truck was paid for, I didn’t have to worry about selling it, just pay a few extra bucks for insurance each month. Moral of the story, being debt free is pretty awesome.

    • Anonymous Dec 17, 2016, 2:11 pm

      Hay I have a Nissan Altima with 167,000 miles that I just purchased.what should I look out for

  • Taylor @ Freedom From Money Oct 29, 2015, 12:29 pm

    Like Sarah, I don’t own a car. I sold my $3,000, 2000 VW Cabrio car for parts ($700 total) about 6 months ago. I HATE cars. I hate how expensive they are and how much maintenance they require and just everything about them, haha. Instead of driving, I bike, Uber, bus it and snag rides with friends and family. Although it can be annoying, it’s WAY better than the alternative (in my humble opinion 😉 ) More importantly, it’s forced me to be a more self-sufficent and all around badass human. As a result, I’m more confident in my ability to save money, live on less and go against societal norms. I agree with the sentiment behind this post, but truly believe that people have different priorities and are at various points in their journey (financial and otherwise). Keep spreading the wisdom though!

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 12:32 pm

      Thanks for reading. Everyone that doesn’t have a car is making me jealous – but Texas is so spread out I might not make it anywhere ever on a bike! (Although…Uber isn’t a bad idea…I wonder what the cost comparison would be to use that instead). I agree – everyone is in a different spot, but I see SO many young people that are in debt and drive new cars and wonder why they don’t have any money!

    • Nate Dec 26, 2016, 5:26 am

      Not owning a car makes perfect sense for people who never leave the city. I live outside the city only working in it sometimes, so for me, not owning a car is not even remotely an option. For me, being able to go anywhere i want whenever i want is independence, for me its being self sufficient.
      I want to experiment, though, with stashing a bicycle in the city. So, i would drive up to the city, hop on the bike and go the rest of the way. There’s no question bicycle is the fastest way to get around in a major city.

  • Jim Oct 29, 2015, 4:07 pm

    Hey M$M, Just one question. where can you find a new Yukon for 30K?
    My new 2015 Yukon Denali cost me 65K drive out and that was after I used my $3000 points from my GM credit card. Did I get ripped off?
    The sad thing is, that after my wife drives it for ten or twelve years it will only be worth 10K. BUT she is worth every penny!

    Side note: I did keep her old 03 Yukon Denali for myself with 130K miles and would drive it from Texas to Alaska and back in a heart beat without any fear of a break down that seems to be a common fear among some of your readers.

    Also, pull a car fax BEFORE you buy any used car or truck. It will tell you a full history on that unit. Well worth the $30 bucks you will have to spend for the report. It’s not that I don’t trust what people say, I don’t trust anybody. ( trust but verify ) A friend got a used car from a used car lot that had been repossessed three times, stolen, and recovered in Mexico all becaused he did not run a car fax and he trusted the dealer.

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 6:02 pm

      Hey Jim – you can’t and probably didn’t get ripped off. Yukon Denali’s are way more expensive than the average new car cost (around 33k). The massive depreciation is EXACTLY my point. Young people are borrowing money that they don’t have and can’t back up with cash for a depreciating asset every few years. It’s a horrific financial decision, especially when you can pick up used cars for a discount after someone else has already taken the hit.

      Totally 1000% agree on the CarFax. I did one on my car before I purchased it and was able to see every oil change, maintenance record, and accident info on the car. Probably the best $30 I ever spent!!!

      People do cite fear of a breakdown as a reason to spend tens of thousands on new cars every couple years, which is insane to me. You can’t accurately predict that a car will break down, regardless of the age. People think health insurance is bad? Buying a new car out of fear is essentially breakdown insurance at 6-10x the yearly premium of health insurance.

  • Heather @ Simply Save Oct 29, 2015, 6:29 pm

    Totally agree. I had a bad habit of new cars in my early 20s. Paid off three before I was 29 and cringe thinking of what else I could have done with that money. I’m driving this one into the ground, buying my next one used, and buying with cash. Although we will see what VW decides since my car is caught up in that scandal…

    PS-I’m still sad for Pluto. 🙁

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 29, 2015, 6:44 pm

      Sounds like you are on the right track to me! Sorry to hear about the VW thing…crazy.

      I think we are all a little sad for Pluto.

    • Allison Oct 30, 2016, 12:18 pm

      Hi, Heather! My VW is also part of the scandal and we are using the buyout option to get out from under our loan and buy a replacement for cash! I’m a little sad because I love my VW but so excited that we will have no car notes after this!!

  • Amanda @ Grad Girl Oct 31, 2015, 8:23 pm

    This post came just in time–I’m in the market for a used car soon, and that kind of mileage is reassuring. But how new is “new” for those numbers? Like, after 2000? 2010? Where’s the line there?

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 31, 2015, 9:05 pm

      Here is the link for the Forbes quote: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/03/14/cars-that-can-last-for-250000-miles/

      They used cars of “today” pretty loosely – with examples of some cars lasting 300,000+ from the mid 90’s. My take on it from everything I found while researching for this post is that cars made in the last 20 years or so are built to last much longer than people think. I wouldn’t be scared of buying anything with 100,000+ and driving it up close to that 250,000 mark if the car is in good condition and regularly maintained.

      A few quick tips – have the transmission fluid checked before you buy or have your mechanic check the entire car over. A seller should have NO issue with that, and if they do, move on. If you buy an older car, have an oil change place that you trust check all the fluids (including the rear-differential). Mine had nasty radiator fluid so I changed that out as well. Good luck and let me know if you need some help since I just did this!

  • Brian @ Save Money Dammit Nov 3, 2015, 4:06 pm

    I love this. I’ve heard those exact same comments about getting a new car once it hits 100k miles. I had a couple in their early 20s tell me that their “vacation car” (yes, they bought another car just for vacations. Let that sink in) was about to hit 80k miles (why 80k??), so it needed to be replaced. That bugged me for weeks.

    I love the idea that a new car only shows how much money you DON’T have. Well said. Great post!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 3, 2015, 4:10 pm

      It drives me nuts!!!!! It’s true – those people that buy new cars lock up $30-40k in a depreciating asset every few years and then wonder why they live paycheck to paycheck. When I was shopping for my car on craigslist, I found a ton of cars that were supposedly people’s “travel car”. Crazy.

    • Devin C Oct 17, 2016, 7:54 pm

      I was in the always buy used camp until recently. I totaled my 9 year old car that had 150k miles. I was expecting to run it to the ground but had to get something quick. A few years ago we got my wife an 8 yr old corrolla for 7k but ended up putting 1500 into it over couple years.

      When looking for used cars like a Civic or Corrola I found that I could get a new Nissan Versa for 12k, only a little bit more than a used car that’s much older and has more mileage. Definitely used is best more often than not but I think in my case the new Versa was too good deal to pass up.

  • J.R. Nov 9, 2015, 1:03 am

    Hey M$M. Love the post! Makes perfect since. But I have a question for those that this article may have reached to late….

    What would be your advise for any millennials whom may have fallen into the trap of buy the new, or expensive used, car that maxes out their budget?

    In most cases, it may take several years of payments to lower the loan amount to the point that they could trade/sell their existing car and have little to no rollover. Or would there be a point when it makes since to take the hit, rollover part of an existing loan, just to have lower their payments?

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 9, 2015, 1:07 am

      Hey J.R. – glad you liked the post! Funny you ask…I am cooking up a post that will specifically answer the question of how to flip out of a car with a payment into a car with no payment. Stay with me – it will be a few weeks before it goes live.

  • Luis Nov 10, 2015, 2:04 pm

    Agree 100% with your comments. A lot of the people I know change out cars like they do their underwear – it’s unbelievable. Some people can’t understand why they can’t pay their mortgage/rent – all those car payments in the driveway is why, you doofus! Great article!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 10, 2015, 3:26 pm

      Luis – thanks man, glad you liked it! I feel like I’m living in bizarro land by driving a $6,000 used car while everyone else buys new stuff every few years. Glad I did this post and found out there are other people out there like me that feel the same way about cars!!!

  • Empower The Young Nov 13, 2015, 11:37 am

    The first used car I ever bought was an 1986 Old Cutlass back when I was in HS. At the time, it had 86K on the odometer. I bought it for $500 and it lasted for 5 years and had nearly 120K on the OD before it died. Over that time I invested close to an additional $500 in repair and maintenance so for $1,000 I got a car that lasted for 45K miles. Not a bad deal if you ask me. My current vehicle, an 2002 f-150, I paid $5,000 for it. It had 55K on the OD when I bought it 8 years ago and it now has almost 110K on the OD and it’s still running. I also bought a 73 Buick Regal 12 years ago because I love antique cars and I only paid $1800 for it. I still have it and it runs well, for a 40 year old car.

    I agree, buying a brand new car is a good way for young people today to lose a lot of money really quick. I’ve never bought a new car and the only way I’d ever consider doing so is if I were planning to keep that car for the long haul until I ran it into the ground, and even then I’d still feel like I was losing out financially. My suggestion for young people who want a newer car is instead of buying a brand new 2015 model for $20-25K, buy a 2012-13 model. Those cars you can pickup for around $10-12K so you’ll still be getting something relatively new but paying half the price.

    Case in point, my dad bought a newer Grand Marquis at a bargain price from a local dealership 6 years ago. The dealership execs. would use a couple of these cars as their personal taxis for going to business meetings, then they’d put them out on the lot as certified pre-owned with 5-20K miles on the OD. My dad picked up an 07 model with only 15K for $19k. This is a car that would have easily sold for over $30K new.

    It’s a shame that it’s much harder to find a decent used car at a cheap price now, thanks to that cash for clunkers program. It took so many perfectly useable older cars off the road so the prices of existing used car stocks went up. Give it a couple more years as the supply of used cars increases and hopefully prices will come down again.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 17, 2015, 8:42 pm

      I looked into the cars for clunkers program that you mentioned and had NO idea how many great deals are gone now because of it! I found my truck for $6,000 on autotrader.com after searching craigslist and being scammed multiple times. The deals are still out there, but they are hard to find for sure!

  • Cindy Oct 17, 2016, 2:39 pm

    Definitelty agree that new cars are a money suck, but used cars can also be a burden if you’re not careful. I had a Mercury that had a mystery problem I spent thousands on before I gave up and got my VW. The VW was great but started needing expensive and frequent repairs after 100k miles. The Honda I drive now has almost 150k, and has only required basic maintenance. Be careful which used car you buy unless you enjoy being a mechanic in your spare time. All 3 cars were less expensive than a new car, but it’s easier to get ahead when you don’t have unexpected car repair bills!

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 17, 2016, 2:46 pm

      Totally agree – one of the rules of thumb I use to get an idea of what used cars would be good for me or my wife is the “look test”! If you see a particular used car on the road that a lot of other people are driving (I seen TONS of mid 2000 Yukons like what I have), I at least know it’s a good place to start researching.

      Thanks Cindy!

    • Johnny Oct 30, 2016, 8:24 pm

      Ford and Chevy rear wheel drive vehicles are hard to beat (trucks, Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, Subuarban, Tahoe, Yukon, full size vans). They generally need less maintenance than front wheel drives. Japanese cars are really good too, I avoid imports on principle but I see a TON of Honda, Toyota, and Nissans with over 200k miles and I wouldn’t be nervous driving one with some miles on it. It seems to me that European cars tend to be high maintenance and expensive to repair due to imported parts and specialized mechanics. I had two different aunts that had VWs that spent more time in the shop that on the road….literally. One was a brand new 2012 Jetta that she made them buy back under the lemon law after it spent 6 of 8 the months she had it in the service dept.

  • Drew Oct 26, 2016, 12:01 pm

    My 2007 Tacoma is at 213,000. All I’ve done is regular maintenance plus fixed a leaky gasket on the transmission ($50), replaced a muffler pipe ($100), and keep fully synthetic oil in the thing. To me, fully synthetic oil is the fountain of youth for cars. There’s hardly any dispute that mobile one fully synth is the best out there. It’s guaranteed for 15,000 miles and There are testimonies saying it will go literally go forever as long as you change the filter. I change mine every 8,000 just to be safe but I think these three things will keep a car running almost indefinitely.

  • Lisa Oct 27, 2016, 10:28 am

    My suburban has 129,000 miles on it, is 8 years old, and I still consider it “new.” I plan to drive it for at least 6-8 more years. Why would you waste money on an expensive vehicle, when it loses its value so quickly. There are so many better things I would rather do with my money.

    • Millennial Money Man Oct 27, 2016, 10:31 am

      I’m the same way Lisa!

    • John Nov 14, 2016, 8:59 am

      I have had (2) Suburbans that I put over 250k on each. The most expensive repair on either of them was replacing the fuel pump. Basic maintenance and they will last.

  • MommaB Oct 27, 2016, 12:59 pm

    We bought a brand new Ford Escape in 2014 because I have a long commute from the country with no cell signal and my husband insisted on my having something reliable. In his family that always meant “new”. I was pretty uneasy about the purchase because I grew up in a family that never bought a car with less than 90,000 miles. It felt really good cruising around in a brand new car for a while but now it has 77,000 miles on it and the dealer is starting to send me offers on trade ins. We decided that we will keep up with all the maintenance and minor repairs and I will drive it until it is no longer reliable. I resent that car payment every month and it will be a long time before I go new again.
    PS: my husband has a little Ford Focus with almost 300,000 miles on it. Take care of them and they last forever 🙂

  • Aaron Oct 27, 2016, 1:37 pm

    My car is at 350k and is a 1990 model. It may look worn out but it is still running strong. All I have put into it is mainly preventative maintenance with the exception of a cylinder head and that was only necessary because I stripped out the threads on the same spark plug port twice in four plug changes. I also do my own car work and that saves a bundle. The head replacement normally would have cost around 3k but I only spent $400. Finally, having such an old car means I don’t need comprehensive insurance. All the rest of my insurance is top caliber. Between such an old car and no comprehensive insurance, we only pay $60 a month for two adults on the car insurance for that car..

  • Jim Oct 28, 2016, 9:50 am

    My truck has 160k miles. We have started saving, to have the money to move up in the next two years. My goal is to drive it until it hits at least 200k (3-4 years). By having the money ready to go, I won’t panic if it starts to go before I hit 200k.

  • Stan Oct 28, 2016, 6:37 pm

    189k miles… Toyota Tacoma still goin strong. Havent had a payment in years.

  • Anthony Oct 28, 2016, 8:40 pm

    This is truth. The first car that I had a part in buying my father was “helping” me and had it financed. I was in high school. I couldn’t make the payment. That was my last payment other than a 100% down payment plan. I currently drive a car with 225k and my wife’s van just went over 150k. The van, 2005, was our first vehicle that was in the 2000s. In the process of buying a truck and am looking for one under 200k and 15 years old to fit in my price range. I can’t fathom an $800+ payment for 72 months. My vehicles would run really slow if I was dragging a payment book. Keep preaching!

  • Kristi Oct 28, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I’ve always driven used cars. My 2006 Toyota Camry has 220,000 miles on it. I love it. I love that I don’t have a car payment. When it’s time to replace it (I’m expecting 300k on this one), I’ll probably buy another used Toyota and drive the wheels off it as well!

  • Heather Hicks Oct 30, 2016, 12:12 pm

    Right there with you on driving a paid off car. My car has 175,000 miles on it and is doing fine.

  • Johnny Oct 30, 2016, 7:02 pm

    I am 24 years old and I drive two high mile vehicles. My first is a 99 Ford E-150 Conversion van with 333K miles on the original engine and transmission. The second is a 2002 GMC Yukon XL 3/4 ton with 245K miles and it is as dependable as it was when it had 45k. Both are low maintenance despite their miles. I even tend to be a little heavy footed in the van-that-won’t-die.

  • Jenn Nov 1, 2016, 6:45 pm

    My little manual Ford Escort just hit 200,000 miles this year. It runs like a dream! I get routine maintenance, and nothing ever goes wrong with it, besides me occasionally running over something sharp and blowing a tire!
    The best thing about it is: I didn’t pay a dime for it! My brother gave it to me when he moved out of state and it already had over 180k on it. My hubby and I call it my little blessing car. Also it gets over 30 miles to the gallon, and has a toasty little heater and stays warm in Alaskan winters. I’m gonna drive this little car another around another 100,000 miles at least!

  • Ryan Nov 3, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I drive a Chevy farm truck…diesel 2500. I bought it for $6,000 cash, did a few repairs and it is rolling around 350,000 miles. I might have paid a bit more than I should have for it, but if I drive it until it dies, it was a bargain. (PS…my wife and I live on a farm and needed a truck to haul livestock…thus the big truck)

  • Charles Nov 4, 2016, 6:20 am

    This is a great message and the advice is right on. I’m 50 and I still do this. I just handed my 202,000 mile Toyota down to my son.

  • Hope Nov 5, 2016, 10:25 am

    My husband and I are debt free, living on one salary 38,000, paying for his grad school with cash each semester. We’re 24 and 25 and both drive our high school cars. His 2004 Jeep Liberty has 124,000 miles and runs just fine. My 2001 Buick has 138,000 and with regular maintenance we spend maybe $1,000 total a year on repairs.

    Makes us mad to see peers our age and older go in debt for a status symbol that, as you said, no one else cares about.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 5, 2016, 11:30 am

      Hey Hope – that’s incredible! I love seeing stories like yours. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Patrick Nov 7, 2016, 7:13 am

    Just bought an ’07 Subaru Impreza with 105,xxx miles for $5,700…hopefully the headgasket stays sealed and I can run the car up close to 200,000:) good stuff M$M!!!!

  • Jw Nov 7, 2016, 3:26 pm

    206,000 on my Jeep, paid 3k for it 5 years ago and still running strong with regular maintenance in my garage!

  • Matt Nov 8, 2016, 5:02 pm

    1. No. I made the biggest mistake in 08 and bought a new car…..
    2. Now that car is paid off and has 167500 miles on it with routine maintenance, 4 sets of tires, a clutch and flywheel later. Much cheaper to keep it going than buy another one.

  • Nate Nov 10, 2016, 3:33 pm

    My car has 198k miles, I love it and plan to keep it well passed 500K, I’d like some advice though, my current job only gives me 15 to 20 hours a week and while I am a senior in college I’d like to earn more money to help more at home and earn a larger bank account, I’m considering dropping no more than 3k on a car for Uber but am concerned about insurance and maintenance costs to earnings ratio, can anyone help me with their prior experience? There’s a 2011 Aveo down the street for 3k with 75k miles on it, I’m considering it xause of fuel economy but I know a 2010 Mercury Milan is more reliable while less fuel efficient. Any advice?

    • Nate Nov 10, 2016, 3:38 pm

      PS: Reason I don’t use my Lincoln is that Uber only lets 2000 model year or newer drive, my baby’s a 99, and gets pretty bad gas mileage for driving all day, I’ll keep it for personal use and use the Uber car only for work

  • Sam Nov 10, 2016, 8:53 pm

    I own 4 vehicles
    2004 Honda Accord with 204,000
    1996 f250 with 134,000
    1998 jeep cherokee with 111,000
    1991 Toyota celica with 203,000
    Average age of the vehicles is 19 years old
    662,000 miles total
    If I were to sell them all I don’t think I could get more than 10 grand.
    I agree with this post for the most part. My wife drives the Honda while I drive the Toyota. The jeep is are nicest vehicle we take on the weekends with kids. The truck is used only when you need a truck but if I have car troubles I always have a spare vehicle. People always ask why I own so many and that is why. They are all very cheap and it’s nice to have a spare

  • Jordan Nov 12, 2016, 12:23 pm

    2002 BMW 3 series with 221,000 miles and still going strong. Bought it cash and it’s never once left my stranded. It has needed some minor repairs. Worst thing it ever needed was a fuel pump and that was only a 2 day inconvenience and cost less than $300. I take good care of it and follow the maintenance guides (I do NOT take it to the dealer) and it does fine. You’d never know by driving it that it has almost a quarter of a million miles. I’ll drive it till it won’t anymore.

  • Lyn Nov 12, 2016, 9:27 pm

    My car is almost at 200,000. My husband will hit 300,000 in a month or two. We have no plans to replace them anytime soon, but when we do we have money in the bank to buy in cash. The salesman looks at you like you’re an alien when you tell them that you’re going to pay for a new car in cash.

  • Ali Nov 16, 2016, 2:25 pm

    My 1998 Oldsmobile intrigue has 225,000 miles on it. With care and maintenance, it has been a good car.

  • TheATeam Nov 17, 2016, 7:03 am

    I have a 95 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup with 275,000 miles on it that I would trust to go anywhere that I use as a Daily Driver. However it’s only 2wd and not heavy duty enough to pull any size of trailer. So I bought a 91 Dodge 3/4 ton 4wd and drove it into the ground when I needed to pull or needed 4wd. But when the engine went, I looked at upgrading, but the price people wanted for used pickups was insane, so I did end up buying a 2016 F250. But since they have 2017 on the lot, I got some great discounts and rebates and plan on running this into the ground

  • David Nov 20, 2016, 12:18 pm

    In 2007, I bought a Geo Prizm with 183k for $2,000. People thought I was crazy. Two months ago I reached 500k miles 🙂 People now are saying “That’s crazy, I didnt know a car can last so long .”

  • Leon Nov 21, 2016, 4:29 pm

    I can tell you for a fact cars go beyond 100k miles and sometimes without any major issues till 150k. My Dad’s truck had well over 250k miles before we finally got rid of its and he replaced a few parts along the way but it’s better than a $600 payment a month. I drive a 1997 Ford diesel pickup which I bought around 104k miles. I now have 140k miles on it and she’s just now broke in. The average lifespan for a diesel is 350-400k miles before a major overhaul is needed. I’m happy with what I have and will gladly replace an alternator here, starter there, bearings, etc because until I have enough repair expenses to justify a new vehicles payment its not worth it.

  • Jay Nov 25, 2016, 10:47 am

    I have to say, not having a car payment is nice. But what it boils down to is whether or not people want to have a trouble free car or a car that’ll need maintenance.

    you can’t really base a cars life span just from the mileage. I’ve seen some cars with 150,000 miles that run great(highway), and some with 60,000 city miles that are trashed.

    Any car can theoretically make it to 250,000 miles with maintenance, but there are a lot of factors that contribute into it. most cars won’t go to 250,000 miles until it starts nickel and dimeing you. You’ll probably save more money buying a new car at that point.

    It also depends on how you see the situation as. If you don’t mind the hassle of replacing parts/possible break downs/wear and tear then by all means get a cheap used car. Most people don’t want to deal with that stuff so they simply buy new, or CPO/low mileage used.

    • Joshua Nov 28, 2016, 10:47 am

      I agree with Jay… It depends on if it has been used like a taxi or a highway only car…. I have seen transmissions go out at 50k with regular maintenance because stop and go traffic TRASHES transmissions. Unless you know someone with hoisting equipment or know how to drop a transmission u are looking at a 1500 to 2k repair just for that…. Another thing to look out for are radiator leaks that sneak up on u… I have seen blown engines at low miles as well… It’s all about prior use and maintenance and repair cost to value.

  • Jaimee Nov 29, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Thank you for your post! My husband loves cars and we spent our 25 years of marriage buying 33 cars! Some new and some used. It’s an inside joke in our family and we tell our kids to do as we say, not as we do… We’d be an example of “what not to do!” In our defense, we only own one vehicle and have for most of our marriage haha! Loved reading your post though! Thank you!!

  • Steven Dec 1, 2016, 11:42 am

    My 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 has 32,000 miles and my 1999 Pontiac Bonneville has 124,000 miles, and my wife’s 2011 Nissan Altima has 118,000 miles. Sierra runs perfect, Bonneville is fine besides some New England rot, and the Altima is a bit of a thorn in the side.

  • Jersey Boy Dec 4, 2016, 11:33 am

    I have a 1994 Honda Civic with 412,000 miles one it. Cars last past 100K and more if you take care of them.

  • Tony Dec 4, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I drive a 1997 K1500 Silverado as my daily driver. It currently has 310,000 miles on it. I bought it at 210,000 miles. I paid 1200 for it and have put a 1000 into it. I do all my own maintenance and repairs. Still runs like a new truck. I’ve had it for 3.5 years. I think your advice is really good for young people. Most of them, even with decent jobs, blow their money and live paycheck to paycheck.

  • Nathan Dec 7, 2016, 9:46 pm

    I love cheap cars I have a 1993 Honda Civic with 250k miles on it that I drive primarily in the summer because it gets 45 mpgs and a 2005 truck with 120k miles that I paid 4500 cash for because it had some hail damage. These vehicles will last for years. Didn’t break the bank on either of those and if it didn’t snow I would drive the Honda Civic year round.

  • Jason Dec 11, 2016, 4:44 pm

    I also buy old cars. I currently have 4, they are all paid for and all but one has over 200k. I try to find old cars that are good, F150 for example. When I buy it it has pretty much met it’s depreciation and they are cheap to fix. Usually I can sell them for not much less than I paid. Even if I have to do major repairs, I spent almost 3k last week, I still come out ahead. It just doesn’t make sense to buy new to me.

  • Craig Dec 11, 2016, 9:48 pm

    Well, I really liked the sentiment of this post. Unfortunately, all I got out of it was cars should last until 250,000 miles and you should buy a cheap car. Can we please get some DETAILS that provide value? For example, what type of car do you drive, and which brands do you recommend? How did you get such a good price? What forms of maintenance should we be aware of and are musts? Etc, etc. I appreciate all the advice thus far!

  • Josh King Dec 18, 2016, 1:58 pm

    Here’s an even worse one…

    “…my car broke down and its only worth $5,000. The repair is $2,500 – that’s half the value of the car so I’m going to buy a new one.”

    So instead of putting $2,500 into a depreciating asset, you’re going to put $25,000-30,000 into a newer depreciating asset that will lose value even more rapidly? Great plan.

    That said, cars are one of my biggest passions. German cars, specifically. I do a lot of my own work on my cars and restore classic (read: appreciating) cars in my spare time. So I’m no stranger to car expenses, but there is just no comparison between a solid used car that you maintain for a long time (120k, 6 years on my current daily driver bought used) and the monthly cash bonfire that is a new car lease or financing agreement. Plus, you can get so much more car for your money in the used market.

    • Millennial Money Man Dec 18, 2016, 2:34 pm

      Totally agree Josh – I see that argument all the time. Buying a new car because repair costs are large in proportion to the potential value doesn’t make sense. It’s not like people are buying the new cars and then selling them for a profit.

  • Brad Dec 20, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Nice post. My suburban has 240k on it. Just bought it this year at 231k. Hopefully still lots of life left!
    My last purchase I had a grand Cherokee with 146k and drove it 7 years to 201k. Only sold bc of a cross country move. Cost more to ship than to replace. Wife’s car is at 110k.

  • Sean Dec 26, 2016, 10:45 pm

    No, you are not looking at this fully as you should. As an experienced engineer and financial person here is what I can tell you. Cars are not all created equal and drivers are not all the same either. Ford cars in 2009 were manufactured to last 150K miles. Dodge cars even less. Some people are harder on cars than others just like some roads are rougher and ruin the parts. If you can wisely afford a new car and keep it for 10-12 years then go for it, but ONLY if the rest of your budget is set up. If you plan on turning over cars regularly as a hobby buy something interesting at the bottom of its depreciation curve, enjoy it and fix it for a few years then sell it and move on. If you are truly worried about durability then buy a CPO Honda Accord and drive it forever with the knowledge that you own am automotive cockroach. Some cars maintenance costs are much higher and some have lower durability. Research the crap out of your decision and do your best. I do strongly agree that cars as a status symbol is stupid and most vehicles can make it past 100K miles, although not flawlessly.

  • Debra Dec 30, 2016, 3:04 pm

    You’re 100% correct
    191,000 miles on my paid-for car, plan on driving it until 250k (hopefully beyond!)

  • Zack Wilsey Jan 4, 2017, 9:28 am

    Agree with your points 100%.
    My best friend from highschool has bought three different cars since his first one five years ago. (One was unavoidable, his second burned to the ground!) Wheras I have just kept putting miles on my first car (which was used at the time I got it anyway) which has served me well and is still going strong at 203,000 miles!
    I’m only broke because of poor decisions and student loans.

  • Doug Jan 5, 2017, 1:28 am

    We drive two cars, a Ford Taurus with 240,000 and a Camry with 201,000. I always buy used. The amount I spend on maintenance is much less than than a car payment.

Leave a Comment

4K Shares
Share4K
Pin14
Tweet
Share1
Email
Inline
Inline