Frugal living sometimes means going against the grain of society. When it comes to automobiles, society pushes for newer and shinier sooner and sooner, but there are some true benefits (most of them financial) to keeping a car for as long as it keeps running.
No car payment
The longer you keep a car, the more likely you are to pay it off. Once it’s paid off, you have the freedom on no car payments for as long as you continue to drive it. Put that money toward maintenance costs like changing the timing belt or replacing the tires to keep the car running properly without depleting your budget unnecessarily.
Not having a car payment also means you can set that money aside for a future car. If you save enough cash to purchase your next vehicle, you save all kinds of money by not paying interest on a loan and you have a bargaining chip with the salesperson.
waiting for the replacement latch to arrive in the mail
Easier to find replacement parts
When you drive a car longer, it’s easier to find replacement parts on ebay or at the local junkyard. For example, last year the door latch on my 1997 4Runner needed to be replaced. I could have bought the part new from the dealership for $500 or more, but I found it online for less than $150. Just because the dealership may tell you, “We don’t carry parts on late model cars” doesn’t mean you can’t find them elsewhere.
Recalls have already been made
In a world full of recalls, it’s nice to drive something that’s been around long enough to have already revealed its dark secrets. There’s something to be said about not having any surprises (exploding airbags, stuck accelerator, etc.) while you drive.
Less likely to be stolen or broken into
Let’s be honest, older cars are less desirable to thieves. They are less likely to have the kinds of stereos thieves are willing to break in and steal, and they’re less likely to be hot commodities on the black market. Peace of mind comes with driving an older car.
Lower insurance rates
It’s not just the owners that have peace of mind; the insurance companies do, too. Insurance rates go down over time, too. Why pay to insure a brand new car when your old car still runs and costs less?
Provided your car continues to pass emissions tests and state inspections, keeping a car for a longer period of time can be environmentally friendly. The more frequently people purchase new cars, the more new cars manufacturers will make. Since nobody has found a way to create a biodegradable car, junkyards fill up with cars that people no longer drive. Maintaining an older car means you’re using parts from the junkyard and minimizing manufacturing all at the same time.
A tip about driving older cars
The key to all of this working is for car owners to properly maintain their vehicles. Change the oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and battery. Do the recommended mileage maintenance for the sake of prevention. It keeps your car running longer and saves you the cost of repairs on down the road.