What Cars Do People Keep?
With the absurd average transaction price of a new car in America at around $34,000, it’s important for you financial warriors to get the most out of a car if you want to get to financial independence. The good news is that cars are continually lasting longer and have been for some time now. It’s routine now for a car to make it past 150,000 miles without needing major repairs.
As we all know the best thing to do overall is to not buy a new car. Instead find a decent used vehicle in the $5000 – $10,000 range with as low mileage as you can, and ride it till it dies. I did that for the vast majority of my journey to financial independence and it accelerated my net worth tremendously.
Of course better yet you could live close to work, buy a good bike, and design your life so you don’t have to drive much in the first place. That’s the snub-your-nose to the automotive industrial complex lifestyle hack that gets the most miles to the gallon.
But, back to cars. In reality most of us have one. Jalopnick ran this article recently about the cars that people keep for 15 years.
I find it interesting but not too surprising that they’re all foreign cars. Granted as the article points out some are made in America, but the brands are all Japanese with one Volkswagen that made it. But Volkswagen could have just deliberately lied about their longevity data to make the list. Because you know, deception and all….
American car brands have still been trying to overcome the legacy of the incredibly crappy cars they put out for so many years, especially in the 70’s and 80’s. Data show they’ve been catching up to foreign brands, but still have some work to do. Consumer reports does a brand reliability scoring and the American brands still don’t fair too well.
I owned three Ford’s that were all bought used with more than 65k miles and for $5,000 or under and all three did me well and lasted well into the 100k mile zone. Your results of course may vary.
Here’s the list of the top vehicles kept for 15 years or more if you don’t want to go to the article:
Toyota dominates the list and they rightfully have the reputation of lasting forever. Of note, there are quite a few gass-guzzlers on this list. Even though you might get a long life out of a vehicle you have to consider the full cost of ownership including of course fuel economy.
The article goes on to point out that the initial cost of a vehicle isn’t everything. You might be getting a better deal on a vehicle that costs a little more but has the probability of lasting way longer. This is pretty good advice and applies to both new and used vehicles – only if of course you keep the vehicle for a long time!
Beware Of Change
But with new vehicles this advice is a bit of a crap shoot. Most manufacturers change their designs and even engines almost every year and without a reliability track record for that specific year a new car purchase is a bit of a leap of faith. That’s another reason why buying new is not a good idea. Next years Camry could be a bad year, you never know…. and who wants to be a guinea pig?
Buying used at least allows you to look up the track record for that specific model and year and have those additional data points to consider when purchasing. It’s a simple thing, but very powerful.
With the average monthly new car payment approaching $500 and the fact that cars are deceptively expensive to own, it’s no secret that one of the best ways to accelerate your journey to financial independence is to cut your car expenses as much as possible. The cars listed in this article from Jalopnick are cars that people tend to be keeping, so they might be worth considering if you are looking for a good used car.
Your turn readers – do you have a car that’s at least 15 years old and still chugging along like a trooper? If so, let others know what car is giving you value by commenting below!