On the Merits of Driving Used Cars

Pictured on your left is the 1995 Hyundai that I purchased approximately 40 months ago for $700. In the period of time that I have owned this vehicle, I have spent approximately a thousand dollars on various mechanical issues, including brakes, shocks, a tuneup, a set of tires, and a pair of door handles.

A friend once kidded me about the "clown car" I bought, citing its purple color and relatively small body as evidence of its supposed hilarity. Yet when I crunch the numbers, this vehicle has cost me about $42 a month in initial investment and repairs, and with only 104,000 miles on the odometer, I suspect that this car has many more years of reliable service left.

So to those of you contemplating the purchase of a new automobile or truck, I suggest that you take a closer look at buying a used vehicle. Sure, my 1995 Hyundai is nothing special to look at, but in my 30 years of driving I have never owned a vehicle that cost me so little while providing almost uninterrupted service.

Moreover, the body on this car has just a handful of rust spots and even fewer dings. It is true that purple is an unusual color, but the vehicle still has a glossy sheen to its paint job. If I choose to continue to drive it at the rate of 10-12 thousand miles a year, I might have ten more years of life left in the machine, and that overall cost of ownership continues to shrink every month I keep this vehicle on the road.

Think about the money you are tossing away on a brand new vehicle every month before you sign that loan agreement for a shiny car at the dealership. Consider also the lost income from investments that $200-$400 per month in savings might bring you, and then look me in the eye and tell me a new car is worth every penny.