Just a quick post here as I think this is important. It looks like 0% interest rates are going away. This should be expected as base interest rates from the FED have been going up. See this great image below that I found on wikipedia.
I know many folks in this community prefer to buy used or keep older cars a long time. My opinion on that is that I buy new or recent 3 year old or less lease returns, and keep the car to age 10 or older depending on mileage and condition. I will also buy from friends or family, my preferred option, since I know how they handle their cars.
I think both approaches are valid. Like so many things it comes down to your personal comfort level with risk, and your car repair skills. Many of the men in my family were auto mechanics, including my father for a few years after high school. They could do the labor, and had the skills to keep old cars looking and running well. While I learned the basics from dad, I do not have his skill nor that of my mechanic uncles.
They could, and did, rebuild cars from junkers to, well, works of art. Now that is far beyond the skill needed to keep an older, but well maintained car on the road.
Another point in this discussion is car culture and consumerism in general. Do you want or need the pretty car? Must you keep up with your neighbors? My town has very rich people in it. There are lots of Porsche, Tesla, and assorted expensive cars about. I don’t drive one, and short of winning the lottery, I won’t.
I am not immune to those feelings, but it is a factor in me buying new, but holding long. Regular treatments to your car’s plastic parts with ArmorAll will keep it looking new. I also swear by RainX to keep water off your windows. It really is easier to see in the worst conditions, and it does help make ice removal easier.
My wife and I keep ourselves on a 10 year plan with a 5 year offset. The idea is to have no more than 1 car loan at a time, and if possible, time between the two. Our first car together, as we both had no car while living in Manhattan, was an old Honda Civic that was mechanically sound, but aesthetically beat up. My wife’s father grew up on a farm in Ireland, and was not part of American car culture. We bought his old car, and I used that for several years while she used a new 0% for 6 years sedan.
We sold that when our son came, a few years later, and purchased a used SUV from my father with very low mileage, as he was retired when he purchased it new. That we bought in cash, and used until last year when the transmission started to make noise. Her car had been paid off for a few months by that point, so that’s when I got my first new car since 2000.
Like I said I am a part of car culture. Dad and his brothers used to drag race on an old army air field in Brroklyn in the 50s and 60s, that is now a mall. Their love of cars did rub off on me. So I care for this new SUV of mine, and plan on keeping it at least 10 years.
I also love the Weathertech floor matts over the stock ones or the premium ones from the manufacturer. Weathertech matts protect the sides for an inch or two, and that is great in the winter. I have the stock ones in a bin in my garage, for when I sell this SUV, hopefully many years from now.
I’m curious what you all think of that? Want to trade car care tips? Prefer to not finance cars? For the latter, I will finance up to 1.5%, then I prefer to purchase in cash, and then pay back my emergency fund as I did with the SUV, I purchased from dad.
Oh two side notes here. First, the we were brand loyal to the one I purchased from dad, but quality control issues means, I purchased a different brand that I trust much more. Plus the dealer offers lifetime powertrain warranty as long as you own the car for free and maintain the car with them or a name brand shop that you have records to prove you got all the scheduled maintenance on time.
Second point, when purchasing the car from dad, there was no sales tax in my state so long as I registered the car in my name, and only my name. My wife could not be on the registration. That saved us quite a few pretty pennies.