About 5 years ago, I posted that I most likely wouldn’t replace my crappy car, the 2005 Chevy Aveo, even if I made $20,000 more a year at the time. I hated car payments more than I hated that car.
Looking at it now, I started making $20,000 or more a year in 2011 and 2012. I sold the Aveo for $3400 (click that link for my post on selling your car on Craigslist) about 3 1/2 years after that post (early 2014) and bought my much-loved Honda Fit.
Why I Got a New-to-Me Car
I ended up moving on because my mechanic let me know I was about a year away from needing a lot of major work done or my Aveo would just stop working. Apparently the engine was simply giving out. I asked his personal opinion on what he’d do since he had been my mechanic for the whole 9 years I had that car. He said he would honestly start shopping for a Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai and sell the Aveo while it still had some solid life left.
When I let him know that I bought a new Honda Fit, he congratulated me and said he’d see me in a decade or so. He has since retired because of a whole bunch of crappy life events, but he was right that my Honda Fit has gone its first 24,000 miles with zero issues. I’ve had two of the dealer tires replaced and am having my third overall oil change this month. In the first 24,000 miles in the Chevy Aveo, I had all 4 tires replaced, the thermostat housing cracked, and one of the belts shredded. I’m considering my current car a win!
Why I Bought a Totally New Car
As for why I buy new instead of new-to-me, it’s mainly because the price difference between a 1-3 year old used Honda Fit (and most cars) wasn’t significant enough to convince me it was worth taking the small risk that someone else messed something up. The 2 year old used Honda Fits were running between $13,500-$14,500. My new one was $16,300 altogether and will cost a grand total of $16,650 even with interest over the 5 year 0.9% life of the loan. That $2000-$3000 is worth it to me.
If I was willing to work on old cars, I would probably have kept my Chevy Aveo or would have bought a $3000 end-of-life car, fixed it up enough to get by, and kept doing that whenever they just died. But errands and car repairs are not fun to me. It’s stressful. I pay to avoid stress.
Overall, I spend about the same per year on the cars I own as my friends with used vehicles when you take into account all costs including repairs. I take great care of my new cars and make them last. I also can sell them down the road for more than expected. I’ve seen a few friends get amazing used cars that had very few problems over the years that they had them. But I also have watched a few of their used cars have major issues nearly immediately and then continuously. I think it’s a little about luck on whether any car will be a lemon or not.
Obviously, I am not against buying used cars. My husband’s 2007 Toyota Prius was a 1 year old Certified Pre-Owned Prius that we bought in 2008 since it was $7000 cheaper than buying new. It’s been great! I just didn’t see a deal like that when I was looking.
Do you buy new or used? How has that worked out for you so far? Would you replace your car if you were making a lot more per year?
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