my evolution from the new to used car that is

November 12th, 2007

My Evolution From the “New” to “Used”… Car, That Is

This week, the M-Network will be posting about new cars vs used cars vs no car at all – each from our own unique perspective on what is right for us and our situation. And you’re invited to join in! If you post a post about what choices you make in daily transportation and why, and either link to this post or let me know via a comment, email, or my contact form, I’ll add a link to your post at the end of this one. And as the other M-Network members post this week about their transportation choices, I’ll be adding links to their posts at the end of this one as well.

I used to be a “new car only” person. My dad was first a car salesman and then a manager at a car dealership as I was growing up, and he was (and is) a huge proponent of buying new cars. Being the good daughter I guess, I never really questioned that “truth”. When I bought my first car, I bought a new car because I wanted it to last a very long time. Understanding depreciation never entered my head. I was only 16, in my defense, but still. I bought a brand new car in 1990, a GEO Tracker, and it served me well. I kept it until 2004 in fact, when I was pregnant with my first child, and the car needed some extensive repairs that I didn’t want to pay for, since I was planning on replacing it before my son was born anyway. The Tracker is similar to a Jeep and it wasn’t, for me, the ideal family car.

I would have bought another new car (and financed the bulk of it) but my spouse was a big proponent of buying late model used cars and letting someone else take the first depreciation hit on it for you. And he helped me see the light (for me). We did loads of calculations n what we could buy for what we could afford to pay, and I was convinced. Buy a two year old car, and get a lot more for your money.

We actually ended up buying a three year old car. One of the perks to it is that it has a whole lot of features I would never have paid for in a new car, like heated leather seats. But it was what was available at the time in our price range and desired model. And I love that car. It runs well, it has served us well, and I have no qualms about keeping it for the next 5-10 years or as long as it keeps running. My spouse’s car is also a previously owned car and it is now 11 years old and still going strong.

For me, buying a used car fits my overall philosophy of buying used things in good condition for my family to use. I buy used clothing, used furniture, and used toys (although… no more toys. We have too many.) For us it works.

I can’t imagine not having a car. I live in a city, but not one that is very walkable, and I don’t live within walking distance of even a bus stop. If we lived more downtown I might be able to take the bus everywhere. We visited San Francisco a few years ago for one of my spouse’s conferences, and if we lived somewhere like that, I might be able to imagine life without a car. We took the bus everywhere and it was great.

But still… I am attached to my car. Very attached. Maybe unhealthily attached. But attached I am, and I can’t imagine life without it. My happy used car. Hopefully we’ll be able to save up enough money to buy the next one outright.

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25 Responses to “My Evolution From the “New” to “Used”… Car, That Is”

  1. We have bought new and used. We have one car that’s 10 yrs old (we bought it 4 yrs old from my parents). It’s been a great car, but it’s starting to reach the end of it’s life (once this car is gone, we’re only going to keep 1 car until it becomes not as reliabel as we need). Last summer we bought a new MINI cooper. We thought about buying used but they’re almost as expensive as new. So we purchased new. We are going to keep this car till it won’t roll anymore, so we felt good about purchasing it.

    We also need to have a 100% reliable car for our business. If we have car trouble and can’t show up to a job, we lose half a month’s income. So for us, the price for new & piece of mind is worth the price. However if you spend some time researching you can find a car that doesn’t depreciate as fast.

    We both work from home so 1 car is feasible for us. Hopefully it will save us some money as well.

  2. Hi Paid Twice!
    I’ve posted my thoughts on new vs used on my blog here:
    Thanks for the invitation!


  3. I have a car, which I bought used. While I do ride my bike to work, it is not really feasible to ride my bike every where. I do need a car to get the majority of places I have to go. Also, I live in a very cold and snowy area…the winter doesn’t deal well with walkers…

  4. I have never gotten all excited about the MINI Cooper but I know a lot of people LOVE them. Our neighbor has one.

    One new car is probably better than 2 used cars lol.

    I think, in my opinion at least, one can buy a reliable car that is used as well as new. i think my spouse’s used car is probably a more reliable choice than my new car ever was (even though it never had major problems until the very end 14 years later).

    Thanks for all the input!!

    SavingDiva I need to start riding a bike more… just for the waistline!

  5. I live in a city that you can use the bus system…if you want to go downtown. Fortunately, I work downtown, so I can take the bus to work, but I still need a car to get to the grocery store, and more importantly, church. (I could probably get to the grocery store via bus, but my timing would have to be perfect; I could not get to church on the bus, although I could probably ask for rides, it would be inconveniencing people and I hate that.) I really wish I lived somewhere that I could walk to a store like Target–I’d be forced to spend less there if I walked and would have to carry it home! As it is, I try to go there only when I’m going to be out anyway–for church, another errand, etc.

  6. I live in Los Angeles, and haven’t had a car in 2 years. (no, it’s NOT impossible *grin*) I’m considering buying one next year, and if I do it will be an old one with cheap insurance. The only reason I’m even considering one is that there are things I’d like to do that are beyond the reach of *convenient* public transit.

    I just keep looking at gas prices and cringing and thinking “ya know, I can wait …”

  7. We’re not anywhere near the city and really need our cars as well.

    I had also been told by family to *always* buy a new car and never buy a used car. I’m trying to get over that mentality now, and will definitely be looking at used cars for the next car.

  8. I hope I’m not to late to comment on this issue.
    I posted about it today.


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