You’re in the market for a car. Do you listen to all the commercials and buy a new car? Do you get a gently used car? Or do you buy a well used old clunker? There’s no easy or best answer. Each has its pros and cons. But here’s 10 reasons to get an old clunker.
1. It’s a Cheap Ride
This is the most obvious reason to go with an old car. Whether you’re shopping for a compact car or an SUV, you can easily find one for less than $2000 and sometimes even less than $1000. Sure you’ll have more upkeep costs. But if you don’t have much in the way of car savings, you can still drive off the lot without taking out a loan.
2. Your Car Won’t Depreciate
Once you get into the $2000 territory, your vehicle essentially stops depreciating (assuming you keep it in working order). Compared to a new SUV, which can depreciate $5,000 in the first year, this isn’t a bad deal.
3. Insurance is Cheap
When your car is barely worth more than the deductible on an insurance policy, there’s no point in putting full coverage on the car, meaning you save lots of $$$ on insurance premiums. Even if you do put full coverage, it’ll cost you way less than full coverage on a new car.
4. Taxes, Title and Registration are Cheap
This is a state-by-state issue, but typically some or all of what you pay in legal paperwork on the car is based on the car’s value. If you pay sales tax when you drive off the lot, this is a percentage of the car’s value. Likewise for annual personal property tax. Re-titling is sometimes based on the car’s value. Registration fees are typically based in part on the car’s value, and in part on the car’s weight.
5. You Don’t Worry About Door Dings and Other Cosmetic Damage
If you buy an old beater, it likely has some ‘character.’ So who cares about one more door ding or scratch or dent.
6. No One Will Steal Your Car
You don’t need to lock your car in parking lots because nobody wants it. And they probably assume that you’re too poor to have any valuables in the car too.
7. No Hi-Tech Computer Problems
Newer cars are built with more and more hi-tech features and specialized equipment. This goes beyond all the ‘in-cabin’ features, and includes engine components and other things that the car uses to actually drive. When these do go wrong, they can be expensive to fix or can become recurring problems.
8. You Can Do Your Own Maintenance
Because of the increasingly complex features in newer cars, it’s getting harder and harder to do your own mechanical work on newer cars. If you’re in to maintaining your old car, you’re probably going to be a lot more comfortable on an older car.
9. Bragging Rights
Every year your car turns another year older, your bragging rights grow a little more. There’s something about driving a 20-year-old car that’s had its frame welded together 3 times that deserves some respect.
10. You Develop an Intimate Relationship With Your Car
There’s something about old beaters that makes their drivers fall in love with them. It’s kind of like that old teddy you may have had as a kid. Even though it was missing an ear or an eye and the stuffing was falling out, you were inseparable. It seems that everyone who drives a clunker has a name for them. You get to know all the quirks of the car. You need to stomp on the break twice, and the gas once, and then give the dashboard a good bang for the car to start. And when your wife tells you that you should really replace it, you get a look of horror, and a tear slips from your eyes when you realize she’s right.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.