Getting into my car to do some errands, I notice the little “Maintenance Required” light came on, I have been another 3000 miles and due for yet another service appointment. I have driven this car over 103K miles so far since 2012. I cannot help but think to myself, “Where has the time gone?”
When you purchase a brand new car with that brand new car smell, it is an awesome feeling. You don’t think about the possibility of future repairs and upkeep after all you are it’s first owner breaking it in. The old car you had was nice but always breaking down and the expenses kept getting incredibly expensive to maintain it any longer.
Now you have to balance auto maintenance with auto payments. Seems like a good deal at the time, and everyone likes the feeling of owning their first new car. After all, you don’t have to think about how to save money on car repairs – do you?
New Car Warranty
For the first so many thousand miles or so many years, whichever comes first you have a new car warranty that covers most of the maintenance expenses – you just call every 3000 miles to schedule service maintenance regularly. It all seems perfect as you pay off you car over the next 48 to 60 months.
One does not seem to think about the time years we have bought that new car and made it ours the reality that a new car is an asset that will decline in value (as personal property so often does) almost as soon as we step out the door off the sales floor with it.
As a Car Ages – Warranty Expires
As you new car ages, the warranty will expire – what then? How will you save on car repairs as we all know as anything gets older, the cost of upkeep, maintenance and repairs gets greater. Even as we get older, we begin to need overhauls to fix us. Hard to think that once you paid almost as much as a new home to have that new car smell and no more exorbitant auto repairs, and now you must start picking up those costs again. It is a vicious cycle.
Value Declines – Old or New All Become the Same
Yes, it’s true – automobile value declines. Whether you buy new or purchase a good second-hand vehicle just to get you around town – they all become the same. But now that old, declining value means of transportation that you proudly handed over a good portion of your paycheck to own is just the same as if it had been purchased second hand for way less.
With the decreased value, you also find that the warranty you purchased in the beginning no longer kicks in. So now you must foot most of the expenses to maintain most of the expenses that arise in order to keep it safe and driveable to get you here and there. It becomes like an old man – dependent on others for support and care with only the memories of younger days.
Will You Find A Reputable Service Person
However now you have more choices – do you continue to go to the service department where you purchased the car and where you have got to know everyone by their first name over the years developing trust between you or find a reputable service person now outside the car dealerships service department?
Talk to your child or neighbor to see who they use, and what kind of experience they have had. Perhaps you have a friend or know someone who repairs and does auto mechanic work? Be willing to explore new trust levels, and it could be an eye-opening experience.
Suddenly it may dawn on you, and you will ask yourself, why did I stay with them so long – realizing that reaching outside you comfort zone a bit, you can save more than you ever thought possible. Don’t be afraid to speak up and inquire to everyone you meet that has an older car, “who do you use? how do you feel about their reputation?” and check references.
Or Will You Do It Yourself
If you are still agile and willing to learn a new skill, go inquire about taking an auto mechanic class at your local adult education program in the community, and learn to do the upkeep yourself. You can find parts cheap and purchase your own supplies as needed and not pay the hourly labor cost on top of the parts to get the work done. Something to think about, huh?
Don’t forget some things may fall under your insurance to get fixed, and you will need someone reputable to do that maintenance – talk to your insurance and friends. Check to make sure that you are covered for a rental while your car is laid up and under repair.
Well, hopefully, this has got you thinking about your means of transportation – now that I am retired and living on a small monthly pension, I know I must take this all into consideration. I do know that I have enjoyed having a new car, but I also know that it was not the smartest choice I could have made – through the salesman at the dealership may differ with me, after all – they are in it for their commission.
My next car will be a good second hand that has only been owned by one owner who only drove it to church on Sundays and kept it garaged and polished the rest of the time. Point is, when the time comes for a new car, I know there are lots of second-hand cars out there in good shape that are low maintenance and can save a bundle that will be better spent in another area of my budget.
We need to set a limit before that time on what we are willing to spend, and start saving ahead so when the time comes we can pay for it in cash and own it from the start – my limit is $1,500 for my next car, I will be looking for a good repairman to take over where the service dealership leaves off, and yes, I think I will find out about auto mechanic classes for women to learn what I can do myself.
Interested to hear your experience in auto repairs and maintenance, new vs old cars, and suggestions on how we all can be better prepared financially to face these expenses at our cars get older. Please leave a comment below, thank you!