If you’ve been reading my site for any length of time you know my dilemma. I own a 16-year-old car. I bought this 2000 Mazda Protégé days after I moved to Ottawa from Toronto. The car was brand new and it cost about $16,000 at the time. I drove the car off the lot the day I bought it.
My Mazda has been bought and paid for since 2005, 11 years ago. Most people don’t own that long let alone 16 years in total.
My dilemma is this – should I get rid of my old car?
- With a new(er) car I would have something more reliable (and arguably safer) – although I don’t drive my old car very much anymore (only a few times per month), I could count on a new(er) car when I need it. (My neighbour had a good laugh last year when I had to literally push my car out of my garage, to get it started by CAA.)
- I wouldn’t need another car for at least 10 years – we don’t turnover cars in this house so a new(er) car would likely last until early retirement age.
- I could likely get better gas mileage with a new(er) car – depending on the vehicle of course.
- We rarely use a second car – when purchased, this new(er) car will become our primary vehicle and more than likely, our other existing car will become the secondary vehicle (to keep mileage off it). We rarely use both vehicles in any given week. We strive to car pool to work as much as possible. We also work from home where we can. I’m not a huge fan of owning two nearly new cars, especially one that isn’t paid for yet, sitting in our garage 80% of the time.
- I would probably spend more money on car insurance with a new(er) car.
- I would need to find money (soon) for a sizeable down payment or take advantage of 0% financing – either decision will incur more expenses.
What to do? What did I decide?
After thinking it through – I’m inclined to keep my old car for at least another year and maybe longer into 2018.
I will be taking my 16-year-old ride to my trusted mechanic in the coming week for a complete assessment; what could go wrong and what I should replace to keep it on the road for another year including another harsh Canadian winter. I already know I need new tires. That will cost $400. If the cost of the maintenance is projected to be into the thousands of dollars, I will reconsider my decision. If the cost is about $1,000 or so, and certainly less, I will definitely keep it.
Keeping my old car for one more year has a number of benefits. I can continue to use it, only when needed. I can continue to keep my insurance costs low for another year. I have bought myself some time to save up for a new(er) car and make a modest down payment on it (as part of 0% financing or via a cash deal for a used car). Delaying this purchase will also avoid us incurring two car payments at the same time. Our primary vehicle has 8 months left in car payments. I’ve learned over the years that continually financing cars is generally a wealth-destroying activity.
Besides, I’m rather attached to this old car. I’ve had it for so many years and I take great pride in keeping it roadworthy for so long. Hopefully it will see us through another year and the assessment will not yield any major issues. Fingers crossed.
What would you do with an old car like this? Would you make the same decision I did?