What’s that clunking noise coming from under your hood? Why is the check engine light on? Will it be a $200 repair this time? Or $2,000? Most of us are familiar with the frustrations of multiple repairs on an older vehicle. Many even argue that because of this, it’s smart to buy a new car every five years or so, so that you can make sure your vehicle is covered by a warranty at all times. But is that really the best way to go? What if we told you that by simply being extremely vigilant in regularly maintaining your vehicle, it’s not uncommon to hit the 200,000 mile marker without any extremely costly repairs? It can be done. This is how, and how the practice of keeping your car for at least 10 years can save you big in the long haul.
It may seem like a quaint theory, but simply put-be kind to your vehicle! Give it just a second or two to lube up after starting it for the day, make sure to stop completely in between shifting, and in general just drive “easy”. Don’t consistently rev too hard or stop too hard. Keep it clean, both inside and out. Especially as your car ages, not only does keeping it clean maintain healthy metals underneath and your paint job, but you’ll be able to maintain pride in your car even when it’s not brand spanking new. Generally “taking it easy” on your motored friend will ease the stress on the engine and transmission, and should help it to live longer!
Once you’ve mastered the concept of “easy does it”, you also need to make sure you give your vehicle regular checkups. Fluids and tire pressure take just minutes to check yourself, and bad or no fluids in particular can wreak havoc with your vehicle’s mechanical systems. Make sure you are diligent about maintaining your oil and transmission fluid levels and cleanliness. Having to replace either your motor or transmission, depending on the year of your car when either fails, could very well force your hand into buying new, even if you weren’t really ready. Bonus, if you use a good reputable mechanic to service your fluids and do other routine maintenance, he or she will probably be useful in spotting problems waiting to happen; potential repairs that could cost hundreds now, but maybe thousands later.
While we’re on fluids, did you know too that companies like Valvoline will guarantee different systems on your vehicle if you faithfully use their quality products? For example, Valvoline’s engine guarantee program will in some cases back your engine’s long life up to 300,000 miles! And to sign up, your vehicle needs to just have less than 125,000 miles racked up, and you’d need to utilize their high quality oils when you dutifully change your motor oil on time. That’s not a bad deal.
So how do the numbers add up? How exactly does hanging onto your vehicle longer save you money? Well for starters, the average cost of a brand new car nowadays is around $34,000. Let’s say for ease of math, your monthly payment is $600 on a five year loan. In five years, you’ve paid $36,000. Now let’s say at the end of five years, you decide to buy another new vehicle, and we just use the same numbers. You’ve now paid $72,000 in ten years. Keep in mind here, we’re not even including calculations for carrying full insurance coverage on a vehicle you’re making payments on.
The other scenario has you caring for your vehicle, “taking it easy”, servicing it regularly, and using and regularly checking quality fluids in your engine and transmission. At the end of your first 5 years, you decide to hold onto your vehicle, and it’s now paid off. So now you’re SAVING that $600 a month, and additionally can drop full insurance coverage at that time if you choose. It’s easy to see the monetary benefits of holding onto that car!
Look, everyone loves having a new car. The thrill, the new car smell, the security of having a full warranty. But there are some realities to keep in mind. For one thing, new car warranties don’t cover EVERYTHING, at least not after just a few thousand miles. And continually paying close to a small mortgage payment every month just for those feelings might not be smart financially. It’s not all that incredibly difficult to maintain a healthy vehicle. It simply takes some diligence and care. Those small efforts on your part can yield some extremely high financial rewards! So slow down, be nice to your old car, and take pride in it! Betcha that old car will pay you back!