And It’s Not Just About Money!
While we love visiting an auto show and the new car smell that comes with buying a brand new car, more people are deciding that a new car can wait. Industry analysts found that the average age of a car on the road in 2016 was 11.6 years, up from 11.2 years in 2015.
I can personally attest to being part of this trend; the average age of the cars in my house is 11.5 years. This doesn’t include the 1992 Ford GT that my husband drove until 2012 when we welcomed our second child and needed just a little more room.
We love new technology and features of the newest cars on the road; they can turn even the biggest non-fan into a car aficionado! Price is certainly part of the reason we’re keeping our cars longer, but even without the price, there are more reasons why we’re opting not to buy a new car just yet.
1. Vehicle Quality Has Improved, Inside and Out
Most of us aren’t going to get under the hood to do more than check our oil and fluids, but if we tore down the engine, the engines of today’s cars aren’t worn and stressed like the cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Buying a used car (or new-to-you car) isn’t as big a gamble as it once was.
My father and father-in-law are the car aficionados in my family. They broke down the science that Ford engineers at the Atlanta Auto Show shared about what’s under the hood. As materials have improved, the heavy rubber rings that used to crack the engine block have been replaced mixed polymer materials that can last much longer.
Renee Virata, a contributor at our partner site, TravelingMom.com had a similar experience with her 2001 Nissan Altima. “One of the best cars we’ve ever bought,” she said. “It’s needed minimal repairs. We just gave it to my oldest daughter because it’s a beast compared to the cars of today. We bought it used in 2008 and have driven it coast to coast twice. Trust me when I say it’s seen it all.”
When it comes to the outside, we all can clearly see the difference. Today’s car bodies are much lighter than the steel and aluminum of before. Light weight materials that make up most bodies not only give us a car or truck that’s just as powerful, but they’re easier to drive. It’s also increasingly rare to see a car with rust spots like the old cars of my childhood.
2. It is The Green Choice to Keep a Car Longer
Keeping your car as long as possible allows you to reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact a few ways. First, you’re not contributing to the manufacture of a new car. Even when you compare the difference between a new hybrid and older cars for gas mileage, you’ll come out ahead with the older car because most of the footprint comes from the manufacturing process. Little known fact: hybrid cars actually have a much higher manufacturing footprint because of the battery.
You could make the choice to donate your car to charity or send it to the junkyard for scrap parts. The downside is that you’ll be taking a perfectly usable vehicle out of commission and creating more waste when you don’t have to.
Oh, and the 1992 Ford GT we had in 2012? It’s still out there. We sold it to a family friend for his teenage daughter. Every so often, we see it and think lovingly of how well it served us.
3. You Decide a New Car Can Wait Because You Have a Serious Emotional Attachment to Your Car
We have an emotional attachment to our cars. Whether it was the first new car you bought after you received the big raise at work or brought your first child home from the hospital, it’s special. Our cars have transported us to so many important moments that it’s hard to get rid of them. We know them like the best friend we’ve had for 11 years. The seat fits us just the right way, the presets on the radio are all ours; it’s a relationship that just works.
And if we want to get over the emotional attachment, we keep our cars longer because they’re reliable. If you provide the correct maintenance to your car, you can have great confidence in your old car.
4. We Save Money When We keep Our Car Longer
According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new car is currently $33,801 and most people don’t buy their cars outright. So saving money is a huge reason why a new car can wait. The contributors of our partner site, TravelingMom.com, weighed in with their money-saving reasons.
Driving cars til they die means more $$ for travel! – Leslie Harvey
No car payment is the best feeling in the world! – Kimberly Tate
And no crazy full insurance. In NJ that’s meaningful. – Mary Dixon Lebeau
They didn’t even include the other costs that we could think of like reduced registration costs if your state charges based on value (as they do here in Georgia). Even your daily costs like parking are reduced; I don’t have the same feeling of needing to use valet with my current cars when street parking is available.
And, y0u can have many of the benefits of a new car by updating your current car with modern technology. From rear view cameras to blind spot monitors, most new car tech can be installed in an older car. So you don’t have to commit to a hefty payment or plunk down your vacation money to get them.
Still Not Convinced and Craving a New Car? Be Sure To Do it Right
If you decide that a brand new car can wait but are in the market for a used car, check out 11 Tips for Buying a Used Car. But if you decide that you really do need the new car, then I’m excited for you! We have you covered with this too in 9 Things You Need to Know Right There on the Sticker and 9 safety features you need in your next car.