Old Cars vs. New Cars

While we have been taught to ‘Keep up with the Jones’ in our society, right now we have to just keep up with our own status quo. In keeping within our check books and budgets we may have to realize that a well maintained older model vehicle with little or no debt is better than a newer model that will keep us writing a payment check for years to come.

For years my husband and I have dreamt of purchasing a new car hot off the assembly line. However, because of the nostalgia and the price we seem to be drawn back to the older models.

My husband is a car buff. To understand his obsession with the automobile, he just saw the side mirror of a car in a movie- for all of 3 seconds of and knew what the make and model of the car was. Barrett Jackson Auction is his nirvana. The oooh’s and ah’s that emanate from his Lazy Boy makes me think he is having his back rubbed by a beautiful red head with a Ford F 150 pickup truck in the front yard.

When we go car shopping he is drawn to the Lincoln’s, Cadillac’s, and Buick’s of the years of his young manhood. Because of his love of cars he knows what it cost new and what it should be priced at now. He looks at the interior, engine and overall appearance of the car. He takes it out for a test drive which is most important. Experts tell us to put the car through its paces. Take it around the neighborhood, take it around to the stop signs and make sure it stops, (Do the brakes squeal?, as well as it accelerates.

Take it out to the Interstate. Get the engine up to running to speed. Does it shudder? Does it shake? Does the steering wheel shimmy when it gets up to speed? Go ahead and park it. Let it idle- turn it off and turn it back on.

He looks for cars on front lawns and parking lots. The owners will be more apt to make a deal. Sometime my husband will offer cash- not a check- to make the deal happen.

He uses Experian Auto Check Vehicle History Report website, as well as takes it to our mechanic who puts it up on the lift to find any evidence of crash damage, hidden frame damage, corrosion, and fluid leaks. My husband says that you can’t tell if your car title has been in a flood, salvaged, junked, rebuilt, stolen, or passed through a salvage auction and don’t forget to check the airbags. You can only tell how many owners that car had or where it’s been with a history report, not just by looking at the car. This is not the time to 2nd guess. Unfortunately there are no clear laws if you sign an “As Is” paper. Any used car can have a bad past. Some municipalities don’t supply accident report info, that’s why you still need to have a mechanic look at it. If the police never made a report, it won’t show up in the Experian Auto Check Vehicle History Report.

The few times we have purchased our cars off of a lot my husband’s attitude to the salesman is, “This is the car I want. This is how much I can pay per month. Your job is to make it happen.” He has walked off the lot when the salesman wouldn’t make the payments fit. He got a call 3 days later- they would work with him.

Our car is by no means new, however it is paid for and because of the lack of monthly payments (as well as lower insurance) we can afford to keep the maintenance up on the car. I look at the Cube and wish it to be mine. My husband tells me it will be- in 5 years or so. Until then the Buick RoadMaster that we purchased for cash is still humming as good as it did sixteen years ago. And we have money in the bank.