How To Own A Car For Cheap

by Tim Parker on May 8, 2009

I keep my car costs low by driving a cheap car and by planning to drive this vehicle to the ground.

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Image by puroticorico

You should see my car (well, actually it’s considered a truck). It’s a 1999 Ford Explorer with 147,000 miles on it. Yes, you read that right. It runs like a dream machine; 0 to 60 in roughly 50 minutes, if you can put up with the vibration. But it’s got alignment so bad that if I let go of the steering wheel, I would find myself in a ditch in seconds, and it’s got so much engine noise that if I want to talk to somebody, I have to take my foot off the gas pedal to hear myself through the din. Then there are the transmission problems.

Despite all the issues I’m having with my car, I appreciate it because it doesn’t cost me much to maintain. This is because I’ve implemented some strategies to keep my car costs low:

How To Own A Car For Cheap

1. Drive your existing car to the ground.

Truth is, I don’t let my wife drive my car for fear that it would leave her stranded somewhere… but as I’ve mentioned, I do like my car. What’s my favorite thing about it? It’s completely paid for: I don’t have a car payment, and liability insurance alone is quite cheap. I will drive my car until the engine falls out of it because every month that I get out of it represents a $500 savings in my budget for automobiles.

2. Buy used.

Once you need a replacement, buy your next car used or go for a used car trade in. I know that probably in the not so distant future I’m going to have to purchase a new vehicle. I’m way too cheap to pay the depreciation on a new car so it will most likely be one that is a few years old. It won’t be so old, though, that there isn’t a manufacturer warranty left on it. Check these smart car buying tips for more information.

3. Don’t overpay for insurance.

Raising deductibles and dropping extra coverage you don’t need are ways to keep your car costs low. Here are more ways to lower your auto insurance rates!

4. Be aware of your auto warranty coverage.

Now what happens if you find the perfect car, purchase it, and the auto maker goes out of business? Do you still have a warranty and can you get parts? Although car companies are not under any obligation to honor their warranties once they go bankrupt, many car companies such as Chrysler have gone on record stating that they will honor all warranties. So it’s a good idea to review the status and financial situation of car companies from whom you are buying. Also, carefully weigh your reasons for buying extended warranty coverage.

Parting Thoughts

Every day I get home from work and I say thank you to my Ford for making it through another day. Another day without car payments, another day with minimum insurance coverage and another day without riding in the passenger seat of a tow truck. My day is coming, though.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meaghan May 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Nice advice! New cars are no where near the sticker price!

2 Carl October 19, 2009 at 1:18 am

What a great article, I really enjoyed reading that ……….nothing like having pride in the ‘old faithful’, and no-one else ever gets it do they (they refere to them as ‘old-bangers’).

I once had a clamped out Peugeot, cost me £100, and ran for exactly 1 year (365 days) and then it died ……. completely. Yes it was a knacker, but I got one years driving out of it for £100 (obv. + insurance and running costs) – BARGAIN !!

Have a look at this website for money saving whilst running a car.

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