The Cost Can't Be Justified

by | Jun. 14, 2010


Dear Dave,

How much do you put into your old car for maintenance and repairs before it makes sense to buy a new vehicle?


Dear Christy,

I know a lot of people don't believe this, but it's almost never mathematically justifiable to go out and buy a new car, or even a newer one. Let's say you're driving a $1,000 car, and you keep having problems and putting $250 worth of repairs or maintenance into it each month. Do you realize how long you can keep putting that $250 into the car before you reach the point of it making sense to buy a new $10,000 car? I mean, we're literally talking about years!

Really, it all boils down to a couple of things. One, do you have the money sitting around to pay cash for a new car? If you've worked hard and can go to the dealership and write a check for a new car, then go for it.

The second thing is the hassle factor. Is the car absolutely unsafe, or is it driving you nuts in terms of inconvenience and repair costs? If so, then you might need to look into getting a newer vehicle. You'll notice I didn't say a new car, right? And you still pay cash. You don't want five or six years' worth of car payments hanging around your neck.

I'm not against you having a nice car, Christy. What I'm against is your nice car having you!


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