I am driving an 18 year old Toyota Tacoma. I bought this truck for $18,000 used from a neighbor. At age 23 and being frugal by nature, this was a giant splurge. The neighbor had owned the truck for only 9 months but wanted a bigger truck to tow a boat.
So by all measures it was like new. The truck had 12,000 miles and now has nearly 140,000 miles. So you can say I’ve got some use out of it. I think it’s still got several years left if you ask me. Mrs smart Fi would adamantly disagree. She thinks our family needs a SUV that would fit our family of four better. I can not bring myself to part with this excellent running vehicle that has never broken down. I have complete confidence I could drive across country tomorrow. By Kelly Blue Book my vehicle is worth approximately $5,000. Quick math tells me it has cost me $13,000 of deprecitiation for 17 years and 128,000 miles of utility.
The typical American car owner
So lets contrast my vehicle ownership history to a friend of mine. He has owned 3 vehicles in the same time frame. A Chevy Cavalier, Volkswagon Passat and a Honda Accord. My friend is still driving the Honda Accord.
- Chevy Cavalier. Purchase price $13,000 sold for $3,000. Difference of $10,000.
- Volkswagen Passat. Purchase price $32,000 sold for $1,000. Difference of $31,000.
- Honda Accord. Purchase price $34,000 todays value $14,000. Difference of $20,000.
Man, that hurts my head to think of all the money Americans spend on vehicles. But $61,000 is the grand total that my friend has spent on the luxury of driving a new vehicle every 6 years.
The benefits to driving an older car.
I actually prefer driving an older vehicle. There are a couple benefits to driving a clunker. If I park too close to another car at the grocery store and get a ding it doesn’t bother me. If the kids spill a drink in my truck I throw down some paper towels an move on with my The Smart Fi advice is to buy a two year old car. Pay cash and drive it for 10 or more years. This will save you 10’s of thousands of dollars.
iSeeCars.com that American drivers tend to keep the longest
According to a recent study by iSeeCars.com these are the top 15 cars that American drivers tend to keep the longest.
- Toyota Highlander
- Toyota Sienna
- Toyota Tundra
- Toyota Prius
- Toyota RAV4
- Honda Odyssey
- Toyota Sequoia
- Honda Tacoma
- Toyota CR-V
- Toyota Avalon
- Acura MDX
- Toyota Camry
- Subaru Forester
- Nissan Frontier
- Volkswagen Golf
To save 10’s of thousands of dollars over your working career. Buy a used, 2 year old car for cash and drive it for 10 plus years. Presumably that car should be a Toyota or Honda. Take the savings and invest in a Roth IRA or pay down your mortgage. Either way you will be laughing all the way to the bank and well on your way to early retirement.
If you have driven your car for more than 10 years leave a comment. I would like to compare your make and model to the list of 15. Or maybe you think I’m crazy. I’d love to hear your feedback.