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I love my readers. Not sure if I’ve said that before. But I do!
You send me awesome questions, which I get to answer, and often they are thought-provoking enough to turn into a fun post. Today’s reader question bring me it back to one of the most costly and wasteful things we spend our money on: new cars.
Our reader, Dave, has seen the light and agrees that buying a new car is a complete waste of hard earned dollars. But he has a dilemma! He needs to convince his wife of this. Let’s see what Dave says:
I’ve read and agree with your articles on reliable older Hondas/Toyotas. My problem is I have had two used cars that were both nothing but trouble. The second one was checked out by a mechanic and given the green light. Three months later the transmission went out. I am willing to give used cars another shot, but how do I get my wife on board? She still has memories of having to get me on the side of the road after my other cars crapped out. Any advice?
I am willing to make a bet that Dave is not the only person to have fallen into this predicament. If fact, I seem to get a case of this posted in the comments every time I write about the virtues of reliable used cars. Sometimes it comes out as “Used cars ALWAYS crap out because this one time I bought a used car that crapped out!!!”, which isn’t helpful to anyone. Other times, it comes through, as Dave’s email, as someone who realizes how much money is being used as kindling by their new car, and they want to find a way to get themselves into a good, used vehicle. But now we’ve got to get the significant other on board.
Here’s my response:
Thanks for reaching out. You are approaching a dilemma that goes beyond savings into the safety and marriage realm.
My wife, too, has been stranded, and has had to pick me up (dead batteries and such). For us, it really was just looking at the numbers that helped us keep buying good, used cars over and over.
Another motivation is in a post I wrote, called Things I Couldn’t Do If I Had A Car Payment. Basically, buying a new car might ensure more safety and reliability (sort of), but at a cost that isn’t worth it. I’d rather be stranded a few times than continue to throw thousands out the window every year.
But I suggest approaching with a warm tone, and a listening ear. Your wife’s opinion is VERY IMPORTANT, and if it’s the fear of being stranded that is scaring her to new car purchases, then you just need to solve that issue for her. Getting AAA might help. Or getting a car that isn’t NEW, but just slightly used (5 years old-ish) and a good track record for reliability could possibly calm her nerves.
Just know that, no matter what car you buy, there is a possibility of issues. It just so happens that used cars actually have a history that you can research for reliability and new cars don’t (because they’re new). And they also happen to cost THOUSANDS LESS EVERY YEAR. So any way you swing it, used cars win. But make sure you convey that in a way that addresses your wife’s every concern and need before making the next purchase.
Thanks for reaching out, and good luck on your impending heart to heart. Let me know how it goes! And as a resource, don’t forget my many fun, new-car-bashing articles:
- You Don’t Need A New Car
- How To Buy A Used Car Like A Boss
- Wisdom About Cars From My Grandpa
- We Only Drive Fancy Cars
- Your Hybrid Car Is A Waste Of Money
What do you think?