I Like Driving In My Car…

I thought I’d do a post about my car as it’s just had its MOT.

It passed but under the new rules introduced last month, there were some ‘advisory’ notes, one of which was that one of the tyres was balding – seeing as this would need replacing anyway (and for safety), I got a new one for £80.

I got a 50% discount off my actual MOT as I’m on a monthly service plan – in the days when I wasn’t on such a plan, I recall all too well how I used to just put my car services  (and repairs) on my credit cards, which didn’t get paid in full back then. Ouch!

Since I no longer have to sit on the slow-moving M60 every day, I find that I really enjoy it when I do get behind the wheel these days. Commuting via public transport (tram) is fine but I do miss being in the privacy and comfort of my own car.

Time’s Up?

I wrote about all the cars I’ve ever owned here back in 2014, but have nothing to add to that post because I’m still driving the same car, which is now 6 years old.

Six years is usually the length of time I keep my cars before I would buy my next car (a new one), usually because the current one was getting too expensive to fix mechanically.

I realise now that I wasn’t great with getting my cars serviced on time (or went to ‘cheap’ garages which weren’t really ‘cheap’) because, well, I was trying to avoid putting large amounts on my credit card and I didn’t have an emergency fund to cover the costs. Of course, foolishly by not getting the cars serviced when they should have been (or properly), they were undoubtedly deteriorating a lot quicker. Hence the service plan for my current car so I never miss a service and all the affordable payments are spread over the year.

My car is fairly economical, I do under 5000 miles a year in it now, half of what I used to do. Road tax is £30, insurance around £300 (my post code is classed as High Risk). It’s still in a good condition aside from the usual wear and tear, or shall I say ‘was’, since someone recently bashed one wheel arch causing a dent and someone else reversed into it, cracking the front registration plate – both times when my car was parked up. The car park I use next to the tram stop has very tight spaces and I now only park there if I can get in one of the slightly wider places.

Next Car

Since there’s nothing wrong (that I know of) with the car, I’m not looking to replace it just yet.

In this community, people preach about not buying new cars, not getting cars on finance or not getting cars at all but I don’t rule out the possibility of replacing my current one with a new one. And on finance.

However, if I was getting a new car, even though I would be able to buy outright with cash, I’d probably go for a 0% finance deal – yes, these are available! Pay it off monthly and pay the balloon at the end.

I might consider upgrading to an automatic – have never driven one before but I like the idea of not having to worry about clutch control when I get older, haha! Depends on the cost of the upgrade though.

I’ll even take a look at electric vehicles but only if the prices come down dramatically – not that I would ever get one but a Tesla costs the same as a one-bed apartment in Manchester!

Yes, I know, I know, blah blah blah about depreciation of new cars but I’ve never bought a car as an investment, so I don’t really consider that the price drops as soon as it leaves the forecourt. I don’t include my car as part of my net worth, it’s just something I’ve bought that I use. That happens to cost a lot of money.

The least I’ve spent on a car? £1.6k. The most? £13k (including the finance).  It’s not as if I’m getting high end luxury models!

And no – not having a car is not an option, not if I wish to continue to have the quality of life to which I am accustomed and independence.

Still, I might consider getting a used/nearly new car for my next motor, to save a grand or two. Will see what’s on offer when the time comes, what my funds are looking like, where I am with my FIRE goals etc.

33 thoughts on “I Like Driving In My Car…

  1. Hi Weenie,

    The regular servicing makes a huge difference to keeping the car running – the one I am driving at the minute is over 10 years old and is still going strong. I will replace it at some point so I have started saving for that, but given what I will likely be buying it will definitely be second hand!
    I will one day get a brand new car, but I need to be comfortable that I can afford it. I never used to need a car, but now I have a different work location (I go wherever work sends me) I technically do need it to get there (3 times as long on public transport, and I am not going to be cycling it!).
    I used to belong to ZipCar which was great and worked out cheaper than owning a car, but having my own car (even without the commuting) is so much easier!

    • Hi FiL

      I know, I was just being foolish back in those days. A colleague of mine got rid of her car as she moved to live into city centre, thinking she would be fine on public transport. She’s now finding it a pain that she can’t just hop into her car to visit her family (who are local but not near a tram stop) or needs to go to out of town to shop for stuff. Since you need your car for work, would you still keep it when you no longer need to work?

  2. Aah, a fellow petrol head.

    Personally I never got into the whole ‘new car’ thing though. When I was young I was too poor and now I don’t see the benefit of new over say a 3yr old car for about half the cost.

    I then aim to run it for about ten years, at which point the service costs are climbing and the car is starting to look and feel a bit tired.

    I think the most I ever spent was also £13k, for a 1yr old Toyota Avensis in about 2005. Bargain. (and once you go automatic, you never go back).

    • I know used cars are a lot better than they used to be but I recall horror stories from friends and colleagues who didn’t buy new who ended up with bangers which broke down all the time. I hope to keep my car for at least 10 years and see how it goes from there. Yeah, I heard that about automatics, hence I’ve been delaying it all this time!

  3. The last time I bought new was 1972..a ford escort in daytona yellow for the princely sum of £800! As you say weenie, the depreciation on brand new cars is horrendous. These days I always buy a good second hand car, maybe 4 to 5 yrs, low mileage from the local dealer and then keep for at least 5 yrs then trade in. The last car I bought was Nissan Micra for £3K in 2014. Depreciation is around £500 per year and running costs about the same. I do not really do many miles these days, maybe 3,000 per year but I need a car for the holidays in Wales and visiting friends in rural locations. If there were a way to hire at reasonable rates as and when required I would consider that option because most days my car sits outside my house unused which is a waste of resources.

    • Not sure where you live but you can hire a car from Gatwick airport from about £2.50/day. Insane price!

      Also could you look at hiring your own car out to others while it’s not in use?

      • That’s exactly what I was thinking; how much is the real cost of the car (including depreciation, road tax, insurance and servicing) compared with hiring?

        Hiring out your own car out is relatively easy through a car club; they deal with all the legal issues. An article in the Telegraph a while back reckoned people could make up to £4K.

        • Never thought of hiring own car to get income so something to think about if I end up with the car just sitting on the drive! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Bet that Ford Escort drew many an eye in that colour!

      Yes, I think I will still have a car when not working, to go on trips, visit friends, drive to attend hobbies etc.

  4. Hate driving, but if I have to, love an automatic. Revelation in how much easier it is than a manual. We fall in the “buy second hand, avoid financing” camp but did pay more for a reliable make with solid service history and low mileage. I have a deep suspicion of the small print for PCP, after researching and writing about it.
    We need to brace ourselves for the expense of acquiring a second car, if I man up enough to drive it – limited public transport out here in Suffolk, and my husband uses our current car to get to work..

    • Hi Faith

      I’ve been in automatics and it just looks so easy. I still like my manual gears but I’m just thinking ahead, when I’m older, I might want easier driving! PCP and all the variations can be bad when people don’t read the contracts or don’t actually understand the deal – their intention is to keep people getting new cars every 3 years. Fingers crossed you can pick up a decent second car for a decent price.

  5. ….it’s not quite a jag-u-ar….nice blast from the past! Think I may be humming that all day now

    Ditto on the service and MOT – my car went in yesterday and failed on a broken coil. Plus it was a 6 year service which apparently is a major one. Won’t be getting it back now until next week and the bill looking like around £600.

    Does make me think is it time to change but the FIRE answer is “no”. I think I would only be doing it for the convenience factor. 6 years old and 40k mileage – it should have some way to go yet. When you get a bill like that it’s easy to get frustrated and also easy to forget that there is no car payment going out consistently every month, it’s just one cost every now and again.

    • Hi FT9T5

      Glad you enjoyed the blast from the past – I ended up clicking through (as you do) to some of their other songs/videos and was transported down memory lane!

      Yes, the 6 year service is a major one so I’m glad that I had spread all the payments for it. And you’re right, when you get a big bill, you do forget that you don’t have to pay monthly car payments. I was so happy when I paid my car off a few years back as I was able to directly put that money instead towards my FIRE plans!

  6. Cool post weenie, so glad you passed your MOT – I know I think my car will struggle with the new standards……. but I do enjoy both the stealth wealth feeling, and the general freedom that comes with driving a car that has seen some life and has tons of cosmetic issues.

    My car is definitely a nice to have, I don’t need it, but it is very useful – I’d have to really think if I wanted to replace it when it dies.

    • Cheers Ms ZiYou

      Once I’ve stopped working, I think I’ll waiver between whether my car is a nice to have or a need – I think I need it for my independence and for driving away from dodgy situations (not that I do the latter too often but you never know!)

  7. “In this community, people preach about not buying new cars, not getting cars on finance or not getting cars at all”.

    People really shouldn’t be preaching about what is, at the end of the day, a personal choice. Surely Financial Independence is all about having choices? It’s no-one else’s business how we choose to spend our hard-saved cash.

    I’ve only ever bought one new vehicle (a new motorhome, bought in October 2017; motorhomes hold their value really well so it made sense to go new). I don’t think I could face the initial depreciation hit on a new car (but that’s just me; you might quite reasonably value the “newness”). I did very briefly consider a new car back in 2007 but in the end bought a much better 4 year old car for the same money (at less than half its original price). I still own that car and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever sell it – so from that point of view it was worth every penny.

    At the end of the day, do what makes you happy (but do it in the way that makes best financial sense).

    Glad your car got through the MOT. Why did you just change one tyre by the way? I’ve always changed two at a time (on the understanding that it’s much better / safer to have identical tyres on each end of an axle).

    • Hey Jo

      I used the word ‘preach’ deliberately as that what it’s starting to sound like to me from certain quarters and you’re right, financial independence is all about personal choice. A post about buying a brand new car in the future will be a little different, won’t it, haha?

      Sounds like you made a great purchase with that 4 year old car – long may it continue! I think the motorhome thing is different, with you actually living in it as a ‘home’, you’d want it to be mint but like you say, holding its value, it could be like an investment of sorts.

      The one tyre? I did ask the service guy if I needed to swap the other one at the same time and he said that the tread on that one was absolutely fine so didn’t need replacing for a while. It does mean that at some point, I’ll have to get that one changed on its own.

  8. Hi Weenie

    Another great post, as not having a car is not a choice most people can make as getting around and about outside cities is a real pain. if you are really interested in going electric, there are other options than Tesla (Nissan and Renault are two that I know of), and I believe that if you buy a Nissan Leaf you can borrow a petrol/diesel car for two weeks a year so you can make a journey longer than the battery range.

    if I was in the market at present I would seriously think about electric as we rarely make a journey over 100 miles and when we do I would probably plan a stop for a meal to allow the car to recharge on a fast charger while I was stopped anyway.

    I think the perceived problem of range is only applicable two or three times a year and with a little bit of forethought could probably be overcome.

    If you do decide to go for a new car, have a look at CarWow as we were originally looking for a 12-18 month old car, but then got 22% discount off a new car through them.

    Best Wishes

    • Hi FIUK

      I did briefly check out EVs other than Tesla but they were still well over my budget. As for mileage, I probably make a couple of >100 mile trips a year, but mostly, they’re short distances so once price is no longer a real factor, then an EV would be a real consideration.

      Thanks for mentioning CarWow, had never heard of them so will check them out.

  9. To each there own with cars IMHO!

    Funny that the lowest you’ve ever spent is higher than the highest I’ve ever spent 🙂

    Obviously with my “strategy” I’m opening myself up to more repair bills which is the downside.

    If you are looking at spending over 10k and can wait a couple of years I would seriously be looking at an EV. Battery technology is moving fast now and in 2 years I reckon you’ll be able to get a really high spec nearly new EV for that price with a decent range etc (maybe not a Model 3, I can see them holding their price very well).

    Once you factor in the savings you’ll make on the fuel and very low maintenance and servicing, you could probably go up to say 16/17k for the purchase price as you’d make the extra back within a few years I’d have thought. Something to think about maybe?

    Also an EV fits your wish for an automatic as it obviously has no gearbox whatsoever.

    I’m still holding on to my dream of owning a model 3… 🙂

    • Haha, I did think of you as I was writing this but couldn’t remember how much you’d spent on your car (not much, was all I could recall!).

      I think EVs will come down in the next few years so as mentioned above, they will be a real consideration for my next car and with them being automatic, all the better! I’ll keep an eye out prices etc.

      The way you’re going with your MB, that model 3 could be yours! 😉

  10. Bit late to the party. I love driving back home I the East of England. But it’s horrid to drive round here in the outskirts of London. So much traffic, people in a rush and crazy drivers. For me and Mrs YFG it makes no sense for us to have a car right now. Might change if I can start bombing around country lanes again!

    • Hi YFG

      I’ve only ever driven to London once…and once was enough! I try to avoid driving in Manchester now too, unless it’s early on a Sunday – traffic is terrible, parking is expensive (unless you park on the outskirts) and I may as well make the use of my tram pass.

      I’m also a slow driver on country lanes – that would be you impatiently trying to overtake me as I stick to the speed limit, haha!

  11. Also late to the party, but only because you spurred me on to finally finish a blog post I’ve long been chipping away at about the perils of PCP. I do agree it is perfectly personal choice, and there are ways to make PCP or lease/ finance deals make a lot of financial sense.
    Interesting FI UK mentioned electric above, as we’ve been considering an electric car on lease, purely on the basis of the savings for a battery. Until then I’ll keep driving my bangers. Never spent more than £2k on a car, and think there is a sweet spot to be found, but requires to be prepared for DIY.
    Anyway, excellent post as always Weenie, thanks!

    • Look forward to reading your post on that! As you say, some deals make a sense but you need to know what exactly you’re signing up to! Interesting so many mentions of electric cars, so definitely worth investigating in the future!

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  13. We didn’t know how important regular check-ups are until we learned it the hard way. Car maintenance and check ups will save lots of money in the long run 🙂

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