Rethinking Finance: Why I am still driving my 17-year-old car

I bought my 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe for $5,000 cash about 8 years ago.  We were on a trajectory to pay off student loans back then, and before we were sidelined by babies and other life circumstances that we are now just recovering from.  However, the car has remained.

I tried to sell it once, about 5 years ago.  No one bought it.  I wanted something cooler.  It’s a nothing special car, silver gray with some peeling paint.  The windshield wipers need replacing.  The turning radius a slightly better than a tank.  Hard to believe no one jumped at the opportunity to buy it, right?  I bought it because it had low miles (47,000 at the time I bought it), and I could purchase it straight out without any car payments.  It has all-wheel drive, allowing me to easily hit the slopes for snowboarding in the winter if I could, or take the mountain bikes up a distant trail if it called for it.   It was a totally utilitarian choice.  Reliable, cheap transportation.

And it remains so.  It has been bought owned now for many years. As the years pass, it has gone with me back and forth to two states (one of the life circumstances noted above) and has remained faithful transportation when our other car was in the shop.  As I have been “Rethinking Finance” for the past year, I have become more and more grateful for this little SUV.  It now has 97,000 miles on it.  Hard to believe it is still under 100K.  I usually have to put about $500 a year into it for brakes, or a sensor that goes out, or tires.  But, it still keeps going.  Year after year.  What’s funny is that my wife’s car is a V8, and a lovable classic Toyota Landcruiser.  It’s much cooler than my car.  It’s beautiful, in fact.  Leather seats, DVD player for long trips, an “infotainment system.”  We love that car too.  It is now paid off as well.  But when the gas prices go up, we switch to the Hyundai for daily driving around town- because it gets better gas mileage than the Landcruiser.

Old Faithful.  The car that keeps on giving, and costs me very little.  That’s why I’m still driving my 17-year-old car, and hope to for years to come.

This post first appeared on Rethink Redo Repair.


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