How to Buy a Car That Will Last Forever

First, a guilty confession. Despite being known as a universal cheapskate and skinflint, I have an almost unhealthy fascination with all things automotive. When I was young and foolish I drove a high-dollar benz, and even now I get a little teary-eyed as I describe what it was like to take a friend’s Honda s2000 up to its 9k redline. Don’t tell my wife, but I sometimes surf E-bay for Acura NSX’s to drool over. (Mrs. PoP here – that’s definitely no secret.)

My friends all know this about me, and last week a buddy who is interested in planting some pennies of his own asked what sort of car he should be looking at. Here is some advice:

1.) Buy used. New cars are for suckers and ageing millionaires.

2.) Buy a base model. Base model meaning stick shift, manual windows, manual climate control, simple radio, and if you see a LCD panel on the dash, run like hell the other way. Every time you get an automatic anything on the car, all you are doing is increasing the likelihood of something going wrong while simultaneously driving up the cost of repair.

3.) Don’t buy a luxury brand. On E-Bay right now there is a 2001 BMW 7 series, 103K miles with a $7.4K asking price, 18 hours left and no bids. Why? Despite the fact it is for sale for the price of a honda, parts and labor are still priced at BMW-rates. The owner of this ego-barge says he bought it for $12K two years ago and spent $2.7k in repairs in that time. If I put my 2002 Jeep with 100K miles on E-bay for $7.4K it would be gone within a day.

4.) Buy quality, and then repair it. Modern cars can go easily up to 200K miles with minimal repair costs, and if the vehicle is simple to begin with then many extensive repairs are worth doing. Would you swap out an engine in your current car? Check out this post for somebody who has saved big bucks by doing that and more.


TL:DR Buy a simple, non-luxury car of good quality, then repair it.

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