Ego vs Basic Transport

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I’ve noticed something interesting about many PF bloggers and car articles – they are often quick to point out advice that is entirely logical and data-supported when it comes to buying vehicles, but then allow their irrational mind to take over when it comes to actually making the purchase they will be using for the rest of their lives.  I’m not talking about the people that make the conscious choice to purchase a luxury that they can afford, and that they have determined will give them a great amount of pleasure for their buck.  As long as you’re consciously buying luxuries, it’s very difficult to assess if someone got their personal value’s worth or not.

No, the authors I’m referring to are the ones that claim they are only looking at “A-to-B transportation” and then get something else entirely.  If you are talking about bare-bones transportation this should not include a large SUV full of bells and whistles like sunroofs.  Unless you live in the most northern parts of Canada, basic transportation should probably be a small car that most people will derisively refer to as “commuter”.  There is a solid argument to be made for buying 8-10 year old domestic cars, a Civic or a Corolla and just driving the crap out of them before replacing them (rinse and repeat).  I’m sure someone out there much smarter than me has a formula for determining when the ideal point is to break ties with your car that involves the replacement parts, the likelihood of a drivetrain component breaking down, and what sort of mileage you’ve clocked vs making your next investment in a discarded commuter.  I don’t have the faintest clue what rules to live by when trying to ascertain when an extremely old car becomes less financially sound than cutting your losses and buying a “new” sort of old car again, but I’d love to hear different theories on the matter.

buying good carsNow some of you out there that follow this blog might be yelling “Hypocrite!” at the top of your lungs and hurling overdue produce at your computer screen in protest (ok so it’s likely no one got that dramatic – I’ve just been reading too many Cracked.com articles lately) as you remember that I myself have purchase a new vehicle lately.  In case you want to review my logical case for doing so you can check the article out here.  The long and short of my speech in defense of buying the 2012 North American Car of the Year “before it was cool” is that it is pretty damn fuel efficient and I’m pretty damn inefficient at fixing older cars that often fall under the “basic transportation” banner.  Now that being said, I intend to drive that sucker until fossil fuels have gone the way of the er… dinosaurs.  Seriously though, I have hopes for investing in decent maintenance for that vehicle over the next 15-20 years and pushing it over the half million kilometer mark. In order to find these quality cars you can go to Autoblog.com Canada to get in depth reviews to select the right “long term vehicle” 

Regardless of what camp you fall into in terms of the buy-new-and-take-care-of-it vs buy-old-and-then-buy-old-again debate (and if I were more mechanically inclined I’d certainly give more consideration to the latter), I think everyone can agree that the people that buy a vehicle for 3-5 years and then trade it in are the epitome of a car dealership’s wet dream.  This is where ego comes into play.  If you’re one of these people who always need to be in the latest and greatest then please don’t claim to be a frugalista because you like the idea of a warranty.  The truth is that you derive some sort ego boost from riding in a new vehicle and you’re willing to devote a large amount of money to basic vehicle depreciation.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

BTW, if I write an article in three years talking about how smart I am for dumping my “old” Elantra and shacking up with some hot new 2016 SUV model please feel free to bring this article up and make me look like the moron I would theoretically be.

(Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / freedigitalphotos.net)

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