“Is that your car making all that noise?” my cousin asked as we drove through an otherwise silent upper-class neighborhood. It was. I wasn’t going to admit it but my catalytic converter cover had been dragging on the ground for weeks. “Yep. It’s been doing that,” I said hinting that I had no plan to fix it anytime soon.
A few months prior to that I had replaced all of my brakes and—I just looked today—my brake light is back on again.
Owning a sixteen-year-old car isn’t cheap but I also think it isn’t a terrible investment either. For instance I bought my junker for $2,000 and have probably put in about $350 in repairs since I bought her in January 2014. She’s incurred a few “custom” dents since I bought her and she has some missing paint here or there, but I know I could resell her for a few hundred dollars less than I bought her if I needed to.
I don’t need a new car—but I’m not going to lie—I do dream about it. I imagine myself driving on the highway going over 60 mph without the car shaking, or being able to bring my car back to the garage to be fixed under a full warranty: the dream! But, hey, at least I don’t have to worry about getting dings on my doors, dog hair on my seats, or bugs on the windshield.
There are some advantages of owning a super-used car too. For instance, my car is usually a good candidate for carpooling to the beach or transporting my friends’ medium-sized gross things. I may still hold my breath during annual car inspections, but I’ve never let it stop me from turning up my radio and taking a long road trip.
And some days, I think, I even enjoy the bumpy ride.
Update: I have since purchased a 2016 Honda Fit. It turns out that I enjoy road trips too much to be stranded on one. Owning a new car is pretty amazing, but I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed my Fit as much as I do if I had never driven my old 1999 Toyota Camry.