I grew up in a very frugal household. One thing we never had was a new vehicle, as my mom always bought reliable used vehicles that would last five or so years before repeating the whole process again. Though this never bothered me, I always said once in my life I would buy a brand new vehicle, even just once. I don’t know what it was about owning something brand new, I think I just wanted to experience the whole process from test driving to taking home with only a few kilometers registered on the vehicle. I think this was more my immaturity and young age than anything but now that I’ve experienced it I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.
My husband and I were driving an eight year old European car that was getting more and more expensive to fix. There were few people who would actually work on it and when they did, it was always expensive. In the winter we decided to buy, things started going really downhill with the car including losing not only the AC system the previous fall, but we now no longer had heat- a necessity in our winters. There were a few other small things (like the heated seats in the passenger’s seat burning holes in the fabric) but the heat going was the final straw. It was officially going to cost us significantly more to fix the vehicle than it was actually worth. We decided to stop spending money on an eight year old vehicle with over 200,000 km on it and falling apart.
We knew we’d want a larger vehicle eventually since our car didn’t hold anything. My husband was, at the time, carrying ladders and heavy work equipment around in our tiny car and it wasn’t working. He was driving our little car like a truck which I’m sure contributed to its wear and tear. We also knew that we’d eventually have kids and there was no way we could fit something like a stroller in this car. We test drove and purchased our first brand new vehicle a few weeks after deciding we would be buying a car.
Things I love about owing a new vehicle was the warranty. We only needed to use it once or twice but it was nice to have. The other thing about owning a new vehicle that I have enjoyed is that in the last four and a half years we have put very little money into the vehicle other than standard maintenance like oil changes, brakes and tires. In my little old corolla I was constantly fixing something- the exhaust, the suspension, the muffler. Knock on wood we’ve had nothing like that which, especially while working to pay debt off, has been nice.
Why I’ll never own a new vehicle again is the standard stuff though. The depreciation value kills me. To see what we paid and what a used one sells for just four years later kills my soul. I will likely always buy a vehicle at least one year old in the future. The other thing I wasn’t expecting was that our insurance went up too in the last year. Because we still owe some financing on the vehicle the outstanding balance vs the current value of vehicle is more which isn’t so great in the eyes of the insurance company who’d be responsible for helping us if we were in a bad accident.
Owing a brand new vehicle is something I’m glad I experienced, and learned from it. Going forward I won’t likely ever do it again but I’m no longer wondering what it’s like.