General Question

skfinkel's avatar

Should I buy I new car when my current one with a warranty runs out?

Asked by skfinkel (13521points) October 28th, 2007

My husband and I always drove our cars until they were completely done (we famously had mushrooms growing in an old Peugeot that was about 20 years old). Now a widow, I thought perhaps it might be smarter to keep cars only as long as their warranty—I would have newish cars, and they would be covered if something went wrong. On the other hand, is it crazy to buy a new car every three years?

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8 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

More info: what I have now is a 2006 Honda Civic

kevbo's avatar

Maybe you should lease instead. You should get more car for less money and a new car every 2 years, plus all maintenance covered.

gailcalled's avatar

Ah, Susan, those cars. My daughter and I drove one when we were out there and the key broke off in the ignition. We then had to start it w. a screwdriver, and David did something heinous in order to turn off the engine at night. Everyone seemed very relaxed about it.

There are a number of variables to figure in, including how many miles you drive per year, resale value of car you choose, etc.

Here’s a calculator at

bob's avatar

Kevbo has the right idea: Leasing makes more sense than buying a new car every three years.

On the other hand, it’s almost always more economical to keep cars until they don’t run anymore. If you’re worried about repairs, you can purchase an extended warranty for most cars that will cover you to the 6-year mark or so. And lots of manufacturers have a default 4 or 5-year warranties on their new cars.

But you probably don’t want to have a car that’s unreliable. If your car breaks down a lot, it’s probably not worth the hassle of getting stranded. But if you buy a reliable brand (e.g. Honda, Toyota) you can keep the car for 5–6 years without having to worry too much about repairs or getting stranded on the highway.

susanc's avatar

If you use your car for work, you can deduct some of the cost, even if you own it. Figure the mileage. IRS accepts this.

Nurse that baby into middle age – because those trophy-wife new cars really add up. If you keep a car even five years instead of three, you save a bundle. The costs are front-loaded on brand-new cars and then heavily back-loaded in the breakdown stage. The unglamorous middle years are the moneymakers.

susanc's avatar

It’s not unfriendly to make these guys work for you.

Talk to people you feel are decent.(You can’t negotiate with a slimeball.) Most salespeople are trying to work with you. Don’t let them guide you to what they want to sell. Hold the line on the price and the car you really want. After awhile you’ll learn what is and isn’t possible. You’re allowed to take the time to do this right.

cwilbur's avatar

Many cars for sale now have 7 or 10-year warranties; you don’t necessarily need to buy a new car every 3 years. What it really comes down to is fairly simple: how much of a premium are you willing to pay for having a car that someone else will pay to repair? Unfortunately, the hard numbers you’d need for an objective answer aren’t going to be forthcoming until after you’ve bought the car, and depend considerably on things like your pattern of maintenance for the car, the road conditions in your area, and your driving habits.

One way to hedge your bets is to buy the car, then, after paying it off, continue to make monthly payments to a savings account. After you pay it off, there will be a period of time where it runs just fine, and then it will start to need repairs and upkeep with increasing frequency. When the repairs get to the point where you’re spending more on them than on the monthly payment, or when you have a catastrophic failure that would require a really expensive repair, use the money you’ve saved plus the car as a trade in for a new car.

Still, if you buy a car from a brand that has a reputation for durability and long life (Toyota, Honda) or from a brand that offers a long warranty (Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler is offering a lifetime warranty on the powertrain to the original owner, and Hyundai offers 10 years/100,000 miles), you should do reasonably well.

susanc's avatar

Sorry skfinkel, I posted the response above, about buying a new car, within this
conversation instead of another one. Irrelevent. Excuse me.

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