Perhaps you know of some research or have an opinion...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

Perhaps you know of some research, or have an opinion concerning how long to keep a car. My wife thinks it best to basically wear it out, then give it away, and buy a new one. I believe it best to update in less than three years, with 50,000 or 60,000 miles on the car, and trade it for a slightly used car, one year old with less than 20,000 miles. Generally speaking, which approach do you believe to be the most economical for the long term?

TOM: Sorry to break the bad news to you, Mark, but your wife is right about the economics. If you're only concern is money, there is nothing cheaper than running an old car into the ground.

RAY: And my brother should know; he runs cars into the ground all the time. When you look at the average annual repair costs, even on older cars, they always come out cheaper than car payments. So in the long run, it's always cheaper to keep an old car than to buy a new one.

TOM: Having said that, economics may not be your only consideration. Buying a newer car may be more expensive, but it gives you other benefits. You get reliability, better fuel efficiency, the new car smell, the latest safety features...

RAY: And, if you drive a real heap, like my brother does, buying a newer car might even convince your kids to be seen again with you in public.

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