The vehicle litmus test.

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Got a comment on my most recent blog post that I think speaks a lot of truth. Here’s that comment:

I don’t think many people buy (homes), expecting to move in less than 5 years. But it happens a lot, due to job changes, family changes, etc. […]

Exactly!!!! My hunch is that most prospective homebuyers buy their first place with the best of intentions. They imagine spending decades in their future abode, establishing roots, and engaging in their community.

But then life happens.

They have more kids than they originally thought they wanted, they get a job offer somewhere else, a loved one gets sick and needs constant care, or maybe they still love their house but hate their neighbors. The numbers say it all, most people in their 20’s and 30’s, who buy homes, don’t live in said homes long enough to realize much of a financial benefit. They kiss their profits goodbye when they eat the 10% sellers fees. They were nothing more than glorified renters who could paint their walls.

….awkward transition…

I’d like to introduce you to this simple little test I’ve created. I call it the Vehicle Litmus Test.

Unless you live in the heart of a major metropolitan area (San Fran, NYC), I’m going to assume you own a car. If you don’t, this whole post is pretty much a waste of your time. My bad.

Alright, let’s start the test. Ready? Begin…

How long have you owned your current car? And how long did you own your previous car?

/End Test

It seems about 99% of people who buy new, or even new-to-them, cars always say something like “Oh, I’m going to drive this car in to the ground. I’ll have it at least 10 years.”

You probably said, or thought, something similar. Didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU!!!!!

But did you actually follow through with that promise?

How you answer that question says a lot. You bought a car thinking you would drive it in to the ground, but then made a total 180 and justified a change for something more fuel-efficient, more modern, larger, smaller, newer, cheaper, faster.

I get it. Your priorities and desires changed. That is exactly why you should use the vehicle litmus test as a resource before you buy your first (or next) house.

Are you really going to stay in the house long enough to make buying worth it? You like to think you will, but does your track record say otherwise?

Drop a comment below with your answers to the litmus test, the responses should be interesting!

My answers to the vehicle litmus test…

Car 1: Bought my Scion tC in 2006 brand new. Seven years later, still love it and have no plans to sell.

Car 2: Our 2006 Honda Pilot purchased in 2012 with 70k miles on it. Bought with intentions to drive to 150,000 miles.

Previous car: Girl Ninja’s 2005 Corolla she bought in 2006. Sold after six years so we could buy the Pilot. An upgrade we fully recognize was unnecessary.

61 thoughts on “The vehicle litmus test.

  1. Current car: 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible. Was a hand-me-down graduation present from my parents in 2009 and had about 84k miles on it. Now at 130k miles. No plans to sell, but when I move in three weeks to a new state it will likely need about $1000 of work to fix an emissions issue so that it can pass inspection and get registered. So I’ve had it just under 4 years and plan to drive it into the ground OR give it to my brother once he gets a job so that he can drive it into the ground.

    Previous to that: Lived in a city with subway/train/buses through college. Used public transportation or my bike.

    Previous to that: Drove a 1995 Taurus SHO during my senior of high school after I got my license, so it was a family car and not mine in particular. The SHO stands for Super-High-Output, so don’t laugh (too much). That car was driven my my family until it died around 170k miles, was stolen once, and broke down multiple times around town in 2008. My parent’s Honda Odyssey was driven to about 250k miles before it was traded in for parts at about 12 years old. So at least my parents have passed the litmus test, for sure!

  2. Nice post! My first new car was a brand new 90 Mazda Protégé which I did run into the ground using it for my job as courier burning out the transmission and overloading the electrical system with two 15″ subwoofers. Got a 94 Mazda Miata, great car but missed my bass so I got a 96 Subaru Outback with four 12″ subwoofers. Loved that car for 8 years but it developed an engine stalling issue that never seem to be fixable. Replaced that with a 05 Acura RSX with one 12″ subwoofer. Fantastic car but as I get older I would like a more comfortable vehicle, with a killer stereo of course 😉 My wife has an 01 Acura CL type s which she loves but would like a small luxury suv now.

    So yeah, I was young and dumb with the first two cars abusing the first and replacing the second way to quickly. I wish that Subaru didn’t have that problem but after multiple attempts at trying to fix that problem to no avail, I had to consider my safety and replace it.

    I think my recent record is ok with an 01 and 05 still in use and both are in fantastic (knock on wood) condition, unfortunately I did spend quite a bit of money fixing and maintaining them, such money pits vehicles can be 😉

    So what do you think of my record, Ninja?

  3. I have driven many company cars so, they don’t count:

    1990-1992 Company Car
    1993-1995: 1988 European Ford bought at 85,000 Km, sold at 115,000 to use as down payment for a small condo
    1996: Brand new Fiat Uno (had no A/C and when I relocated to Izmir, I could not drive it due to extreme heat in the summer, gave it to my sister and replaced her older car)
    1997: Brand new Peugeot 106. Drove till 2001 when new company gave me a car, gave it to my sister to replace her Fiat Uno I had given her previously
    2001-2006: Company car(s)
    2006: Bought the 2003 Opel Vectra, the company car I was given, sold it a year later due to new job,new company car
    2007-2010: Company car
    2010: Brand new Nissan Note currently at 75,000 Km (intend to keep it at least until the end of 2018. After that I may use zip cars and rental cars and never buy another one)

    Cars are money pits but we all love having cars, especially new ones when we can afford them. Don’t we? I was lucky to have driven many company cars and I could avoid the costs associated with car ownership for long stretches of time.

  4. 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee (16 year old, still in good condition, and I have no intention of getting rid of it anytime soon). This was my family’s car for a couple of years, then I turned 16 and I primarily drove it, and eventually I bought it from my parents. It has moved with me all across the country. I’ve never had another car.

    Our other car is my husband’s 2002 Subaru Forrester.

  5. I think I actually go the other way here…

    My first car was a 2002 Daewoo Lanos, bought in 2004 with 52000km (32000 miles). I planned to keep it for about 4 years until I could upgrade. Almost 9 years later I’m still driving that same car and it has only 119000km (74000 miles) on the clock because I regularly use public transport to commute to work and it also wasn’t used at all for a year in 2009.

    I borrowed a car from my in-laws for that year following the birth of my son as I needed something slightly bigger to accommodate a rear facing baby capsule and they weren’t using their third car. Once my son moved into a forward facing seat I resumed using my little Daewoo.

    I would like to upgrade, but the thought of spending money to replace something that works perfectly fine just makes me uncomfortable. I don’t NEED a bigger or better car and my husband already has a bigger and nicer car (owned since 2006) which we take turns driving when we’re going somewhere as a family.

  6. Current Car: 2006 Acura RDX. I bought this without researching cars at all, was young and excited I was getting a nice paycheck. I swore I would drive the car into the ground. Currently, car is at 88k miles and it is rarely being used. As gas prices began to rise (and fall again!), I started to take the bus again to work. I drive MAYBE 50 miles a month? that is over estimating too. Wish I could get rid of the car, but with a child with fluctuating daycare, it doesn’t seem like much of a possibility.

    My previous car: 2002 Toyota Highlander handme down from my dad because my previous car kept having issues. He used my old car, traded it in to buy his new pickup truck (that is now about to die).

    Car #2 for Family: 2011 Acura TSX. We bought this brand new, and immediately regretted it. A month before the baby came, we rushed to buy a car to get rid of my husbands sports car. We spent so much time looking at the trunk sizes of cars to make sure it could fit our stroller, etc etc…. and didn’t look at the backseat. Backseat is much smaller than it really looks! Oh well…. this is our go-to car for the weekends… and my husbands car to work. It does its job and will be driven to the ground as well.

    • I like your cars! Why don’t you use your RDX as the family car since it is bigger than the TSX? I would have thought the RDX would be your weekend car.

  7. Car #1: 2009 Kia Spectra, bought used in Fall 2010, with the full intention to drive it into the ground.
    Car #2: 2012 Toyota Corolla, won in radio contest in Fall 2011, with the full intention to drive it into the ground.

    Previous cars:
    2003 Dodge Neon, bought in summer 2005, lasted 5 years until repairs outweighed the monthly payment.
    2000 Honda Accord (wife), sold to offset taxes from Car #2. It wasn’t completely in the ground yet, but it had one foot (wheel?) there when we did sell.

  8. Everyone loves talking about their cars! We are in our late twenties and have only owned 2 vehicles, previous rides were our parents.

    2000 Infiniti G20t bought in 2005 for $8400 with 108k miles – currently has 230k miles!
    2001 Lexus Rx SilverSport – bought in 2011 for $8000 – 120k miles – currently has 133k.

    I do my own maintenance and wrenching for fun! Wife drives the Lexus about 8 miles a day to where she teaches. We drive the Inifiniti everywhere else!

    I love driving both vehicles – super reliable and Lexus AWD does great in our Ohio snow.

    Going a step further if I had to get rid of our Infiniti with 230k miles I would probably by a 2009-2012 Nissan Sentra SL (with leather and heated seats) and expect to pay $10k cash.

  9. Previous car: used mercury tracer bought in 1998, died in 2001 could not be resurrected for more than its value. Replaced in 2003 with–>

    Current car: 98 VW Cabrio. Still driving it ten years later, totally in love with it and irreplaceable to me but when a hybrid convertible comes out I will replace.

  10. 1. 2007 Jeep Patriot. Bought in 2008 after our previous car was totaled in a flood. Plan to drive it until it needs a repair that costs more than $2000. If it is at the point of needing $2000, I may as well put that into a newer car.

    2. 2012 Ford Focus. Bought in 2012 because I got a new job, and my wife and I could no longer commute together. Plan to drive it for 10 years.

  11. I don’t think it’s just the length of time, but the amount of miles as well.

    My current car was purchased in 2010 (brand new) and has 60,000 miles on it.

    My previous car was bought in 2003 and lasted 7 years and 189,000 miles. I was so ticked off that I couldn’t get to 200,000 on it, but when it started stalling at 60 miles an hour on the highway, I just knew that it was unsafe and time to go. My goal for my current car is 200,000 if that’s in 4 years or 14, so be it.

    Oh, and they were both Hyundai Santa Fes and I don’t think I would own any other car now. Safe, reliable, and affordable. SHOUT OUT HYUNDAI!!!!

  12. Car 1: 1974 Oldsmobile Omega when we got it, it had 14,000 miles on it, when we sold it, it had 80,000 miles on it. We got rid of it (and it hurt to do it) because it only got like 8 miles to the gallon going downhill and you had to put mid-grade gas into it.
    Car 2: 1994 Plymouth Acclaim – Total POS, engine seized up in 2003.
    Car 3: 1999 Nissan maxima – purchased it from my dad and drove it until 115,000 Miles… I got rear-ended by a large flatbed truck and it totaled the car (the pictures are nasty and I am still amazed to this day I walked away)
    Car 4: 2006 Acura TSX – This is the only brand new car I have ever purchased. Got a stinking great deal on it. I still have this car and it is going strong with 125,000 miles on it. I am starting to look to replace it, but I’m really in no hurry. It is currently waiting an insurance claim for some hail damage, so they may total it out.

    So in my 17 years of driving I have had 4 cars. Two were destroyed or rendered unusable and one was too expensive to keep putting gas in. Based on this I would say I pass your test. Couple that with the fact our house is 5 minutes from both sets of grandparents and unless a job offer comes in where I make more than triple what I make now, there really is no point in moving. Even if we did move, we own our house outright and would just rent it out anyways and pay my dad to be a property manager.

  13. We always buy new cars simply for the peace of mind that nothing should go wrong with it for a very long time, and even if it does, it should be covered under the warranty and we’d get a free rental. We have 2 young kids that we transport to and from school and the reliability is worth it to us. But, we always keep our cars for 10+ years.

    I drive a 2013 Ford Fusion… have had it for 6 months. Love it and plan to run it to the ground. This replaced a 2000 Ford Focus that was 12.5 years old.

    Our other car is a 2008 Mercury Milan, which we also plan to keep for its lifetime. We’ve had that for 5.5 years so far. That replaced a 2002 Ford Focus which was only 5.5 years old, but we needed a bigger car since we were due with baby #2 and it was too small for 2 rear-facing car seats (I’m tall and need the front seat pushed back a good distance.)

  14. I am driving a 2008 Buick Lucerne with about 60K miles on it. I really would love a Camaro, but will have to wait until I’m out of debt, which should be in the next year or so. Hubby gets a deep discount, so I am not going to feel bad about buying it – and will likely keep it for several years.

    I have a 2003 Buick Rendezvous with close to 200K miles on it. In the process of selling it to my daughter (for cheap!), but I would still be driving it if she didn’t have it. My intention was to drive it until 250K miles, but with daughter having it now, we’ll probably go past that.

    Hubby drives a 2007(8)? GMC Sierra Denali. It has around 30K miles on it. It looks brand new and we have no intentions of getting rid of it any time in the near future.

  15. Nice post, good stuff here.

    I recently started tracking my net worth on a spreadsheet monthly and it’s very encouraging watching it go up each month. I think that will help me fight off New Car Fever if it should strike in the future. My 07 Accord and my wife’s 06 Pilot are both paid for and the thought of a car payment is not an option.

  16. Car 1 – 1992 Honda Accord, bought with 97k miles on it for 2 grand in 2006. Drove to 130k in 2010 when it needed $1k+ of work to pass state required inspection. Soooo… Bought
    Car 2- 2010 VW Jetta TDi with 6-speed Manual Transmission. New. 50% down, paid off the rest in 1 year. 3 years later has 38k miles on it. Plan to drive to 100k plus and still love the car.

  17. Current car: 2000 Honda Civic, bought used in 2002. This was the first car that was “mine.” After 11 years of driving it, it’s got a busted radiator and more problems than we can afford to fix, so I’m just waiting for it to die so I can donate it and write it off. When it eventually craps out, I’m getting a hand-me-down 2001 Toyota Tundra that has been sitting in my parents’ driveway for the last several years, which my parents bought used from my grandparents.

    Husband is driving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, which his parents bought new. He has no plans to upgrade.

  18. Drive a 1998 Chevy S10 that runs like a champ. Had it since 1999.

    The idea of cars being short term being used as a support for the argument that houses are short term is not valid. Apples and oranges.

    • I don’t agree. It speaks to your spending patterns, and how likely you are to hold onto a major asset rather than keep looking for the supposedly latest and greatest thing. You could just as well talk about TVs, computers, major appliances, or any other large purchase.

      At nearly 65, I have owned 5 cars in my lifetime: a 1964 Buick Special which finally gave out in 1977 driving home in a blizzard on the New Jersey Turnpike; a 1977 Datsun B-210 which cost about $3000 at the time and finally nearly fell apart; a 1987 Toyota Corolla which lasted 13 years; a 2000 Toyota Camry which was finally totaled in 2010 after an unlicensed driver rear-ended me; and the 2010 Camry I now drive and expect to keep about 5 years more. At 39,000 miles, it runs perfectly and looks mostly fine despite some minor body dings.

      Oh. And I have also lived in the same place for 23 years.

  19. We still drive my first car, a Saturn SL1 2001, which I leased then purchased it has 150,000 miles on it after 12 yrs. Our minivan we purchased just over a year ago used it was 3 yrs old and had 35,000 miles on it at the time. We traded in our Ford Explorer for the minivan, a necessity as we could not fit all 3 kids in carseats in the Explorer. The Ford was purchased used from my parents, and it was 7 yrs old with 100,000 miles on it. All of my husbands cars before we got married have been beaters, purchased very well used and then driven till they died and the repairs would have cost more than a “new” beater.

  20. Current car is a 2008 Nissan Rogue which I leased (ugh). I paid it off 2 years into the lease and plan to drive it into the ground 🙂 It already has 75k miles which is more miles than any car I’ve ever owned. I leased 3 cars prior to that, but I’ll pay cash for all future new to me cars.

  21. My wife and I had been a 1-car family for almost 3 years until we just bought a 2nd vehicle in February.

    Car 1: 2005 Toyota Corolla, purchased in 2008 with 30k miles on it. Still driving, paid off, just turned over to 120k a couple days ago. Plan to drive it until the wheels fall off.

    Car 2: 2010 Honda Pilot, purchased in 02/2013 with 41k miles. Plan to drive until the wheels fall off, though we don’t intend on driving it a whole lot — winters (we live in MN), one 3000+ mile road trip each year, other vacations, and days where it’s otherwise inconvenient for us to drive together (doctors appointments, etc). Hopefully we get 12+ years out of it.

  22. I got my first car during my senior year of college. In high school, I borrowed my parents’ cars on occasion and my first three years of college, I walked or took the bus.

    My parents helped me get that car (an ’06 Focus) and unfortunately…it was new. What?! I didn’t know enough to protest their idea for a new car. My dad wanted me to have something reliable, with a good warranty. They ended up getting it for a decent price, and I bought it from them a few months after graduation for $11k.

    Paid it off about a year and a half after that. For several years, it was our only car. We moved back to our home state where being a one-car family wouldn’t work so well, and took the plunge and bought a Honda van (an ’04, paid cash). With my third baby on the way, I’m glad we have the van!

    The Focus is celebrating her 7th birthday in a few days (I remember I got it on Cinco de Mayo, lol) and now has about 52k miles on it. Sweet. No plans to get rid of it.

    The van has been in our household for coming up on 2 years and now has about 40k miles. I LOVE that both of them are very low miles for their age, and we really should be able to get a lot more years/miles out of them.

    So while I don’t intend to buy a brand new car ever again, the Focus worked out, thankfully.

    As far as houses go — ugh. It would really stink to have to sell so fast that you lose money in realtor fees. We own enough equity in our house, and have made enough improvements (not necessarily out of our own pocket — we had the previous owners paint our houses’ exterior and trim before we bought it, so that was on them…and we got a new roof for our insurance deductible after a hail storm, so that is pretty cheap).

    We’re making a few other updates this year that will prove to be expensive. Probably will spend $10-15k all told. I think we’ll get some instant added value out of it, but certainly not that full amount. However, it would make the house sell much faster, and we will be happier here for those changes so it is worth it to us. I am encouraged that after we bought our house for $165k, every other house in this neighborhood has sold for somewhere in the $170ks-$230k depending on garage size, basement, overall features and such.

    I don’t *think* we’ll need to move before we choose, but if we do I don’t think we’ll need to bring cash to the closing table. Things would have to be really, really dire for it to come to that.

  23. Car 1) 2011 Honda CRV – 4 year lease, 2 years into it – love this vehicle – it was wonderful during our move when we were putting things in storage to stage our condo for sale. I’d get another one in a heartbeat.

    Car 2) 2008 Nissan Versa – paid cash for it Sept/12 – only 58,000kms when we bought it, so it was driven roughly 10,000km every year… it’s got A/C and cupholders… perfect 2nd car, very reliable… we’re not a bells- and-whistles kinda-people.

    We typically drive our cars into the ground, and only replace them when absolutely necessary.

  24. I had a 2004 Honda CRV that I loved and intended to drive into the ground. I finally caved in 2009 when it needed a new engine, transmission, and a few other things after steady maintenance and only 167,000 miles. I now have a 2005 mini cooper with 150,000 miles on it and I intend to drive it for at least another 50,000 miles as my sole vehicle before moving it to the spare vehicle category.

  25. 1st car: ’95 Dodge Neon purchased used for $1,200 with 80k miles on it in 2003. Driven until electrical harness and transmission failed in 2010.

    Current car: 2009 Toyota Yaris purchased new. $14k total before getting $2k in trade in value for the Neon. Currently has 80k miles and running fine. I plan on driving this one into the ground before replacing it.

    My wife’s car is a different story. She currently has an ’05 Ford Focus that was purchased used. I don’t know how much or what condition it was when she bought it used. The car currently runs fine, but there are some body issues that we may not be getting fixed. She is campaigning for a new SUV. Our family is expanding, her car is for long trips and her daily commuting (she works within 5 miles of work) while mine is the daily commuter with its high gas mileage.

  26. Current Car: 1997 Saturn. I got the car from my dad, who bought it new in 97, in 2007 as a high school graduation gift. It had 88,000 miles at the time. Still driving it 6 years later, now has 107000 miles. I will drive it until it dies and I have to buy a new one. Hoping that is another year away.

  27. I’ve been driving my current car, 2005 Saturn Vue, for 8 years. I’m hoping it will last at least another 2 years. The car before that was a 1993 Jeep Cherokee-I bought it in 2002, and drove it unitl we bought the Vue. I loathe car shopping and car payments, so I keep mine as long as I can! As for houses, we just moved, after 7 years in our first home. This is our forever home, bar none. The only thing I loathe more than car shopping is moving!!!

  28. 1st car at 17 years old was a ’83 Delta 88 Royale. It was a boat, but it kept me safe, and I never got stuck in the snow. I sold it nearly 4 years later for $200 less than I paid for it. I was happy with that.

    2nd car was a ’95 Pontiac Grand Am, used, but still on warranty. I had planned to keep it for a long time. In the end, I had the car 13 years and 4 months. I sold it to a government program that was taking older cars off the road. That incentive payment has paid for a car sharing service since January 2011 – and I’ve still got lots of credit left on my account.

    I walk almost everywhere and take public transportation from time to time. When I visit my parents, I have to pay for an airline ticket, but in the end, it was the right financial decision for me.

    • My parents brought me home from the hospital (when I was born) in a 84 Olds Delta 88! I drove it in highschool and boy was it a boat!!

  29. My car: 2005 Toyota Sienna, bought new, now has 135k miles and will keep for another year or two.
    My previous car: 1997 Saturn, bought new before I was married, sold with 120k miles after 2 kids came along.
    Before that was a 1984 Ford Tempo that my parents bought new and gave me in 1992 when I got my license. It had 150k miles on it and leaked oil like a sieve when I finally got rid of it.

    Hubby’s car: 2000 Ford F250, bought used in 2010, has 210k miles and is still going strong.
    His previous car: 1969 Mustang, we bought it used (obv, since he wasn’t even born in 69!) I have no idea of mileage, just that he sold it because it was a money pit and he decided he’d rather spend his money on things for our family instead of a car for himself. Yeah, he rocks!

  30. Current Car: 2012 Hyundai Elantra. I’ve had it for just over a year, and plan to have it for many more.

    Previous car was a 2005 Chevy Cobalt which I bought new, and drove for all of those 6 years until buying my new one last year. And, although I wish I could have held onto it longer, I really did dirve that poor thing into the ground. After putting in almost $2,000 for repairs and they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong or how to fix it (the damn thing kept conking out on me at random times and I did not want to be stranded on the side of the road again!) Considering the thing wasn’t even worth the money I had put into I figured it was a good time to upgrade. Now I get better gas mileage and know I’ll make it from point A to point B.

    I could have/should have bought a new to me car, but my whole life I have had bad luck with used cars (even after a mechanic checked it out and said it was good to go) So for peace of mind all around I went with a brand stinking new one. And I don’t regret it one bit! (okay, maybe a little…)

  31. First car: 1996 Jeep Cherokee that decided to die on it’s own.
    Second car: 2002 Honda account that I drove for a little over 10 years.
    Third car: 2012 Hyundai Sonata that I used the sale of the Honda to purchase. I did it because we were starting a family and my Honda was a coupe.

  32. Just a question regarding lost profit of 10% to closing fees, etc. I’m thinking about all this buying a house stuff and was wondering…how does that measure up to lost $$ to renting a place? I’m not just talking about percentages as one could say that rent is 100% loss right? I mean how does X # of years of renting compare with X # of years owning a house, then selling and losing the 10% in actual numbers and $$? Trying to weigh the pros and cons…because I’m new to this I’m thinking that even if you lose 10% in your house, at least you are getting something back in the end whereas with rent, none of it comes back to you. Am I over simplifying?

  33. Great way of looking at things. Past habits and decisions almost always repeat themselves when it comes to large purchases like cars or houses.

    Current car: 2004 Honda Accord, bought at beginning of 2012. My old car broke down to the point of it being silly to repair (per comment from my mom at the time)

    Previous Car: 1997 Honda Accord, bought at end of 2005. Sold in 2012. Apparently I like Accords.

  34. My car: 2004 Honda Civic that I bought used in 2007 with about 60k miles on it.
    Husband’s car: 1994 Infiniti that his parents handed down to him when he was in high school.

    Previous car: 1996 VW Jetta which I bought used in…2004? Totally fell apart in 2007.

    We will probably upgrade my husband’s car in 2-3 years and keep mine for another 100k miles or so. I hate, hate, hate buying cars.

  35. Current Car: 2004 Dodge Neon. I bought it used in 2010 and it had about 80,000 miles on it at the time. I just went over 100,000 miles this winter and honestly am thinking about replacing it in about a year but I don’t have any definite plans to at this point.

    Past Car: 2002 Saturn SL1. I bought this while I was in college with about 70,000 miles on it and had planned on owning it for 5-6 years since it was just a reasonably priced relaible car I could afford to buy at the time and planned on getting something nicer after being out of school a couple years. Unfortunately, this was totaled the summer after I graduated college so thats when I bought the Neon.

  36. I purchased my 1st car in college from my sister for $3k, totaled it within 6 months in an accident. Got my new Honda Civic soon after in 2002 and still driving it. It has 115K miles and has not given me a single issue. I hope to drive it for another 10 years.

    Bought my 1800+sf house a little over 4 years ago and will pay it off in about 3 months. It’s big enough to start a family. I don’t plan to upgrade or sell it unless it’s for a MAJOR life change.

    I agree with the Litmus test. It speaks to how we deal with major purchases. To me a car should get me from point A to B safely. And while my house doesn’t have all I’ve ever dreamed of, it’s a home to me and in another few months I completely own it. I have no desire to ‘upgrade’ if it means taking on debt. Debt is a roadblock to our financial freedom.

  37. I disagree with part of ur real estate ownership perspective. I own two houses and rent out rooms in both of them, including the one I live in, so that they pay for themselves. On top of that they actually make me money every month while appreciating. Its a win win! Also I’ve lived n my current house for 6 years and will co ti ue to do so until I either get a new job or get in a serious relationship. Even after that I’ll keep the house and rent out my room. I don’t know why u would ever sell a house if u can continue to make money with it.

    In regards to the car thing, typically I DO drive my cars into the ground… literally. I will drive that car til it breaks down but so far haven’t gotten the chance cause people always hit me and total my vehicles!

    • Funny because you seem to be proving my point. You bought a house that you are maximizing it’s potential, and plan to own for a very long time. And you drive your car in to the ground. Exactly the point I was making.

      • Obviously we are not the majority in that when we purchase things, we intend them to give a return, whereas most purchase based on something else. The only part I disagreed with was that real estate is a bad investment (this partially rolls over from your last post). If you do it right, it can be a great investment.

  38. I own 2 cars! One is 17 years old and will probably be replaced within a year. The other one is new and it replaced a 17 year old car.

  39. I bought a 2002 Chevy Prizm in 2005. It had 40k on it, and I planned to drive it to 100k, or the end of grad school. Am now driving it at 108k after a postdoc, and at this rate you’ll pry it from my cold dead hands. It’s still getting 35 mpg on highway, and not costing more than a few hundred for any maintenance (including new tires) in any given year, and as long as that continues I’ll keep driving it. It burns oil weirdly, but I’ve heard of worse cases, and I still probably come out way ahead of someone with a 25 mpg machine.

    Before grad school I owned several crappy bikes, which I purchased used at bike auctions and drove MORE into the ground. The nice thing about a bike is you don’t *really* need brakes.

    Partner’s car is at 210k-ish? And still going pretty strong. One truck with engine rebuilt is up around there, and the other is well over 150k miles (obviously one car and TWO trucks is ridiculous for one person, but that is another rant…). I’m hoping my car will last to 150k, because I think Partner will owe me a 6 pack (no respect for my Prizm!).

    We just bought a house in Kalamazoo, Michigan for 10k cash. If we live in it one year, it’ll have beaten paying rent where we were living. I think we pass the litmus test 😉

  40. My current car is a 2010 Ford Escape that I bought new in August 2010. I only bought it because my 2001 Ford Focus (which I had bought in 2002) literally died. It had about 250,000 kms on it at the time. Before that I owned a 2000 Chrysler Neon for just under two years. I traded it in for the Focus as it already had 90,000 kms on it due to my husband’s long commute.
    My husband drives a 2007 Ford F-150, which he’s owned a little more than a year. He had the last one (a 1999 F-150) for 10 years.

  41. I currently own a 2002 Hyundai Accent, bought it new because I had a bad experience with a used car. My trade-in was an ’89 Buick Skyhawk that I’d put up with for 13 years. I love my Hyundai and my next car will also be a Hyundai, just a different model. So, over a 24-year period, I’ve only owned 2 cars.

  42. 1997 Mitsubishi Mirage. Got it in 2000 with just over 40k miles when I was a junior in high school and am still driving it today. It just passed 202,000 miles. I have been tempted many times to just give it up and get a new car, but I just can’t justify taking on monthly car payments. This baby still runs, even though the A/C is out (and in AZ it effing SUCKS). I am committed to driving this car into the ground.

    The next car I someday purchase I will also run into the ground 🙂

  43. Current car: 2004 Honda accord, still going strong. Previous car: used 1996 Honda civic purchased in 2000 that I drove for 4 years until the electrical gave out and it cost more to repair than it was worth. We use 1 car for 2 adults and 2 kids (public transit ftw!).

  44. I have a 2007 Honda Civic. My hubby has a 2008 Mitsibushi Lancer. We both bought the cars used. Still going strong. I love my car! No plan to switch it ever. It’s fully loaded, leather seats, built in gps and xm radio, and I didn’t have to pay for it because I bought used from a private owner.

  45. I currently drive a 2009 Toyota Yaris that I bought new because the interest rate was super low. I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off, and probably will unless something weird happens.

    My previous car was 2006 Chevy HHR, which I bought used and planned to drive forever – until I flipped it in a ditch and totaled it.

    My first car was a 1991 Honda Accord, which I drove until it simply couldn’t go anymore. When I was done with it, it had 305k miles, no AC, no radio, no speedometer, and leaked every possible fluid you can imagine. I couldn’t even depend on it to make it 10 miles from home, let alone to actually drive to work. I got a whopping $300 when I traded it for my HHR, but I was all smiles because I’d driven it for 8 years without a car payment.

  46. Car 1: 2001 Dodge Stratus that used to be my grandma’s car. It had less than 80,000 miles when it was stolen and totaled in 2012. Had it not been stolen, I would still be driving it; I loved that car.

    Car 2: 2005 Mercury Montego purchased in 2012 with 110,000 miles on it. I intend to drive it as long as possible since it’s difficult to find vehicles that fit my husband and this one has a backseat big enough for three carseats if/when we need them.

    Husband’s car: 2006 Ford Five Hundred purchased in 2009 with 35,000 miles on it. Currently has about 110,000 and he plans to keep it for as long as possible.

    On a sidebar of sorts: the 2005-2007 Ford Five Hundred and it’s Mercury Montego twin are excellent vehicles for tall people/families. My husband is 6’7″ and these cars give him enough leg room and a full field of vision. Plus, we’ve had some tall family members (6′ – 6’4″) ride in the backseat on occasion and they found it to be sufficiently roomy. So, if you know any tall people in the market for a vehicle, then these come highly recommended (the Ford Taurus is the newest in the model line).

  47. Current car is a 2006 Acura TL that I bought in 2008. It is paid off and I plan on keeping it until the end of the year at the very least.

    Previous car was a 2006 Acura TSX that didnt quite make it…it was totaled. I am not sure if I still would be driving it, but I probably would have for at least 6 years.

  48. We have been a one car family for over a year now. We have a 97 Subaru and used to have a Rav 4. Both were cash purchases about 5 years ago. Our 99 Toyota Rav 4 went kerplunk. It blew a rod and became non-drivable. Sold on craigslist for $3000. Instead of buying a 2nd, we tried to get by with one car. We try to stay debt free and need more time to save for a good car. Now our 97 Subaru Wagon is our only vehicle. It has 130,000 miles, still runs well and there are no extras about it. But my husband takes the bus (the stop is around the corner from our home) and the bus to light rail to work. His work has a commuter benefit to deduct a the transportation pass from taxable income. Now he is thinking about dropping the commute for biking into work! Would this have happened if we walked into the dealer for another car? Probably not…

  49. I’m 25 and I’ve been driving the same car since high school, so about 9 years. It’s a 1997 Ford Escort. My uncle gave it to me when he retired and no longer needed it for his commute. It’s been surprisingly reliable, and since I’ve made it this far I probably won’t replace it until it breaks down.

  50. My dad gave me a 1997 Mercury Tracer in Christmas 1998, which I had until I totaled it in September 2001. I then bought a 2000 Chevy Cavalier and still have it. I am at 108,000 miles or so and want to make it to 200K which at the rate I drive (I bought the car with 30K miles on it so you can see how much I drive) may be YEARS yet!!!

  51. This made me laugh because I said this exact thing when I bought my car. I’ve had it for a year and a half now and there are no plans whatsoever to sell it and upgrade in the near future. My previous car I drove for three years and it was truly broken when I bought my current one. My parents gave me that old car.

    As for our house.. we bought it in December 2012 (just a few months ago) and it can handle a few kids. We dont’ plan on having kids for at least 4 years. By the time we have our first, we’ll have lived here for around 5 years (hopefully), and it’s big enough DEFINITELY for one or two. It’s reasonable for us to think we’d stay here for 10 years.

  52. We bought our car in 07 and still have it, we also bought our van in 2009 from my parents who got the van in 2000. As for the house, we’d remodel before we would move. Cannot get a comparable location and home without moving about 20 miles farther from work and family.

  53. Car 1: 1982 Chevy S10 (1-year older than me) from a farm for $200, when I turned 16. Was in really bad shape, but we fixed it up and I kept it through college. (Owned from 6/15/1999 – 12/20/2002)
    Car 2: 1999 Ford Taurus(salvage title), bought from my Dad for $2500. Put on about 50k miles (Owned from 12/20/2002 – 10/01/2012)
    Car 3: 2001 Ford Taurus(salvage title), bought from salvage yard for $3000 and fixed by local community college (no labor costs, only parts) for a total cost of around $3750. Car only had 39k miles on it when purchased. (Owned 10/01/2012 – Present)

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