Graduation is coming up soon for me. And coming with it will be some big “adult” moments--like buying my first car! I’m kind of looking forward to having a car of my own, but it also makes me a little nervous, because I don’t know the first thing about caring for a car. I know that new cars lose a lot of value when you drive them off the lot, and I know that’s kind of unavoidable, but I don’t want my car to become worthless too fast! Experts, can you give me a crash course in keeping up with cars?
Vehicles are valuable things, which is why we spend big (and sometimes even take out loans) in order to buy them. They’re important--essential, even--because they help us get from place to place, including, in many cases, to and from the jobs that we need in order to live comfortably and build wealth. But, as you note, there are also downsides to owning a vehicle. Owning a vehicle exposes you to some risk, and the value of your vehicle is almost certain to decline over the period of time that you own it.
That’s not the end of the world, of course: you’re still enjoying the use of your vehicle as it declines in value. But how quickly your vehicle declines in value can have a lot to do with how effective you are able to be in saving and building wealth.
Virtually all cars, outside of a few collectors’ items, decline in value over time as they age and wear out. Some vehicles decline in value faster than others. So your efforts to keep your vehicle financially sound start before you buy the vehicle, advise the experts at one trusted Volkswagen dealership. Some makes and models maintain their value better than others, so do your research!
It’s worth noting, of course, that your emphasis on this part of the equation will depend on your goals. The folks who flock to experience North Bend, OR and other popular recreational destinations in RVs are driving vehicles that depreciate in value fast--but RVs are, by definition, recreational, and the folks who own them are willing to spend the money and accept the depreciation. Later in life, you may find that you’re willing to spend more to get an RV, a sports car, or some other vehicle that is not the strictest and most frugal decision--and that’s okay! We’re just here to provide some helpful guidelines.
To return to our quest for frugality, though, we need to emphasize that your mission is not over when you buy your car. Far from it. After the value of your car drops after you drive it off the lot (this is far truer if you buy a new car, by the way), it will continue to drop steadily in most cases--but it will drop a lot more slowly if you do what you should in order to keep up with maintenance and repairs, say the teachers who run an automotive & diesel technology college in NY! Trust a certified mechanic and never postpone repairs or maintenance. Doing so could result in small problems getting larger, making them costlier to fix and more likely to drag down the value of your vehicle. Besides, a well-maintained car is a safer one, say auto accident attorneys.
If you keep up with your car’s maintenance and make sensible decisions about insurance (and, of course, drive as safely as possible!), then you should see your car maintain its value as well as possible. Just do the things that you have control over, and enjoy the use of your car! It may be a pricey investment, but it doesn’t require much know-how to get the most out of your car as long as you do basic research before buying and invest in regular care from trusted pros.
“Cars are the sculptures of our everyday lives”.-- Chris Bangle