I was having a conversation with my 12-year-old cousin and asked if he would buy an old car, like a 20-year-old car or trade a 20-year-old car. He replied with a quick, emphatic no! Well, I wasn’t overly surprised, and I could understand his reservation and naivety. However, just like lots of teenagers, we sometimes give answers without properly understanding the question or weighing its pros and cons while comparing it with other alternatives.
A twenty-year-old car is an old car and not a relic to be found in museums. Being old doesn’t mean bad. These cars are still categorized as modern cars and fit in such ways and capacities. The obvious opposite to an old car is a new one. So, which would you rather have?
If you haven’t known already, purchasing automobiles are not really the smartest of investments, particularly new ones, as the rate at which new cars depreciate is somewhat alarming. According to Experian, a data providing platform, the value of a new car could drop as much as or more than 20% in its first year, and 10% in subsequent years for four years. Quick math gives a whopping 60% depreciation in value. However, the good news is, when a car is 20 years old, it is fully depreciated. This means that its depreciation rate has slowed to the extent of stabilizing and might even have room for appreciating after it becomes a classic and demand for it increases. I would rather go for a 20-year old car for its price, residual value, and also because I don’t want to bear the full depreciation burden of owning a new car.
Time works differently for cars compared to humans, so we shouldn’t forget that a 20-year old car is old and must be maintained and treated as such. I will be explaining further, factors to consider when choosing a 20-year car to buy or eventually trade an old car.
Any mechanical or electrical appliances, cars included, are prone to problems, irrespective of their age. However, old cars are often susceptible to more problems compared to newer models. So, when making a 20-year old car purchase, make sure you are getting one with the least problem and worth repairing with little, additional cost. A full mechanical and electrical inspection of the car by a mechanic would be helpful to determine if it is in good working shape. It must be given the thumbs up by the mechanic and declared to have a low repair frequency. Additional inspection includes looking out for rusts, in the glass, body and interiors.
Mileage does not tell the full story of a car, for a car with less mileage might be worse for wear than an old car with high mileage. Nevertheless, it should be considered when buying or trading a 20-year old car. However, age or mileage isn’t as important as its condition. Its service records would show its maintenance history and if it has been used fairly in the past. This would also give you some idea of the car you are getting and its condition.
A 20-year old car requires consistent and scheduled maintenance and care. You must have the time, money and willingness, for its maintenance. This is a very important factor when buying a 20- year old car. In addition, emergency funds should also be set aside for unforeseen faults and maintenance. The good news is that its maintenance and parts are cheap in the market and also easy to get.
While the requirements to owning a 20-year old car might seem overwhelming to some, it comes out a winner for me after comparing it to the other available alternatives. I get to own my own car with no need for monthly payments and less insurance. It might not be a new car but it is still a modern one, which I get to drive around proudly. If properly maintained, they can be reliable and used for daily driving. Its maintenance is cheap and parts can be easily found. I also get to buy this beauty at a low price, while avoiding depreciation and getting a retained value. The cherry on the cake is; I get a potential classic on my hand. Its value could even increase in the future!