Some drivers like to keep it fresh with one new car after another. For them, always driving a new car means fewer worries about costly repairs or roadside break-downs. But older vehicles can be just as reliable while avoiding the major disadvantage to this strategy: spending more money.
Ownership costs – including purchase price, tax, insurance and even maintenance and repairs – can be significantly higher on new and nearly new cars. Even with any additional maintenance costs for a higher-mileage vehicle, keeping a car for a long time or driving an older model is almost always less expensive than cycling through newer cars.
In NAPA’s new “200K Mile Club” videos, we joke about enjoying life with no monthly car payment. That’s just one benefit of joining the club, though. Here are some other, less obvious ones that we 200K Mile Club members know all about.
It’s not a museum piece. New car drivers may not have to worry about unexpected repairs, but instead they get plenty of other worries, like avoiding door dings in tight parking lots. Members of the 200K Mile Club largely avoid these superficial concerns. After all, a little scratch just adds character.
All aboard. Club members attract more interesting passengers for the same reason – we’re not uptight about who rides. Bring your smelly, slobbery dog along. It will be an adventure.
Every car is a truck. We don’t just carry people in our vehicles. We carry plenty of stuff, too. The minivan driver and pickup driver in our 200K Mile Club videos appreciate that utility, but it’s not limited to vehicles designed for cargo. The sedan could carry a bike in its backseat or a lawn mower in its trunk, too, without worrying about leaving a little grease behind.
Be green. Newer cars typically run cleaner than older ones, but all things considered, the old car could actually be the more environmentally responsible choice. A vehicle is intended to be a durable, long-lasting product. You reduce waste and encourage reuse when you keep your older vehicle maintained for the long haul.
Learn new skills. If you enjoy tinkering or just want to save money, your 200,000-mile vehicle will allow you to hone your DIY auto maintenance and repair skills. Visit NAPA AUTO PARTS for the items and Know How you need, and tackle jobs with confidence. You’ll learn general skills and gain knowledge unique to your make and model.
Help a friend. When was the last time you tossed your keys to a friend or family member who needed transportation for a day or two? For 200K Mile Club members, loaning a friend your wheels is no big deal. Plus, you may get a free tank of gas for your generosity.
Pay it forward. When the time finally comes to replace your old 200,000-miler, you have plenty of choices. If it still has some life left in it, you could hand it down to a new driver as a first car. If it has suffered a prohibitively expensive failure – like a bad transmission that costs more than the car is worth – consider donating it to a charitable group. Either way, you can avoid the inconvenience of selling the vehicle.
Shiny, new cars and trucks are immediately appealing to many of us. With older, higher-mileage vehicles, the appeal can be just as great. It simply takes looking a little deeper and living with one to discover the joy of 200K Mile Club membership.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the 200K Mile Club, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.