Should I buy a new (used) car?

I was looking at the “what is your realistic next car?” thread and started thinking about the one I own right now. It’s a 1998 Toyota Corolla CE. When I bought it used in May 2001, it had 18,000 miles on it. As of right now it has just over 37,000 miles. It’s run perfectly and never needed to go into the shop except to replace the battery. Overall I am very happy with the car.

So here’s my question: should I think about trading it in and getting another one? It still has a good trade-in value, so I could get a newer used car (probably another Corolla). I still have another 2 years left to pay on this one. If I get a new one, I start the loan-paying cycle anew. If I keep this one and pay it off two years from now, I will then have a seven year old car with not much trade-in value. I hope it will still be running this well for years to come, but I’m nervous about it. Will someone with more car-buying experience give me some advice?

I kept my 92 Honda Civic DX hatchback for 10 years. It had 143k miles on it and ran just fine the entire time.

I traded it in this past November mostly because I was tired of a manual transmission in rush hour traffic.

Why do you want to trade in your car? In a couple of years, that car payment money is all yours.

I don’t really WANT to trade it in. I’m just wondering if it’ll be breaking down in a few years and I’ll be stuck with an unreliable car and no trade-in value. I’m probably just being paranoid, but I’ve had bad experineces with cars that seemed to have relatively short expiration dates.

It would be nice to not have a car payment every month. More cash to send to the credit card companies!

The number of old Toyotas on the highways attests to the reliability.

It’s almost always far more sensible financially to keep the car until the wheels fall off than to trade in, especially if your current vehicle is not yet paid off. You pay for the convenience of the trade by not getting anywhere near ther car’s retail value; if you want maximum resale value you should sell it yourself.

If you maintain your Toyota properly you’ll likely be able to drive it well over 100K miles without a major mechanical failure, unless you have some reason to believe that the car was abused prior to your owning it (if so, you probably shouldn’t have bought it in the first place).

Even then, if your current payment is, say, $200/month, once the car is paid off that is $2400 a year that would be available to make repairs to the car if necessary. What, other than maybe a complete engine, would cost that much to repair on a Corolla? But since you are not likely to need anywhere near that amount to make repairs each year, you could save all or part of it (and earn interest besides) which would provide you with more money, and thus flexibility, to purchase your next car.

OTOH, if what you are really saying is that you are getting bored with your car, well, that’s something else again.

That makes a lot of sense, El_Kabong. I’m not bored with it. All I care about is having reliable, comfortable transportation and good gas mileage. This is my first Toyota. All my previous non-Toyaota cars went kaput after a certain amount of time, so I guess I’m a little paranoid. Thanks, guys, you’ve made me feel better and I think I’ll keep the car!

I’m driving a 2000 Corolla with 33,000 miles. cbawlmer – bought new. It’s my 5th Corolla, also had a Camry wagon & sedan. Will not own anything but Toyotas. Never had a repair, except for the time a schoolbus hit me. The schoolbus was towed, I drove home.

You have made a wise decision, O thoughtful one.

What I love about my beige (sorry, Sand) Corolla is: nobody wants it but me (no car-jack worries) & it’s a GOT car – gas, oil, tires.

Call us in 2008 & let us know how it’s doing!

Yea, my last car was a Toyota and it was a POS, but it got flooded and flood damage always messes up cars. Current car is a Toyota and it runs smooth and fine. Everyone in my family (I can think of at least 5 people off the top of my head) drives one, and I can’t think of much in the way of shop time, aside from regular oil changes and tuneups and such.

Why would you want to trade something that works?