10 Happy Years with a Couple of Old Nags


Swayback #1

December 26th, 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of a very special relationship.  The old girl in question has been so good to me and my family.  She’s reliable, hard-working, and still a little pretty in spite of her advanced age.  Sure, she often has a “rode-hard-and-put-up-wet” look to her, but I don’t mind.  Even though at times she feels unsteady and rickety, she still delivers one heck of a ride.  While I don’t really “love” this aging wench, she does have a special place in my heart.

Yeah, my 2002 Mitsubishi Galant has been very good to me!  Ten years ago we paid $10,500 for this “sweet” ride.  Since then, I have replaced the tires thrice, the timing belt twice, and the air condition once.  (I might have changed the tires four times, but I wanted to use the word “thrice.”)  When I bought her, she had 46,000 miles on her; today she has over 257,000 miles!  Here she is:          

The Chick Magnet

Earlier this year her wheel covers fell off, and she looked especially bad.  So, I forked over $20 for some smoking hot wheel covers, and she instantly looked 300 pounds lighter and 10 years younger.    

My Girl All Gussied Up

A few months after we bought the Mitsubishi, we bought a used 1998 Volvo S70 for $7,000.  We’ve used the Volvo as our secondary vehicle, so we’ve only put about 35,000 miles on it over the ten years.  The good news:  we haven’t had to buy a car since May of 2004!  Sure, we have spent money on gas, oil changes and basic maintenance, but we haven’t spent a dime on car payments.  (Actually, I have never had a car payment while my wife had one over 20 years ago.)


Swayback #2

Without a doubt, these two reliable cars, sans car payments, have helped us to maximize our savings and build our net worth.  While these two girls have served us well, we know that eventually we’ll have to put them out to pasture.  Until that time comes, we plan on saddling them up and ride’m hard till that can’t go no more…giddy up girls!    

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  1. Steve

    I’ve owned three cars, post college beater, then two new cars, first one driven into the ground. I’m hoping I can nurse the 92 Plymouth to 200000 miles. Never gave the economics of this much thought, but lately realized how much this saved, not just in purchases, but lower insurance/registration costs (despite hanging onto comprehensive coverage longer than I should have).

    When having repairs, I never thought about what the car was worth, but how many more years of service the repair would get me. Paid off so far.

    • We finally put those two cars out to pasture, but they were certainly millionaire-makers. I gave the Volvo to my nephew and the Mitsubishi to my mother. I like cars, but I hate car payments. My students loved to give me grief about my “Lamborghini” especially when it was missing a hubcap. I just laughed along and continued saving $10k a month.

  2. Jeff

    I’ve never had good luck buying used cars. The used ones I found were always so close to new car prices it seemed better to pay a bit more for new. Maybe it’s easier today with tools like Craigslist. So I have tended to buy new and keep them for 10 years or more. My new 1984 Honda ended with over 200,000 miles. I once calculated overall cost of ownership and operation at a ridiculously low cost like 10 or 15 cents per mile if memory is correct. We still hav my next car, a 1997 Mercury Sable. My wife drives it and doesn’t put on many miles. It now has about 170,000 miles. My next one, a 2007 Honda CRV, just hit 150,000 miles. I’ll likely replace the Mercury with something else this year. Maybe I’ll look used again and try some of the new tools.
    So while I spend more on cars than you do, keeping the cars long term does pay dividends in lower ownership costs. So far my wife hasn’t been very receptive to sharing just one car.

    • Jeff,
      Our old nags were finally sent to the glue factory. The Mitsubishi was sold for parts after passing 300k miles. We gave the Volvo to our nephew who got it running for a while before he traded it in for another car. We had both of our girls for 12 years, so we sure miss our millionaire-makers. You’re right, the longer you keep your car, the better you make out financially. We’re currently carless for now…

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