(Dave Siytangco is our resident “car doctor” who will give buying advice and expert solutions for your car troubles. Dave is certified motorhead and runs his very own car repair shop. For questions about your vehicle, please email Doc Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I have a question. Is it worth it to hold on to an old car? Let me rephrase that. Up to how old should you hold on to a car; or how long should you hold on to your car before you replace it. Does that sound better? Or… one more, how often should you change your car? Ideally, as some would say after five to six years, or 10 years max.
If your finances would allow you, I’d say at least after five or six years… 10 years to maximize the usage of the car. At this age, you could still get a decent resale value for the car. For some, because of their finances, they try to get the most out of the car before they change vehicles. For others, it’s like their second biggest purchase, next to buying a house, so they maximize the usage and make sure they keep the car running in good condition.
But there are those who prefer keeping a particular car even if they can afford to buy a new one. Sometimes, they pour an astonishing amount of money on a car, that is enough to make a down payment for a brand new one—or even enough to buy a car that is only a few years old. And after spending that vast amount of money, the resale value of that car is not even enough to cover at least half the amount they invested. Sounds familiar?
For those who belong to this group… fear not! You are not alone. I myself am guilty of such irrational thinking and twisted sense of economics. Say it with me… let me hear you… it always good to let the truth out. Stand up and say it with pride… I love old cars! Irrational thinking and a twisted sense of economics are part of it. Don’t ask a doctor for help. There’s a chance that behind the doctor’s unemotional face, while performing the examination, he might be thinking of his ‘have to do list’ for his own ongoing project—and he can’t sympathize with you. God forbid, if your better-half found out instead of seeking treatment, you end up finding a kindred spirit.
Owning an old car that is in good running-condition, has a straight body, shiny paint, intact interior… there’s something about it. One thing that I also enjoy is working on my old ride. You begin to know every thing about the car. Every scratch, every part you replaced, the way it runs, the handling, its quirks… even what kind of oil and fuel it uses to maximize its performance. Weird!!
A part of the “high” of owning an old car is going around looking for parts. The thrill of the hunt… Finding an old stock OEM part that time had forgotten. Now you’re talking… something to add to your stash of parts. Goodness gracious, you are what others would call a “hoarder.” Hey, be proud. You worked hard looking for that part. You’re giving it a new lease on life.
If after reading this you feel some sense of relief that someone understands how you feel… you won’t feel like an outcast anymore… then keep a close watch on this part of the world. We will try and justify to the world that it is perfectly alright to have such a condition. Having a bond with the four-wheeled, engineered pile of metal that makes your heart pound. And if all goes well we will graduate to the wild Frankenstein thoughts that haunt your slumber. Where after weeks of hard work, you turn the key, then the heart of the beast rumbles to life.
But before we begin, we will attempt to convince our better-half that attending a car club meeting is a form of therapy. It’s something like attending Alcoholics Anonymous—a group where you can express your thoughts to a fellow human being who talks the same dialect. A brotherhood, a’ little boys club’ where adult men can talk about their four-wheeled toys. So after reading this, I hope people like us can step into the light and say “we are not alone.” It’s just a matter of how to cope with our condition… there is always light at the end of the tunnel.