20 Reasons Why We Still Drive a 20 Year Old Car

Long-time readers know that we decided to sell Vanessa’s white Toyota Camry when we got married to pay off debts. We decided at that time to share a car – The Green Machine (as seen below) – which has resulted in minimal auto expenses.

Nearly four years have passed and we are still sharing. Our current situation is convenient, and both of our employers are located within a mile of each other.

Sharing a car won’t work for everyone, but it is a great way to reduce gasoline consumption, insurance costs, repairs, and the other costs of car ownership.

Drive Old Used Car

My path to owning our little green machine was plagued with poor vehicle decisions which will serve as an interesting story to help other readers.

The Path Well Traveled

It was 2006ish when I first caught car fever. I was spoiled enough to have parents who would purchase my first car. They weren’t rich, so I had to decide on something roughly $3,500 or less.

After a few months of obsessive searching, I found a 1984 Porsche 944 that looked in good condition. Adult owned and driven. As seen below.

Porsche 944

First of all, this was a neat little car. I still have a soft spot in my heart for clean 944s.

Second, I had short-term-itis at the age of 16 and couldn’t stop to think about the future. I didn’t consider the fact that these cars have high maintenance costs, poor gas mileage, and tiny back seats that are good for nothing.

Also, I hated the gold color but thought I could get it painted for cheap. Except paint jobs are not cheap, and the cost of aftermarket upgrades (like paint jobs) are rarely recaptured when selling the car to the next owner.

But, I wanted it, so I had it painted. I chose Maaco to paint the car. Long story short, they messed up the color, did a botch job, and wouldn’t fix it (typical, Maaco). I was out almost a grand that I would never again see.

Despite the loss, I didn’t learn my lesson with the Porsche 944. I sold the 944 and bought a faster and newer sports car with my hard earned money earned from working my minimum wage job as a grocery bagger.

Greener Pastures

Roughly a dozen cars/motorcycles later (Don’t worry, I became a little more savvy half-way through college and started buying/selling vehicles for profit), I finally settled on the beautiful Green Delight that we currently drive.

A 1996 Saturn SL1 with absolutely no options added. It’s bare bones with manual locks, manual windows, black steel rims, a ghetto CD player that doesn’t play CDs, and a number of other incredible features. I’ve never looked back.

I thought readers might like an entertaining post that details just a few of the many reasons we choose to keep this particular car, and why we won’t be getting rid of it any time soon.

  1. It Runs
  2. It’s Fully Depreciated – I bought it 5.5 years ago for $1,700 and have put more than 40,000 miles on the car. Without a doubt, I could get $1,500 today. Probably $1,700 with my Craigslist mojo.
  3. It Gets Good Gas Mileage – 30 MPG city, 40 MPG highway. Somehow, brand new compact cars can’t seem to top that after nearly 20 years of engineering improvements. And like clockwork, they continue to advertise 36 MPG highway.
  4. It’s Worry Free – I don’t have to worry about the people of Walmart dinging my door in the parking lot, or rocks causing the occasional paint chip. If that happens, who really cares.
  5. It’s Simple – With less bells and whistles, less power everything, and less engine complexity, there are fewer opportunities for problems and maintenance.
  6. It’s Unbelievably Slow – The 98 Horsepower (in 1996) 4 cylinder engine prevents my adrenaline junkie wife from racing those pesky Honda Civics equipped with mufflers the size of your head.
  7. It’s Practical – My primary desire is that my vehicle get me from A to B. This car performs that task well.
  8. It’s Reliable – I’ve had one maintenance repair for $1,000 that shouldn’t have happened. That sucks, but I don’t anticipate any problems going forward.
  9. It’s Uncomfortable – This is especially true when it’s cold outside. The Saturn rattles and vibrates, which makes you want to drive as little as possible.
  10. Insurance is Cheap – Liability only + tiny engine = low price.
  11. Taxes are Cheap – Personal Property taxes are next to nothing.
  12. Tires are Cheap – 14 inches of frugality, yeah!
  13. Keys are Cheap – What is going on with those new computer chipped keys that cost $250? Ours can be replicated for a dollar at Walmart.
  14. Free Theft Insurance – No one would ever choose to steal a 1996 hunter green Saturn with body and paint flaws.
  15. I Love to Eat – After a certain number of years pass, you just stop caring about keeping the carpets spotless. I’ll eat anything and everything while driving. If it falls on the seat or floor, I’ll still eat it. And never for one moment do I worry about stains.
  16. Cars Aren’t an Investment – Buying a new car is like flushing money down the toilet. Vehicles do nothing except depreciate, and I prefer allowing someone else to eat that depreciation before buying.
  17. Temperature Control Issues – It takes forever for the heater to work in the winter, and the A/C works well enough but the lack of window tint makes for a hot ride in summer. Both of these encourage less driving.
  18. It Keeps Us Humble – A 20 year old car draws no attention and helps us remember that cars are meant to get from A to B, not to impress the person in the next lane who is financed up to their eyeballs.
  19. It Makes Me Kind – Life is inevitably stressful, and sometimes difficult. The last thing I want to worry about is my car. That lady with screaming children who bumps me from behind at the stop sign. No Big Deal! Accidentally backed into that pesky telephone pole again? Just another Monday my friend.
  20. It’s Sexy – Saturn is now an extinct and exotic species. Plus, they just don’t make them like they did in the 90’s.

I know someday I’ll have to move on and find something a little more civilized, but til then, I’ll be rockin’ that Green Machine and stackin’ that money.

I’d like to know what year, make, and model you drive. Please share with a comment below.

If you enjoyed this article, join 70,000+ monthly readers

Comments

  1. By Manny

    Reply

  2. By Dee

    Reply

  3. By Bruce Gattis

    Reply

  4. By Tommy

    Reply

  5. By Jim Kurinsky

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  6. By Grace

    Reply

  7. By Anonymous

    Reply

  8. By Allen

    Reply

  9. By old guy

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  10. By Joan

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  11. By Lee

    Reply

  12. By Clarence Bussius

    Reply

  13. By RJ

    Reply

  14. By Shelly

    Reply

  15. By Ede Vetsch

    Reply

  16. By Jason Santiago

    Reply

    • By Carol

      Reply

  17. Reply

  18. By matt

    Reply

  19. By js

    Reply

  20. By Dariyenn

    Reply

  21. Reply

  22. By Abhiroop Pakrashi

    Reply

  23. By Andrew

    Reply

  24. By Jenny

    Reply

  25. By John

    Reply

  26. By Jill VH

    Reply

  27. By Chutuo

    Reply

  28. By Phil

    Reply

  29. By Sharon

    Reply

  30. By Jason P

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

      • By Jason P

        Reply

  31. Reply

  32. By Sam12587

    Reply

  33. By Bub

    Reply

  34. By Ronald Dorfman

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  35. Reply

  36. By Elizabeth Hennessey

    Reply

  37. By usedup66

    Reply

    • By Sam12587

      Reply

  38. By Jen

    Reply

    • By Bub

      Reply

  39. By Mauck

    Reply

  40. By Jordan

    Reply

  41. By Kelly

    Reply

  42. By James

    Reply

  43. By Jayson

    Reply

  44. By Steven

    Reply

  45. By Ciaran

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  46. By Clarence Bussius

    Reply

  47. Reply

  48. Reply

  49. By Cassandra Surette

    Reply

  50. By Gurumurthy

    Reply

  51. By Shane

    Reply

  52. Reply

  53. By Matt

    Reply

  54. By Brandon

    Reply

  55. By Wade

    Reply

  56. Reply

    • By Barbara Smith

      Reply

  57. By Jordan Baker

    Reply

  58. By Steve

    Reply

  59. By Richard

    Reply

    • By Elizabeth Hennessey

      Reply

  60. By Kevin

    Reply

  61. By Bimmerman

    Reply

  62. By Aaron Howell

    Reply

  63. By Paul

    Reply

    • By Roscoe

      Reply

  64. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  65. By Albie Cardew

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

      • By Tamika

        Reply

  66. Reply

  67. By Jack White

    Reply

  68. By Brian

    Reply

    • By Shelly

      Reply

  69. By Grant

    Reply

  70. By harrison simpsons

    Reply

  71. By chris

    Reply

  72. By Nikki

    Reply

  73. By jk

    Reply

  74. Reply

  75. By Kyle

    Reply

  76. By Karl B

    Reply

  77. By Tom

    Reply

  78. By Brian

    Reply

  79. Reply

  80. By Cee

    Reply

    • By Huskie_Jon

      Reply

      • By PH

        Reply

  81. By Ben

    Reply

  82. By Lee North

    Reply

  83. By Jace

    Reply

  84. By Adam

    Reply

  85. By MP

    Reply

  86. By B

    Reply

  87. By Alicia

    Reply

  88. By Ken

    Reply

  89. By Jeremy

    Reply

    • By Patrick

      Reply

  90. By Sandie

    Reply

  91. Reply

  92. By Tawcan

    Reply

  93. By Meg

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  94. By Kathy

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  95. By Alice

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  96. By George

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  97. By Carolyn

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  98. By Michael

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  99. Reply

    • Reply

  100. By Brian

    Reply

  101. By Chuck

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  102. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  103. By Kayla

    Reply

  104. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

    • By Sundeep

      Reply

  105. By Arielle

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  106. By Amy

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  107. By Vince

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  108. By Erin @ Gen Y Finances

    Reply

  109. By Elroy

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

      • By Goddessoflubbock

        Reply

  110. By H

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  111. By FI Fighter

    Reply

  112. By Kim

    Reply

  113. By Karin

    Reply

  114. By Tara

    Reply

  115. By dojo

    Reply

  116. By Bobby

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

      • By Jayme

        Reply

        • By Jacob

          Reply

          • By Marina Jackson

  117. By cj

    Reply

  118. By Levi @ Wealthnote

    Reply

  119. By Mrs

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  120. By Lizz

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

      • By Chris

        Reply

      • By Ellen

        Reply

  121. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  122. By Bill

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  123. By Done by Forty

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  124. By Laura @ RichmondSavers.com

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  125. By Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  126. By David D

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  127. By Koneta

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  128. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  129. Reply

  130. Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  131. By Brian

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  132. Reply

  133. Reply

  134. Reply

  135. By Kathy

    Reply

    • By Jacob

      Reply

  136. Reply

  137. Reply

  138. Reply

  139. Reply

  140. Reply

  141. Reply

  142. Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *