For almost ten years, I have been the owner of a forest green 1995 Toyota Camry. It had 70,000 miles on it and now it has 215,000! That’s a lot of miles over the course of the past decade! I am happy to report that the car has been extremely reliable and has served me well. I bought it when it was four years old for $10,000. It is now probably worth less than $3,000, but it’s been paid for now for about five years. I took it in today for an oil change and left a few hours later several hundred dollars poorer. Yes, it needed some work and I couldn’t put it off any longer. I got new tires, a new CV Boot and axle, as well as front brake service. I looked at my records and realized that I’ve spent about $4,000 on the car over the years, including:
- Four sets of tires (replaced about every three years)
- Three batteries
- Three brake jobs
- Two radiators
- Two CV Boots
- One new axel
- One alternator
- One tail light (had to replace it after someone hit me and ran)
- One new timing belt (replaced more than 120,000 miles ago)
- Two windshield wipers
- Various light bulbs, etc.
Pretty much all of those things are general maintenance items. Thankfully, my Camry’s engine has been really good. I haven’t had problems with water pumps or trasmissions… knock on wood. Toyotas are really quite good cars. When I first got it, I thought it was the best car ever. It felt so good to drive after having driven an electric blue Ford Escort with pink swirls on the side (the car my wife brought to the marriage). Now the paint job is fading, the interior is dirty, the upholstry is stained and a big section of the back floor carpet is missing due to an unfortunate paint spill several years ago. (It was a whole gallon of paint that tipped over while we were driving home from the Home Depot; had to just tear out the carpet it was so bad.)
Anyway, would I like a new car? Sure. Someday. But as long as my Camry keeps getting me from Point A to Point B reliably, I will keep driving it. It sure is nice to not have a car payment. Hopefully, I can start saving up for a replacement car and pay cash for it as Dave Ramsey suggests. What kind of car would you suggest? I am partial to Toyotas and Hondas because they are so reliable. But I’m open to suggestions.