A Car Is Forever: Investing in a Vehicle
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A Car Is Forever: Investing in a Vehicle

Cars hold residual value for an eternal amount of time. These investments last as long as you want them to.

When you make the commitment to buy a new car, you are expressing your confidence in the automaker’s ability to provide you a product worth keeping. When you make a commitment to sell that same car, you are essentially issuing a vote of no confidence in the automobile’s ability to continue providing safe transportation. You may also be considering that it can no longer fulfill your transportation needs.

Although a car is designed to keep moving, all vehicles retain residual value for a certain period of time, even if they stop moving. That original monetary investment bought a pile of parts put together in order to provide meaningful transportation, and there is always a piece of that value remaining (even if it cannot be converted into an equivalent cash value).

What this all means is that you, as the consumer, should carefully consider your needs when you buy or sell a vehicle. Do you need a people mover? Do you need something to get you to work? Do you need something to haul stuff? If you think about what your needs actually are, then you may find that you can do more with less. My parents bought me a Ford Explorer just before going to college so that I could easily haul all of my stuff to and from school. A couple of years later, I stopped driving the Explorer in favor of a much older Honda Accord. The Accord has proven capable of being stuffed to the gills with just about everything imaginable, and its fuel efficiency has made it able to haul just as much as the Explorer without any noticeable wear on components. Occasionally, I have to take a second trip, but this is no problem with the excellent gas mileage.

Is there a lesson to take away from all this? Sometimes, your old car will suffice to continue performing the same tasks, and it can be adopted to future changing roles as well. Basically, each time that you trade, sell, or buy, you are generally losing a significant amount of money on the deal. If you can possibly keep a car, then, you should do so. If you can delay purchasing a new auto until the last possible moment, then you will be saving yourself money each day that you delay. One example is using a 4 door sedan as a people mover. You can keep two kids in car seats and refrain from buying a minivan or large SUV until the third arrives.

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