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Keeping that Old Car

Updated on September 19, 2012
1971 Ford Escort Mexico 2 Door
1971 Ford Escort Mexico 2 Door
1982 Toyota Starlet 2 Door
1982 Toyota Starlet 2 Door
1986 Lancer Box Type 4 Door
1986 Lancer Box Type 4 Door

IT IS NOT easy to dispose cars. More often than not, the relationship between the car and its owner has transposed from merely getting to point A and B into something special. As a loyal and sturdy companion, cars are often considered as part of life.

In the Philippines, to own a car is a privilege. It is a luxury purchase. The price of cars and other private vehicles is very prohibitive and beyond the reach of the common folk. Owning a car is considered a status symbol. Only those in the higher level of society can afford owning a car.

As days went by however cars have transcended the realm of being a mere status symbol into a necessity. With the traffic situation in Metro Manila, it is very inconvenient and time consuming to use public transportation. The smoke, dust, other forms of pollution and safety issues are some factors why taking public transport is an epitome of the principle on survival of the fittest.

The long waiting time is another reason riding in most common forms of public transportation in the Philippines is not a good idea. There is always a long queue of people trying to get a ride in a jeepney, taxi, bus and the urban trains known as the MRT and LRT.

During rush hours, there is great chance of not making it to your destination at the right time as all forms of public transportation are fully booked and overflowing with passengers. Inside the MRT and LRT, the gentleman becomes extinct and the battle for oxygen is serious business. It is like being in the set of “Survivor Series”. When it rains, taxis willing to take you to your desired destination become a rare commodity.

It is a common sight in the streets of Manila of people hanging and holding on in the back of jeepneys. In the provinces, it is ordinary to see passengers even on the rooftops of public utility vehicles.

Hence, even with the very high price of a car coupled with its financially draining maintenance cost, the always rising price of gasoline, and payment for annual insurance - the average income earner still dreams of having a vehicle. A car means convenience. It means liberation from the bondage of public transport. It means being able to reach your destination at your given time and pace.

But after a car has been purchased and fully paid off, is it financially sound to keep the aging vehicle? Volumes of articles and analysis are available comparing the cost between keeping an old car as against purchasing a new one. The verdict depends on several factors. In the end, what matters is the cost.

Yet there are car owners who, for several reasons, have second thoughts on whether or not to trade, sell and dispose their old vehicles. They would scour almost all places just to find available parts to service their old cars. They consider it a challenge to keep old cars even if most of its parts can no longer be found despite the most diligent effort.

While assuming that keeping cars that are more than ten years old is financially advantageous than buying a new one, there are safety and convenience issues. The older the car, the more of its component parts gets unreliable. No matter how religious maintenance checks are made in your aging vehicle, normal wear and tear reduces its capability.

Old cars often get stuck on the already traffic congested roads of Metro Manila. And it is very inconvenient and dangerous to be in that car especially during those times when there is a heavy downpour and the floods are about to change the urban landscape into a water world. Immediate roadside assistance takes hours before they can respond to your call. Towing expenses also amounts to thousand of pesos depending on where your car is taken for repairs.

But why do several car owners opted to keep their old units? (1) The first reason is sentimental value. The car may just be a big piece of metal junk for others but for the owner it is special and priceless. It is an iron box of beautiful memories. With its sentimental value, disposing the car is very difficult if not painful; (2) keeping the old car is more financially viable. With the economy on the downtrend, buying a new car is not practical and an untimely waste of money. Even with different financing schemes that promise to lower the cost of purchasing a new car, it is still economical to keep the old one; (3) the older the car, the cheaper the cost of insurance; (4) keeping the old car means keeping your hard earned money in the bank where it earns interest; (5) freedom from debt. If you would just get a new car by taking a loan that earns interest, it is better to keep that old car. Maintenance costs of the old vehicle may even be much cheaper than the bank’s interest on the procured loan; and (6) well-maintained classic and vintage cars in some cases have a higher value than new models. Movie outfits often rent those old clunkers giving extra income to its owners.

With the present state of the economy, it is better to extract the life of your old car to the fullest and invest whatever money you have on something else. A car is a depreciating asset. Once that new vehicle rolls out of the factory, its value immediately depreciates. With this in mind, it may be best to keep that old car with its sentimental value intact and wait until the economy gets better.


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