The best car tip I can give you, is to keep the one that you have as long as possible.
Now don't get me wrong, if we had the money, we would be buying a new car... but our current car has 202,000 miles on it... and we towed our car behind our RV for another 43,000 miles that did not register on the odometer.
If you resist the siren call of new car fever you will save a lot of money and spend it on the things that are important to you.
Here is our car a 1999 Lexus RX 300 that we bought new in 1998... we had just purchased our RV and needed a tow car that we could pull behind our RV.
At the time, not all cars were towable, this is the one we chose and we have not regretted our choice.
We have also become used to the visibility that an SUV gives you... my sports car days, as much as I would like to think otherwise, are over... an SUV places you higher off the road and allows you to anticipate traffic much better than a lower profile car.
In order to keep a car for a long time it has to be a car that is reliable...DUH.
I am a big fan of Consumer Reports.org, and if you will take a look at their reliability reports for used cars... you can quickly zero in on what the most reliable models are.
Looking back over the last 40 years, I have found their reliability reports to be extremely accurate as far as forecasting what you're going to spend on maintenance by keeping a car a long time.
Buying new cars is probably the number one indicator that you are trying to keep up with your neighbors or impress your coworkers.
Keeping up with the Joneses, is the number one enemy of frugal retirement living... don't let this be you.
If you are going to buy a new car, at least buy it the smart way here is what I have done, I use these techniques for all of my new car purchases... the last being in 1998.
You well know that the moment you drive the car off the lot it has depreciated several thousand dollars... the longer you keep it the less it's going to cost to operate a car each year.
By keeping car a long time, you are spreading the purchase price over many years, you are paying less for insurance, and you are showing that you are mastering the fine art of frugal retirement living.
The downside to keeping a car a long time is that you are going to have some maintenance surprises that can be expensive... this is the trade-off.
Some of the more expensive maintenance items I have encountered in the last five years are replacing the timing chain, replacing the suspension, replacing the rack and pinion steering...none of these items were cheap... change your oil frequently, every 5000 miles will do... and make sure that your car repair facility does not have mechanics that are paid commissions... that is why I am a fan of Brake Masters.
If you are in New Zealand try Auto Super Shoppes...it is on my bucket list, it should be on yours.
Keeping a car for over 10 years is one of the easiest ways we know to save money... new cars are nice, but if you want to practice frugal retirement living... hang on to your reliable car as long as possible and reap the benefits.
Thanks for reading car tips...pass it along to a friend that could use the advice.