Cars. I love and hate them. I love how convenient they can be, I hate how much they cost. This weekend, I dropped $900 on car repairs, and to do so I had to access my emergency fund for the first time since I put $10,000 in it over a year ago. In fact, almost every time I’ve dipped into my emergency fund, it’s been for car repairs. I might as well rename it the car repair fund.
Spending money on these repairs has reminded me that my eight-year-old City Golf is not going to last forever, and expensive repairs like this are going to become more and more normal as we add kilometres to its odometer.
Looking at my car in a less-than-favourable light after doing repair work on it also gets me thinking about how the car has been failing to meet our needs since we moved into the city. There are two glaring drawbacks of our faithful little car:
- It’s a manual. I can drive it, but I hate driving it on Halifax’s hills. As a result, I avoid driving as much as possible. I know this wouldn’t be the case with an automatic. Right now I’ve set up my life so I don’t have to drive much, but I’m not sure if that’s because I hate driving, or because I just hate driving my car. Either way, it would be nice to have a car that wasn’t in danger of rolling back into the car behind me at every stop sign. I have a lot of anxiety around driving anyway, and this just compounds things.
- It is woefully inadequate for serious winter driving. Our car is a game little machine, but it finally met its match during this winter’s terrible snow storms. In fact, my husband was almost in a serious accident on the way to work once because of this.
Those are the only two issues, but they are big issues, and they are issues that would be resolved by a new-to-us-car.
So welcome to my latest (and very expensive) want! A different car.
In my ideal life, I’d buy a new-to-me car before winter hits. It would either be a Subaru Outback or a Volkswagen Tiguan, and it would be used with between 50,000 – 100,000 kilometres on it. It would cost about $15,000 and it would be an automatic, all-wheel drive vehicle. It would be ideal for handling our heavy snow storms, and easy enough for me to manoeuvre in the city.
In my alternate life (the life I’m actually living) I actually do have the means to make this happen. I have about $7,000 in the house fund, and our current car is worth about $5,000. After taxes and fees and such I’d end up with a car loan of around $5,000, which would work out to a monthly payment of less than $100 per month, which is totally doable in my budget right now.
There are several problems with this plan though:
- That money is for a house, not a car. I would be undoing six months of saving.
- My husband is desperately fond of our City Golf and wants to keep it forever. I would have a hard time convincing him to trade it in. He’d rather we go up to a two-car family instead.
- I don’t need a new car, I just want it.
While I want a new-to-me car, it’s definitely not a need right now. Our current car has some issues, but it still works. We own it outright, and as long as we make responsible decisions about driving it in the winter, we should be ok with it for several more years.
I want a different car, but I can’t have it right now. Not while I’m trying to save for a house, and not while our current car is still in decent working condition. We could swing it, but it would be a hit financially. I’d feel safer driving, but $15,000 safer?
For now, we’ll stick with the City Golf and be cautious about driving it in poor winter conditions. I’ll keep the idea of a better car in the back of my mind, at least for a few more years.
When did you replace your first “adult” car? How old was it? Do you think I’m making the right choice? I want to know!