More Vehicle Owners Keep Cars Until Wheels Fall Off

In a country where the love of cars, keeping up with the Jones's, and where the appeal of a new vehicle with the latest tech is irresistible, many of us are starting to embrace a more sensible approach of keeping vehicles until it's no longer feasible to repair them.

At the core of this shift is a strategy few expected to gain such popularity—keeping older cars running as long as possible.

Grounded in economic and sometimes environmental mindfulness, is becoming a preferred option that helps keep the greenbacks in the bank.

Popularity of Maintaining Older Cars Increases

The concept of car longevity is gaining more followers in the United States. An increasing number of drivers are keeping their cars well past the 100,000-mile mark, which was once regarded as the “end of days” stage of a vehicle's life.  New cars mean new tech, and new tech can be expensive to fix.

Reports, like a recent one from The Wall Street Journal, are proof that a trend driven by financial necessity is steadily gathering speed. The main motivator? Significant savings from skipping the frequent upgrades that occur every few years. 

As new cars become pricier, the terms of car financing deals have also extended, with seven or eight-year loans becoming more common. Combined with significant dealer markups on new vehicles, the benefits of keeping an older car running longer become more apparent.

As An Auto Shipper We See Older Cars on The Carrier

We are seeing a lot of older cars shipped across the country. In fact, some of our bill of ladings have cars well past the 100k mark and they run and look just fine. It’s true, paints, materials, and overall engineering are just better.  That’s fine with us as that comes to us in the form of business as people relocate, they need an auto transport company like NX to do the job of shipping their cars.

I’m On This Train as Well

I was tempted by a beautiful new design of my GMC truck with their “Thunderstorm Grey” with new widescreen dash. However, after seeing interest rates and coming upon the realization that I’m starting over payments when I’m almost done, I made a 180 degree turn on that choice as I’m no longer willing to jump onto a new payment. My truck is fine. In 4-5 years, I’ve gotten one check engine light, and it was for an emissions sensor covered by warranty until I get to 80,000 miles.

Reasons Behind This Trend

Several elements are driving this growing trend and it begins to make plenty of sense.

Cars Are Getting More Technological than Ever Which Means More Repair Cost

Initially, the escalating costs of car repairs as technology advances—which in older models can often require replacing simple sensors or less intricate electronics which is still more expensive than ever.

As the newest cars age in the future, buyers are worried about fixing complex electronic systems. This tends to deter new car purchases. Additionally, higher insurance costs for newer cars also dissuade owners from updating.

Vehicles Are Lasting Longer

The trend is evident in the rising average age of vehicles on the road. The average car age in the U.S. has now reached 12.5 years—setting a record after increasing for six straight years. Vehicles that are over ten years old now make up more than 40 percent of the cars on American roads. This shift not only points to financial decision-making but also to improvements in vehicle dependability and construction over the years.

Saving Money and the Environment

From a money perspective, yes, delaying the purchase of a new car can mean a good amount of money back in your pockets. Some now however, are concerned about the environmental cost of producing new cars, instead of keeping their old car. The answer to that depends and is not simple.

If you have a gas guzzler and drive a lot, the initial impact is far less then the pollution cause by building a new EV right out the door. Even though EV production has more of a negative impact than the ICE car you have now.

However, if you have a very economical gas powered car and drive very little, your carbon footprint would be negligible. In that case, by keeping and using older cars, consumers not only keep more money in their pockets but also minimize their environmental impact.

My Final Take

Wrapping up, as we move through times where saving money is crucial, the decision to drive an older car to its maximum potential stands as a clear shift towards more sustainable living—both economically and environmentally. When you next think about moving to a brand-new vehicle, recall the economic and environmental advantages of holding onto your current car a bit longer.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.