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The Cost Of Used Car Ownership
It is well known that the cost of used car ownership extends well beyond the price paid for the vehicle. However, it is the extent of the costs that is the consideration. My almost 16-year-old daughter, who is saving for her first used car, realized quickly that she needs a steady source of income to feed her intended new pet. That might take a few years for her to accomplish -- years she can use to save and plan for the most desirable outcome. But she realizes, and is therefore ahead of the game, that she has fixed expenses such as the cost of the car and insurance -- expenses she'll be able to predict -- and a whole host of others that are dependent on her use of the vehicle, such as gas and repairs.
There are foreseen expenses and some surprises that come with used-car ownership. Expenses include: sales tax on the original purchase, license, registration and other governmental fees -- which are steep by themselves -- insurance, regular maintenance like tune-ups, unexpected repairs, cleaning, tires, fluids, towing, motorist services such as AAA, and possibly upgrades and enhancements like new seat covers or perhaps a child safety seat. There are a host of expenses to analyze before becoming a proud used-car owner. Understanding the extent of possible expense will enable you to budget for the inevitable so you don't end up driving to the poor house.
A shortcut through the evaluation of these factors may be to purchase a car through a program such as Volvo Certified Pre-Owned Car Program . Two- to four-year-old Volvos, with under 60,000 miles, undergo painstakingly thorough inspections and reconditioning. The vehicle then comes with a 24 month/24,000 mile Volvo Certified Limited Warranty with zero deductible; affordable financing options; two seventy-five dollar vouchers for service at a Volvo retailer; 24-hour On-Call Roadside Assistance; and the Tire Protection Plan. A comprehensive program makes budgeting significantly easier.
Locating The Best Vehicle
The trick is to find the used vehicle that has been well-maintained and has the fewest possible miles already on it. All vehicles break down eventually, so it is prudent to plan in advance for at least one major repair in the first year of ownership. Unless you buy a very recent pre-owned vehicle that still carries the manufacturer's warranty, buy from a dealership offering a warranty, or purchase a warranty yourself. Regardless, warranties have limited lives and by the second or third year repair costs will be inevitable. Begin to build a $500-$1,000 emergency car repair fund. This can be done by depositing $50 a month in a savings account dedicated to vehicle expenses. If the car doesn't start on a Monday morning, take it into the shop and catch a cab to the office without worrying about where to acquire money for the repair. If the repairs never materialize, then it's "bonus time." There's extra money to pay other bills or take a little vacatio...