To Buy or Not To Buy a Car

There is probably a time in our lives, if we're lucky, that we ask ourselves this question especially when we have kids or when we're working with a steady company. Do you need to buy a car?  According to Bloomberg, buying a car online can feel like jumping off a cliff into a sea of sharks, which is very true especially if you know nothing about cars. 

So let's get to it. Do we have a car? No. We currently don't have a car simply because we decided not to have one. We can afford it if we wanted to, but we live in a community where almost everything is just a stone-throw away such as grocery stores, banks, schools, and a mall. We can easily access a tricycle ride going to our destination. 

Why Did We Decide Not to Have a Car

Here are the 2 main reasons why we don't want to buy a car today: 

  1.  It's cheaper not to have a car. For obvious reasons, buying a car and maintaining a car are expensive. Aside from that, renewing your driver's license and renewing your car's registration are expensive, too. It's a good thing that driver's licenses can be renewed every 10 years (Thank you, Pres. Duterte!) now unlike before. Gas prices are also skyrocketing due to the Ukraine-Russia war so traveling with your vehicle is a no-no for people like us who want to save and spend money on more important things. 
  2. There's Grab. We simply use Grab services when we need a car to go to places in Metro Manila. We work from home so we don't go out much which is why we seldom travel around the metro. If we can get grab a car, then we don't need to have a car. 

We Bought a Second-Hand Car and It was the Worst Decision 

We did experience having a car of our own when we bought a second-hand car many years ago. At first, it was very exciting for us because we can finally go wherever and whenever we want, at least that was my first thought. Having the freedom to go anywhere anytime is one of the best feelings in the world. My husband who was my boyfriend at that time was even proud because a guy who has his own car, especially in the Philippines gets "pogi points" or is considered "handsome" by some girls. 

We enjoyed the car for 2 years. After that, problems started to come up: 

  1. Air conditioning started to fail. Water was coming out from the air-con vents and the passenger seat's floor started to flood. This has been one of the most stressful things that ever happened t our car because we kept coming back to car shops just to have it repaired. Well, it was also due to lack of funding that we decided to get a quick fix and not replace all the expensive air-conditioning systems. 
  2. Leaking radiator. Once this happened, we were obligated to buy a new radiator. It cost us P5,000 (almost $100) back in 2007. Imagine how much that would cost now. 
  3.  Alternator not charging. We also needed to buy a brand new alternator when this happened.  
  4.  Car suspension was old. The shock absorber started to get noisy and other problems related to the suspension. We had to get it fixed at the repair shop.  
  5.  Cylinder head gasket started to leak and the power steering hose started leaking. 

These were just some of the problems that I remember that we experienced with our second-hand car. We learned the hard way that generally second-hand cars have underlying conditions that sellers don't tell you. Now I understand why some buyers bring along their car mechanic when they're canvassing for second-hand cars. 

So what happened with our car? We ended up selling it in the end because we can no longer afford to maintain it. 

Advice On Buying A Car

If you're already decided in buying a car, then here are some simple pieces of advice coming from someone who bought a second-hand car : 

  1. Buy a brand new car if you can afford it. Of course, the expense doesn't stop from just buying it. You have to have the financial capacity for its maintenance and other emergency repairs, plus insurance. Oh, and don't forget your gas budget. 
  2. Pay in cash if you can. Paying for the car in full is always the best choice because you don't have to pay for interests and other charges. But if you really can't pay in full, getting a car loan is the next option. You just have to search for a great deal (e.g. lower interest rates). If you're not sure if you can pay for a car loan, then try using so you can calculate the expenses you'll be incurring. 
  3.  If you want to buy a second-hand car, then at least buy a car that's well-maintained by casa or a dealership service. That way, you'll somehow get peace of mind that the car you're buying has less or no problems. 

I hope this article has helped you somehow. Please feel free to write your questions or feedback in the comments below if you have some. 

Thank you for reading! 

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