I’ve had a lot of people ask why I still drive it. After all, America is the land of turning in a car once it hits 100,000 miles, right? (And this baby is at 170k!)
I admit; I did think it was on its last leg and wanted a new one before I came to the island. However, after seeing all of the cars that people drive here on the rock, I’m starting to think my ol’ ride back at home will suit me just fine.
Here on the island, the uglier your car is, the more hilarious the whole situation gets. Take for example my friend Luke’s car, which is literally spray painted orange. I can spot him anywhere on the island. My other friends have used duct tape to hold their car together and still even more have issues like only being able to reverse if the windows are down. If all of us can get a good laugh out of this and no one here cares what brand the car is, then I think I can live with my car back home for quite some time.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned from getting my first car:
1. Take Excellent Care of It
My car would not be 12 years old if I didn’t take care of it and if my parents didn’t take care of it before they gave it to me. Regular oil changes, fixing things when they break, and in general keeping it clean and pretty have all made it run, run, run.
If you are normally forgetful, setting reminders for oil changes and tune ups for your car can be a lifesaver. You can write them in if you like planning with paper and pen, or set the reminders on your phone. No matter what though, make sure you take these preventative measures with your car. Keeping your car maintained is a lot easier than constantly fixing it because it’s not getting the TLC it needs.
2. Don’t Trade It In If It Was Free
Since my parents gifted me this car when I was a teenager, it was free. So, the worst thing I could have done was trade it in just to get a new shinier version. My older, wiser self knows that even if the car finance numbers are good, free is even better.
3. Used Is Best
Some people really dream of the day that they can drive a brand new car off the lot. I used to think that I wanted that, but now one of the things on my bucket list is to buy a used car in cash. I know; such a nerdy goal, but can you imagine how awesome it’s going to feel to hand over some dollar bills and get a car in return?
Also, keep in mind that when you buy a new car, 10-15% of it’s value is gone by the time you drive off the lot. New cars depreciate a lot faster than used, which is often why you can buy an ALMOST brand new car for thousands cheaper!
You can always make your used car feel new and more personal by making it smell and look nice, adding a few knick knacks (if that’s your thing) and even changing the color if you have the budget for it.
4. Don’t Park It Behind Your Dad
The last time I was home, I parked my car behind my Dad, and he ran into it. Luckily, he fixed it (thanks, Dad!) but I’m not sure ol’ KAL (that’s my car’s name) could really handle one more hit.
Even if you don’t have to worry about your dad hitting your car, you can still be mindful about driving or parking. There are quite a few crazy people on the roads, so always double check and be a safe driver! This will protect your car, and give you peace of mind when you don’t have a bunch of dents and dings. Plus, save driving helps you score cheaper insurance.
5. Get Emotionally Attached To It
I think the more you’re attached to your car, the better you’ll take care of it. My car has been with me through Hurricane Katrina (and we both survived). It’s been with me to college. It’s moved with me to Virginia. It’s gone to grad school with me. It’s been married with me, and it probably shed a tear for me when I moved to the island and left it all alone. Womp womp.
The point is, I love that car. It was my first one! And, when I get home, I’m going to give it a big hug and assure it that I’ll be driving it for at least a few more years. 😀
What was your first car? What did you learn from having it?
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