Has there ever been a worse time to buy a car? Take a look at why, as the technology that drives cars (pun intended) changes, you’re best off waiting.
I am now in the process of looking for my next car, something that I usually enjoy. But this time it feels a little different. I’m completely stuck with what I should get.
My current car is a Lexus, which did not come with driving gloves or a pipe before you ask. It’s over 13 years old and driven by me for just under 10. The car has been reliable and a joy to drive. I have it serviced every year and apart from a valve that needed changing at a cost of £600, I’ve only needed to fork out on the usual wear and tear items.
But like me, my car is starting to feel its age. On the coldest winter mornings, she tries to convince me not to go into work. In fact, when it hit -4, she gave up and refused to even entertain the idea of starting. And when she does start, it takes 20 minutes before the temperature inside my car warms up and the polar bears give me more room.
And now there is a long list of things that need doing, which on a car worth around £1000, you have to question whether they’re economical.
So, I’ve decided to look for a replacement car with no particular budget in mind. I don’t even know if I want new or 2nd hand. The main attraction for me is finding something that will last me for more than 10 years. I don’t drive long journeys in my car (usually a maximum of 40 miles for my daily commute) and often do short journeys of a couple of miles around town, running around after the kids.
I have been driving diesel cars for 19 years now and decided to take a look at the options available.
Do you know what, I feel that diesel cars get a slightly bad press. There seems to be a slight differing of opinion about how bad new models really are for the environment, but they’re certainly economical. But one major fact is that the government wants to get rid of them (and petrol cars) by 2040 which means their value could drop more sharply than expected. And if the Green Alliance has their way, as soon as 2030! I’m also don’t trust the government not to attack diesel even further. Rumours are that they could be charged for entering towns and vehicle tax could be increased.
Petrol cars are generally far smoother and quieter than a diesel but aren’t as efficient, although they are improving. But again, like diesel, the plan is to scrap them by 2040. Swapping from a diesel to a petrol would mean a decrease in fuel efficiency too unless I went for a tiny-engined car, which I don’t want to do.
Now, these are my ideal cars. Although they aren’t perfect when it comes to the manufacturing process, they mean less pollution when driving and I certainly think that they will dominate our roads in the near future. Plus, I have solar panels so it would cost me next to nothing to run the car.
But, there are a couple of major downsides. The range is one problem. I don’t do many long journeys, but I would hate to visit my brother 150 miles away and have to stop for 30 minutes to recharge. The range is getting better with every year, which means older electric cars will fall in value even quicker, which they don’t hold very well anyway.
Servicing is also an issue. There aren’t any garages close to me that deal with electric cars, so I will need to make a long trip to sort any problems.
Plus, I would have to spend on getting a charger fitted to my house, as I wouldn’t fancy the time it takes to charge the car from a home plug socket. And then there’s the life of the battery. If that goes, they’re so expensive, I would probably be better off scrapping the car.
I like the idea of a hybrid car. For longer journeys, I can use fuel and for the short journeys the battery. However, if I used the battery for my daily commute, I would need to charge the car every day. That, I don’t have the patience for. And it would seem quite pointless to pay extra for a hybrid car and very rarely use the battery.
Not really, as that would take effort from me. But five choices sound better than four.
I’m feeling pretty stuck. I know cars have always been a depreciating asset, but to me, it looks like their value will fall even faster over the next few years. I really want to buy an electric car, but my head is telling me it’s not a great time yet. Plus, they seem to have the most negative points against them.
Now I’m sure some of you are screaming “lease” at this moment. The truth is, I’ve never been a fan. If I leased a car, three years down-the-line I would have spent over £6,000 and would have no car to show for it. I’m not saying that leasing is bad, but it’s certainly not for me.
So, I’ve decided that I will scrounge lifts of colleagues and my parents until 2028. Sorted.