February was Auto Show time. A time for motorists to drool and “take
temperature” with their current vehicle. Drivers will usually look at their needs and wants. You may NEED your current vehicle, which may be for hauling kids to sports or towing. But before you know it, spring will be here. You may WANT that convertible!
I’ve owned most brands and types of vehicles. The list includes a 1967 Lotus 51-61 Formula Ford race car and 2 (very good) Aerostar minivans, when the kids were small. The cheapest cost per kilometer car, was a 1994 Saturn SL1. I could get 50 mpg/5.6 L/100 km.
My current summer, daily driver is a 2006 Mustang Pony Package. Touch wood, it’s been a very good car mechanically. The name of the game is lose as little as possible with depreciation and have a low cost per kilometer.
Let’s look at options. Everything has features, benefits and limitations. Research with good mechanics, dealer service staff, owners and internet forums. Research, research, research!
Options, which I’m currently looking at:
• Keep “Ol’ Betsy.” Compare the odometer with expected kilometer life. Pay a fair mechanic to check it, like a MTO/DOT inspection. You will get a “bill of health” and know if it is in roadworthy condition or how much it will cost to get it there.
• Buy a new vehicle. Yes, nothing like new, with warranty. But, consider high depreciation, interest rates and rebates. You may get 0%, BUT you’ll pay $1600+ for freight and prep (PDI). Most dealers charge $300-500 Admin fee, on any sale (new or used).
• Buy an off-lease or “executive” driven” vehicle. I’ve gone this way several times and saved 60%, on average. Typically, there’s no warranty, so buy extended from the manufacturer or put aside $3,000 for that rainy day repair. Ask for a Carfax or Carproof history and buy from a UCDA member.
• Buy private, used. Be aware of illegal “curbsiders”! Ensure the seller has MTO Used Car Package, current e-test and MTO Safety Certificate. Have your mechanic inspect the vehicle to identify faults. Buy a Carfax or Carproof history. Both may save you thousands, in the long run.
• Lease. Usually best for company use. Low money in, but expensive out. Be aware, you still pay the freight/PDI. Don’t lease longer than the warranty! Also, you may be on the hook for “reconditioning fees” and extra kilometer charges, when you return the vehicle.
• Buy an ex-rental. I’ve seen good & bad with this option. Usually, sold with less than 20,000 kilometers and balance of warranty.
Written by Larry Barnett