I’ve been having issues with my truck recently, causing me to explore buying or leasing a new car. I’ve purchased used cars in the past, and leased new, but I had never purchased new.
For some background, here is the rundown of all the vehicles I’ve ever owned, in the order that I bought them:
- 2001 Chevy Venture – $800, used
- 2002 Hyundai Elantra – $2500, used
- 2014 Honda Civic – $160/mo + $1,000 down, lease
- 2014 Ford Focus – $164/mo + $1,000 down, lease (Christmas gift for my mom)
- 2003 Ford F-150 – $2,225, used
I had a Civic until April of this year when my lease expired and I opted not to purchase it. Only a couple months before that I had purchased my grandpa’s old F-150 so that I could have a truck for all the home renovation projects I’m constantly doing.
Almost simultaneous with my Honda lease expiring I started a new job for which I would be working remotely. My daily commute dropped from about 12 miles roundtrip to zero; however, every third week or so I would drive 120 miles up to the company offices in Akron.
Since I didn’t need a particularly fuel-efficient vehicle – or any vehicle for that matter – 5 out of 7 days a week, I opted to not purchase or lease a new car and to continue driving the F-150 when I sparingly needed it.
That is, until now. Two major events happened in my life last week:
First, I started yet another new job! And this one WILL require a lot of driving, including visiting clients.
Second, my truck died. Well, maybe he wasn’t dead, but he was in and out of a coma for a few days, sitting motionless and unresponsive when I’d turn the key, and then starting normally hours later.
After I quickly ruled out a bad battery, some online research led me suspect the starter solenoid was the culprit. I bought an inexpensive replacement via www.rockauto.com, which a colleague had suggested I check out. If you’ve never heard of these guys, their prices are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than AutoZone and O’Reilly’s and they even beat out Amazon for this product, WITH shipping factored in. If you need a replacement car part, absolutely start your search here!
Alas, after 20 minutes spent replacing what would have been the cheapest problem part, my truck did not restart. The only other thing it could have been was the starter. Sure enough, a trip to the shop and a $300 starter replacement was in order. Even with this new lease on life, my truck and all 177,000 miles that come with it won’t be around forever, and I’m left feeling wary about relying on it for my daily commute.
All of this brings me to my critical decision – should I buy new, buy used, or lease?
Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow when I outline the vehicles that I’ve looked at and run a cost analysis.