I'm not in the market for a new(er) car. At least, not officially.
My 2011 Jeep Liberty still runs well, even if these days it spends most of its time parked in my driveway. The first time I drove since March, a month or so into staying at home full time, I felt an odd shaking beneath my feet. The sensation has resolved itself, but I imagine I'll need to have the vehicle inspected before I drive long distances again.
I like not having a car payment. But now that the Liberty has topped 100,000 miles — and as someone who has owned older, high-mileage SUVs — I'm starting to do the math in my head. This was the point at which my previous vehicles started to require high-dollar repairs. Since last year, I bought a set of new tires, filled roughly a half-dozen windshield chips and required an emergency shop visit to fix the water pump and serpentine belt. The cost of all of that easily surpassed one month's loan payment — maybe two.
Plus, I like the advanced safety features and infotainment systems that automakers rolled out in the years since my Liberty was built.
So I've started browsing. Last time, I traded in an SUV that needed an expensive repair and chose the best option on the lot that day. Next time, I'm inclined to complete some of the transaction online. Already, I've watched video walk-arounds of vehicles and found dealerships that offer remote services. I like the idea of a process that is easy, convenient and seamless.
How I buy my next vehicle will be just as important as which vehicle I get.