Automotive Milestones


Normally this space is taken up with local press releases and the occasional snarky comment, but something interesting happened to me this week that I thought I'd share.

Within two days of each other, I crossed 100,000 miles on my car, and paid it off.

I've never done either of those things before.

Growing up, my dad always leased cars (at least once he moved up to CFO positions, which happened when I was about 12-13, and paying attention to cars), so I just assumed that it was normal to swap them out every 2-3 years.

So after I moved to Washington, DC, and the Mazda 626 my parents had given me died, I went the lease route. First with a Saturn, then a Jeep Wrangler, then the Nissan Xterra.

Of course, by the time the lease on the Xterra ran out, I was now living in Park City, and didn't have a high-paying job, so I decided to just buy the car off the lease -- essentially meaning that I made payments for 8 years on the thing, which any financial advisor would shake their head at. So sue me - I love this car, haven't had a lick of trouble with it, so why scrap it and hunt down another used car that has had who knows what sort of damage done to it?

I don't have to drive very much now - only 14 miles round-trip from home to the office, with the occasional trip to Salt Lake for shopping or soccer thrown in, and the rare long drive to Southern Utah or California thrown in for good measure - so to get to 100K in 8 years of driving is a pretty good deal.

Plus the car is in great shape - I just replaced the tires this year, it's got a new windshield (thanks to all the construction, we have lots of dump trucks on the road), and beyond that, the only major problem was a bad fuel pump which was recalled. It even has the original clutch (see Dad, I do know how to drive a stick).

Hopefully, I'll be able to take the money that used to go towards car payments and put some of that in Ilana's 529 plan, my Roth IRA and still have a little left over to throw at my credit card.

Just watch - I'm going to get rear-ended a week from now and I'll have to start this process all over again. :)