Once again, it does not surprise me.

My wife has a friend who is married to an engineer. This friend has been wanting a new car for a long time and her husband, an engineer, has been seen as dragging his feet on the issue. This is not the case. Now, I don’t ever want to get into the middle of a marital disagreement, but the fact that her husband is an engineer means a few things.

1. He understands that any present car they have, though over 10 years old, is paid for. It is not costing them monthly payments or a huge chunk of a savings account.

2. Only when the repair rate of the older car reaches that of the rate of all the costs of a new car is it worth buying a new car.

3. New cars cost more in insurance.

4. New cars cost more in registration taxes (if the state has it, ours does).

5. It will take a while to develop the spreadsheet of features, dealers, makes and models, car reviews, mpg rates, repair records, cargo space, safety ratings – to name just a few.
It is this spreadsheet that will take the real time. The old car will rust out faster than it takes to create, test, and tweak this spreadsheet. The old car may break down numerous times before the spreadsheet is complete. But, here is the important thing to remember. Once this spreadsheet is done, the decision will be a well-reasoned one and, geologically speaking, a quick one.

They should have a new car by this time next year. Or the year after.