Endless Liabilities of Owning a Car

Endless liabilities owning a car.  I’m going to come right out and say it.  I am sitting here in a hotel in the middle of Pennsylvania, very fortunate that one of my co-workers, which happens to be Bert, drove his car out here for our client.  Owning a car is part of my fixed expenses that I had, that I discussed wayyy back in the beginning of the blog.  Over the last 6 months I have found to discover that owning a car signs you up for endless liabilities.  It is all on a mindset and how much time you spend on the road, and well, life as an auditor – gives you plenty of time for that.

Endless Liabilities

The Story of Endless Liabilities Owning a Car

Well, it all started to hit me at once.  April 2014 I was trying to do a nice/good thing for someone and accidentally ran over a “Cleveland-Pot-Hole” and that popped not one but two tires – a front and a back.  That Saturday I replaced two tires – both the front tires, at approximately $200 for the pair.  Monday morning rolls around and I found out my back tire was popped.  Great.  There goes another $200.  Endless liabilities right there?  You know it.  It doesn’t stop there.

A few weeks after this, I had to go to an audit committee meeting about 4 hours out of town.  My senior manager was running a tad behind, but thought – it’s okay, we will make it.  We were presenting the financial statements and results of our audit to management and the members who essentially make the big decisions at the client, including hiring/firing us – why would I want to run behind on that?  Well after making two stops on the way (unplanned) I realized we were barely going to be “on time”.  I decided to go a few miles over the speed limit to gain a few extra minutes.  It’s a highway where not many people are on it, no danger really on the road, it’s just a 4 hour very boring drive to get there.  Here comes the cop.  I was pulled over to my pit of endless liabilities driving my car.  I supposedly was in a work zone and was going above that speed limit.  $565 ticket.  $565, let that sink in.  That’s $965 that month.  Does this stop there?  Heck no.  (Also – tickets cause your insurance premium to go up *ding*)

I am not sure if this was after the ticket or before the ticket and after my popped tires, but I was actually at Bert’s.  I was drained from a few significant events in my life, I am starting to wonder if these car items were apart of that.   I parked in Bert’s lot, knowing there were 3-4 open spots.  Little background: Each tenant in the apartment Bert was living in the time before he moved and saved on his living expenses, has an assigned spot.  I honestly forgot which was his, as he was parked in the street, and thought – at 10pm at night, if a car isn’t here now I am sure by midnight when I leave there wouldn’t be a car coming in here anyway.  Well, endless liabilities was ringing on the door, as around 12/1230 at night I come outside only to find my car not there.  Gone.  You have got to be kidding me.  We showed up at the tow/scrap/junk yard place east of downtown Cleveland, only to find the car pulling in my car.  We asked if I could just take it back – no dice.  Get this – we couldn’t even pay to get it out that night, had to be in the morning, are you kidding me?  Endless liabilities strikes again.  Morning came, Bert and I played football, we went to get my car.  Overnight fee on top of holding the car.  Overnight fee because of what?  Because I witnessed them bring my car in and drop it off, only to be told I couldn’t even get it that night?  $155.  Poof Vamoos.  What’s the total now?  That’s right $1,120.  Thank you endless liabilities owning my car!

Let us bring me to 3 weeks ago.  I was driving quite a bit – client 1 hour away, another one that 1.5 hours away, few trips home (45 minutes away), driving to the airport over the summer, trips constantly to the west side (about 25-35 minutes away), it never stopped.  I was driving to the west side one night, after being out there a few countless nights in a row, and was out to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  My car felt weird.  I am driving home after a sad Ohio State loss to Virginia Tech, with it being around midnight.  I knew what it felt like.  Steering wheel began to shake a bit.  I pulled off into the same spot/exit where the tow had my car coincidentally.  Flat tire, see the wonderous pictures below.  This set me back another $100.  $1,220, the endless liabilities of owning a car…     Endless LiabilitiesEndless LiabilitiesEndless Liabilities

The Reality

That last time I had popped my car, it was amazing.  I was taking public transportation everywhere, to the airport, to downtown to hang with friends, walked to the stores, went on more walks outside just in general.  It felt great.  I no longer worried about tickets, hitting something, getting hit, popping a tire, filling up gas, etc..  My only worry was – making that rapid stop or paying for a trip home.  How nice is that?  Luckily with Uber and Lyft – they actually make it cheaper, now that it is competitive with the taxi fares.  Additionally, the ride ends up being nicer as it is required, as well as more funds into the drivers pocket = a more enjoyable ride.  Now don’t get me wrong.  My family lives far away and most of my friends are very far away, but I am going to use public transportation where I can.  It costs me $4.50 to go there and back to downtown/westside/airport.  To drive and park: Gas of approximately $2-$3 + Parking fees if I’m downtown of $5-10 + tear in the tires from Cleveland pot holes = priceless in my case.  The endless liabilities run of my car is not at an end, but I am excited to shorten it.  I will solely try to drive it for work now and trade off/on for co-workers.  I will plan my random trips and make the most of it, such as: Dry cleaning, groceries, gym, saying hi to people – before coming home.  If my friends are hanging out on the west side, I’ll public transportation it out there.  I’ll try to have more people over/come out towards my side of the woods, which I have found to be extremely difficult.  The reality is – the more you drive your car, the higher you increase your chance to fall in the black of hole of endless liabilities.

In Conclusion…

In conclusion – driving is okay in moderation.  Driving less will limit your endless liabilities chance/events that I have gone through lately.  Driving less = less $ on gas, less $ on auto insurance, lower routine maintenance (tires, oil changes, brakes), less of a chance of pot-hole incidences, accidents and tickets.  It makes sense doesn’t?  Also – it causes you to be around more people when doing public transportation and meeting people.  Funny how that works, right?  I do agree that the benefits of a car are amazing – your own freedom and time behind the wheel, music, wind blowing from the window.  I won’t be getting rid of my car, but I am thinking of different alternatives similar to how Dividend Mantra has done in the past.  Further, I don’t think driving a car as much as I have been increases my chances at saving 60% of my income every month and in my pursuit to either pay down the mortgage and/or invest more money.  Do you like owning a car?  Do you feel like you’ve signed up for endless liabilities?  What are your pros/cons to this?  Any recommendations to reduce the endless liabilities potential?  Pumped to see everyone’s viewpoints!


19 thoughts on “Endless Liabilities of Owning a Car

      • I’d rather owe $3,000 with a 20% rate versus $15k with a 0% rate. You can’t go broke if you don’t owe anyone any money. You mentioned Dividend Mantra in your post. I think he bought a Toyota Corolla for around $5k a year ago. That is the direction I would be heading. By the way I have been there and done that with big car loans in my 20’s. Since my early 30’s I have driven 10 year old 100k cars and in many instances I sold them for more than I paid for them. Don’t finance things that depreciate if at all possible.


        • MDP,

          You’re right, you’re right. My payment on 0% at $15K is much higher than 20% on $3K and in the end that asset is ultimately depreciating, fast. I’ve done it all before – Had a 1997 Celica that I drove for 8 years from 130K miles and ultimately to 215K miles – talk about going the distance. I really need to take time and figure out the characteristics I do enjoy with having a car and having inside/apart of a car (music, sunroof, etc., just stupid little things like that) – and then ultimately making a decision – which obviously I want to happen sooner or later. I need to really make the decision for which lifestyle personally I want. Man… it’s hard. Thanks MDP, I always appreciate your feedback and the black/white responses. It’s awesome.


    • Henry,

      Want to lend me the money to get a Tesla? haha jk. But I love the Tesla and wish we had a more economical means to have a plug in/electric vehicle in northeast ohio. I am pretty sure we are close to the end of seeing the new car technology as the coast lines see it primarily first. Do you have a car Henry? How many miles are you throwing down?


  1. I love the convenience that comes with having a vehicle, so much so that I see it as a quality of life improvement. In our city everything is so far spread out that you can’t really get around without one and public transit sucks, especially on weekends. With that being said I do think it’s an endless money pit that constantly sucks the cash away in small amounts

    • Dan,

      I can agree to an extent with a quality of life improvement – you can hop in your car at any time or any day to go to point B. Everything here is spread out as well, but I feel like we “choose” to have it like that. There are placed to always live to where it isn’t as spread out and distant, it’s all about quality of life and happiness at the end right? Thanks Dan for stopping by. Also – I drive approximately 20-25K miles per year — how much are you putting on?


  2. For our household we can’t simply rely on public transportation so a car is necessary. It’s extremely hard to get around without one. I don’t think owning a car is a money pit, as long as you replace the car before the repair cost tips over an amount that you’re comfortable with.

    • Tawcan!

      Thanks for rolling by man. It’s hard to do public transportation here. I am currently scouring the web to possibly find an older honda/toyota to potentially replace my vehicle now with similar/like amenities. Thoughts with that? My thought is = Same type of vehicle (maybe with more miles), similar amenities with a lower/to no payment. Curious on what you think!


  3. Lanny, I drive as little as possible.

    I live close enough to work to bike each day. I actually drive so little I couldn’t even give you a ballpark estimate as to the price of a gallon of gas.

    I love cars but the reality is, the more you drive the more they cost. Except the cheapest car insurance I found is $18 (see my blog for deets) and they don’t care if I drive 1 mile/month or a million so that cost doesn’t increase with driving. But for all other aspects, driving costs me more money. I do love cars though. I’m looking for a car to buy and flip now.

  4. Lanny,

    Cars suck. No doubt about it.

    I hate even owning my Corolla, which I was lucky enough to get a steal on. Even a car that’s completely paid off comes with fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance expenses.

    I agree cars can make life easier, but they can also make life harder. They’re a wall between you and freedom, so I did my best to get by without one for as long as I could. And I’m not against going without one again in the future at some point. The key, whether you own a car or not, is to create your own local economy. Try to live, work, eat, and shop all in a very small area. Checking out some new restaurant 20 miles across town or whatever is generally not a good idea.

    I wish you the best of luck in finding your balance. 🙂


  5. The good news is many people will gladly trade in a car for a new one simply because it needs new tires, brakes, has had a couple of engine lights pop on, etc. This is trading little money for big money. You made the right decision and for a couple of hundred bucks you are good to go for a few years and safely I might add.

  6. Hey guys.

    my head is hurting. I can’t cope with car servicing and repairs.

    Here’s my story. I bought a 16 year old BMW last year for £820 ($1230). It had around 165,000 miles on the clock. I’ve spent $8 on maintenance so far. Next week, I am going to have it looked at by an ex-BMW serviceman, because it’s making a weird noise. Since he works out of his own garage, it’ll be cheap. He fixed the 1,000 problems my previous BMW had for about $700 and then I sold the car for $700. COOL!

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