Depreciation, fuel big costs

Simpler times. Are we headed back to simpler times? Will the mom and pop corner grocery be the next best thing? Summer vacation gives a person time to relax, reflect, and ponder the future.

Simpler times.  Are we headed back to simpler times?  Will the mom and pop corner grocery be the next best thing?  Summer vacation gives a person time to relax, reflect, and ponder the future.

The cost of vehicle ownership has increased substantially recently.  The price of gas being one of the major factors.  If you are one of the lucky owners of a vehicle with a 100 litre (25 gallon) fuel tank the utter disappointment that comes with having to swipe your credit card twice to get the tank full should be bringing that fact home.

I wonder how many of us are thinking about staying still and enjoying what we have where we live.  We do live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.  This fact always reenters my mind after returning home from vacation.  The Kootenay Lake ferry ride is still free.  I enjoy a ferry ride but a ride to Vancouver Island is what I would call expensive!

Staying out of your vehicle and using more simple machines (no motors) is not only beneficial to your health but also the environment and your pocket book.  Bikes, kayaks, canoes, skateboards, inline skates all come to mind.  They also have very low fuel maintenance and repair costs.

Staying close to home supports your local community and therefore the businesses within.  A walk to the corner store will both keep your corner store alive and keep your BMI down.

You might now be thinking the sun has burned my brain.  I am a car guy, my business is fixing cars. Driving is fun.

The car is a marvelous machine.  Most of us would have a hard time surviving without one.  All of us would probably benefit from driving ours less, caring for them better and keeping them longer.

The big costs of vehicle ownership come in the first five years.  The carrying costs of buying a new car are substantial.  The biggy is depreciation.  After five years depreciation slows significantly.  Insurance costs go down as a vehicle gets older.  Interest costs disappear when the loan is payed off.

Only fuel and repair and maintenance costs remain fairly steady.  Currently, fuel costs are more than six times repairs and maintenance costs.

Good maintenance practices promote reduced repair costs. This continues to provide a pleasurable driving experience as the vehicle will continue to function as it was originally designed to.

Driving less then reduces fuel costs directly and this is currently the second highest expense of vehicle ownership.  Driving less will also extend the vehicle’s useful life.

When faced with the seemingly high cost of a maintenance estimate (it might be time for a timing belt replacement or some other higher cost maintenance items) many a customer will suggest to me that instead of performing maintenance it might be time to purchase a new vehicle.

If one is looking to keep costs low, doing the maintenance and keeping the vehicle is a nobrainer.   Better off to buy a new bike.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. He will write every other Thursday. E-mail:

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