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The Pros and Cons of Having a Car

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Some might feel that owning a car is a necessity. While others may think having a car isn’t necessary at all. Part of that might depend on where you live. So if you’re up in the air on car ownership, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having a car. It might help you decide what is right for you.

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The Pros and Cons of Having a Car

Let’s start with the pros and then move on to the darker side of car ownership.

1. Owning a Car is Convenient

You are probably reading this article because you’re looking to see if owning a car is worth it. You’re probably still on the fence about whether owning a car is worth it or not.

One reason might be that you don’t have a lot of money to spend on things like gas.

Although, if you live in an area where public transportation isn’t very good, then the convenience of owning a car may win out.

As I’m sure many of us have found out while driving, it can be much more convenient than a bus or train ride to events or your destination.

One reason cars are convenient is that they eliminate having to walk somewhere and carrying all your belongings with you wherever you go.

I spent a couple of years without a car and while it was doable, it was kind of a pain.

Yes, I got to where I needed to go by walking or riding my bike for the most part, but if I wanted to go further, it was difficult.

I actually had my bike stolen, and had to ask a neighbor that I really didn’t know well if she would take me to the bike store to buy a new one.

She was very nice to help me out, but I really hated to ask.

If I had owned a car at the time it would have been much easier and more convenient.

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2. Having Your Own Car is Safer Than Relying on Public Transportation

In some areas, public transit is pretty good.

In other areas, it can be slower than walking.

But whatever you are, relying on public transportation can be riskier than owning a car.

With your own car, you have control of the situation and you don’t have to fear for your safety as much.

Moreover, if you decide to rely on public transportation, you may find that the transit-only goes so far and then you need to transfer or wait for another bus or train.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, waiting at a bus stop or on a subway at night really isn’t very safe.

Heck, there can be issues even in the middle of the day.

If you have your own car, you are less likely to be put in a dangerous position.

This might be one of the best reasons to own your own car.

3. It’s Easier to Travel

Imagine you want to go on vacation.

You might have to take a plane, bus, and/or train ride.

That can be a hassle without your own set of wheels.

If you have a reliable car, you can go wherever you want to go when you want to go.

Not to mention, driving to your destination is usually cheaper than taking a plane or train.

When I didn’t have a car I was living in Florida. My family was in South Carolina.

I wanted to go see them for the holidays.

There were no trains that went from where I was to where they were, and I couldn’t afford to fly.

So…I took the bus.

If you’ve never taken a bus on a longer trip, then you’ve truly missed out on an experience.

The worst part was figuring out how to transfer from one bus to another. There were no signs and the speaker system that made announcements was garbled and I couldn’t understand it at all.

I made the trip there and back successfully, but it wasn’t without a little drama.

If I had a car, all I would have needed to do was hop in, start driving, and eleven hours later I would have been at my destination.

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4. Commuting to Work is Easier

If you have a job, it’s much easier to commute in the morning if you drive rather than riding public transportation.

“I’m a car owner. I’ve got two kids and we drive all over the place. It’s great. I go to work and they can come too because we’re all going to the same place. If I had to take public transportation then they would also have to ride the bus which makes things much more difficult.”

– Adam Hogan, an elementary school teacher in California, explains why owning a car is a good thing.

5. You Have More Freedom

Alison R. is an 8th-grade math teacher in Colorado. She and her husband choose to have their own cars. “We both like having our own cars because we have more freedom than if we had no vehicle of our own. We go when we want and where we want. It’s great.”

When I didn’t have a car, I would have to rent one if I wanted to go anywhere that wasn’t within walking distance or where I couldn’t get to on my bike. 

When I was going to graduate school in Ohio. I lived in a really odd little town. It didn’t even have a grocery store. 

Everything was out of the city limits. I couldn’t even get to the grocery store as it was about a three-mile walk. It was kind of crazy.

6. You Can Deal with Emergencies Easier

If you have an emergency in your immediate family, you can deal with it much quicker if you have your own car. 

You can drive someone to the doctor’s or pick someone up whose car broke down.

You can also get to the hospital or someone’s house much faster in the case someone you know is having a serious emergency.

The Cons of Owning a Car

Like with most things in life, there are some downsides to owning a car.

1. Cars are Expensive

It’s nice to have a car because it can be convenient, but most people would agree that owning a car is expensive.

When you’re buying a car, part of the cost includes the monthly payment. This alone will be hundreds of dollars per month and most likely at least $400 dollars per month.

New cars aren’t cheap anymore.

In fact, the price of a new car has risen more than 100% over the last few years.

According to Yahoo.com, a new Toyota Camry can cost almost $25,000 or more. 

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2. Cars Break Down Easily

That same brand new car can quickly turn into an expensive pile of rubbish because cars break down easily.

Even new cars can break down.

Even if you have a warranty on your car, you might be surprised by what is not covered.

That can include tires.

If you have to buy new tires you could be out $300 to $1,000 dollars per tire.

3. Vehicle Maintenance Costs are High

If you want to keep your car in good working order, then you need to keep it maintained.

That includes oil changes, air filters, brakes, and tires.

I just got new brakes for my car and it was $400 dollars. I was lucky that I didn’t need new rotors or it would have been two to three times that amount.

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4. Parking Costs are Extremely High

It’s not just the purchase price or the maintenance, parking can get really expensive.

You’re probably aware that parking tickets are also costly to you and your bank account.

But if you own a car, you may have to pay for a place to park your car.

If you live in a larger city it can cost you $30 to $50 dollars per day to park in a garage. In some cases, it will be more.

If you rent a space on a monthly basis you might save some money, but you can certainly plan on spending $300 dollar a month.

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5. Insurance Costs

When you’re buying a car, don’t forget to add in your monthly insurance premium. Insurance is expensive and the younger you are the more it costs.

Don’t be surprised if you are paying $100 or more per month.

If things go wrong and there’s an accident or damage to your car, you’re going to have to do some legwork.

Not only do you have to contact the police and report an accident or stolen car but also contact your insurance company and get things sorted out as well.

You’re also likely going to need a rental if your car cannot be fixed immediately.

Insurance is another expense that can hurt you financially if something happens with your car.

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6. Driving is Bad for the Environment

If you have your own car, you’re going to be using it all the time.

That means more pollution and greenhouse gases that go into the air every time you take your car out for a drive.

If you’re concerned about the environment, it might make more sense to walk or take the bus.

7. Driving is Dangerous

Car accidents are dangerous and serious.

If you’re not the best driver, then you need to get some practice before you hit the road. 

If you cause an accident you could lose your insurance or at the very least your premiums will go up.

If you cause property damage or hurt someone you could be sued.

If you drink and drive and hurt someone you could end up in jail.

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To Sum it All Up:

Cars can be great. They are convenient and give you a lot of freedom. However, that freedom comes at a price. Buying a car is expensive and maintaining adds just that much more monthly expense. Consider your options carefully before you decide to drive a new car off the showroom floor

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