Author Topic: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?  (Read 7363 times)

FerrumB5

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How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« on: December 12, 2015, 11:41:46 AM »
Hi Folks!

How do you usually estimate car value for your NW calculations? KBB? Web resources with similar cars for sale by private parties? Trade-in value? Do you update the value every year for NW calcs?
KBB seems to undervalue cars. Not even mentioning CarMax that is known for their huge undervalue
Thanks!!

geekette

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2015, 11:44:27 AM »
I don't include it in my net worth.

FerrumB5

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2015, 11:46:12 AM »
Why not? It's a liquid asset that can be realized very quickly if needed (for a loss of value, but there will be ppl to buy the car cheap and right away with cash)

johnny847

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2015, 11:49:01 AM »
I don't.

1) My car is still registered to my mother.
2) My car was damaged in an accident. It would cost about $2k for a full repair. But, it still drives fine! Mostly cosmetic damage. The engine hood doesn't actually lock in place, but I just got some climbing grade carabiners and a hefty metal chain from Home Depot and chained that down. Never had a problem with it even pushing 80 mph on the highway.
3) My car is a 2002 Toyota Corolla with 95k miles. Even without the damage, last time I checked KBB only valued it at $3500 or so. But to get liquidity back out of this car I'd have to do a full repair first, and even then, I might not be able to sell the car for much more than the repair costs. So my car has almost worthless resale value.

Exflyboy

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2015, 11:51:28 AM »
In our case cars are a very small proportion of out total NW.. Probably about 0.5%.

Add to that the fact they are depreciating (will eventually be worth $zero) it means its just easier to ignore them.

Then again I ignore my paid off house too and just refer to our "liquid" NW for comparison purposes

FerrumB5

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2015, 11:54:42 AM »
All good points here.
Just keep in mind that if a total apocalypse comes all our VTSAX shares will be worth exactly zero, while a running car will be worth a kingdom and a horse :)

reader2580

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2015, 11:55:10 AM »
If you're not FIRE you're probably going to need a car to get to work unless you can walk, bike, or take mass transit to work.  Selling a vehicle in a financial emergency might make things worse if you can't get to work.  I suppose you could sell and pick up an old junker.

I don't include vehicles in my net worth.  I'm just starting on the whole mustachian journey and I owe a little bit on my car, but it is worth at least as much as the loan, even if I was forced to sell in a hurry.


lostamonkey

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2015, 11:58:25 AM »
Why not? It's a liquid asset that can be realized very quickly if needed (for a loss of value, but there will be ppl to buy the car cheap and right away with cash)

I don't include depreciating assets in general in my net worth. I also don't include depreciation in my yearly expenses. When I buy a new (to me) car, or a new computer, I record it as an expense.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 12:00:07 PM by lostamonkey »

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2015, 12:04:14 PM »
I don't.

I always buy a car with the intention of driving it until the wheels fall off, so I do not calculate the value, as I know I intend to keep it until the value is $0.  I would put car debt in the calculation, though, if I had any.

I currently drive a vehicle with 304,000 miles.

It would be silly to pretend I am adding to my net worth with that vehicle.

Make your own choice, but I would not include it anymore than I would include the cost of my clothes just because I might be able to consign them.

Telecaster

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2015, 12:06:42 PM »
I view cars as an expense.  If I didn't own the car, presumably I would then need some other form of transportation that would be roughly the cost or more. 

arebelspy

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2015, 12:12:46 PM »
Don't bother to count it.

My clothes, shoes, laptop, etc. are all "assets" in that they can be liquidated for some amount, but I don't count them either.  No personal items are counted as assets, basically.  Only things bought as an asset/investment (personal residence being the only exception, because it does have a large value and would skew things otherwise). Some people don't count their home, but I think it should be counted (but not counted in portfolio value, the more relevant FIRE number). 

To each his own.  :)
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Exflyboy

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2015, 12:20:51 PM »
Yeah I guess I could see that if you were just coming out of the consumerist lifestyle (Cue Neo waking up from the Matrix) and had $80k tied up in a pair of foreign SUV's.. Well then the cars could easily represent a large chunk of one's NW. In that case they might be worth counting.

Once you are "on the path" so to speak and sell the useless depreciating gas guzzling heaps o crap, well then car value will quickly represent a tiny fraction.

Plus the fact of actually tracking the value accurately.. its just too much work.

Last year we dropped $12k on my Wife's "new" car.. that was just an expense item.. cash of course..:)

Rural

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2015, 02:03:25 PM »
I don't. Cars are fairly necessary liabilities where I live.


Hell, I don't even count a full-size backhoe, and it might even be a real asset.




cawiau

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2015, 02:06:54 PM »
We don't...


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RWD

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2015, 02:23:48 PM »
I use KBB's private party value and update it every December. This also allows for tracking depreciation as part of my expenses. I feel this is more accurate for my accounting purposes.

Exflyboy

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2015, 02:38:10 PM »



Hell, I don't even count a full-size backhoe, and it might even be a real asset.

Same with my tractor/implements and front end loader.

Spork

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2015, 02:47:13 PM »
I do include it and I'll tell you why.

First off, I keep more than a few sets of numbers.  In my overall net worth, I absolutely include it.  However, I also keep a "financial net worth".  I do not include it in that (nor do I include my house, for that matter).  I use financial net worth for my FIRE calculations.

Now, the reason I do try to keep track of my cars is to track their expenses.  Every year at the first of the year, I do a quick look up in KBB and Edmunds to guess what they are worth.  Every year I put in an expense amount for depreciation* for each car for that much.  This helps me track how much I'm really spending on cars over the years.  It helps me try to budget how much to put aside for a replacement car in the future. 

It DOESN'T make a hill of beans to FIRE unless you're driving some super exotic car that's worth a whole lot of money.  But then: You probably wouldn't be here if that was the case.

The alternative way to account for a car would to be just to write the whole value of it as an expense when you buy it.  But I don't think that's a terribly accurate way to represent it.  I prefer to see the cost spread across the life of the car.
----
*This is a set of depreciation numbers for me alone... not some tax accounting numbers.  I am not following any depreciation schedule or using the numbers any other way.

muckety_muck

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2015, 03:00:32 PM »
We don't include them either. We drive them until they die (or are worth less than the repairs would cost to fix them), and then sell as a project car to a teenage kid or scrapyard.

It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

everinprogress

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2015, 04:09:07 PM »
I would rather not include it, but my husband insists- not that they make up much of our networth anyways. To compromise, we look up Canada black book car value, then chop off at least a third or so, to represent having to sell super fast in unfavorable market conditions. Both vehicles together are still under 10,000, and not being sold or replaced any time soon, so not worth making too much of a fuss over. We knock the value down once a year for depreciation as well.

sol

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2015, 04:36:29 PM »
I would rather not include it, but my husband insists-

Is there some sort of mental hangup here?  Like people feel compelled to count their car as part of their net worth if they consider their car to be an important part of their self worth, somehow integral to their identity?

For an ordinary person, a car is just required transportation.  It's a thing, like your pants or your pencil sharpener, that needs to be replaced periodically when it wears out.  But I can see how someone might have a different perspective if they define themselves by the vehicle they drive, like "My Ferrari is what makes me an interesting person" and they therefore need to include the value in their net worth because to do otherwise would just highlight how empty and meaningless their lives really are.

Spork

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2015, 04:42:03 PM »
I would rather not include it, but my husband insists-

Is there some sort of mental hangup here?  Like people feel compelled to count their car as part of their net worth if they consider their car to be an important part of their self worth, somehow integral to their identity?

For an ordinary person, a car is just required transportation.  It's a thing, like your pants or your pencil sharpener, that needs to be replaced periodically when it wears out.  But I can see how someone might have a different perspective if they define themselves by the vehicle they drive, like "My Ferrari is what makes me an interesting person" and they therefore need to include the value in their net worth because to do otherwise would just highlight how empty and meaningless their lives really are.

first off: LOL.

But think of it this way:  I have some crappy stock I bought for $10k.  It seems to lose a little every year for as long as I have owned it.  Should I keep track of it in my finances?   Because that's sort of how I see it.  It's an asset.  I want to keep track of it.  I want to know how much it costs me over time.

TomTX

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2015, 08:46:13 PM »
I take a middle path. We have 2 cars, I include the value of 1 car in NW.

Why? Because when I retire, we will become a 1 car family. One of the cars will be sold off.

...not that either car is that valuable.

FerrumB5

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2015, 09:22:43 PM »
Thanks again for all inputs here. It's valuable to me. Just to keep the original post and question live - I wasn't asking "should I include it or not", I was asking - HOW do you estimate it.

v8rx7guy

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2015, 10:01:55 PM »
The only car I take into account for my NW is my toy/project car because that could be sold at any moment if needed.

Telecaster

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2015, 10:19:37 PM »

But think of it this way:  I have some crappy stock I bought for $10k.  It seems to lose a little every year for as long as I have owned it.  Should I keep track of it in my finances?   Because that's sort of how I see it.  It's an asset.  I want to keep track of it.  I want to know how much it costs me over time.

That's the part I'm not quite grokking.  I grok what you are saying, just not why you are doing it.  Gas and maintenance are easy to track.  But you don't really know what the depreciation is until you sell it.  And it isn't a budget area where you can cut back. It's gonna do, what it is gonna do.   Since you know don't know and can't change it, why bother?   I want to know how much it costs me over time as well, that's why I track it as an expense.




Spork

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2015, 10:49:37 PM »

But think of it this way:  I have some crappy stock I bought for $10k.  It seems to lose a little every year for as long as I have owned it.  Should I keep track of it in my finances?   Because that's sort of how I see it.  It's an asset.  I want to keep track of it.  I want to know how much it costs me over time.

That's the part I'm not quite grokking.  I grok what you are saying, just not why you are doing it.  Gas and maintenance are easy to track.  But you don't really know what the depreciation is until you sell it.  And it isn't a budget area where you can cut back. It's gonna do, what it is gonna do.   Since you know don't know and can't change it, why bother?   I want to know how much it costs me over time as well, that's why I track it as an expense.

What the same make/model is selling for is (to me) a pretty reasonable way to track it.

To me: having some reasonable approximation  per year is much more usable.  It lets me know what my expenses are in a nice even manner.  Going 15 years then having a big spike expense of several thousand dollars doesn't give me a nice, FIRE budgetary item.  Getting a reasonable guess of worth and taking a $700 depreciation expense seems more correct from an accounting sense. 

YMMV.  There isn't one right answer here.  I've just built a system over time... complete with a crapload of charts and graphs that give me an at-a-glance way to measure what I'm doing, where I've been and where it looks like I'm going.

Thanks again for all inputs here. It's valuable to me. Just to keep the original post and question live - I wasn't asking "should I include it or not", I was asking - HOW do you estimate it.

For my mainstream cars:
* I have it on the books starting with what I paid for it.
* Jan 1 of the next year, I take an average of KBB/Edmunds for private party sale
* I use double entry bookkeeping.  I depreciate the difference between the first item and the second as an expense and decrease the value of the asset by the same amount.

This year, one car showed a slight appreciation... which I'll write off as bullshit... and take $0.  It's just really low mileage for it's age.  That will stop making a difference at some point.

For my less mainstream car:
* I average ebay sold prices.  It's old.  It doesn't really depreciate.  And it's not in good enough condition to actually appreciate.

Tractor:
* I use ebay/local auction sold prices.  This one is likely to be pretty inaccurate.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2015, 12:12:16 AM »
Hmm, I haven't, partly because it's irrelevant as I basically assume the value at the end of its life is $0.

For interest's sake, I've just checked Redbook. It says $1200-2700, assuming it has between 195000 and 325000km. I paid $3000 for mine (with 111000km, currently 121000km) a year ago.

Realistically, I don't bother including it :)

Tjat

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2015, 06:15:04 AM »
+1 for not including it. I plan to drive it to the ground.

Unless you invest in cars and sell them for profit, why even bother including them? Homes are a bit different in that you can build equity. While this is possible for cars, it should be a tiny amount not worth calculating unless you buy 50K cars with cash.

rtrnow

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2015, 06:31:11 AM »
I don't include it. I do track expenses but don't really see the value in including it in NW unless you plan to sell when you FIRE. Also, FWIW KBB and Edmunds are often not even in the ball park of what a car's worth. I've had desirable cars (older mustang GT for example) that sold for double those estimates. I've also had more common cars (honda accord) sell well below those estimates. If you really want to get a value, you need to do some digging to find what there are really selling for in your area.

everinprogress

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2015, 09:27:40 AM »
I would rather not include it, but my husband insists-

Is there some sort of mental hangup here?  Like people feel compelled to count their car as part of their net worth if they consider their car to be an important part of their self worth, somehow integral to their identity?

For an ordinary person, a car is just required transportation.  It's a thing, like your pants or your pencil sharpener, that needs to be replaced periodically when it wears out.  But I can see how someone might have a different perspective if they define themselves by the vehicle they drive, like "My Ferrari is what makes me an interesting person" and they therefore need to include the value in their net worth because to do otherwise would just highlight how empty and meaningless their lives really are.


Honestly, husband is pretty awesome about about everything else money-wise, so it's really not worth debating between us. He updates all accounts pretty much daily, and keeps everything extremely well organized. I think partially it's just a thing that can be tracked, so it's being tracked. It's also such a small part of networth that it's not really an issue, I just think it shouldn't really be there

Paul der Krake

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2015, 09:44:11 AM »
If you are going to include it, I would take 90% of the assessed tax value for a more conservative estimate. That should give you an approximation that is good enough to know what you could get for it if forced to sell in a pinch.

Like the majority of folks posting here, I don't include it either because I don't like the idea of assets barreling down the freeway at 70mph. I don't include it in liabilities either.

Can't (or shouldn't) be pledged as collateral? Not an asset.

Teacherstache

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2015, 11:11:06 AM »
We don't include the value of our "regular" cars, because they depreciate and we keep them until they are worth $0. However, we do include the value of my husband's classic car - a 1970 Chevelle SS. It is an appreciating asset that could be sold quickly at any time.

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2015, 12:01:02 PM »
Back when I owned a car I only included it because I was also including the loan as a liability. I just picked a date when I assumed the car would be worth $0 (15 years I think) and did a straightline depreciation. Not really accurate, as far as re-sale value, but good enough for my purposes. Like others, the car is such a small amount of overall networth, the exact method doesn't matter much.

reader2580

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2015, 03:27:47 PM »
It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

I'm curious how you manage to keep a car going for 20 years?  Do you live in an area with no rust?  My parents kept their last vehicles for 14 and 15 years, but they were pretty much completely shot due to rust at that point.  One had at least 180,000 miles and the other only 140,000 miles.  Not particularly high mileage at all, but the rust really did them in.

Spork

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2015, 04:04:30 PM »
It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

I'm curious how you manage to keep a car going for 20 years?  Do you live in an area with no rust?  My parents kept their last vehicles for 14 and 15 years, but they were pretty much completely shot due to rust at that point.  One had at least 180,000 miles and the other only 140,000 miles.  Not particularly high mileage at all, but the rust really did them in.

I'm not the one you asked, but:
* The last car we sold we owned for 20 18 years.  We sold it to a friend 3 years ago.  He's still driving it and it looks pretty damn good still.
* I still own the car I bought in high school.  I've owned it more than 30 years.  It doesn't get a lot of road time, but if you can find fuel with not-much-ethanol in it, it will drive.  (It does get vapor lock in the heat of the summer with today's gas, though.)

If you're not on a sea coast and you're not in an area that salts the road all winter long, then rust isn't so much of a problem.

Villanelle

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2015, 04:48:42 PM »
My car is 15-16 years old (2000).  I'm the second owner.  It only has about 87k miles on it, so clearly it would last well more then 20 years. The car lived in Germany for a few years, but rust was never an issue.

We don't include it in NW calculations.  Frankly, we've never owned a car worth enough for it to be relevant.  We don't count the change in our change jar in our NW either.  Yes, the car is worth more than the change jar, but it's probably about $3,000, as a very rough guess.  So it is in a mental category with things like clothes and home furnishings.  There's some value, but it's not especially significant so it isn't counted other than sort of a mental not that we can kind of round up. 

Then again, I don't pay much attention to net worth overall, so it makes sense I'd take a very inexact approach. 

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2015, 04:58:51 PM »
It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

I'm curious how you manage to keep a car going for 20 years?  Do you live in an area with no rust?  My parents kept their last vehicles for 14 and 15 years, but they were pretty much completely shot due to rust at that point.  One had at least 180,000 miles and the other only 140,000 miles.  Not particularly high mileage at all, but the rust really did them in.

304,000 miles on mine, but I live in Georgia (no rust).  My last car had more than half a million miles.

Rural

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2015, 05:02:41 PM »
It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

I'm curious how you manage to keep a car going for 20 years?  Do you live in an area with no rust?  My parents kept their last vehicles for 14 and 15 years, but they were pretty much completely shot due to rust at that point.  One had at least 180,000 miles and the other only 140,000 miles.  Not particularly high mileage at all, but the rust really did them in.


We have both a 33-year-old Toyota Tercel and a 44-year-old Dodge work truck with no rust. No salt, no rust. The Dodge has been sitting for a couple of years, but that Tercel is our backup whenever a daily driver is out of commission.

JLee

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Re: How do you estimate car value for NW numbers?
« Reply #38 on: December 13, 2015, 05:52:49 PM »
It's just an expense we incur every 8-10 yrs or so ( 2 car family, buy a new car every 16-20 yrs...)

I'm curious how you manage to keep a car going for 20 years?  Do you live in an area with no rust?  My parents kept their last vehicles for 14 and 15 years, but they were pretty much completely shot due to rust at that point.  One had at least 180,000 miles and the other only 140,000 miles.  Not particularly high mileage at all, but the rust really did them in.

In a no-rust state you can keep stuff as long as you want to keep it running. I sold a 1999 Tacoma earlier this year with almost 283k miles on it. Unless it gets wrecked, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it will still be driving around in 4 years.