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Summary
  • Most states have no clear rules about the maximum age for driving. It’s just a matter of asking yourself which type of car would cater to your needs as an elderly driver.
  • Some factors to consider when buying your last car include fit and comfort, accessibility, reliability, safety, and ease of use.
  • Another option for retirees is leasing a vehicle. This allows drivers to get the latest model while saving on monthly payments and enjoying warranty protection.

As you near your 60s, you’re probably wondering when to buy a new car. After all, it’s only natural to make plans when it comes to your retirement car.

The thing is, while most states have strict rules when it comes to the minimum age for buying a new car, most states don’t have any clear rules about what the maximum age is. In fact, insurance companies tend to give better rates to older people, given their better credit history and driving records.

There’s no maximum age limit to driving either. You can pretty much keep driving even when you’re 70 or 80 years old. It’s just a matter of asking yourself what type of car you should actually get.

Factors To Consider When Buying Your Last Car

Rather than asking what age you should buy your last car, it might be best to look at other factors that might affect how you drive as you get older. Consider some of these examples:

Fit and Comfort

As you get older, your definition of comfort starts to change. What was comfortable in your 20s is going to look very different from what you’ll find comfortable when you’re in your 60s, so it’s important to consider the bigger picture when buying your last car.

Consider going for one with adjustable and heated seats, great lumbar support, and an adjustable steering wheel. Make sure you can reach all the buttons, controls, and pedals with ease.

Accessibility

As you get older, your body’s going to change, and while it might have been easy to hop into a truck or large SUV, that won’t always be the case when you get older.

Consider buying a vehicle with wide door openings and ample passenger space, such as a traditional midsize car or a large sedan. Small SUVs such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Subaru Foster are also great options thanks to their big doors and chair-height access.

Reliability

Dealing with repairs is expected when you own any kind of vehicle, but it’s something that can be extra challenging when you’re older.

As you narrow down your choices, consider going online to check which cars have the most promising reviews from owners and which ones have high reliability scores. That way, you can make sure you make the best choice for your last car.

Safety

One of the great things about modern cars is their many safety features. These safety features are great for drivers of all ages, but as you get older, you might find yourself appreciating them even more.

Today, most modern cars have rearview cameras and blind-spot-detection systems to improve rear visibility. Some cars even have lane-departure warning systems that alert the driver when they start to drift from their lane.

Easy To Use

As much as possible, don’t go for complicated vehicles that are hard to operate. Complex systems might seem cool, but they might not be the right choice if you’re getting older.

For your last car, consider getting one that won’t confuse you. Look for vehicles with infotainment systems that are easy to navigate.

Advantages of Leasing a Car

Of course, buying a car isn’t the only option for retirees. Retirees with a fixed income can find it much more affordable to lease a car instead of purchasing one. Here are some advantages of leasing a car:

Latest Model

Leasing a car almost always means you get the latest model year of your chosen vehicle for lower monthly payments. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep up with the trends, leasing a new model means more than that.

Having the latest model means you’ll have the latest security features, which is a big deal when you’re getting older. For example, your reaction time may be slowing, making parking assist systems and lane departure warnings especially helpful.

Lower Monthly Payments

Paying for a lease isn’t always cheap, but it’s certainly lower than most car loan payments on average. According to Edmunds.com, leasing a compact SUV costs around $360 per month, while buying the same car costs around $482.

Warranty Protection

For retirees who are working on a strict budget, warranty protection is one of the best perks of leasing a car. Most leased vehicles are covered by warranties that relieve retirees from the huge financial and emotional stress that comes with repairing their own cars.

Tax Deductions

If you’re still working part-time as a way of easing into retirement, you can deduct a portion of your monthly lease payment from your income taxes, assuming you use your car for business. You can even include other expenses, such as gas, the vehicle’s depreciation, and other maintenance fees.

Ability To Walk Away

Most companies offer an option where you can simply return the leased vehicle and walk away. It’s a great option for retirees who don’t want to drive anymore and would rather save themselves the hassle of having to sell their own car.

How Old Is Too Old for a Used Car?

If buying a new car or leasing one isn’t for you, you can always buy a used car instead. The average car lifespan goes beyond 10 years, but it’s a good idea to stick to used cars that are around three to four years old with 30,000 to 40,000 miles left.

If you do decide to go for a used car, consider some of these tips before sealing the deal:

Check the Vehicle History

How many people have previously owned the car? How many accidents has it been in, if any? Are there any open recalls for the car’s specific make, model, and year? Checking on the vehicle’s history will answer all of these questions and more.

Take It for an Independent Inspection

Ask a mechanic you trust to inspect the used car. They’ll be able to tell you whether any recent repairs were made correctly and what other repairs the vehicle might need. It’ll cost you around $50 to $100, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Test Drive It

Never, ever buy a vehicle without taking it for a spin first. Get a feel of the car by taking it out for a test drive and see how comfortable you are. Keep your eyes peeled for any issues too.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Automotive Features Reviewer at CarParts.com

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Lifestyle , For the Car Owner
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