As everyone else has stated, it all depends on your needs. I purchased my first care in 1997 and my second in early 2008. I'm more in the camp of drive it till it dies. My wife even used my first car for another year or so because it got better millage than what she was driving. When I purchased my second car, the dealer was only going to give me $1,000 in trade-in (blue book value was around $2,500 for excellent condition; the car was in fair condition), so it wasn't too big a deal to skip the trade in so we could save some gas money. We still managed to sell it for $2,000. I plan to keep my current car for a minimum of 10 years, so leasing really was never an option for me. Since interest rates weren't that great for auto financing, I went with a home equity loan, so technically my car was paid off at purchase. In the long run, that will cost more in interest if you don't make extra payments, but it does allow some flexibility since the payments are low. I have been paying extra towards the principal for most of the time so that I could pay off the loan in about five years, but when I was laid off in 2009, it was nice to be able to pay the minimum payment of about $275 versus what would have been over twice as much if I had gone with 60 month financing.