I spent about 54% of my gross income in 2008 on my new 2008 Nissan Altima. Car turned 5 a few weeks ago. No major problems since I bought it and still under 70k miles. Warrantied for another 2 years for engine / major components and 5 more / 50k more for the transmission. Put around 3k in mods to it over the years. Not planning to sell it anytime soon as my student loan payoff is my top priority right now.
Car I owned prior was easily racking up some expensive bills. To the tune of 1500 over a few months between a 60k tune-up (car ran a little better but still a ripoff), brake job for (400+). It was also 5 years old at the time and at the time I thought my local dealership was looking out for my best interests with the car. In hindsight I could've shopped around and saved a significant amount of money.
I now see that I was spending beyond my means in my early 20s and thought a new car could fill a void. Between general loneliness, wanting to impress people, narrow-minded thinking and receiving almost twice my annual income after the unexpected loss of a parent. I also made the error of thinking my income would be what it was at the minimum and be much higher over the next few years.
I'm 29 now and have been doing what I can to set myself on the path for success. A new car is appealing, but once I think about how many hours are required to make that purchase. Say 30k at $17/hr is 1,764 hours. Divided by 40 that's 44 weeks for an asset that depreciates the day you drive it off the lot. It's less painful if income goes up or length of ownership is extended, but still..
ok enough of me babbling.