How Do You Decide When It’s Time to Buy a New Car?

You might be at a crossroads with your car. You love it. But it’s getting on in years. Statistics show that consumers are keeping their cars longer. If you’re hanging onto an older model car, you may be wondering, is now the time to make a change and buy a new one (or a new used car), or stick it out and just make some repairs?

Here are some factors to consider that may help with your decision.

1. Your car isn’t safe.
Everyone needs to get to their destination safely and on time. Older cars, even the best-maintained ones, tend to wear out.

“If you fear that it will break down and leave you stranded on the side of the road, you should replace it with something safer and more reliable,” says LeAnn Shattuck of Women’s Automotive Solutions.

Today’s newer cars come with a ton of new safety features, such as advanced front and side airbags, electronic stability control (mandated by the federal government), tire pressure monitoring systems, and back-up sensors and cameras.

Some optional safety technologies include: blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems, forward collision alert, voice controls, anti-lock brake systems, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking. Your older car isn’t likely to have these safety features. These huge advancements alone could be reason enough to look at a new car as a replacement.

2. Repairs are costing you more.
You might think that it’s always going to be cheaper to keep fixing an older car. But a big, expensive repair, or a long series of repairs, can put a huge dent in your budget and make a monthly car payment seem very attractive.

If your odometer reading is over six figures, there could be reason for concern. If you’re constantly bringing your car to the shop, you may, in the end, be paying more than you anticipated. In fact, some major repairs, such as transmission and engine work, could cost more than the real value of the car.

On older cars, parts can hard to find. And now, the price of these parts have gone up tremendously over what they once were.

3. Your life needs have changed.
Car dealers report that this is one of the biggest reasons why people buy new cars.

When your car no longer meets your daily needs, or your living situation has changed, this could be a time to consider going with a new model. Some scenarios: A new job or school with a longer commute and the need for better gas mileage. Your family grows and you need a bigger vehicle. Or, the kids have moved out and you want to downsize to a smaller ride.

Before making the decision to go ahead and pay for repairs on your old car, you should take the time to find out what your current car is worth. If you’re leaning toward buying new, make sure to give yourself enough time to research possible choices. This will increase the odds you’ll make a choice you’re less likely to regret. Be sure to consider your lifestyle, your needs, and, most importantly, your finances, before taking the leap.

Resources: The Car Connection, Auto Smart Offer, MoneyUnder30.com