5 Signs it's Time to Buy a New Car

Posted by: Lydia on 19/08/2021

Category: General

Deciding it’s time to buy a new car may sound simple in theory, but can be more complicated in practice. When your current vehicle has served you well for many years, it’s easy to imagine it may well continue to do so for many years yet. That’s why making an assessment of the situation based upon a variety of factors is always prudent.

These factors include the current health of your vehicle and its historic performance, the input of your mechanic, and your current lifestyle and finances. Then there’s of course the driveability factor - which by many measures is most important of all. So let’s look now at five signs it’s time to buy a new car. 

1.Repairs and Maintenance Costs Are Piling Up

Every car costs money to maintain. According to an RACQ report, when calculating fuel, insurance, depreciation and other factors together, the average cost of a medium car each year comes to $10,478. But even so, the cost of maintaining a good car should feel like a worthwhile expense, and not one that increases suddenly, putting a greater dent in your wallet.

Unfortunately, after a period of time, essentially all vehicles decline when it comes to quality. Sure, there’s a lucky few - such as vintage cars - that will have owners pay a fortune to keep them in mint condition no matter what. But for a typical Aussie household, such a path wouldn’t suit their budget, or ultimately represent value for money in comparison to buying another car that won’t attract such big repair bills regularly. That’s why if you discover your car’s repair and maintenance costs are really growing - especially in comparison to those costs in years prior - it’s a sign it's time to buy a new car. 

2. Your Mechanic Says Time is Running Out 

Nobody has a crystal ball, but many mechanics can get a clear sense from their years of experience what amount of time a vehicle likely has left. This is because of the other cars that your mechanic has seen that are similar to yours, and how long they’ve lasted after comparable work was done on them. As a result, if your mechanic says time is running out for your vehicle, it’s important to factor their opinion in. This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and look to buy your next vehicle that day, but it does mean it’s prudent to begin planning for when you’ll transition to the next vehicle. 

3. You Long For New Features

You may have a car currently that is really good at what it does, but is lacking many  contemporary features - or maybe even just a particular feature that you really like. Whether it’s built-in navigation, smart park assist, or another feature that has won your fascination, there’s a number of contemporary offerings in modern vehicles that older cars just won’t have. 

Yes, it may be possible to retrofit features or find workarounds - such as buying a GPS device if you want to use digital maps on a sizeable screen but don’t have an infotainment system. But usually these options will be limited or expensive to implement, given the older age of the vehicle and its lack of compatibility with modern features. 

4. It’s the Right Time in Life

Many people purchase a vehicle with a goal of driving it for as many years as they can. For others, buying a ‘transitional’ auto is the preferred option. This is likely to be a car that isn’t quite their dream ride, but one that’ll capably get them from A to B until they can afford an upgrade. Over time, as people’s lives go on and their finances progress, the opportunity will arise for many drivers to trade in their current vehicle and pursue the car of their dreams. So if a driver’s life and finances are now very different than they were when they bought their current vehicle, it may be the right time to make a switch and finally seek out that dream car. 

5. Driving Pleasure Has Given Way to Pain

Ultimately, whether your current car is used as a daily commuter vehicle or was intended to last a lifetime, it should be enjoyable to drive. While some car owners may have to pay more for maintenance and repairs, if they really love driving their car, they may feel it is worth the extra trouble of getting it on the road. But when the simple act of driving the vehicle becomes a real challenge, it’s a clear sign it’s time to make the switch to a new car. Yes, this can be hard to do at times - especially if you’ve spent a lot of happy years riding around in your current car. But just as all good things must come to an end, so too can getting a new auto be the beginning of a great new journey. 

Finding a New Life for an Old Car

Even if you’re ready to buy a new car, if your old car is not on borrowed time and otherwise in good health, you could give it a new lease on life in a few different ways. Passing it on to the kids as a first vehicle is a popular option many households pursue. If not for this, selling it used is a good way to spare your wheels from the junkyard. Finally, it may also be useful to keep the vehicle as a backup, or as a weekend rider that you use for odd jobs and road trips. That way, you’ll have a handy auto able to take on a variety of tasks and terrain, while also keeping your Monday to Friday car in clean and pristine condition for work, school runs, and daily journeys. 

What other signs do you feel signal it’s time to buy a new car? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Pixabay