If there’s one thing that can cause a person to become fired up with emotions it’s the thought of buying a new car. On one side there is the fact that a new car is quite the status symbol as well as the fact that it smells nice, looks great and comes with all sorts of new features. (A brand-new warranty isn’t a bad thing either.) On the other side there is the fact that, once you sign that car loan payment paperwork, you are basically agreeing to make some pretty big payments for the next 4, 5 or even 6 years of your life.
Depending on the car that you’re driving now, and your financial ability to pay for a new one, the choice might be quite cut and dried. On the other hand, if what you’re driving right now is still running relatively well, as well as being paid off, the choice of whether to purchase a new car might be a little more difficult. To help you make the decision, we’ve put together a little bit of advice that hopefully will help you. Enjoy.
One of the first bits of information you need to know before you make a decision to purchase a new car is simply this; how long does a car usually last? Today’s modern cars (anything made in the last 15 years) have been engineered to last up to 250,000 miles. What that means is that if your car is 9 years old and has 125,000 miles on it, it probably isn’t past it’s prime by any means. On the other hand, while the major systems in your car might last that long, some of the smaller parts like fuel pumps, timing belts and other things will eventually need to be replaced. Even worse, they might “give out” while you’re on the road, something that can mean a very costly tow-truck bill to your mechanic’s shop.
If you have the financial means to do it and you’re not willing to take the risk that your car is not going to get you from point A to point B, getting a new car might be in your best interest. On the other hand, if you’re not in the position to make big payments every month and your car is already paid off, keeping it well-maintained is probably your best bet.
If your car is starting to get older but is still holding up relatively well, now might be the best time to start preparing to purchase another car. Putting aside the money and making sure that your ability to get a new loan is high are two things you should be focusing on so that, when the time comes, you’ll be ready to sit down at the negotiating table at your local car dealership. Checking your credit report is a good idea at this time to make sure that you can get the best financial terms available. It’s also a good idea to get any maintenance on your car taken care of that’s relatively inexpensive so that, when you take it to trade or sell, it “shows well”.
For some people the fact of the matter is that the car they’re now driving may still be running well and have plenty of years left on it but might not be the car that’s right for their situation. If it’s either too big and wasting lots of fuel or too small for your large family, getting a new car to replace it might either save you money or make long trips with the family more enjoyable. Of course if your current car is unreliable and prone to frequent breakdowns, getting it replaced is probably the best thing you can do so that you don’t miss work or miss out on other opportunities because your car can’t get you there.
At the end of the day, it makes a lot of financial sense to hold onto a car that is running well and doesn’t have a huge amount of miles on it. As long as you keep up on maintenance and don’t drive it too hard, the savings that you will reap could be substantial. Remember that a new car means a new car payment and also that a car is not an investment but an expense. Keeping those things in mind should help you to finalize your decision. Good luck, and good driving!