All things manufactured by people have a life cycle associated with it and this applies especially to cars. When a car is brand new, life is good; it performs well, looks nice and it does the job day after day. When a car gets further into its life cycle, though, things begin to change. Maintenance issues start to present themselves, and your car doesn’t look and feel quite as new anymore. Here are a few factors to think about when you are trying to make the decision about whether to trade-in right now or not:
Expired warranty – Life is grand when you have a factory warranty (and maybe an extended warranty) in effect on your vehicle. You can relax knowing that if anything nasty no longer works, you have a warranty to take care of everything –at no cost to you. As your car gets old, however, and you approach the end of the warranty period(s), your level of risk heightens. Defects that used to be covered under warranty are now your full responsibility.
Maintenance issues – During a car’s ownership, there will always be maintenance items to take care of. These are things like oil changes, timing belts, new tires, etc. It’s a necessary part of car ownership and is inevitable. As a car ends up with a few hundred thousand miles on it, though, “non-maintenance” items start to not work on you. Lenstolerporsche.com tells us that these are things such as alternators, steering racks, ball joints, etc. When this more expensive stuff starts to fail it’s natural to wonder if it’s time to trade in. Here is one analysis: If your monthly repair bills go over the cost of one month’s new-car payment, that’s a hint to consider a trade in.
Efficiency – There is a lot of new technology designed to make a car go further on one gallon of fuel. Direct injection, variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, more advanced transmissions, are just some technologies we have now. Yes, gasoline is cheap now but that could be different in the future. If you have a nice new car that achieves really great MPG, you are future proofed for any changes. And let us not forget saving energy is good for our planet too.
The car fitting your lifestyle— Do you now have a big family that you didn’t have five years ago; can your household comfortably fit into your car? Have you gotten into racing and want a car that fits that hobby? Does your gas tank hold enough fuel to make it so you don’t need to fill up on a regular basis–ie if you commute an hour to work every day now when you only used to commute five minutes?
Safety – Older cars lack many of the new safety features new cars have. Structural items like better materials and more robust body designs may be standard features in a new car. Electronic features like collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, and other new technology will make a car safer also.
Is it time to trade your car in? Well, it’s a judgement call and varies from driver to driver. Some people are comfortable with cars while they age and some do not want the bother as their old car frustrates them. So, is it time for you to consider trading in “old faithful”? It is up to you, but hopefully this article has served as a helpful decision-making resource!