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HFS Federal Credit Union
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Free - On the App Store

How do you know when it's time to kick 'ole faithful to the curb for a new or "new to you" ride?

So you’ve had your vehicle for a while now. You know all its quirks, like the window that won’t roll down, the AC that only blows hot hair or even the pull of your steering to the left. You’re noticing some things that need to be fixed now for safety, but you’re wondering if it’s even worth fixing. Is it time for another vehicle? Let’s look at some of the reasons to and not to change your vehicle:

Reasons to Get a New Vehicle

1. You took your car to the repair shop and the estimate came back.

You almost fainted. Now’s the time to assess the value of making these fixes. First you’ll need to find out how much your car is valued at. Is that estimate more than your car is even worth? If so, you’ll want to seriously consider getting a new vehicle. You could also only make some of the recommended fixes, but keep in mind your and your family’s safety when using this vehicle. You may be better off using the money that would’ve been used for repairs, for a down payment on another vehicle instead. Plus, your car still has value if you trade in or sell it that will help towards your purchase. Don’t forget to keep in mind the amount you owe on it, if you’re still making payments on the vehicle.

2. Has your life changed since you got that car?

Maybe your family grew and a 2 door car isn’t cutting it anymore. Did you move and need a larger or four wheel drive vehicle to get to your location? Have your work circumstances changed? All of these play a factor into what is practical for your lifestyle. For example, I bought a 2 door coupe vehicle, but within some time my lifestyle had changed. I couldn’t use my vehicle to get to my weekend dog training sessions and had to borrow a vehicle every week. I also grew my fur family, who are often in the car with me, and 2 doors just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Instead, I chose to get a new vehicle that was more practical and made life much easier.

3. Along with life circumstances mentioned above, your budget is a huge factor.

If your vehicle has poor gas mileage and you’re on the road a lot, but your income has also gone down, consider finding a more fuel efficient vehicle. This also applies to insurance payments. If you’re paying a boatload in insurance because of your fancy vehicle and it’s becoming hard to afford, consider a new vehicle. Of course, always factor in amounts owed on your current vehicle and pricing of new vehicles you are considering purchasing. Be sure that you are making a wise decision for your budget.

Reasons Not to Get a New Vehicle

1. Did you finish paying off your current car?

Are you willing to set aside another few years to pay off another car, all over again? If paying off your current car was a financial burden, maybe your should hold off on buying that new car you’ve set your sights on. Don’t forget that the money you spend on this new car might just be the beginning. Insurance for newer cars can be higher than rates for older ones, not to mention routine maintenance fees and maybe even expensive parking to protect that new car of yours. What’s worse than getting a new car and finding a big scratch on it a week later? Instead, save up that money that would have gone to a new car for your retirement, a family vacation, or an emergency fund. You never know what life will throw your way.

2. New cars comes with new quirks and issues that you’ll have to get used to.

Maybe your current car has a few, but now that you’re used to them, you know exactly what they are and how to deal with them when it comes up. Of course, if there are issues with your car that have become dangerous, maybe it is time to get something a bit safer. However, if your car is still in decent shape and running strong, then stick with ‘ole reliable. If you’re someone that just needs a vehicle to take you from point A to point B, your current car may be more practical anyway. With fewer bells and whistles, and all the complexities that come with newer cars, there will be fewer maintenance issues and problems along the way.

3. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but cars aren’t financial investments either

They depreciate in value as soon as you drive off with it. By the time you finish paying it off, you can expect to lose around 50 percent of its value during the first 5 years. Compare it to how much it would cost to maintain your current car in the next few years, and see if you should stick with your car instead.

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