Archive for August, 2010
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Unless you own a house, your vehicle is likely your most precious belonging. In 2004, a study from the University of California found that people spent five times the amount of time in their cars than exercising and paying sports. Because your vehicle is such an integral part of your life, it’s important that you ensure it meets your standards for reliability, comfort, price and environmental cleanliness. If you’re concerned that your current car may be coming to the end of the road, it may be time to consider buying a new one that better fits your personal needs. Here are 10 indicators that you should take that step.
- Repair costs exceed Blue Book value
If you’re driving a car that’s more than 10-years-old, has driven more than a hundred thousand miles and now needs a new transmission – which aren’t cheap – it may be time to fork over the cash for a new car. Many people make the mistake of continuously pouring money into their old jalopies because they’re afraid of making the commitment that comes with purchasing a new vehicle.
- The prospect of an impending breakdown
Keep in mind that purchasing a new and more reliable car will save you the trouble of dealing with breakdowns. If your service engine light in constantly on, your transmission is weakening, and you know that your car is on its last legs, don’t wait until after you’ve been stranded alongside a highway to make the leap. With a new and reliable car, you won’t constantly be without your main mode of transportation while paying out the wazoo for repairs.
- Your car’s model is being discontinued
For example, if you drive a Saturn, it may be difficult to find replacement parts in the future because of the uniqueness of the brand. Additionally, consider the reasons why the brand was discontinued – why weren’t people buying its cars? A lack of reliability may have been a factor, and you may incur the same problems that other drivers of the car experienced.
- Your car is fuel-inefficient
Cars that guzzle gas are money pits, especially if they’re used for long daily commutes. What’s more, cars with poor miles per gallon ratios are bad for the environment because they emit larger quantities of CO2 into the environment. Fortunately, both foreign and domestic automakers have designed and released a myriad of vehicle models in varying sizes that are fuel efficient.
- You’re starting a family
It’s difficult to tote around a little one and all of their belongings – stroller, baby bag, bottle, etc. – in the same sports car that you’ve been driving since you were a teenager. Room is a major factor that must be taken into consideration by car buyers who have burgeoning families. Full-size cars, minivans and SUVs usually fit the bill, and as previously mentioned, they come in fuel-efficient models.
- You have the money
If your job is secure, you aren’t living month-to-month, you have money saved for a down payment, and you know you can afford the monthly bill and accompanying insurance, then you’re ready to buy a new ride. Whether you’re upgrading your car for practical purposes or to keep up with the Joneses, you must be financially prepared for the commitment that comes with such a big purchase.
- You have good credit
In order to buy a car, you’ll have to take out a loan – unless you pay for it with cash. Your credit affects your ability to receive a loan, the amount you’re given and the interest rate. If you have a good credit score, you’re more likely to qualify for larger loans and lower interest rates. Paying lower interest rates means that you’ll save money long-term.
- The deal is too sweet to pass up
There are almost always good deals to be had when car shopping, especially if you pick the right time to visit the lot. Experts advise car shoppers to look for deals at the end of the month, when dealers are looking to make their quotas, and at the end of the year, when dealers are attempting to make room for new models. Also, if you visit the lot during the beginning of the week or on a rainy day when no other potential customers are present, you receive more personal attention from the salesman and thus you’ll be more likely to negotiate until the price is right.
- Your car is an aesthetic disaster
Is your bumper half-detached from your car? Have you scrounged around the junkyard for new parts? Do unsightly dents and scratches adorn the side of your car? Have people pointed and laughed as you drove by? If so, it may be time to consider upgrading to a newer model. Sleeker and more appealing cars come out each year, and even the least expensive ones are visually attractive.
- Your car has a cassette deck
It may seem minor, but your car having a cassette deck is indicative of a greater issue – you’re missing out on the creature comforts included in modern vehicles. Recent car options range from iPod connectivity to power settings that enable drivers to save their mirror and seat adjustments. Each option will make your long daily commutes a bit more bearable.