How Often Should You Buy A New Car?

woman in new car

If you’ve been driving around in your current vehicle for a while now, then you might be wondering if it’s about time that you get yourself something new.

Or maybe you’ve got your eye on that new electric Mustang and can see yourself tearing up the town behind the wheel of one of those.

Not sure though if you really should be getting a new ride or if it’s just new car envy? Is it time for you to get rid of that old car, or should you wait a bit longer? Let us help you answer those questions.

5 Tips For Deciding If You Need A New Car

The lure of a shiny new automobile sitting your driveway, giving you that new car smell, and making you the envy of neighbors and co-workers is a strong aphrodisiac to overcome.

But trust me – once you have to start making those payments on that new ride, the novelty will wear off and you may even be left with some regret.

The truth about buying a new car is that it should be all about need and not about desire. And it definitely should’t be about keeping up with the neighbors, friends, co-workers, or family members.

There’s really just one question to ask yourself here — is there really anything wrong with your current vehicle, and will you gain any benefits from a new automobile?

1. How will it affect your monthly budget?

Often the easiest way to quash that new-car envy is to think about the financials. Unless you are paying in full for the vehicle up front, the new automobile will come with a car payment.

Maybe you already have a car payment. If so, will the new car payment increase what you’re currently paying each month?

New cars also often result in an increase for your auto insurance. Definitely get a quote for that before you consider signing the papers for a new ride.

Do you live in a state, like Nevada, that taxes cars like property when you get (and renew) your auto registration each year? If so, the cost may be significant compared to your current vehicle.

Do you need to protect your credit score, such as in preparation for getting a mortgage? Applying for an auto loan is a hard pull on your credit report, which can lower your credit score.

The new debt also hurts your debt to available credit ratio, which can ding your score.

With an auto loan, you’re going to be “upside down” on it from the start since the automobile starts depreciating in value as soon as you drive it off the lot. This might not be a big deal now, but if you fall on hard times in the future you’ll have a difficult time selling the vehicle.

Did you know that new cars lose 46% of value in the first three years to depreciation?

2. Does the new vehicle offer more or better safety features?

If getting yourself a new car means that you will be driving a vehicle with more safety features, or better safety features, then it is a good decision for you (assuming that you can afford it).

We’re all just basically driving around in giant metal death traps, not knowing how good behind the wheel our fellow are, so why not stack the deck in our favor?

A good example of when this makes sense is if your current vehicle has front airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger, but no door airbags that protect you from side impact.

In general, it’s a good idea to drive the safest automobile that you can comfortably afford.

3. Do You Need More Tech Features?

If you are currently driving a much older vehicle, then you might just be interested in getting your hands on some of those newer tech features.

For instance, if you want to be able to use your cellphone hands-free in the car thanks to Bluetooth in the vehicle. Or, you want to stream your Spotify playlist from your phone to the car’s stereo system.

You may also be interested in things like the GPS dashboard that most new vehicles have these days.

New cars these days even have simple upgrade features, like heated steering wheels, that used to only be available on luxury models.

4. Are repair bills on your current car high?

If you are having problems with your current vehicle that are resulting in expensive auto repair bills, then it probably makes sense to get a new car.

In fact, even if you end up with a car payment you may discover that you end spending the same average amount each month.

So, do the math here and see what makes sense.

5. Does it no longer fit your lifestyle?

Let’s say that you’ve been driving a coupe for the last three years and you’re thinking about getting a new car.

Did something in your life change that makes the coupe no longer an ideal vehicle for you?

Some things that might have changed include:

  • You got new kids or are expecting some
  • You need more cargo space for your job or hobbies (drum player)
  • You moved to a different climate, i.e. from hot to cold and need to get rid of the convertible
  • You changed jobs/hobbies and no longer need as much space as your current vehicle has
  • Your older kids moved out and now your vehicle is too big

Those are just a few examples of when your lifestyle change can cause a need for a new vehicle.

Summary

Getting a new car is a big decision, and one that you should take the time to consider carefully.

Hopefully those tips help you to decide if you really need a new car right now or not. And remember, it’s financially better to get a slightly used vehicle since depreciation hits new automobiles so hard.

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