6 Signs That It May Be Time to Put the Family Car out to Pasture
For some of us, hanging on to our car for as long as possible makes simple economic sense. Rather than taking on a new car payment, many of us will run our old heaps into the ground. Others find that they are so addicted to their Corvette that they can’t trade it in, no matter how drastically their lifestyle has changed. If you’ve even briefly entertained the thought of getting rid of your car, here are five ways to know when it’s really time:
1.Your Lifestyle Has Changed
Many people find that the vehicle they purchased three years ago no longer fits their lifestyle. If you purchased a two-seater and now have a set of triplets, it’s time to look for something a bit more family-friendly. If you bought a pickup truck to use on the farm and have moved to the city, it’s time to trade it in for a car that’s easier on gas. Look at your vehicle and your lifestyle: if your choice of vehicle isn’t in par with the current way that you’re living, it’s time to hit the showroom floor.
2.Check Your Bank Account
Financial circumstances have been changing for millions of people in America over the last few years. Sit down and calculate the total expenses involved in keeping your current vehicle. Factor in your monthly payment, insurance premiums, maintenance prices, and cost of gas. If your financial standing has changed, you may be stretching yourself too thin with your current car.
3.You Have to Love It
Let’s be honest: if you don’t love your car, it’s going to pain you to make that payment every month. What you were in love with for the first few months may now be an albatross around your neck. If the mere thought of driving your car one more mile makes you seethe in anger, it’s time to start shopping for something new.
4.Your Mechanic Knows Your First Name
If your vehicle is out of warranty and it has been in the shop more often than it’s been on the road, it’s time to get something new. It’s normal to expect cars to need repairs throughout their lives; it’s not normal to have your car in the shop for something new every other month. If your vehicle has reached the point that you’re paying far more to fix it then you’ll ever recoup by selling it, it has lived its life; do it a favor and put it out to pasture.
5.You’ve Got Big Trouble Ahead
If you notice blue smoke spewing from your tailpipe or a revving engine when you aren’t depressing the accelerator, your vehicle is getting ready to meet its end. Any of these signs preclude big trouble! If your car is out of warranty, is more than five years old, or is paid off, then the amount you will pay to replace the engine or transmission may simply not be worth it. You’ll have to run the numbers on your own, comparing the cost versus the value of your vehicle, but these problems typically mean that it is time to go car shopping.
6. You Want Better Safety Features
What are your priorities, now that you have kids? If you bought a car during your pre-kids era that was simply based on affordability or looks, but cut corners on safety features, then it is time to put that car out to pasture. Nothing could be more important than keeping your kids safe while you’re on the road. This is especially the case if you have a teenage driver, or will in the next couple of years. If your current car has below-average crash-test ratings, no anti-lock braking system, or doesn’t have adjustable shoulder seat belts, look into retiring your vehicle and getting another.
Don’t hang on to your car longer than you should. If your lifestyle has changed, your car is in the shop frequently, or you are seeing the signs of major trouble, it’s time to get yourself into a different vehicle. While you may not want to pick up a monthly car payment, your sanity and safety will be well worth the money you spend.
Paul Reisinger is an auto-enthusiast and freelance writer, who occasionally blogs for a car site about the market value of used cars.
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