Your old car breaks down and leaves you stranded on the side of the road. It’s a scenario that’s not only inconvenient but potentially dangerous and definitely expensive. It’s not the first time it’s happened either and now you’re seriously considering whether it’s worth pouring any more cash into this bottomless money pit on four wheels.
You may have been thinking about buying a new car for a while, but is it the right time, and can you really afford it? Only you will know the answers to these questions, but here are the arguments for both options to help you decide.
Reasons to fix it up
There may be some circumstances in which it’s probably better to keep your old car running and continue fixing it when it breaks down. For one thing, if you don’t have a lot of cash to throw around, continuing to repair your old car will almost always be cheaper than buying a new car.
Even if it needs a new motor or transmission at some stage, it still won’t set you back as much as purchasing a new vehicle. And remember, if you settle for buying used rather than new to save some money, you may just be inheriting a whole new set of problems to repair.
A new car will not only come with sizable repayments to meet every month, but the registration and insurance costs will also be higher than in your old car. And if it requires regular logbook servicing to retain the warranty, as most new cars do, that’s going to cost you a pretty penny as well.
So if you need more time to save for a new car, hanging on to your old clunker in the meantime may be the most prudent choice. After all, it gets you from A to B (well, most of the time) and maybe that grinding noise is nothing too serious.
Reasons to trade it in
Even if you aren’t flush with cash, there can also be strong arguments for trading in your old car and buying a new one.
Your trade-in value is one of them. The longer you wait, the older your car becomes, and the less you will get for it as a trade-in. The trick is to find the right car loan and negotiate a reasonable price for your car before it has too many miles on the clock.
Another argument for getting rid of your old clunker is the safety features offered by a new car. If your family uses your car as well, you won’t have to worry about whether the brakes are okay or if your partner will get stranded somewhere at night. Your new car warranty will cover any problems and many now even include free roadside assist.
A further argument for trading up to a new car is the fact that it will add ten years to your life. No more stressing about expensive repairs or being too embarrassed to park it at work. You’ll be proud to be seen in your brand new acquisition and your partner will love you forever.
A possible compromise
If after weighing up the pros and cons, you still can’t justify the expense of a new car, there is a possible compromise that could see you through in the meantime.
According to Marc Shuman of Shuman Legal, maintaining your old car will extend its life and reduce the likelihood of breakdowns. This involves having it regularly serviced as you would a new car and getting your mechanic to point out and fix likely problems before they have a chance to get worse.
You won’t have the expense of a dealership service, where only original parts are used and if you find a trusted local mechanic, they can help keep you on the road until such time as you can afford to trade up.
Normal servicing should include the following:
- Grease and oil changes.
- The checking of brakes and suspension.
- Topping up all fluids.
- Checking the hoses and belts.
- Checking the safety features.
- Checking and replacing worn tires.
Sooner or later though, you will have to make the move to a new car, as even a well cared for vehicle will eventually turn up its tires. So it’s worth remembering that with the number of imports now available in this country, new cars are becoming more affordable every day.
So if you shop around for a quality vehicle that’s available on low-interest terms, is economical to run, and will cater to your family’s needs, you may just be pleasantly surprised at how accessible a new car can be.
And as your old clunker is driven away by the dealer to an unknown fate, you might only shed a very small tear over the times that you’ve shared together