Is it time to buy a new car?
At Cartelligent we’re somewhat obsessed with new cars so it’s no surprise that we often think they’re a good idea. That said, there are times when a new vehicle becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. If your current car is becoming unreliable, no longer fits with your lifestyle or doesn't meet the needs of your family, it can make sense to explore upgrading to a new vehicle.
There are a number of reasons why a new vehicle can be a good decision. We'll discuss each of these in more depth below:
Your lease is maturing.
If the lease on your current vehicle is maturing you have a few options: buy out the lease, buy or lease a new vehicle, or return the vehicle without replacing it. (See Preparing to turn in your leased car.)
A number of brands have specials available to make leasing attractive and to retain existing lessees. Many Cartelligent clients decide that leasing is a great way to consistently drive a newer car whether they continue to upgrade their current model or take advantage of the opportunity leasing provides to try new brands for a shorter period of time. (See Which brands to people lease or buy?)
Your current vehicle is becoming unreliable.
Cars are lasting longer these days and, when they are maintained regularly, many vehicles continue to run well past 100,000 miles. That said, even well maintained cars are likely to need major repairs as they grow older. If you currently own an older vehicle these are the questions you should ask yourself:
- Is it better for your cash flow to have a fixed car payment with no possibility of large repair payments, or would you prefer to have no fixed payments and pay for repairs as they occur?
- In the event that your car stops running, are you likely to be someplace safe and well-lit where you can wait for help to come?
- Will your personal or professional responsibilities allow for a disruption in the event of an unforeseen mechinical problem?
A single male with available funds may be comfortable with the possibility of a large repair bill and a long wait by the side of the road, while a couple with children may not be willing to take the chance of stranding their family in the event of a breakdown.
Your current vehicle is no longer drivable.
If your car has been damaged in an accident or requires major mechanical repairs, it can make financial sense to put the money into a new vehicle rather than repairing the current vehicle. In the case of an accident, your insurance company will be responsible for the decision to repair or replace the vehicle.
If your vehicle is not drivable due to mechanical issues, it's a good idea to determine the cost of the repair vs. how much the repair will increase the vehicle’s value. If the repair will not pay for itself by raising the car’s value, it can be more practical to put the money into a new car.
You want a car with better mileage.
Today’s fuel-efficient vehicles can easily save you hundreds at the pump each year. Clean diesel cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles can achieve even greater fuel-efficiency although they may also come with a higher sticker price. (See The Beginner's Guide to Electric Vehicles and Why you should conside clean diesel.)
You can estimate your current fuel economy at fueleconomy.gov. If you drive 12,000 miles per yearmonth, each 5 mpg improvement over your current vehicle will save approximately 8 gallons of fuel per month. Multiply this by the current cost of gas and you can easily estimate how much money the new car can save you each month.
Additionally, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids can also take time off your commute by allowing you access to the carpool lane. For many, this time savings alone can justify the purchase of a new vehicle. (See Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to get you in the carpool lane.)
You want to take advantage of the latest safety features.
Many new cars have features available that seemed impossible only a decade ago. From head up displays to crash prevention systems to integrated app suites, technology is making cars safer and more enjoyable to drive. (See Should your next car have a crash prevention system? and Should your next car have Head-Up Display?)
Today’s safety features not only mitigate the damage in the case of an accident, they can actively work to prevent accidents from happening. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calculates that vehicles with adaptive headlights have 10% fewer accidents while forward collision warning systems with active braking can result in 14% fewer accidents.
You’re having a new baby.
From the sleepless nights to the endless diapers, there’s nothing quite as life-altering as a new baby. Suddenly that city car or convertible that made so much sense for a single lifestyle is cumbersome to pull a car seat out of and doesn’t have the cargo space for those trips to Costco.
The current batch of sport wagons and crossover vehicles can be a fantastic choice for new parents, offering a larger back seat with plenty of storage space and a smooth car-like drive. Additionally, choosing a new vehicle allows you to equip your car with the latest safety features to keep your new family safe. (See How to choose the right car for your new baby.)
You need a larger car to accommodate your lifestyle.
Whether your lifestyle requires carpools, frequent road trips or you just need room for a lot of stuff, there are times when it makes sense to upgrade to a larger vehicle.
Minivans and SUVs can be ideal for those looking for additional capacity. Extras like captain’s chairs and rear entertainment are excellent for multiple children while Pandora radio can make getting to your next vacation far more enjoyable. (See Top-Selling Family Vehicles.)
You need a new car for your teenage driver or college student.
Like many parents, you may reach a point where it makes sense to invest in a safe, reliable and economical vehicle for your young driver.
Sedans and hatchbacks can be a great choice offering the latest safety features, low fuel costs and the ability to park in compact campus parking spaces. (For a list of our top-selling vehicles under $25,000 see What's the best car choice for your college freshman?)
You’re moving to a new environment.
Your FIAT 500e may have been the perfect car for your Berkeley lifestyle, but your new home in Half Moon Bay has a half-mile dirt road driveway you’ll need to traverse every day. Sometimes a change in house or job is so radically different that a new car is the best option.
In this case, it can help to think critically about how your lifestyle has changed and what features you will need in your new car to accommodate those changes. Your Cartelligent agent can help you prioritize these and make the best decision for your new surroundings.
You’re ready for an image upgrade.
If you’re still driving the Honda Civic your parents bought you even though you’re a rising financial analyst, a new vehicle can be essential for your image. In many professions a new car can be a necessity, indicating that you have the confidence and skills required to succeed. (See Top-Selling Luxury Vehicles.)
While a new Ferrari or Lamborghini may still be beyond your means, brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz can signal success without a monthly payment that dwarfs your mortgage. Leasing can be a good option in these circumstances, allowing you to consistently drive a newer vehicle for a lower payment than financing. (See The Beginner's Guide to Leasing.)
No matter what your reason is for buying or leasing a new car, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.