by Lori Straus
You’ve held onto your car for over a decade. It’s driven you to high school and your first job. It was the vehicle of choice for your post-graduate road trip. It maybe even drove your wife or a close friend to the hospital to give birth. But that voice inside your head is nagging you: “Time to visit a dealership.” How do you know when to purchase a new vehicle? We’ll cover the basics in this blog post.
If your car hasn’t undergone a safety inspection in a long time, take it to your mechanic. The cost shouldn’t set you back too much. If your mechanic can certify your car safe to drive, congratulations! You can keep using it. If your vehicle doesn’t pass its safety tests, then you shouldn’t be driving it either.
However, if you’re holding your car together with duct tape, or you can see the asphalt underneath your feet, buy a new car.
Your Family Is Growing
Perhaps you’re expecting another child, or a parent is moving back in with the family. Either way, changes in the size of your family can necessitate a new vehicle. If this is the case with you, be clear on what you need from your vehicle before you shop.
For example, babies will require different car seats as they grow. You’ll want a vehicle that can easily accommodate child seats, including making it easy for you to remove and install them often.
Or perhaps an elderly parent is moving in with the family. If you need a new vehicle in this situation, make sure your new car is easy to climb in to and out of. Ultimately, you want a vehicle that supports your elderly family member’s independence.
Holding onto a vehicle for a number of years benefits the environment, your wallet, and maybe even your heart. (We know many a driver fall in love with their cars. We understand!)
As cars age, they require more maintenance and repairs. However, you will reach a point where the cost of repairs nears or even surpasses the monthly costs of a new vehicle that is within your budget.
If maintenance and upkeep costs outweigh the costs of a new one even though your current car is still safe to drive, it makes financial sense to buy a new vehicle now.
If you’re considering aftermarket parts, for example, an infotainment system, improved connectivity, or more safety features, purchasing a new vehicle might be a better option.
Calculate how much these upgrades will cost you and compare that figure against the price of a new vehicle. Even purchasing a used car that is three to five years old and comes with some of these upgrades might be kinder to your wallet in the long run.
Of course, if we’re only talking a few thousand dollars for upgrades, and your car is only six or seven years old, then installing the aftermarket parts is likely your cheaper option.
Next Steps in Buying a New Car
If it’s been a while since you’ve purchased a new vehicle, have a look at our blog. We offer a host of car-buying tips, a glossary of automotive terms for car buyers, explain the pros and cons of private sales, how to get the most for your trade-in, and much, much more. Another resource we highly recommend is the website of the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. They regulate the auto retail industry in Ontario.
In short, buying a new car comes down to this: list your needs and wants, confirm your budget, collect recommendations, and do your research. Buying a new car is a major household purchase, but with some care and patience, you’ll find the right vehicle for you at this stage in your life.