time to trade in your carWe often have emotional attachments to our cars. Like your first love, you’ll never forget your first set of wheels! You may have invested quite a bit of money in your car over time as well, making it difficult to let that go and spend more money on a newer model. Yet the time comes when it’s better to trade your car in for something new, for a variety of reasons. If you fit into any of the following categories, it may be time to say goodbye and start thinking about a trade-in or sale.

1. Repairs are becoming more frequent.

It’s natural that older cars will start requiring a bit more repair work to keep them in top shape. But if it seems like you’re making weekly trips to the mechanic’s, it may be time to start thinking about investing all that money in something new. Constant repairs are a sign of a car breaking down, and if a car is simply old there’s not much you can do about it. Even the best car will hit its breaking point eventually. Repairs don’t always guarantee that another breakdown won’t take place down the line.

2. There are signs of rust.

Any sign of rust in the car is a clear sign that it may be time to start thinking about trading it in. Rust won’t go away with a basic cleaning. It can spread quite quickly, compromising your car’s structural integrity and efficiency. If you see any signs of rust, take your car in for a thorough check-up to see if there are any other impending problems. What looks like a small spot could actually mask a more widespread problem under the paint.

3. You’re blowing money on fuel.

Every year, cars get increasingly efficient. If you’re driving a model from 10 or even 5 years ago, chances are that you’re paying more money on fuel than you would with a newer vehicle. Learn more by reading reviews about the mileage of current models in comparison to your old clunker, and see if you could be saving money by investing in a new car.

4. The safety equipment is out of date.

In addition to being more efficient, new cars are also safer than models in the past. Modern safety equipment is increasingly advanced, with cameras and sensors to prevent collisions. Older vehicles may not have the standard side airbags, electronic stability control, or tire-pressure monitors that you would see in most new cars.

5. It no longer fits your lifestyle.

Perhaps you’re just tired of your car. If you’ve driven it for the better part of a decade and it’s always breaking down at the worst times, it may be time to bid it adieu. Perhaps you’ve landed a new job with a higher salary and you’re ready for an upgrade, or maybe you’ve started a family and need something with more space. In any event, if your car no longer fits your lifestyle that’s reason enough for a trade-in.

A general rule is that if the cost of repairs is higher than the value of the vehicle, it’s time to trade it in for something new. It’s hard to say goodbye, but you may end up with something much more suitable for both your wallet and lifestyle.

How long on average do you keep a car before trading it in?

Image Source: Danilo Prates/Wikimedia Commons

About Robert Farrington

Robert Farrington has written 77 articles on this site..

Robert Farrington is the founder and editor of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to young adult and college student finances.

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