Buyers' Guide: Signs you need a new car
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AA Motoring outlines the signs you need a new car
Knowing when to change your car is always a hot discussion topic among our AA members. Stories vary and individual situations can get complex.
Typically, its things such as a car’s age, mileage and reliability that we associate with the need for a change, but other signs may crop up, suggesting that it’s a good time for you and your car to part ways.
Cost of repairs
We don’t always get to decide when to change our vehicles. If major repairs are needed, they can often be uneconomical to fix. For example, the cost to remedy an engine failure can come in at half the vehicle’s financial worth.
Often your mechanic will use your Warrant of Fitness (WoF) sheet or servicing invoices to include notes about potential issues to look out for, so don’t throw these away as soon as you’ve left the workshop.
Read them carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises, as they’ll warn you about potential issues that are likely to occur in the future. If you’ve kept on top on your car’s servicing and are still faced with unexpected repairs, it may be an opportune time to seriously think about replacing your vehicle. Investigate the potential costs before you decide to go ahead with fixing the problem and, even if it’s manageable, think carefully about whether this could be the start of a number of repairs as costs will quickly accumulate.
If you’re unsure what decision to make, always ask your mechanic for advice.
Some drivers regularly upgrade their vehicle to avoid repair costs and devaluation, opting for benefits received when they buy brand new. These benefits include longer WoF and maintenance intervals, and reduced registration costs due to added safety features.
Over time, lifestyle changes may determine the car that you need.
We get lots of calls from members seeking recommendations for cars that are more suitable for their growing families — more often than not, with a focus on greater passenger capacity, increased safety and reliability.
Similarly people moving home, particularly between urban and rural environments, want to discuss the benefits of switching between city hatches and sedans, and more robust vehicles such as utes or SUVs.
We encourage these people to consider the bulk of their time that’ll be spent behind the wheel.
Someone moving to the country may think they need an SUV, but the reality may be that they will be commuting on the main highway to work more often than they’ll be heading out on the country terrain.
We know safety is a high priority for our members, especially those with families. If you’re thinking about how old your car is and questioning its safety, it’s probably time to get an upgrade.
Look at the latest safety features that are available on models in today’s market and compare them to what your car is equipped with. You can use resources such as the latest Used Car Safety Ratings to identify how safe your car is when positioned against other similar makes and models, and the ANCAP website provides well-informed stats about the differences between a new car that carries a 5-star safety rating versus one that doesn’t.
Whether you’re changing your car through choice or not, it’s important to ensure you’re making the right decision when buying a new car. Don’t rush, pick wisely and invest in the safest car that is going to meet your budgetary and lifestyle requirements.