New year, new car: four big reasons why Kiwis upgrade
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With the first month of 2019 almost at an end, many of us have committed to some sort of life change, like changing your job or moving town. Or perhaps you’ve decided to replace your car. Knowing when to replace your car is always a hot topic with AA members.
Typically, themes such as a car’s age, mileage and reliability are signs for change, but there are other signs that may crop up that could prompt you and your car to part ways.
Cost of repairs
We don’t always get to decide when to change our cars. If major repairs are needed, it may be uneconomical to fix. For example, the cost to remedy an engine failure could come in at half the vehicle’s value.
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. Make sure you read them carefully to avoid any 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 consider replacing your car.
Investigate the potential costs before repairing 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 about what to do, ask your mechanic for advice.
Lifestyle or life stage changes
Your car needs can also change as you get older and your lifestyle changes. We get a lot of calls from members seeking recommendations for cars that are more suitable for their growing families. More often than not, the focus is on greater passenger capacity, increased safety and reliability.
Similarly, people moving house, particularly between urban and rural areas, often get in touch to discuss the benefits of switching between city hatches and sedans, to more robust utes or SUVs.
In these instances, we encourage people to consider where the bulk of their time is 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 country terrain.
We know safety is a high priority for our members, especially those with families. So, if you’re thinking about how old your car is and questioning its safety, it’s probably time to get an upgrade.
Take a look at some of the latest safety features that are available on models in today’s market and compare them to what your car is equipped with. If you’ve never heard of most of the safety features, it’s a good idea to look into them further to understand their true benefits.
You can also use resources like the latest Used Car Safety Ratings to identify how safe your car is when positioned against other similar makes and models. The Ancap website also provides statistics about the differences between a new car that carries a 5-star safety rating versus one that doesn’t.
Fuel costs are always a concern for members, particularly if their vehicles are older and lacks modern, technologies such as direct injection, variable displacement or start-stop technologies.
For added savings, you may want to consider reducing your fuel consumption by switching to a hybrid or a full electric vehicle. EVs are becoming a better option as more models come into the New Zealand market with increased real world driving range.
Whether you’re changing your car through necessity or choice, it’s important to make the right decision when buying a new car. Don’t rush, pick wisely and invest in the safest car that will meet your budgetary and lifestyle requirements.