Buying a new car can be a lot like buying a new smartphone: sometimes, your life may change in sudden, dramatic ways that make the case for a new model easier to argue.
Much like you might want a new handset if you need a better phone camera for your new photography hobby, so you might feel drawn towards a car purchase if you travel long distances to indulge that hobby, and therefore now desire a car that is more fuel-efficient than your existing one.
However, are there ever clear-cut “right” and “wrong” times to replace a car? Your own situation may be much more nuanced than this – although, if it ticks any of the following boxes, you should probably start thinking carefully about a new car purchase.
Does your current car still support the latest technology?
Of course, if you bought your car a while ago, it might not comprise the most modern materials – but that can matter surprisingly little these days. Modern cars are built to last – and even ageing models can continue to support up-to-date software.
Car Guide points out that, while the average age of cars on the road was 6.7 years back in 1994, this number had increased to 8.2 years by 2018. This could be attributed largely to in-car systems like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which are compatible with various car models.
Is your existing car’s warranty still in place?
Traditionally, people would tend to buy a car only once every three years, as this was usually the length of time for which the vehicle’s warranty would be valid. However, in some instances, car warranties can now remain usable for up to seven years after the vehicle was purchased.
In other instances, exactly how long the warranty stays valid depends not on the number of years since the car purchase, but instead on how much mileage the car has clocked up.
Do you feel drawn towards a particular car currently on the market?
If so, this would be an obvious reason for you to seriously contemplate upgrading your car – especially if the one you are eyeing is packed with advanced technology your current vehicle could never support. However, you should tread carefully if the new car has only just been released.
That’s because, sadly, despite how diligently manufacturers assemble their cars, “it’s not unheard of for the first few cars to come off a new production line to suffer from teething problems, which are then resolved after a few months”, according to an article by Carbuyer.
Is your budget for a replacement car looking tight right now?
Even if this is indeed the case, it wouldn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of you buying that car. You could opt to purchase it in the winter, when demand for cars is lower, as the Money Advice Service suggests – or approach a broker like CarFinanceGenie that could help you to finance a car purchase without even needing to pay a deposit.
Bear factors like the above in mind, and you may find that it’s easier than you initially imagine to justify that upgrade to a new car model. Every motorist’s situation is different, so think carefully!