When is it Time to Buy a ‘Newer’ Car?

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Cars can be so new that the mileage is under 100.  It has a new car smell.  And you are the first name ever on the title.  If that is the new you are looking for be prepared to assume a huge amount of depreciation on the vehicle in a very short time.

What is a ‘new’ car?  When I talk about a ‘new’ car I mean new to you.  The mileage in the car is probably over 5 digits, not under 3.  It has a smell, but not a new car smell.  Probably just smells like the previous owner until you buy some strong air freshener.  And you are not the first title signature.

Photo Been Waiting Here a Long time Now by David Masters

Bradford Hackley has an article on the Associated Content Website called, Five Signs It’s Time to Buy a New Car.

5 Ways To Know When To Buy A New Car

People on the street are laughing at you

That cloud of black smoke every time you accelerate

It costs HOW much to fuel up?

That annoying “Check Engine” light

Your stereo is on its last leg

An interesting read, well written, catchy, but mostly bad advice.

To answer the “when is it time to buy a new car” question I prefer something with a little more serious content and less witty penmanship. 

Now here is someone who has given this question some thought – Ron Blue.  He discusses the new car question in chapter chapter 11 of

Taming the Money Monster

Here is what he has to say in terms of when to buy a new car:

Over the years, I’ve also evaluated other people’s car-buying options, exploring all the opportunities, and in every case I had to conclude that the cheapest car they could own was the car they presently had.

You might be at the point where you are getting burned every month with repairs.  But, likely those repairs are not consistently costing more than a new payment would cost (assuming you do not have the cash).

Two times when you really, really, really should buy a newer car:

  1. The cost to repair the vehicle exceeds that value of the vehicle.  Do not put $1,000 into a vehicle that is only worth $500.  Add the $1,000 towards buying an another older car.
  2. The cost of repairs over several months (3-6) is consistently costing in excess of $300 per month. 

Ron Blue mentions three reasons for buying a newer car:

There are, however, three legitimate reasons for replacing a car, and they have to do with time, repairs, and safety.

As a final thought, when it comes to deciding to replace a car, and especially to purchasing a new car, our emotions spike, our blood pumps, and we often end up getting (1) a car sooner than necessary (2) a car more expensive than necessary.  So I just wanted to leave you with one more quote from Blue.  It’s really nonsensical to even mention, but a good solid reminder when it comes to buying cars.

There’s only one real reason people should buy cars, and that’s to provide transportation. … The point is that all the “bells and whistles” that go along with cars are nice but certainly not necessary.