Should You Replace Your Car?

If you already own a car and want to replace it with a new car or a newer pre-owned model, first consider:

  • replace my car Cost: The ownership costs associated with buying a new or pre-owned car may be high, but keep in mind that most cars don’t need major repairs until after their fifth year of operation. If you’re driving a car that’s more than five years old, you may save money in the long run by buying a newer car now. Many, though not all, newer cars are more fuel-efficient than older cars, which will save you money on gas.
  • Financing: Though it’s ideal to pay cash for a car, most people won’t. Make certain you can afford the payments and that your budget can easily absorb the extra costs associated with a newer vehicle.
  • Safety: New cars have the newest and most advanced safety features. For instance, though all cars manufactured over the past 10 years include front airbags, only newer-model cars have side-curtain airbags, which provide extra protection during side-impact collisions. Advanced safety features available only on new cars include radar-controlled collision warning systems and tire-pressure monitoring.
  • Insurance: If you decide to finance your car, you’ll have to get full coverage car insurance and it will be more expensive that what you were spending on your older vehicle. After all, a new car costs more to replace than an older one.
  • Reliability: New cars are more reliable and require fewer repairs than older cars. They’re sometimes backed by warranties, which typically cover major repairs, if any, made during the first three years or so of the car’s operation. Some new-car warranties offer protection against major repairs for up to 10 years.

Should You Trade in Your Current Car?

Most new and pre-owned car dealerships let you trade in your current car in exchange for credit applied to the purchase price of another car. Pre-owned cars have a trade-in value based on their make (brand), model,age, mileage, and other factors. The trade-in value is usually:

  • Lower than the price you might be able to get by selling the car to a private party.
  • Higher than the price you’d get by selling the car to a dealer without trading it in for another vehicle.

If you’re selling or trading in your car, you’ll likely nab the highest price by selling to a private party. Though trading it in might get you a lower price, it’s often easier and quicker than selling to a private party. To gauge your car’s trade-in value, consult Kelley Blue Book (, Edmund’s (, or NADA Guides (

Photo by Jorge Franganillo

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1091 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

Ron is the founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal. He has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a partner in a national building materials company.

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