Old Car vs New Car: Should You Buy a New Car or Keep the Old One?

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Marc Skirvin

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Has your beloved car seen better days? Are you spending most of your paycheck just keeping it going? The average American adult will spend about $750 per year on maintenance for their cars, but older cars may need even more care.

If you’re noticing that the repair bills keep piling up, you may want to invest in a new car. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of old car vs new car and help you decide.

We’ll also give you some tips on junking your old car.

What’s Your Mileage?

If you’re wondering, “Should I buy a new car or keep my old one,” take a look at your odometer. If your car has more than 150,000 miles on it, you might want to junk it and get a new one.

Many cars fall apart after they hit the 100,000 mile mark, and the cost of repairs is outrageous. If you need to get a new engine, you’re looking at around $2,000 right there. A new transmission will be at least $1,800.

If you add up all of the repairs, you will have the deposit for a new or used car. Is it worth it to keep putting money into your car? Or should you go ahead and invest in a new one?

Are you driving a car that’s unsafe? No matter what the mileage, you should never drive a car that’s not inspected. If you’ve got rust underneath your vehicle, that could lead to a snapped brake line.

Overall, if you think your car is a junker, you’re probably right.

The 50-50 Rule

A good rule of thumb when you’re driving an old car is the 50-50 rule. If your repairs total more than 50% of the value of the car itself, it’s time to find a new vehicle. You don’t want to “throw good money after bad,” meaning you have to cut bait at some point and invest in a newer vehicle.

If the car is a classic, of course, it’s worth investing in. But we’re talking about your average car that just keeps breaking down. If it’s a sentimental car for you, maybe you can keep it on your property instead of junking it.

But if it’s just an average car, you’re probably tired of all the repairs. With the money you’d save on repairs, you can find a good used car and replace the tires right away. You could winterize it, wax it, and be good to go.

A newer car would also have more safety features and could be much better on gas. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a newer car, you might be surprised at how much the technology has progressed.

You can find cars now that have parking assistance technology, quick-deploy air bags, and proximity sensors. Many have rear cameras and allow you to take telephone calls through the dashboard of the vehicle.

Finding a Good Used Car

If you’re looking for a good used car, you should probably skip the internet. There is a wide range of scams out there, and you don’t want to get caught up in anything underhanded.

Buying from a certified dealer is a good first step because you know that their cars are in good repair. Do some research online and don’t fall in love with the first car that they show you.

Before you pick a car dealer, however, look them up on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Do they have a history of complaints? What’s their grade? Don’t go to any dealer with a grade below an “A.”

Ask friends and family who they’ve bought used cars from, and who they’ve used to junk their old ones. You should get a few promising leads and you can start looking around.

Even if you’re in a hurry to buy a car, watch out for sellers who want a deposit to reserve the car. They could disappear, taking your money with them.

In general, try to avoid private sellers unless they come highly recommended by a friend or family member.

Should I Lease or Buy?

You may be so tired of driving an old car that you would like to get a brand new one. In that case, leasing can be a great option. You’ll have a monthly fee, but every three years you’ll be given a brand new car.

You’ll never have to deal with repairs because you’ll be driving a new car. If anything were to go wrong, the dealership would repair it immediately – or give you a new car.

If you own a car, it’s going to depreciate every year. You’ll own it at a certain point, so you won’t have a monthly payment. But you will be on the hook for all the repairs.

It’s up to you: some people just prefer to own their cars outright. Leasing a car can be useful, however, if you want to try out a new make or model. Ask the leasing office if you can start with a lower-priced car and trade up after six months.

The Old Car vs New Car Debate

The old car vs new car debate will never end. Some people just prefer to drive a car they’re comfortable with and would never think of getting a new one.

If you’re thinking of buying a new or used car, make sure you know what kind of car you would like. You can test drive different vehicles, but once you start driving them regularly it’s a whole different experience.

See if you can take the car for an extended test drive. Many dealerships will let you borrow a car for a week or two, just so you can see if you like it.

We recommend regular oil changes and air filter changes to extend the life of your car. We also offer cash for a wide range of used vehicles, even if they’re totaled. Take a minute and give us a call, or enter your zip code to get started!

We’re looking forward to buying your junk, high-end, or totaled cars!

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About the Author

Picture of Marc

Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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