For dads, a car is more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B. It’s a tool that helps us stay connected to our families, transport gear for weekend camping trips and get the kids to soccer practice on time. So when it’s time for a new car, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Here are four questions you should ask yourself before making the leap.
1) How much does your current car cost to maintain?
If you’re shelling out more money each month for repairs and maintenance than you are paying on your car payment, it might be time for an upgrade. A new car will likely come with a warranty that will cover unexpected repairs, giving you some peace of mind on the road.
Current monthly expenses on your vehicle can give you a good idea of what to expect when budgeting for a new car. In addition to your payment, factor in things like insurance, gas and routine maintenance. By understanding these costs upfront, you can better prepare for the financial reality of owning a new vehicle.
2) What is your current car’s resale value?
Even if your car is running well, it may not be worth much on the open market. If you’re upside down on your loan – meaning you owe more than the car is currently worth – it may make more sense to stay put until you’ve built up some equity. On the other hand, if your car’s resale value is high and you have little or no debt remaining on the vehicle, now might be a good time to sell.
You can research your car’s resale value by asking a trusted automotive dealer for their opinion. They’ll be able to give you an estimate based on recent sales in your area as well as the current condition of your vehicle.
3) Is your current car no longer meeting your needs?
Families grow and change over time, and our cars should be able to adapt along with us. For example, if you’ve recently had a baby, you might need a larger vehicle with more passenger and storage space. Or, if you’ve started biking to work, you may want to look for a car with a bike rack or built-in storage for your gear. It’s important to consider how your current car fits (or doesn’t fit) into your lifestyle when making the decision to buy new. If it just isn’t cutting it anymore, an upgrade may be in order.
4) Are you due for an upgrade?
Even if your car is still running well and meeting your needs, there may come a time when you’re simply ready for something new, like a small jaguar. For example, if you’ve been driving the same vehicle for more than a few years, you might be itching for a change. Or maybe you’ve had your eye on a certain model or make, and it’s finally within reach.
If you’re due for an upgrade, don’t let concerns about money hold you back. There are plenty of options out there for financing a new car, from traditional loans to lease-to-own programs. Do your research to find the best fit for your budget and lifestyle.
Making the decision to buy a new car is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. By asking yourself these four questions, you can get a better sense of whether now is the right time for an upgrade. And if you’re still not sure, there’s no harm in taking a test drive or two – you might just find your perfect match.