Driving a brand new vehicle off an auto dealer's lot is an exhilarating feeling. However, it can be difficult to determine when the time is right to make the new-car commitment. Before signing on the dotted line, consider several factors that can help you determine if it makes sense to buy a new car.
Availability of Incentives
You might be tempted to hang on to your current vehicle, especially if you believe you can squeeze out another year or two of dependable service. However, if the new-car market is such that manufacturers or dealers are offering attractive incentives to move cars off the lot, it might be best to take action now. Factory rebates and zero-percent financing can significantly reduce the cost of a new car, and there is no guarantee these deals will be available in a year or two when your current vehicle starts having trouble.
Eliminating Maintenance Costs
It might make sense to buy a new car if your old jalopy iscosting you a fortune in maintenance and repair expenses. As a vehicle ages, there's also a greater possibility that a major issue will occur. In some cases, the cost of the repair might actually be greater than the value of the vehicle. A new car can help you avoid a significant repair bill, at least in the early years. If a major issue crops up, it will likely be covered under the factory warranty.
If you've just gotten married or are starting a family, you might need a bigger vehicle to haul everyone around. Safety becomes a bigger consideration as well. New cars offer the latest safety innovations, so upgrading to a new model can give you greater peace of mind. If you've landed a new job that requires a longer commute, a new car can also offer greater reliability than one with a lot of years and miles on it. If your career move came with a nice pay increase, your budget might accommodate a new car purchase.
If you log a lot of miles, soaring gas prices can take a large bite out of your budget. Trading in that old gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient new model can help you reduce your vehicle operating costs. Hybrid vehicles, which combine the standard gasoline engine with electrical operating capabilities, are appealing to vehicle owners who are making efforts to "go green" and save money. A hybrid's reduced dependency on gasoline helps conserve energy and gives you better gas mileage.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.