New Year, New Car.

With 2019 finally here, many of us have committed to some sort of life change, perhaps significant; like changing your job or moving town, or perhaps you’ve decided to replace your car. 

 Knowing when to replace your car is always a hot topic with AA Members. Typically, themes like a car’s age, mileage, and reliability are signs for change, but there are other signs that may crop up that could prompt you and your car to part ways.

 Cost of repairs

We don’t always get to decide when to change our cars. If major repairs are needed, it may be uneconomical to fix. For example, the cost to remedy an engine failure could come in at half the vehicle’s value. 

 Often your mechanic will use your Warrant of Fitness (WoF) sheet or servicing invoices to include notes about potential issues to look out for, so don’t throw these away. Make sure you read them carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises, as they’ll warn you about potential issues that are likely to occur in the future.

 If you’ve kept on top on your car’s servicing and are still faced with unexpected repairs, it may well be an opportune time to seriously consider replacing your car. Investigate the potential costs before you decide to go ahead fixing the problem and, even if it’s manageable, think carefully about whether this could be the start of a number of repairs as costs will quickly accumulate. If you’re unsure what decision to make, always ask your mechanic for some helpful advice.

 Lifestyle or life stage changes

Over time, changes to your lifestyle or life stage may alter your car needs.

 We get a lot of calls from Members seeking recommendations for cars that are more suitable for their growing families – more often than not, with a focus upon greater passenger capacity, increased safety and reliability.

Similarly, people moving house, particularly between urban and rural areas, frequently get in touch to discuss the benefits of switching between city hatches and sedans, to more robust utes or SUVs. In these instances, we encourage people to consider where the bulk of their time is spent behind the wheel. Someone moving to the country may think they need an SUV, but the reality may be that they will be commuting on the main highway to work more often than they’ll be heading out on country terrain.

 Safety updates

 We know that safety is a high priority for our Members, especially those with families. So, if you’re thinking about how old your car is and questioning its safety, then it’s probably time to get an upgrade.

 Take a look at some of the latest safety features that are available on models in today’s market and compare them to what your car is equipped with. If you’ve never heard of most of the safety features, it’s a good idea to look into them further to understand their true benefits. You can also use resources like the latest Used Car Safety Ratings to identify how safe your car is when positioned against other similar makes and models, and the ANCAP website provides some well-informed statistics about the differences between a new car that carries a 5 star safety rating versus one that doesn’t.

 Better economy

Fuel costs are always a concern with Members, particularly if their vehicle is older and lacks modern, leaner burning technologies like direct injection, variable displacement or start-stop technologies.

For added savings you may want to consider reducing your fuel consumption by switching to a hybrid or a full electric vehicle. With more EV models coming into the New Zealand market with increased real world driving range, EVs are becoming a good option.

Whether you’re changing your car through necessity or choice, it’s important to ensure that you’re making the right decision when it comes to buying a new car. Don’t rush, pick wisely and invest in the safest car that is going to meet both your budgetary and lifestyle requirements.  

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