Wondering if it’s time you end the relationship with your car and go your separate ways? We know breaking up with your ride can be difficult, but on the other hand…buying a new one can be rather exciting. If you’re debating whether or not it’s time to move on, here are some signs that might help you with the tough decision ahead.

Cost of repairs

We don’t always get to decide when to change our vehicles. If major repairs are needed, they can often be uneconomical to fix. For example, the cost to remedy an engine failure can come in at half the vehicle’s financial worth.

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 as soon as you’ve left the workshop. 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 think about replacing your vehicle. Investigate the potential costs before you decide to go ahead with 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.

Some drivers regularly upgrade their vehicle to avoid repair costs and devaluation due to the benefits you receive when buying brand new. These benefits include longer WoF and maintenance intervals, and reduced registration costs due to added safety features.

Lifestyle changes

Over time, changes to your lifestyle may well determine the car that you need.

We get a lot of calls from AA 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 locations, particularly between urban and rural environments, frequently get in touch to discuss the benefits of switching between city hatches and sedans, and more robust vehicles like utes or SUVs. In these instances, we encourage people to really consider the bulk of their time that’ll be spent behind the wheel. Trust us - you don’t want to move from Otorohanga to Auckland and expect to drive through town in your beloved manual truck changing gears every minute.

Safety updates

We know that safety is a high priority for our Members, especially those with families. So, if you know your car is ageing quickly and are questioning its safety, then it’s probably time for an upgrade.

Take a look at some of the latest safety features that are now available on models in today’s market and compare them to what your car is equipped with. We’re talking lane keep assist, electronic stability control, blind spot warning, auto headlights, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking and the list goes on. If you’ve never heard of these 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 (ancap.co.nz) provides some well-informed stats about the differences between a new car that carries a 5 star safety rating versus one that doesn’t.

Whether you’re changing your car through choice or necessity, it’s important to ensure that you’re making the right decision. 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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