Generally, it is time to purchase a new car when the current vehicle begins to frequently break down and requires costly auto repairs to keep it on the road. If your car is breaking down more than two times a year, it is time to begin searching for a newer and more reliable vehicle.
It is considered a breakdown if the car is unable to be driven and requires major auto repairs in order to get it back on the road. It is time to buy a new car when the repairs you make on your current vehicle costs you more than $5,000 to repair over the course of a year.
Experts also suggest drivers follow the “50 percent rule” when faced with a costly auto repair. By this yardstick, when the cost of a needed repair approaches 50 percent of the vehicle’s estimated resale value, it’s probably time to go car shopping.
Consumers should also take into consideration a vehicle’s current condition and its history of reliability when deciding whether to keep it running or replace it. If a car looks good and has been maintained meticulously, having a mechanical problem fixed now might prolong its life for tens of thousands of miles down the road. Given proper maintenance and needed repairs, many of today’s cars can exceed 200,000 miles.
On the other hand, if a vehicle has been poorly cared for and suffers from chronic mechanical problems, $5,000 in repairs a year is more than you should be spending to keep the vehicle running. Cars approaching the 100,000-mile mark often require replacing the engine’s timing belt, which can be an unusually costly operation and may be an ideal time to consider purchasing a new vehicle.