Last week we discussed how proper and consistent maintenance of your car can help keep it running safely for years, even with hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. But there comes a time… costs of repairs are mounting, the time spent at the repair shop is more frequent, or the car is simply unsafe… time for a change. Here are a few tips to help you make your decision.
First, prioritize what type of vehicle is most important to you and meets your needs. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you drive around town or for long distances? Is gas mileage a top priority?
- Are you looking for safety and reliability? What seating arrangement works?
- Will you want to take the vehicle off-road? Or do you just want it to be safe in snowy weather?
- Do you need to tow a trailer or haul heavy loads?
- Are looks and horsepower important? Vroom, vroom!
- What can you afford? Do you want a monthly payment? Costs of ownership include depreciation, fuel, taxes and fees, maintenance and repairs, as well as insurance. Insuring a new Corvette will be significantly more expensive than insuring a ten-year old Honda.
If you are looking at a new car, do your homework and compare the costs of ownership, including depreciation, taxes/fees, insurance, maintenance, and repairs on various makes and models. Some cars cost more to maintain and repair than others, and some lose their value (depreciation) faster than others. Example: parts alone on certain European models simply cost more to replace than on some Asian vehicles, let alone the labor to install parts in these complex vehicles. Edmunds has an informative comparison guide for various makes and models. Also check out sites such as Consumer Reports to see which cars are consistently more reliable and cost less in the long term.
A few interesting car facts provided by the folks at Consumer Reports:
- Depreciation (vehicles loss in value): This is the largest single ownership cost during the 1st six (6) years of a vehicle’s life.
- Ownership costs for years 6, 7 and 8 combined are about equal to the vehicle’s 1st year cost of ownership.
- Fuel and depreciation account for 72% of ownership costs during the first 6 years, while taxes (3%), maintenance/repairs (4%), insurance (10%) and loan interest (11%) account for only 28% of total costs.
New-to-you used cars can be a great alternative, but educate yourself about the vehicle before you buy. Know that used cars will require more time and money in maintenance and repair costs, but can be very cost effective when compared to a new car loan. Whether you purchase from an individual or a dealership, a Pre-Purchase Inspection by an independent mechanic will give you negotiating power and may steer you away from a vehicle that may not be a good purchase (think “The Money Pit”!). You will gain valuable information on the prospective vehicle, and a $150 or less inspection could save you hundreds in the negotiated purchase price or thousands in future repairs.
Regular maintenance by an Honest and Accurate, ASE-Certified Colorado Springs auto repair shop can help you make sure those maintenance and repair costs remain a low part of your future car ownership costs, whether you have a new or used vehicle. Happy and safe driving this holiday season!