Should I Trade in My Car? How to Know if It's Time for an Upgrade

If your vehicle is starting to rack up miles, you might be wondering, "Should I trade in my car?" Check out this guide to learn when it's time to upgrade.

When it stops starting first time on cold winter days, or you start smelling something iffy coming from the engine, you'll ask yourself: "Should I trade in my car?".

We hold on to our cars for a whole host of reasons, from sentiment to simple affordability. However, there comes a time when you need to let your car go, and replace it with something that's more practical for your needs.

If you're deliberating about whether it's time to trade in your car, take a look at all of these reasons to make the big decision to split up with your motor and find a better model.

"Should I Trade in My Car?": 10 Times 'Yes' Is the Answer

If you're not sure whether it's time to upgrade your vehicle, take a look at these tips. If any of them resonate with you, that's a sure sign it's time to go car shopping!

1. Your Fuel Cost is Rising

From leaky engines to inefficient fuel usage, older cars eventually become more costly on the same journey you always take.

If you've noticed that your fuel costs are higher than usual, it could be time to visit your local dealership. 

2. There's an Odd Noise

Does your clutch squeak? Is there a weird whine coming from the engine? Can people hear you coming from - quite literally - a mile away?

A noisy engine is a key sign that things are going wrong in a big way. The cost of repairs on car engines could easily rack up - so it's time to weigh up whether you want to patch up your car or find a reliable (and quiet) one.

3. You've Had It Over a Decade (But Hardly Service It)

A car with over 100,000 miles on it has seen some serious road wear. If you've not been meticulous over servicing and regular maintenance, then you're about to face some major repair bills.

Wear and tear from driving your car for years and years, without regular servicing, could cause your engine to seize, your connectors to corrode, or your bodywork to rust through.

It could be time to find a new car - and look after it better this time!

4. Your Family Has Grown (Or Shrunk)

Your beloved two-seater sports car isn't going to be practical once you start adding children into the mix.

At the same time, the seven-seater SUV might feel a bit like overkill once your kids have all grown up and flown the nest.

If your car has fewer - or more - seats than there are members in your household then it's time to switch things up.

5. You Never Use It

Does your car sit on the driveway most of the week? Is it taking up valuable space in your garage? Do you simply hate driving it?

Not driving your car regularly can cause mechanical problems, such as a seized engine, and also wastes money on insurance premiums and taxes.

If you sometimes need a car but don't use it all the time, consider trading yours in for a cheaper model. If you refuse to drive it because it's uncomfortable to drive, noisy, or just an embarrassment to be seen in - that's also a good time to consider trading it in for a car you'd love to use instead.

6. There's No Useful Technology On-Board

Brake-assist, power steering, even air conditioning: these are no longer luxuries, you know. They come as standard in most cars.

If your car doesn't have even simple safety technology onboard, it's time to reconsider what you drive. Integrated GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, and even on-board WiFi are all extras that'll make your driving experience so much more enjoyable, too.

7. Your Car is Always in the Shop

Are you always catching lifts from friends because your car is in for repairs? 

If your car is regularly in and out of the shop, it's time to look at how much it's really costing you. Is it worth the time you waste on public transport and taxis? 

When it feels like there's always something that needs repairing or updating on your vehicle, that's a really good sign it's time to look at trading it in.

8. Your Driving Habits Have Changed

You used to use your car to go grocery shopping and visit friends. Now, you have a daily commute that's over an hour each way, plus weekend trips away, the school run, and more.

You need a car that's comfortable to drive for your needs. If your daily commute has recently been extended, your child's new school is further away, or you've developed a taste for weekend adventures - it's time to trade up.

9. You Can Afford an Upgrade

Your rainy day fund is now prepared for a hurricane, a storm, and a heatwave. There's money sitting in your account, thanks to your frugal lifestyle and healthy savings habits.

If that sounds like you - and you've been avoiding splashing out on a new car as part of your frugal lifestyle - it's an ideal time to trade in your vehicle. Being able to afford a new car is a luxury that you've worked hard for - and investing now will save you money in the long-term (see: repairs, insurance, and fuel costs).

There are also now extremely affordable finance options if your rainy-day fund is only really suitable for a large puddle, let alone a flood. 

10. Your Insurance Premiums are Through the Roof

The older the car, the higher chance there is of it going wrong - and causing an accident in the process. Very old vintage cars are also highly attractive to thieves.

If your insurance premiums are going up year-on-year, despite your safe driving and lack of claims, it's time to look at trading in your car for a newer model. 

If you're not sure you can afford a new car, remember that your regular payments on a finance agreement could be offset by what you'll save on your insurance rates.

How to Pick Your Next Car

If you've asked yourself, "Should I trade in my car?" more than a few times lately, or if any of the above signs sound familiar to you - it's time to get to a dealership.

Visit your local dealership to take a look at the latest models, and second-hand options, to start your car-buying journey. If you're still not sure where to start, speak to our expert team today - they'll help you to whittle down the suitable options for your next car!

Taylor Hyundai, Auto Dealers  New Cars, Augusta, GA