Owning a car can be both a joy and a challenge, from having the convenience and freedom to travel at will to finding ways to save on gas. If you have already paid off your car, you may be hesitant to consider buying a newer model because taking on the monthly payments can be a financial burden. However, driving that aging truck or sedan may be doing you more harm than good, and there are a few signs that it might be well past time to retire your old clunker.
1. You Shell Out Cash for Repairs Several Times a Month
Car repairs are a fact of life for any driver, but when your elderly vehicle starts breaking down more often than not, you may end up paying more in repair costs than your car is worth. Replacing major parts such as the radiator, transmission, fuel pump, or costly engine components can cost hundreds of dollars and put a serious crimp in your budget. You might want to start tracking repair costs and breakdowns carefully, as the expense of a newer car that runs dependably might be less than what you are paying to have your clunker fixed.
2. Your Fuel Tank Empties Quickly
Chances are if you drive a car that is ten or twelve years old, its fuel efficiency is not what it used to be. As vehicles age, their ability to use gas productively starts to fail and eventually you might find yourself visiting the gas station more often. While the mileage of different cars varies widely, you may want to start calculating what you spend at the pump each week. If the cost rises steadily, it could be time to look for a newer, more fuel-efficient car.
3. You Patch Up Failing Interior Parts Often
Spills, upholstery rips, broken latches, and missing accessories can make the interior of your car look like a battle-weary soldier. While a few worn patches in your backseat or a glitchy radio are not a cause for alarm, carrying a roll of duct tape in your glove compartment to constantly repair your seats and floors can be a sign that quick repairs may not be an option much longer. While you might have the choice of having the vehicle reupholstered, the cost may not be worth it, especially if your car has seriously depreciated in value.
4. You Worry About It Passing Inspection
If you sweat your vehicle’s yearly inspection or rush to have it tuned up beforehand because you think it will increase its chances of passing, this is a sure sign you may need to junk it soon. If you live in an Ohio county where emissions testing is required, you might want to shop around at car dealerships in Franklin County that know where to sell a car in Columbus or will accept it as cash value toward a newer vehicle. This might be a faster path to getting a quality used car than trying to sell your old vehicle privately.
It is not easy to give up an old vehicle, especially when you have many good memories attached to it. However, trading in your clunker for a car that is dependable and has enjoyable new features may help you discover the joys of automobile ownership again.