Keeping Cars Longer
After the great recession the average American car driver started holding on to their car longer. While improvements in car quality was a contributing factor, the American public has gotten more frugal since the recession. The average consumer used to answer the question —“when should I buy a new car?” with an answer of “once every 4.6 years.” The time for a new car purchase has been extended to 6.4 years. Most cars made within the last 10 years can survive 6-figure mileage reading on the odometer. We used to live in a world where once a car hit 100,000 miles; it was destined for the junkyard. These days, 100,000 miles is merely the halfway point for a lot of vehicles. That’s because many of the cars that rolled off the assembly lines in the past 10 years were designed to last much longer than their predecessors from the 80’s and 90’s.
So, how does this affect your car buying? Many of us are driven to get a new car based on a change in our circumstances. When things like getting married, having kids, kids growing up, an increase in commute time, a decrease in commute time, or increase in income could drive us to act on the question – “when should I buy a new car?” Very often we start researching a new car well before it’s truly time to buy.
There are times when our circumstances demand more immediate action, for instance, when our car breaks down. A break down never comes at a good time. This is especially true if we have already over-invested money in car repairs. At some point we all get to a place where enough is enough and we are forced to go out a buy a new car.
Some of us enjoy the privilege of buying a car when we feel like it. We look at ourselves in the mirror, look at our spouse, or look at our car and say…. “It’s time.” This is most likely the best position to be in. We’re not rushed by our circumstances and have time to do new car research, price comparisons, and deal shop. An informed shopper will typically make a better choice and get a better deal. However, there are some of us who suffer from the paralysis of analysis and spend months and months shopping and may miss some of the best opportunities to buy a new car.
The key to knowing when to buy is being able to recognize a good deal. Comparison shopping and taking good notes will help you understand where the deals are. Get quotes from more than one dealer and find the car you want at the right price with the right financing. The answer to the question –“when should I buy a new car?” will have different answers for every person and every situation.
Best of luck, because the time to buy a new car could be right now.