Is your day to day routine feeling a little stale? Do you need to switch things up? Maybe you want to try skydiving, or you're thinking of traversing the Overland Track, or, maybe, you're considering upgrading your daily drive. And why not? You spend a lot of time in the car, so you may as well ensure that you enjoy it. Committing to a new ride is a big decision, the viability of which depends on a bunch of different factors. Here, we examine some common motivations behind the desire to upgrade - and a few of the factors that can impact your decision.
Upgrade reason 1: Change of circumstance
Maybe you just landed a brand-new job, and your daily commute has tripled in length. If you're going to be spending a significant amount of time on the road, then it makes sense to upgrade. That's not just for comfort reasons, either. More often than not, new cars are going to be more fuel-efficient than your current ride (unless you're considering splurging on a monster truck), and that can factor into the long-term cost of an upgrade.
Or, maybe you're about to have a child (congrats!). Parenthood is a massive lifestyle change, and it's going to make you reconsider things in your daily environment. Of course, the safety of your newborn is the number one priority - and the more modern the car the better the safety features. Perhaps you just need more space, because it's tough to squeeze a load of groceries alongside a stroller in a two-door sports car.
Upgrade reason: Your car keeps breaking down
We've covered this in detail, but if you're spending more and more time in your local mechanic's waiting-bay, that can be a clear sign that it's time for a new set of wheels. The challenge here is deciding whether the cost of ongoing repairs is going to offset the price of a new car. There might be a few things that you can do to minimise these costs, like learning some basic mechanical maintenance for yourself.
Upgrade reason: You just feel like it
There's no denying it, sometimes new things just feel good. If you're sick of the sight of your daily drive then maybe you want to replace your ride with something more palatable. As they say, change is as good as a holiday. This is definitely as valid a reason as any, and if you're in a financial position to upgrade then why not? There's not much that can beat that new car smell.
When is the best time to upgrade?
Well, it can be when any of the above situations arise. But, as with so much in life, there's an element of timing that needs to be considered. Your situation is going to depend on whether you own your vehicle outright, or you're still paying off financing. If it's the latter, you might want to consider a motor loan or similar arrangement to help manage finalising outstanding payments and fees.
Ideally, you want to sell your current car when you can get the most value for it - the balance of which you can use to offset the cost of a new ride. Unfortunately, cars depreciate in value rapidly - often losing more than half their value within three years on the road.
The good news, though, is that manufacturer warranties on cars are trending towards longer periods. Whereas in the '90s, the average car warranty was two years or 50,000km, now it's not unusual to find offers of five-plus years and unlimited kilometres. This is important, because you'll find that you're able to make more money selling your car if it's covered by a warranty.
As a general rule of thumb, it makes the most sense to upgrade your car after three years - when depreciation has slowed - but before the warranty expires. Also, a word to the wise, if you've splashed out on an extended manufacturer warranty, read the fine print because they're not always transferable from person to person.