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10 unmistakable signs it's time for a new car

Jan. 12, 2015 at midnight

Heat and humidity are two of the worst enemies of cars, and south Texas has both in abundance. Although many car owners make heroic efforts to keep cars mechanically maintained and looking great, sometimes it is a lost cause.

If your friends and family members regularly ask if you are thinking about getting a new car, then it is probably time for you to think about trading up to a better ride. Here are some other signs you need a new car:

  1. You thought long and hard about turning your car in during the “cash for clunkers” program and now, five years later, you are still driving it.

  2. You leave your car parked in questionable neighborhoods with the keys plainly visible on the seat and the doors unlocked, but no one is willing to steal it.

  3. You can’t put pens, pencils or even sunglasses on the dashboard because the cracks are so large that they might disappear.

  4. You stop at a busy intersection and a homeless person with a cardboard sign walks over, taps on your window and slips you $5.

  5. You offer to drive your children to school, but they tell you they would rather walk. When you insist, they ask that you let them off at the corner, out of sight of the school

building.

  1. When you turn on the air conditioner, it is hard to tell whether the air blowing from the vents is hotter than the outside air when the windows are rolled down.

  2. Smoke coming from your vehicle leads people to believe you are making barbecue in the back seat.

  3. You keep turning up the radio to cover the banging noise coming from the engine.

  4. You try to buy duct tape that matches the color of the part you need to repair.

  5. When you get in a fender bender it is hard to identify whether there is any new damage.

In all seriousness, one of the most important factors in deciding whether to buy a new vehicle is safety. In general, cars today have far more safety features than vehicles that are 10 years old or older. Many new cars are equipped with electronic stability controls, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning systems and front collision alerts. Edmunds.com notes that better braking systems, side air bags and backup alerts are now standard on most vehicles.

Two other deciding factors are usually reliability and maintenance costs. If you are missing work because your car won’t start, then the cost of a monthly car payment might be a better option than losing your job. Or if you spend more on repairs each month than you would on a payment, it is probably time to trade up to a better vehicle.

Many consumer experts advise that you can save money by driving your old car until it quits running. But as Kiplinger.com notes, “Unfortunately, at some point the statute of limitations runs out on this particular money-saving tip.”

If that time has finally come for you and your clunker, go ahead and treat yourself to a better, safer ride.


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