Got your eye on a bigger car or a newer model? New-car envy can easily creep up on you, making it tempting to trade in your old faithful for a shiny new set of wheels. But should you go car shopping when there isn’t much wrong with the car you have? We’ve put together the questions to ask to help you decide whether it's the right time to trade in your car – or keep repairing (and loving!) your current one.
1. What is ‘wrong’ with your current vehicle?
It’s easy to fall in love with the features of a new car. You can already see your pooch in that spacious hatchback or you need that smart sound system in your life. You want to impress your in-laws with a shiny luxury sedan. Suddenly everything’s wrong with the car you have.
Just remember that, unless it’s a classic, a car is never an investment but always an expense. Take a long, honest look at the car you have. If it runs well, is reliable and meets your needs, it might make more sense to delay buying a new one.
2. Have you worked out the total running costs of your existing car vs. a new one?
Remember that your monthly instalment is only half of the cost of keeping the car on the road. Do a side-by-side cost comparison of the total cost of a new car compared to the car you currently drive. Running costs include maintenance, insurance, fuel, annual license fees, e-tolls, traffic fines and car tracker fees.
Use our online car calculator to get an estimation of what your vehicle is currently worth and what the market value is of the vehicle you’re intending to buy. Then get in touch with Santam to see what your car insurance premium should be.
3. Have you done your research?
Keep an eye on retail sites such as carfind.co.za to see what price your car will fetch or how much a new model of car will cost. Read reviews of vehicles, talk to friends and colleagues and check stats like safety features and mileage. Decide, in order of priority, what you absolutely need in a car and what the nice-to-haves are.
4. Have you been pre-qualified for a car loan?
Just like you get pre-qualified for a mortgage, it’s also a good idea to get pre-qualified for a car loan. This will indicate the total amount you’ll be approved to spend, as well as the interest rate. Perhaps you need to take a year to improve your credit rating, pay off other debts, see if you can increase your income and so on.
5. Is the timing right for a trade-in?
As car dealers have sales targets to meet every month, it’s a good idea to visit them towards the end of the calendar month. Alternatively, wait until the end of the year when dealerships receive their new inventory. This might make them more eager to sell the previous year’s models.
Driving a new car is a wonderful feeling but make sure you go into your decision with your eyes open. If you want to find out more about how dealerships price cars, read more about car prices guides.
If you want to ensure your car is adequately covered, request a quote, speak to your broker or call us on 0860 444 444. Visit our car advice page for more useful tips.