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10 Signs That You Need a New Car (Or At Least a Different One)

We know breaking up with your ride can be difficult. Maybe you’re attached to the faithful car from your early years, or you simply fear the idea of spending too much on a vehicle. Are you debating whether or not it’s time to move on? Here are 10 signs that you may need a new car.

1. The Check Engine Light is Always On

Check Engine Light in car dashboard

If the check engine light has been on for a long time, it will be unavailable to warn you when a more serious problem arises. Warning lights in your vehicles shouldn’t be considered “neon accents.” If every bump in the road changes the variety of lights that appear, that’s one of the top signs that you need a new car.

2. Repairs Exceed Vehicle Value

If you’re driving and maintaining your old beater in an attempt to save money, it could hurt you in the long run. Make sure to find out how much your car is selling for in your area on Carsforsale.com before spending thousands on a vehicle repair. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on.

3. The Cashier at the Gas Station Knows You Personally

Poor fuel economy is one of the signs that you need a new car. Cars makers are consistently making more fuel-efficient vehicles at lower prices all the time. Lots of old cars on the road are gas guzzlers. Why waste money buying excess fuel. Take a look at some affordable, efficient options such as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, or Chevrolet Sonic.

4. You Consider Rusty Chips of Metal Falling Off to be “General Wear and Tear”

Car with rust on it

Patina can actually be charming, even desirable on some collector cars. If yours doesn’t fall into that category you might need to consider switching vehicles. Car rust spreads and can ruin the integrity of your vehicle. If you’re losing chunks of sheet metal, do yourself a favor and search for a new set of wheels. To avoid rust in the first place, check out our DIY Auto Detailing Tips.

5. You’re Well Over 6 Digits on the Odometer

If your car is running well beyond 100,000 miles, good for you! That’s a sign you’ve taken good care of your vehicle. Unfortunately, as your vehicle ages into this range, a variety of repairs and additional maintenance are inevitable. Do some research to find out how well your model fairs in its golden years. If you find yours isn’t up for the long haul to 200K it’s probably time to look for a younger car.

6. It’s Freezing (or Boiling) in There!

One of the clearest signs you’ve given up on a vehicle but haven’t admitted it to yourself is letting the climate control go to pot. If you’ve resigned to baking in the heat or letting your toes turn blue in the winter, you’ve clearly given up on this car. When this one isn’t up for anything longer than a drive to the grocery store, it’s time to put this jalopy out to pasture.

7. Changing Duct Tape is Part of Your “Regular Maintenance”

Maybe your duct tape job is holding the hood down, maintaining the windshield, or keeping the bumper from falling off. I appreciate a good DIY project as much as the next guy, but if your car is held together by duct tape, perhaps it’s time to break up with your “high school sweetheart.”

Tweet about using duct tape on cars

8. Current Vehicle Has Minimal Safety Features

Vehicles today are incredibly safe compared to older vehicles. The variety of safety features and technologies continues to proliferate, with more becoming not just standard but required (like the rear-view camera). Some technologies can even prevent accidents, like Honda Sensing and Subaru Eyesight. Multiple airbags, modern crumple zones, ABS, even power steering, can all be absent in your older vehicle. You can’t put a price tag on your life, but you can on a car.

9. Your Child Would Rather Walk to School

Every child will be embarrassed by their parents’ presence at some point in their lives, but if your child is turning you down on rides to school in rain, sleet, or snow, perhaps that’s a sign that you need a new car.

10. You Own a Flop

Throughout the last 50 years there have been a variety of automotive flops. From the ugly to the unreliable, here are a few of the biggest automotive flops in history. If you own one of these, get out from under while you still can.

Are you seeing some of the signs that you need a new car in your life? Take a look on Carsforsale.com. With millions to choose from, you’re sure to find the best deal on new and used cars, trucks, and SUVs in your area.

If you plan on shopping for a used car, be sure to read What To Look For When Buying A Used Car.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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1 Comment

  1. jackofdiamonds September 21, 2016

    Own a honda prelude 2001 and still going strong with 400.000 miles on her!


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