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Old 02-09-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
NatesMamma
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When would you consider a new car?

DH and I both drive slightly aging vehicles that lack many safety features. Both cars are well maintained, have 70K or fewer miles, and should last for a good long time yet with minimal maintenance/repair costs.

I have an '04 CR-V. It got great crash test ratings its MY. It has side air bags for the driver and front passenger but nothing for the back seat passengers and no curtain airbags for anyone. It also lacks other features, such as a back-up camera and has some pretty bad blind spots. (I have the blind spots pretty well figured out and can work around them. They give DH fits.) We've owned the car for 4 years, and the original loan is paid off. However, we consolidated the CRV loan and my student loans and rolled them into a very low interest (2%) loan, so we are, technically, still paying it off.

DH has an '06 Corolla. It got good safety ratings from NHTSA, mostly 5 stars and 4 stars for side impact crashes. IIHS flagged it for a high likelihood of skull fracture and/or brain injuries for the driver in a side impact. It does not have any optional air bags, just the standard ones in front for the driver and passenger. We've had this car for only 3 years, still owe $5K on the loan, and will pay it off in June with the bonus DH is guaranteed to get at work. This is the first car we would replace, possibly just with a newer Corolla.

It's not that we can't afford new vehicles. Over a couple of years, we could replace both cars without much trouble. My question is, at what point would you consider upgrading to newer and safer vehicles, despite that what we already have suits our needs perfectly well?
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:10 PM   #2
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

We drive a 2006 vehicle and I think of it as "new" still (it's the only car either of us has ever bought brand new). This summer we'll be buying a second car and we're hoping to get a 2007-2008, with the plan that whatever we buy will last at least 8 years. I definitely don't think you need to worry about the safety features about a 2004 or a 2006. Of course there have been advances in the past 6-8 years, but I wouldn't consider that new a car unsafe, especially one that has been maintained properly.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:23 PM   #3
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

I think it is more a question of financial priorities/situation than anything else.

Do keep in mind that people survive terrible crashes in "unsafe" cars every day. No matter what car you drive, you will significantly increase the safety of everyone in the car by keeping everyone properly restrained, driving safely, and keeping up with the maintenance on the cars (things like brakes, tires, etc).

If you can see signatures, then a look at mine will probably tell you our personal take on the issue. I can tell you that if my family were in your place, still paying on student loans and one car loan, and driving two cars that I would consider to be quite new, then our financial priority would be to pay off all debt and then save money to replace the vehicles.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:14 PM   #4
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beetlemama View Post
We drive a 2006 vehicle and I think of it as "new" still (it's the only car either of us has ever bought brand new).
Oh, sure. I wasn't meaning to imply that either of our cars is "old." Middle age, maybe? I guess the thing is, although safety maybe hasn't improved by leaps and bounds in the past 6-8 years or so, I can only assume that it will improve even more over the next several years. And I can see either of these vehicles lasting another 6-8 years. At what point does it make sense to drive the wheels off a car versus trading it in when it still has lots of life in favor or something that much safer, ya know?

At any rate, it's not the age, per se, that I'm wondering about. Like I said, we would actually replace the newer car first. I don't really have any worries about the safety of my CRV right now. However, I'm really kicking myself in the rear for overlooking the awful rating his car got w/o the SAB. (I'd even be OK getting another '06 if it had the air bags.) I mean, if it were *just* a passenger at risk, we could work around that. Always have to have the driver, though!

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I can tell you that if my family were in your place, still paying on student loans and one car loan, and driving two cars that I would consider to be quite new, then our financial priority would be to pay off all debt and then save money to replace the vehicles.
Makes sense. We're actually in kind of an unusual financial situation right now. DH is graduating from his medical residency in June, which means his income is going to jump a lot very soon. That said, we're doing well right now, anyway. We've been choosing to save extra money versus paying more on debt. We save about 20% each month. Debt-wise, we've got the mortgage, his student loan from med school ($40,000. For one year! ), the "Cadet Loan," which is my undergrad loan + the Honda, and lastly, the $5K on the Toyota. With his June bonus, we'll be done with the Toyota and, potentially, the Cadet Loan. (Alternatively, we *might* be able to pay cash for a newer car for him.) The mortgage and the med school loans, needless to say, will take a bit longer to pay down.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

Deciding to replace a car:

1) Reliability - does the car run well?

2) Finances - can I afford it and if I do purchase a vehicle, what other major purchases will be put off?

3) Desire - I traded my '00 Galant in 2005 because I decided I didn't want to put the cost of major maintenance ($500-$800) into a car I didn't LOVE. Two days later, I was driving an '05 Camry. I would put several hundred dollars into the Camry because I like/enjoy it more.

As long as the car still runs well and is in working order (in good condition/properly maintained, working seat belts, has air bags), I wouldn't consider additional safety features a big priority, especially when you already have debt.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:52 AM   #6
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flipper68 View Post
Deciding to replace a car:

1) Reliability - does the car run well?

2) Finances - can I afford it and if I do purchase a vehicle, what other major purchases will be put off?

3) Desire - I traded my '00 Galant in 2005 because I decided I didn't want to put the cost of major maintenance ($500-$800) into a car I didn't LOVE. Two days later, I was driving an '05 Camry. I would put several hundred dollars into the Camry because I like/enjoy it more.

As long as the car still runs well and is in working order (in good condition/properly maintained, working seat belts, has air bags), I wouldn't consider additional safety features a big priority, especially when you already have debt.

Agree. I drive a 2001 Yukon XL and as long as it runs well and transports my family, I am not going to go out and drop another $38K+ on a vehicle, we bought it new. There are always advances in safety features. But it really isn't practical to buy a new car every couple years so that you can keep up with that.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:45 AM   #7
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

I wouldn't replace either of those for safety reasons yet. Our family vehicle is 07 ody, so pretty safe in the scheme of things. We also have a '98 ext. cab truck that is infrequently used and lacks a lot of safety features. I'm having TAs installed in it this summer since it's our backup vehicle but for how often it's used, I'm ok w/ keeping it indefinitely. It does have air bags for front passengers. DH drives to/from work in 05 mustang, not stellar for safety either, but its 3 miles ea. way, car's in great shape, and he enjoys driving it. So, with that said, the minivan will probably be replaced 1st even though it's newest since that's where we'd get the biggest bang for our safety buck, that's where the kids usually ride, and it's what we road trip in. I doubt there will ever come a time where the other 2 are replaced primarily for safety reasons.
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

we just replaced our 2000 4runner this year even though it was paid off, had only 160k km on it, and had no mechanical issues. DH didn't think it was a big issue but I had a major problem with the fact that it had no side impact test ratings and absolutely no safety ratings for rear passengers, and the crash rating for the driver and passenger were not good. We sold it and for the selling price of the toyota we bought an equinox with side curtain airbags, latch, lap/shoulder belts and uas in all rear seats, excellent safety ratings, and only 80k km on it.

so I would say if you aren't confident your kids and yourself are safe and you can afford it, a new car might be justified. if you're ok with your car's safety and it's running well, maybe not
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

I consider a new car when the old one costs more to repair than I would be willing to spend if I was buying it, LOL. Or when we outgrow it.

I know all these safety advances are great, at least for adult passengers. But I still love that I can RF in the front seat, brace against the passenger seat, etc. without worrying about sensors & airbags .
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:59 PM   #10
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

I don't have strong feelings about when, exactly, to replace a car.

We can't fix our own cars- no mechanical ability, tools, or anything else. So the car has got to be either under warranty, or very unlikely to need major repairs.

I do value the latest and greatest safety advances- not enough to replace a 5 year old car, but enough to feel uncomfortable with a 10 year old one. We plan to drive our cars for 10 years apiece, with only 1 car payment at any time. So as one car gets paid off at year 5, the other is hitting year 10, and will be replaced. Unless we end up needing a 6+ passenger vehicle; then things may change, since the cycle will be broken.

I admit I lean towards newer, warrantied cars (doing your homework on the warranty, of course) because I grew up with beaters, and Mom broke down alone in the middle of nowhere with two little kids more than once.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

I had a Chevy minivan with horrible crash test ratings, and it was really bothering me. I started nagging DH to get a different vehicle and he finally gave in I purchased an older vehicle with great crash test ratings, and just a couple weeks later was in a crash and totaled it. I'm not sure why I suddenly was so bothered by the horrible ratings on the van, and why I felt the need to get a safer car, but I'm sure glad I did. If I get that feeling again, I'll act on it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:13 PM   #12
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

My first car was a 99 Cavalier. I wanted to get out of that car ASAP because of the 1 star crash rating for the driver door. I did end up driving it for roughly 6 years and I was so sick of the constant problems. I replaced it September of last year.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:49 PM   #13
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Re: When would you consider a new car?

Funny thing -- we've never had a bit of trouble with used vehicles. We've mostly bought / been given 5-10yo vehicles, and they've been fine until they just obviously weren't worth the upkeep any more and/or totally fell apart (my brother took my Dad's '82 Tercel "offroading" and put the shocks through the engine compartment & trunk, LMAO!). Not a SINGLE ONE has EVER left us stranded, or cost a ton to fix.

Which one had endless problems that cost us thousands?? DH's "baby", his brand-new F-150 . The ONLY vehicle either of us ever bought new. Sold it when we outgrew it after having the engine rebuilt for $5000 .
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