Safety Features: How Old is Too Old For Your Vehicle?

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Cars are expensive, and it makes sense to try and keep them for as long as they’re safe to drive. It can take years to pay off a car purchase, whether the car is new or used. But some may express concern about driving older models, given how technology changes.

The National Highway Traffic Control Administration has information on standard features and other safety information that may help.

Are newer cars safer?

Newer cars are generally safer, simply because they’ve not experienced wear and tear and have been tested. Of course, this does not prevent recalls or other potential issues, so it’s not always the case. Conventional wisdom says a brand-new car is generally a bit safer than an older model of the same make.

However, there are essential things you should know.

  • Standard safety features are now nearly universal. Safety features like seatbelts and airbags are now the norm and have been in practice for decades. It’s unlikely you would be purchasing a model for regular use that would not have these features (show automobiles or classic cars for collecting purposes may not). So, it should not be difficult to find a vehicle that meets your criteria.
  • Vehicles have gotten safer. If you’re concerned about buying a car from 2011, for example, you should be reassured that this vehicle is much more reliable than on an older vehicle and that it has all the features of a newer car. In the 70s and 80s, buying used may have been riskier, but no longer.
  • Occupant protection has improved. With the adjustments, including airbags, seat belts, and other safety systems, incidents for passengers have decreased from nearly 18 percent to just over 10 percent. Newer cars are statistically safer.

Potential Dangers of Older Cars

If you’re purchasing an older car, especially when you don’t know the owner, it’s important to double-check a few things before agreeing to a price. Here are some things you should look out for when buying an older vehicle.

  1. Check the car’s history. You should be able to use the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to check the vehicle history, including accidents and any major repairs. This is especially important to do if you’re buying the car through Craigslist or other unofficial media. 
  2. Avoid salvage titles. While many cars with salvage titles are perfectly useful and safe, it isn’t easy to find the proper coverage for them if you’re planning to use it as the primary vehicle. They’re also not approved for rideshare jobs and other gigs work that many use to help pay for their car. 
  3. Look for manufacturer reviews and recalls. Has this vehicle or any of its components ever been recalled? Check to see if there have been any past bulletins. Consumer Reports offers free reports like this so that you can sign up for new updates too.
  4. Check the pricing and compare to the original. Certain cars hold their value, and this is a good indicator of their reliability. For example, Honda Civics consistently hold on to a significant portion of their value even for re-sale. Prices for older Civics are often only slightly lower than new. The Kelly Blue Book is a universal guide for vehicle pricing, but you can also check sites like Carmax or Shift. 
  5. Check to see if it qualifies for a warranty. If the car is too old for the manufacturer’s warranty, you can still get protection with an extended warranty or vehicle protection plan. Endurance has them for both new and older vehicles, and you can customize the plan to your needs.

In general, treat a used car purchase with even more caution than a new vehicle purchase, and you should feel confident in your car.

Own a high mileage vehicle?

Endurance warranty offers various levels of protection to meet the needs of every driver. If you’re looking for auto protection for your high-mileage vehicle, the Select Premiere policy is for you. This coverage plan is specifically designed for drivers with more than 150,000 miles on their car and is looking for premium auto protection. 

If you don’t have auto protection from Endurance, now is the time to prepare for the unexpected. We have limited time relief plans available, and you can request a no-obligation quote or call 1-866-918-1438 to hear about minimal down payments. When it comes to car maintenance, there’s a lot to think about, and we’re here to help.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.