Should I Buy a New Car Now?
When buying a car, it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or a few years old; as long as it is reliable and fits your needs and budget, it’s a great purchase. But, with things like the recent chip shortage impacting the automotive industry, prices for both new and used cars are near all-time highs. Even the recent signing of the CHIPS Act, which aims to boost semiconductor research and manufacturing here in the U.S., isn’t expected to impact pricing for at least a few months.
That’s why, if you’re a car shopper, knowing whether or not you should buy a new car right now or hold off for a better time can help you to save money.
5 Signs It’s Time for a New Car
While you may be eager for your next car, it may not be the right time to purchase one. That’s why understanding if you truly need a brand new car ASAP is the first step in determining whether or not you should start the car buying process.
1. Repair Costs Are More than the Remaining Vehicle Value
Perhaps the strongest indicator that it’s time to look into a new vehicle, whether brand-new or a used vehicle, is that the cost of repairing your car is more than its estimated value. Sadly, depreciation helps to ensure that car prices go down over time, and even if your old car has a special place in your heart, there will come a time when it is not worth repairing.
2. You No Longer Feel Safe Driving
Whether your new or used car is outdated in terms of its safety features or systems or if certain damages have compromised that system, feeling unsafe while driving is another significant indicator that it may be time for a new car. Making the financial decision to purchase a new vehicle while high prices can be difficult, but your safety is far more critical.
3. The Interior of Your Vehicle Is Falling Apart
Along with ensuring your safety, if the interior of your current vehicle is falling apart, such as peeling upholstery or torn-up seats, or if components like the air conditioning are not working or there’s more severe damage, consider a new vehicle.
4. You No Longer Pass an Emissions Test
For those unfamiliar with the term, an emissions test measures the number of pollutants your vehicle releases when running. While not all, most states now require emissions testing as part of their fuel efficiency and general climate advocacy focuses.
If you cannot pass an emissions test, the DMV will not register your vehicle, and you will not receive a license plate to drive that car.
5. The Cost of Insuring Your Vehicle Keeps Rising
Quite simply, your insurance is going to rise as your vehicle begins to get older and older. This is due to the increased chances of problems with older vehicles. Insurance costs and quoted insurance rates will reflect this risk. To receive a lower price, you will need to invest in a newer car that an auto insurance company considers “less risky.”
After considering the above reasons, if you are driving a vehicle that’s operating perfectly normally and you feel safe and aren’t dealing with many issues, it may be worth waiting a few months to see if prices start to stabilize. However, it’s also vital to remember that any new or used vehicle costs more than the asking price. It’s also about long-term costs, such as how much its recommended maintenance costs and any possible breakdowns or repairs you may have to deal with.
How to Get The Best Price on a Car
If you need to purchase a new car, there are a few things you can do to get the best price.
1. Take Advantage of Holiday Savings
Just like other consumer goods, the holidays are often a great time for savings when purchasing a new vehicle. For example, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), some of the best holiday deals from last year included up to $2,500 in credit on specific vehicle models, 0.9% APR for 72 months, and even a total 0% financing for 72 months.
The best times to grab these deals are Black Friday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the end-of-the-year holidays such as New Year’s.
2. Buy When a New Model Is Announced
When a new vehicle model is announced, all the current models on the dealer’s lot typically see a price reduction. If you are interested in a particular vehicle, look up when the manufacturer releases their new vehicles and plan your purchase for shortly after. Many automakers, such as Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more often announce their new vehicles in October, so always keep an eye out, especially closer to the end of the year.
3. Check the Current Market Value
Assuming you are buying from somewhere other than a dealership and believe the price you are being offered is too high, check the current market value for that vehicle. Often, a car dealer will be willing to negotiate the price if you can find a better one elsewhere. Even if they aren’t willing to negotiate the price or lower interest on the vehicle, you can turn towards the better financing option.
If purchasing from a private seller, look into resources such as Edmunds’ appraisal tool, which lets you plug in a car’s year, make and model, its VIN (vehicle identification number) or license plate number to see its overall value.
4. Get a Vehicle History Report
When looking at purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, always request a history report on it. A history report will tell you about any damage, accidents, or anything else of note that the vehicle was involved in. If you notice that severe damage occurred to the vehicle, yet they are charging the same price as a car without the same issues, you may be able to negotiate with the seller.
5. Take It for a Test Drive
Saving money all the money in the world on a car means nothing if it’s uncomfortable or difficult to drive. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to request a test drive for any new or used vehicle you’re considering. Not only will this allow you to see how it handles, but it also allows you to get a closer look at the vehicle. For example, keep your ears open for any concerning noises while driving and get up close and personal with the vehicle to see if there are any other possible issues you might not have noticed just walking past it.
6. Get Pre-approved for Car Loan Financing
Finally, one way to potentially receive a lower price on a new vehicle is to get pre-approved for car loan financing. This process involves going to a third-party lender for an auto loan, informing them of the vehicle you wish to purchase, and providing them with your information. They will then run your credit and provide you with interest rates and monthly payments that you would owe.
Unlike some prequalification terms, a pre-approval term will not change. Therefore, you can take your pre-approval offer to a car dealership and see if they are willing to meet those terms.
Other Ways to Save
When purchasing a car, remember that the initial purchase price is only part of the total cost of a vehicle. In the long run, factors such as repairs and maintenance can quickly make the all-in cost of your vehicle more than you anticipated.
Luckily, if you’re purchasing a brand-new car from a dealership, you’ll likely be able to enjoy a factory warranty (also sometimes referred to as a manufacturer’s warranty) to help cover the cost of breakdowns and other repairs. However, regardless of the automaker, your factory coverage won’t last forever, with most lasting for 3 years/36,000 miles or 5 years/60,000 miles. And for many automakers, while you can look to extend your coverage with them, you may be limited to purchasing that protection while your original warranty is still active. If you wait too long or drive just a mile over, you’d be out of look with your automaker, but a third-party warranty provider, like us at Endurance Warranty, can still help.
Like a car’s factory warranty, third-party plans, which are vehicle service contracts, though often referred to as a “warranty,” can provide the same comprehensive coverage without the drawbacks. For example, while both can help you with engine repairs, coverage from an automaker may limit you to just going to the dealership for repairs. On the other hand, with an Endurance vehicle protection plan, you’ll be able to take your car to any certified mechanic or repair facility, including the dealership.
Third-party providers are often more incentivized to offer extra perks and benefits that most automakers might not, like being able to enjoy complimentary 24/7 roadside assistance (and towing), trip interruption coverage and rental car reimbursements just by being an Endurance customer.
Protect Your Car & Wallet with Endurance
With the cost of new and used cars still higher than usual due to the chip shortage caused by the pandemic, now might not be the best time to purchase a new vehicle. But, while knowing when to purchase your next car can help you save money, even the most well-maintained cars can break down now and then. And without the help of an active factory warranty, especially if you’re purchasing used or holding onto your current car for longer, you could be left paying more than you can afford if you experience an unexpected breakdown or repair. Instead, get the peace of mind you’re looking for with the help of an Endurance vehicle protection plan.
With Endurance, you can rest easy knowing that your car’s most vital (and often most expensive) components are covered, like the engine and transmission, without breaking the bank. That’s because, with Endurance, you can get comprehensive powertrain coverage starting at just $79/month. Or, for even more comprehensive coverage, you can get the Advantage protection plan, which combines breakdown protection with up to $3,500 in savings for some of your car’s vital maintenance services, including tire rotations, alignment checks, engine diagnostic exams and more.
But that’s not all, as each Endurance plan also comes with complimentary services like roadside assistance and more. Plus, you’ll be automatically eligible to enjoy an entire year’s worth of Endurance Elite Benefits, including even more perks and savings like collision discounts, key fob replacements, total loss protection and help to replace or repair two of your car’s tires.
To get started protecting your vehicle today from costly breakdowns and repairs, request a free, no-obligation quote or give the award-winning Endurance customer care team a call at (800) 253-8203 to learn more about how Endurance can help you. And don’t forget that the Endurance blog can also be a great way to help you save even more, thanks to articles on topics like DIY maintenance tutorials, expert buying guides, warranty coverage comparisons and more.
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Alex has worked in the automotive service industry for over 20 years. After graduating from one of the country’s top technical schools, he worked as a technician achieving a Master Technician certification. He also has experience as a service advisor and service manager. Read more about Alex.