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April 28, 2023

Is It Time to Retire Your Old Car? (2023)

Are you trying to squeeze a few more miles out of your old, unreliable car? Many people hold on to old cars because they enjoy not having car payments. Others will simply hesitate to buy a new car because they don't think they will qualify for a decent car loan. Some people are just attached to a vehicle that has served them well.

Despite the reasons you are putting off retiring your old car, there will come a time when it is necessary to do so. You shouldn’t postpone this decision or take it lightly. Your and your family's safety could be at risk if you continue to use an old, unreliable vehicle.

Should I Retire My Car? - Signs That it's Time to Replace Your Vehicle

To help you determine whether or not your car is ready for retirement, here are some signs that will make the process easier. If your car is showing any of these signs, it’s time for you to trade it in for a newer, better-functioning vehicle.

The Car Isn't Safe

Are you nervous that your car will break down every time you drive it? If so, you should consider buying a safer vehicle. Unreliable cars could leave you or your family stranded by the roadside. Older cars can also cause accidents because of a system malfunction. When you drive an unsafe vehicle, you put more than just your own safety at risk. You also risk the safety of other drivers on the road.

If you notice things like jerking movements while driving your vehicle or random changes in your vehicle’s speed, it may be time to get a new car. It might also be time to retire your vehicle if it constantly needs to be repaired - this is a sign that many systems in your car are failing one after the other.

The Cost of Repairs Exceeds Your Vehicle's Value

If you frequently take your car to the shop for repairs to avoid buying a new car, you may be wasting money. Sometimes, frequent or costly repairs end up being more expensive than buying a new car.

Some car models are known to be less trouble than others. You can avoid similar problems in the future by researching reliable car models before purchasing a new vehicle. Your car should be reliable, dependable, and fuel-efficient.

The Fuel Tank Drains Quickly

Car manufacturers constantly improve fuel efficiency in new cars, which means that older cars, in comparison, tend to have poorer fuel economy. If you need to drive long distances regularly, poor fuel economy can add up to large expenses.

Identify the fuel efficiency of your current vehicle. If you are spending more on fuel than you would on a new car payment each month, consider buying a more fuel-efficient car. Otherwise, you will likely waste money by frequently fueling your vehicle.

The Car Doesn't Work With Your Current Lifestyle

Many life changes require a new vehicle. For example, you may not like how the old beater car you used to commute to work makes you look. Or if you have an addition to your family, you may need a larger vehicle. Perhaps your commute has become longer, and you need a car better suited to frequent long drives.

Other life events that may push you to need a new vehicle include your children moving away, a new job, or losing a car in an accident.

The Service Engine Light is Frequently On

If the lit service engine light is always on, to the point where you’ve been ignoring it, it could be time to retire your car. Mechanics can check the service engine light on many vehicles to determine any necessary repairs. However, if repairs have been made and the light remains lit, the light itself may need to be fixed. Such a failure will not allow your vehicle to alert you when there are serious problems with your engine.

You may also have other dashboard lights that remain lit in your car. If so, seek the help of a mechanic. If they can't fix the problem, consider looking for a new car. Frequent problems and alerts indicate that your vehicle is becoming hazardous to drive.

The Vehicle's Safety Features Are Outdated

Modern vehicles are much safer than older vehicles. Most new car models have safety technologies and features that can even decrease your chances of getting in an accident. Some features warn the driver of hazards; other features can automatically stop a car to avoid an accident.

Here are some examples of safety features included in many newer vehicles:

  • Rear Back-up camera
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Curtain airbags
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring

Consider buying a new car to take advantage of these beneficial safety features. Even if you don't buy a brand-new car, many cars built within the last five years still have many of these safety features.

How do I Find a Car Retirement Program? Ways to Retire a Car Today

So you’ve decided that your vehicle is ready to retire. But you might wonder: how exactly do I retire my car?

It can be as simple as taking your car to a dealership willing to buy or trade it for a newer vehicle. In other cases, it may be more complicated, and you might consider a car retirement program.

Retire Your Car by Trading it For a New Vehicle

Many car dealerships have deals where they will buy old vehicles and give you cash or let you put the value of the car towards a purchase of a newer vehicle. This is an option many people appreciate. The convenience of working with the same business you purchase your new vehicle from is appealing.

Take Advantage of a Retire Vehicle Program

Some states have government buyback programs for vehicle retirement. Usually, these programs are focused on older cars to take higher-emission vehicles off the streets and improve air quality.

You can find applications online to see if this program exists in your state and if you meet the criteria to take advantage of it.

Donate Your Vehicle

For people wondering how to retire a car in a way that is more beneficial to society, there are many donation programs that would benefit from your vehicle.

  • Vehicles for Veterans
  • Kars4Kids
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • And Newgate School, to name a few.

Donating your old vehicle to any of these places benefits not only you but also people in need. Many of these programs benefit from vehicle donations, even if the car is no longer running.

Make Donating a Priority if You Retire Your Old Car

If you’re evaluating your vehicle, deciding whether to keep it, sell it, or donate to a retire vehicle program, look through the list of red flags and see which might apply to your vehicle. If your vehicle has one or two, you may enjoy selling or trading your car to get an upgrade. Or, if your vehicle is in a rough condition, you might be considering a donation.

If you’re ready to retire your vehicle, consider donating your old car to Newgate School. Not only will you benefit from a new car, but the students at Newgate will have an opportunity to learn from the damages on your old car.