Why and When to Trade Up Your Car

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It can be hard to decide whether to keep your older car and pay for repairs that are ongoing or trade it in for a newer luxury vehicle. For many reasons, it may make more financial sense to trade your vehicle for a new one.

In many cases, driving a luxury vehicle presents opportunities to simultaneously feel well taken care of while saving money. For example, at __________ when a customer’s car requires service, there is a valet pickup or complimentary courtesy vehicle chauffer service to help minimize interruptions in everyday life. This eliminates the need to rent a car or pay for a ride. There’s also a luxury spa on site for customers who prefer to wait for their cars to be serviced.

For most people, a vehicle is the second biggest purchase they’ll make in their lifetime. Cost of ownership and depreciation are two rather complicated yet important subjects when deciding whether to trade or keep your car.

Here are some key factors to consider throughout the decision-making process.

Cost of ownership

Doing a side-by-side comparison of the costs to drive your current vehicle versus your new, hypothetical vehicle is a smart first step. Some costs of ownership are impossible to predict, of course.

Using the information you have about ongoing expenses like fuel costs, taxes, license fees, insurance, registration fees, and finance costs, try to get a solid understanding of what a new car will cost and compare it to what your current car costs.

In some cases, insurance costs for a new vehicle drop significantly. Advanced safety features often help drivers earn discounts on insurance premiums. These same safety features create a safer driving experience, which results in fewer insurance claims. Consult your insurance agent to understand how to move forward with a purchase while minimizing ongoing insurance costs.

Fuel costs may challenge expectations, as well. For example, in 2012, the Lexus RX switched to regular fuel. This small change saves the average driver $30 each month.

It’s important to be precise when calculating fuel costs. Even a tiny advantage offers real savings. Since 2015, new methods of fuel economy testing provide more accurate results than in the past. Even a 1 liter per 100 kms difference could mean a savings of $18 per month in fuel costs.


The most important thing to understand about depreciation is that not every car depreciates at the same rate. There are many factors that affect depreciation. If the car you are trading in is close to ten years old, the depreciation rate may have slowed to the point that you’ll get a solid offer for it. If it’s less than a year old, it’s more likely that the amount you’ll get for the trade will seem like a financial loss for you.

There are other factors that affect how fast a vehicle’s value falls. If it has a viable warranty in force, that adds to the car’s value. A factory warranty or extended warranty that is transferable and still in force usually indicates that the vehicle has been well-maintained, as well.

The interior and exterior condition of the vehicle are other important factors that indicate how it has been maintained over the years. Before bringing a car in for appraisal, have it cleaned and washed. Try to take care of small blemishes on the exterior, as well. This will help you get the maximum amount from your trade-in vehicle.

If the car exceeds its yearly average and the odometer shows many more kilometers than expected, the value will decrease by thousands of dollars in some cases. Even a car that has been well taken care of and is great cosmetic condition will lose value when there are many kilometers on the engine.

Popular body styles tend to retain value better, as well. If your car has the same body style as the newer model year, it’ll be worth more as a trade-in vehicle. If you bought a vehicle during the year before a body redesign, the trade-in value may be lower.

Some makes and models of cars simply retain their value better over time. Luxury vehicles like ____ are typically worth more when it’s time to trade. These sought-after cars hold up well over time, tend to be more reliable, and usually sell quickly as used vehicles.

Lifestyle and individual tolerance for risk

A new car is always tempting, but understanding your personal tolerance for risk as it relates to your lifestyle is more important than most people realize.

This is a tricky area, especially if there is more than one person involved in the decision-making process. Objective thinking becomes a challenge when one person is in favor a buying a new car and the other wants to wait.

If your current vehicle tends to break down, and you are frequently transporting three children under the age of four, buying a new car becomes more about safety and security than your desire to arrive at your destination in style.

People who have put themselves on a strict budget also tend to favor driving a newer car because cars with higher mileage may need expensive repairs that can create unforeseen expenses.

For example, many vehicles require a new timing belt past the 100,000-km mark. Repairs during the colder months are even more inconvenient, and no one wants to be stranded during a winter weather event because their car broke down.

Deciding to trade your car in for a new one is a big deal. With the right research, the ability to think objectively about your situation, and a solid understanding of the facts about what your current car costs as opposed to a new car, you’ll be able to make a choice that supports your financial well-being while also fitting in with your priorities.

For more information about buying a new car, or for help understanding how much your trade-in vehicle is worth, go ahead and contact the experts at _____________.

Rachel M.

Rachel M.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States

See my LinkedIn profile for samples. Feedback from clients: "This was my second job with Rachel. She adheres to schedule and over delivers on her content. I know that I will be coming back for more." "...an excellent writer and was always on schedule. I would definitely recom...

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