It’s that time of year again folks, when bright red hearts decorate store windows, chocolate displays get elaborate, and some nagging voice at the back of your mind reminds you to make restaurant reservations. That’s right – it’s Valentine’s Day.
While the year’s most swooning holiday is all about the love in your life, we would suggest that when it comes to thinking about your closest relationships, one that usually gets overlooked is the one with your car.
My car, you say. What’s that got to do with Valentine’s Day? Well, think about it. How long has your car been in your life? For some people, it’s probably years. How much have you gone through together? For many of us, our car has been in our lives longer than our significant other. If you can see other people, shouldn’t you be able to see other vehicles too?
It can be hard to break up with your old car. You’re comfortable in the relationship, after all. But being together a long time doesn’t necessarily mean happiness, does it?
So, when you’re inevitably rushing to the grocery for last-minute flowers a few weeks from now in a car that’s making your life difficult, it might be time to end it with your old vehicle and look for another faithful companion.
To help you make the decision, here are five signs it’s time to move on:
Mounting wear and tear costs
Even if you’ve had a pretty healthy relationship with your vehicle – and by that we mean you did your best to minimize accidents – some pricey repairs, like those meant to address excessive wear and tear or just the age of the vehicle itself, are unavoidable. An especially expensive repair, or even a series of smaller ones, can easily throw a wrench into your finances.
“If repairs cost more than what your old car is worth, then it’s time to move on.”
How do you know if it’s time to ditch your old vehicle for something new? If repair costs add up to more than what your old car is actually worth, then it’s time to move on. This is especially true for older cars that are prone to chronic problems.
Your safety has become a concern
Tell us if this sounds familiar – the effort your car may have put into the relationship 20 years ago, back when things were fresh and new, has since faded. There’s no more crisp turning responsiveness or shiny coat of paint to impress the other cars on the road. Most concerning of all, your old car lacks the safety features new cars consider standard.
Safety equipment like advanced airbags, precision brakes, rearview cameras, and electronic stability control are essential to keeping you and any passengers safe. Should they be missing in your current ride, it’s time to seriously consider giving your heart to a more modern, safer vehicle.
Your lifestyle has changed
As with any relationship, big lifestyle changes can significantly alter how feasible an old vehicle is in your life. Has the size of your family increased with new children, or decreased after kids have gone off to college? Has your work commute shrunk or grown longer? Are you involved in pursuits that require towing capability?
If the answer to any of the above is true, moving on from your old vehicle is perfectly understandable. It can be a mutually agreed upon breakup – you purchase a new car that suits your new needs, while your old ride potentially goes on to figure in someone else’s life. And don’t worry if they’re younger than you – teenagers need cars too.
Poor gas mileage
Sometimes it can feel like you can’t do anything or go anywhere without your car nagging you for more gas. You didn’t buy your vehicle just to take trips to the gas station, did you? The fact is that the older your car is, the less fuel-efficient it’s going to be. That goes doubly so for old trucks and SUVs.
Engineering has come a long way since you last saw other vehicles. Newer engines are more fuel efficient and eco-friendly, which means that you can buzz around town in that new vehicle without having to constantly shoot glances at the fuel gauge.
When you’ve simply had enough
Let’s be honest – sometimes ending a relationship just comes down to finally having had enough. Maybe your old car embarrasses you with odd rattling sounds and squeaky brakes. Maybe it’s the old bumper stickers that you could never quite scrape off after going through that phase in high school.
Whatever the reason, there’s a lot to be said for taking charge and one day deciding to make a change. Don’t let comfortable familiarity keep you from seeing what else is out there.