Whether it’s your first car or your thirtieth, the truth is that you’re likely to have an emotional attachment to it. Cars are part of our extended families and they’re expensive to replace when things start going wrong. Rather than fork out for a new one, we often try everything we can to fix our cars, even when we know they’re probably beyond repair. If you’re struggling to take the plunge and invest in something more reliable, here are 10 signs to reassure you that it’s definitely time to say goodbye to your pride and joy.
10. When the Duct Tape Becomes Ever Present
Used in the right situation, duct tape can be incredibly useful. If you’ve got a slight snag on the upholstery or you need to get a light to stay in place, duct tape can be an invaluable short term fix. However, if you get to the stage where the duct tape is becoming more and more present, it’s probably time for a change, especially if you’re considering using it anywhere under the bonnet.
9. When the Internet Can’t Identify the Rattle
After phoning mum or dad, Google and YouTube are the places most people turn to for car advice. Whether it’s an independent owners’ club or a video tutorial, there’s generally an explanation for how to solve most automotive problems online. If Google fails you, however, and you can’t identify that rattling sound you’ve been putting off for months, it may be time to say goodbye (via the garage, obviously – there’s always still that little shred of hope that it might still be worth something.)
8. When Parts Become Discontinued
For older cars especially, a discontinued part is a nightmare. If you’re incredibly lucky, you may have a friend who can help you, but it’s more than likely that the unavailability of spares is the end of the road for your beloved car. On the bright side though, you may be able to sell your spares if they’re in good working condition.
7. When the Rust Begins to Spread
If your car starts to take a rusty hue, then seriously, it may be time to consider a change. Rust spreads quickly, and eradicating it completely is an incredibly laborious and time consuming job. Fine for a genuine classic but if not, now is the time to say goodbye to your beloved car, before it’s too late.
6. When Repairs Cost More than the Car is Worth
Most of the problems we’ve mentioned so far can, at a push, be DIY jobs if you’re willing to put in the graft. However, if there comes a time when you take your car for its MOT and the price you get for a pass certificate extends into the £1,000s, you’re faced with only one option: hand the keys over to someone else. It’s as simple as that.
5. The Car no Longer Suits Your Needs
Some newer cars now come with either seven year or lifetime guarantees, offering the ultimate peace of mind. However, sometimes it isn’t the mechanics of the car that prompt the need for change. It might just no longer be what you need. For example, your two seats convertible Audi may have been the perfect bachelor car, but there’s no room for babies when they come along. As your life changes, your car inevitably changes too.
4. Safety is More of a Concern Than Ever Before
If you have a family, it’s likely that safety is your number one priority. Over the course of the past decade or two, the quality of car safety has improved massively. If you have an older car, you may be concerned about its safety in comparison to some of the larger, more powerful cars on the road; especially if you’re in a crash. If this is the case then it’s time to upgrade to a vehicle with excellent crash test ratings, all round airbags and more advanced safety technology to put your mind at ease.
3. Fuel Consumption is at an All Time High
Ever since the start of the 21st century, fuel consumption has been one of the primary concerns of car manufacturers, with hybrids and incredibly fuel-efficient cars flooding the market. Suddenly, in Hollywood, it’s even cool to own a hybrid.
If, however, you’ve got a much older vehicle, it’s likely that it’s a gas guzzler and is constantly burning a hole in your pocket. As time goes on, you also may start to notice that you’re using more oil than ever before. This may be because there’s a leak or that the engine is simply burning it; a good clue to that is a cloud of smoke from the exhaust. But both are sure signs that it could soon give up the ghost.
2. You Hear the Dreaded: “Have You Ever Thought About Trading it in?”
When someone who makes money fixing cars tells you that it might be time to trade it in, then the end is nigh. As the experts who know the exact cost of every individual part, they’re usually doing you a favour and making sure that you don’t end up as an unhappy customer. Mechanics definitely don’t make this suggestion readily because of their vested interest, so consider it very carefully.
1. When that Tapping Becomes a Banging Sound
Finally, if you’ve ignored all nine other factors and soldiered on through, then there’s one thing that will definitely tip the balance. That’s when that tapping sound you’ve got used to from the engine starts getting louder suggesting that you’ve got a bearing or cam shaft problem that’s going terminal. Chances are the number of miles left in your faithful old steed you could be in tens rather than the odd thousand or so you might be hoping for. Now is definitely the time to trade it in while it’s still going, otherwise the only destination is the crusher at the local scrapyard. So it’s only downhill from here, definitely time to cut your losses and move on.