You’ve been thinking about buying a new car for some time, but weren’t sure when to take the leap. Perhaps now’s the time?

Signs You Need a New Car

Everyone has a theory about how long you should hold onto a car before getting a new one. Some people swap out every few thousand miles in order to maximize resale value and switch to something new.

Other people drive their car or pickup into the ground: putting hundreds of thousands of miles on the engine before thinking about replacing it. If you fall into the latter camp — people who like to get the most out of a vehicle before getting something new — you might benefit from knowing when’s a good time to move on.

Here are a few of the main signs and warnings:

  • Car Breaks Down Constantly

Every car has troubles from time to time. It’s never fun to sit in your driveway, unable to start your car, but it happens.

If you find yourself experiencing constant breakdowns, though, it’s time to call your car what it is: a piece of junk. “Aside from the frustration associated with driving a vehicle that breaks down constantly, driving a junk car can be flat-out dangerous for you and other drivers on the road,” explains.

“In many instances, it’s a much better idea to simply sell your junk car and buy a newer vehicle rather than continuing to drive something that poses a threat.”

The best advice is to get some repair quotes from multiple mechanics on what it would cost to fix the underlying problems that could be causing your breakdowns (not just the symptoms). Compare those figures to the price you could get by junking or selling the car and make your decision accordingly.

  • Losing Fuel Efficiency

The older your car is, the less fuel-efficient it’s apt to be. This is true for a number of reasons.

First, technology is improving. Each year, a new fleet of cars comes out that’s more fuel-efficient than the previous year’s models. If you’re driving a 15-year-old car, then you’re spending more time and money at the gas pump than you ought to.

Second, as cars age, they become less efficient. The systems become overworked, driving habits change, and you typically don’t get the level of gas mileage you used to. By buying a new car, you’ll save money every time you fill up.

  • Vehicle Doesn’t Feel Safe

“My friend was driving on the interstate when her minivan inexplicably started slowing down. I was riding next to her at the time, and was terrified as we slowed to a crawl while traffic whizzed around us at 80 miles per hour,” finance blogger Gerri Detweiler recalls.

“She told me it wasn’t the first time that had happened, but it was the first time it happened on the highway. Not too long after, she got a new vehicle.”

Your vehicle should feel safe to drive. If you’re constantly worrying about what will happen when you drive on the highway, or when the temperature goes above 90 degrees, and so on, then it’s time to get rid of your car and buy a new one.

  • Vehicle No Longer Fits Lifestyle Needs

Sometimes the truck or car is still in excellent condition, but your needs have changed and you simply require something else. Lifestyle factors are real, and you should adjust accordingly.

For example, say you purchased a Toyota Camry last year when you were working a 9-to-5 office job and had a 30-minute commute each morning. This worked for you then, but now you’ve transitioned into a job that has you driving around construction sites and hauling heavy equipment. You need a truck.

Pay attention to your needs and shop for a new vehicle when your situation has changed. If you’ve taken good care of your current vehicle, you should be able to recoup a good portion of the value.

Adding it All Up

The above are just some of the signs it may be time to get a new car. You could also simply decide you’re tired of your current vehicle, which is fine too.

Just remember this is a personal decision. Everyone has his or her own idea about when to replace the car, and it’s up to you to decide when the time is right for you.