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- An aging car will usually send signals that it’s time to start thinking about a new set of wheels.
- Signs range from weird noises to escalating repair expenses to outdated technology.
- While it’s possible to keep a well-maintained modern car running for hundreds of thousands of miles, sometimes it makes better sense to say goodbye and start fresh.
Modern cars can, if treated well, run almost forever. Hitting 100,000 miles is nothing these days, and some motorists have rolled over a million.
That said, even well-maintained vehicles can send signals that it’s time to think about buying a new car (or a new used car).
Often, these signs are subtle — your car whispers rather than shouts. For the first few years of ownership, a new car is under warranty, and the manufacturer will repair major problems.
But once you get past 50,000 miles, unless you purchase an extended warranty, you’re often on your own. That means listening to your car and studying its changes in mood.
The daily diagnostics will provide valuable clues and help you decide when it’s time to say goodbye to your old car and hello to a new set of wheels.
1. Weird noises or smells.
Cars aren’t supposed to smell strange or make weird noises. These are telltale signs of a problem — and common with cars that are wearing out and need to be replaced.
The noises are worse. If you hear a CHUNK, any kind of grinding, or a loud rattle, not to mention old favorites such as a backfire and a coarse idle, there’s a good chance that you’re in for a costly repair and it might be time to get some new wheels.
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Leaks aren’t the end of the line, but they’re often the beginning of the end. New cars don’t leak. Middle-aged cars leak a little. Old cars leak a lot. When you start to see a rainbow of liquid colors on the garage floor, it’s time to go to a new car dealer.
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Like leaks, smoking can be repaired, but it usually indicates a serious underlying problem. The three main colors of smoke are black, gray, and white. Black isn’t always a big deal, as it usually means something is dirty with the filtration system. Gray means that the car is burning oil. A lot of gray and you’ll want think about a new ride. White is it the worst, as it could indicate serious engine problems such as cracked engine block or a leaking engine gasket.
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