When to trade in?

At what cost limit should you decide to trade in a car? My car is paid off 2001 minivan and I feel like it’s now a money pit.

Find out what a years payments on the new car would be and then look at what you are paying out in repairs (not maintenance/wear items like plugs wires clutch oil battery brakes etc.). When you get more average annual cost than new car payments, then it is time. A 2001 should not be even close to trade time unless it has been abused.

You Didn’t Tell Us How Many Miles Are On It.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Are you running a fever, new car fever?
Have you kept up with maintenance?
What does it need at present?

Figure out how much you are actually spending, per year, in repairs.
How much would payments on a new one be?

When you say “trade-in” that scares me. I hope you get a price on a vehicle with No trade-in first and then (change your mind) and inquire how much your trade is worth toward the new car. That will give you an accurate picture of how they value it. It’s often an advantage to just sell it outright.

I keep cars for a long time–in fact, one of our cars I bought new in 1978 and am driving the car 30 years later. What I have noticed is that often unrelated repairs come quite close together in time, and then I’ll go a year or two with no major repairs.

You need to give us more information. How many miles are on your minivan and how carefully have you maintained the minivan. For example, have you had the transmisison fluid changed? Were you religious in following the owner’s manual for oil changes?

I’ve heard people complain that a car is “nickel and diming” them to death. It takes a lot of nickels and dimes to make a year’s worth of car payments.

Buy a new one, but keep the minivan for normal stuff. Is there a vehicle you have in mind? Why not get something like a Mustang for fun, but keep the van that’s paid for. you got an extra vehicle for those times when one breaks down.

Go to www.edmunds.com and use their true cost to own (TCO) calculator to figure out how much a newer minivan would cost. That will probably scare you off buying a new car. Purely by way of example, a 2006 Dodge Caravan will cost approximately $23000 dollars to own over the first three years (assuming 15K miles/year). BTW, that 3-year total includes 3800 in maintenance and repairs, and 3571 in depreciation. I imagine a brand new minivan would have even higher costs. New cars are money pits.