I can certainly understand the dilemma that you are in right now, as I have been there too. Several times in life, we reach crossroads, that force us to choose between two or more paths. One of these crossroad conundrums may be buying a car. On one hand, you feel like holding onto your old faithful car, even though it may be reaching the end of its service life and on the other hand you are attracted to the glamor and sleekness of new ones.
Should You Buy a New Car or Fix Your Old One?
To decide whether to get a new car or continue with your old one, you need to make an objective analysis of your old one and the financial repercussions of buying a new one. What is the scale of car repairs that you expect to put in, if you decide to continue with your old one? If the scale is huge and you still don't expect a lot of improvement in the car's mileage or overall performance, buying a new one is the best choice. Not only will you get good mileage, but you will also be free from repair problems, which can be time-consuming.
However, if you have been carrying out regular maintenance and your car provides you with good mileage and overall performance, I see no reason why you can't continue with your old one. Using the old one has the financial advantage of paying smaller insurance installments, compared to new ones. However, if you need a new car to comfortably accommodate your growing family and have the requisite monetary budget to buy a new one, go ahead with it.
If you are starting for college and have to choose between your old man's car or a new one, I suggest that you settle for the latter, if it's in good working condition. Instead of putting in a bigger financial burden on your shoulders, when you are anyway going to have one in the form of educational loans, settle for the old car, till you get a good job. In the end, it's all a matter of finances. If you can afford it, get a new one, if you can't, stick with the old one.
Buying a Used Car
The other pair of choices is choosing between a new or used car. There is a huge used car market for you to choose from. If you have a very limited budget, your old one is beyond salvation and you can't afford to buy a new one without loans, look for a used car. Get it checked by a mechanic to ensure that it's in good working condition. Don't just fall for the bluff of the dealer.
Go for a new car, if you are simply tired of using old jalopies and have the necessary buying power. If you plan to take a loan, for buying a new one, study how it would affect your financial equation for the future.
Weigh the factors of your financial situation, the status of your old car, the advantages in terms of fuel efficiency, and comfort in case of a new car, and your budget at hand, to reach a decision. Let logic guide your decisions, instead of temptation.