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4 signs it's time to break up with your car
Love is a wonderful thing, but money can upend even the happiest relationships. In this series Love and Money, Chase Auto Finance explores how money impacts love, and relationships.
Breaking up with someone is hard to do—especially when that someone is your car. According to a recent survey conducted by Chase, 60 percent of participants have an emotional connection to their vehicles, while more than 40 percent of male respondents have had a longer relationship with their car than a significant other.
All good things must come to an end, so why delay the inevitable? To make the breakup a little easier, we asked Jim Manelis, Head of Direct Lending for Chase Auto Finance, for the four biggest signs it's time to split with your ride—and how to move on to another car you'll love.
1. "There's someone else"
You've been a one-car person for years, but you're starting to realize there are plenty of fish in the automotive sea. So, what gives? According to Manelis, a breakup is imminent.
"The whole paradigm shifts when a shiny, brand-new car pulls up next to you," he says. "For the first time, your car seems boring and you start to think, 'Should I leave my car?'"
You may be able to resist temptation at first, but your wandering eye will only get stronger. If you can't stop thinking about that shiny car, it might be time to start shopping around.
2. "The spark is gone"
Things change. As life progresses, you and your car may grow apart. Maybe you purchased a rugged four-wheeler back when you used to camp every weekend, but now spend more time in the city than the backwoods. Or perhaps you bought a sports car after landing your first promotion, but are now expecting twins.
"Or maybe the kids are grown up and driving themselves," Manelis adds. "You don't need an eight-seat vehicle, so you can get yourself a smaller, more fuel-efficient car—possibly one that's more fun to drive."
3. "I've tried everything"
As the Beatles once sang, money can't buy you love. Pouring thousands of dollars into the maintenance of an old car can prolong its life, but no amount of money will make it last forever.
As hard as it may be, you need to put sentiment aside and think of your car as a financial asset.
Before you whip out your checkbook, it's important to evaluate whether a vehicle is too old to fix or damaged beyond repair. Manelis recommends watching out for the milestones that have a direct impact on value, like when the warranty expires.
"After that, all the costs are out of your pocket," he explains. "Check your manual and consider getting rid of your car before it's due for a major servicing."
Speaking of costs, don't overlook mileage when thinking about resale value.
"The auto industry says the value starts to drop at 60,000 miles, but I look at those common, big numbers," Manelis says. "There are mental milestones at 50,000, 75,000, and 100,000 miles."
4. "This relationship isn't healthy for either of us"
Simply put, if your car can't get you from point A to point B as safely as possible, it's a good indication it's time to give it the boot.
"Anything safety related is a real reason to consider dumping a car," Manelis stresses.
He adds if a car needs constant repairs or ever leaves you stranded, it's likely time to say goodbye.
How to move on
Like any other breakup, Manelis finds the best way to get over your old car is to find another one.
"You just need to leap forward to a new car," he says.
But before you jump into a new relationship, give your old flame a proper send-off. Research the market to make sure you're getting the best value for a sale or trade, and consider donating a vehicle with little value left. Knowing you did right by your old car will give you closure.
As for finding your next dream car? Well, it's a process.
"Take the time to consider the elements you're looking for in a car," he adds. "Then see what's out there and understand the associated costs. You can even find out your financing options before you go to the dealership."
Steven John is a Chase News contributor. His work has appeared in The Manual and Business Insider.