This is a question with a lot of answers and many of these answers are based on personal preference, lifestyle and finances.
If you are not financially strapped, you can trade in your old car and buy a new car every year – if you can afford it.
But, even though you can afford it, you’ll lose money. Keep in mind that new cars depreciate more quickly during the first years. Cars that are between three and six years old actually offer the best value for money – providing that they are well looked after and in good condition.
Select a later model used car in good condition and drive it a couple of years until it starts giving problems. We are talking about major problems here and not just little things like replacing brake pads and general maintenance. When the repair bills for mechanical or electrical failure start piling up, you can start looking for a buyer or trade in your car for a later model.
The most cost-effective way to buy, trade in or sell your car is to buy a later model, drive it for a few years and then trade it in.
Buying a new car after you traded in your old car, will be less cost-effective. But again, if you can afford it and absolutely need to drive a new car out of the showroom, go ahead. Just be aware of the fact that you will pay a great deal more.