Perhaps you have an older car and it now needs a major repair. Perhaps it’s not even the first time that you’ve had to pay for a major repair. You might be asking yourself whether it’s worth it to get the car fixed versus simply replacing it. But, is that the best decision? Let’s explore some reasons why it might be a better idea to fix your old car.
All Cars Have Wear and Tear
Even if you’ve taken the best care of your car, some expensive repairs are simply not avoidable. Time, wear and mileage eventually takes a toll on any car. Very few parts of a car can be expected to last forever. Rubber hoses and belts crack, rotors wear down, electrical parts fizzle out and fluids break down. One of the biggest ticket repairs is the water pump and timing belt combination. This type of repair tends to surface around 100,000 miles on many vehicles. Many vehicles also need a cooling system overhaul around this time, which means replacing the radiator, belts and hoses. Transmission and major engine repairs can crop up as the vehicle gets further over 100,000 miles. But even these repairs don’t cost as much as buying a new car.
Compare the Costs
The first thing to understand is that it’s almost always cheaper to make a major repair on an old car versus buying a new one. Even if you’re buying another used car. A blown motor or major transmission problem might run as much as $7,000, but then you have to ask yourself what kind of new car will $7,000 get you. It might make a good down payment, but then you have to make monthly payments as well. If your car is currently paid off, taking on a new loan also means higher insurance premiums. Even if you could find a used car for $7,000 or less, what kind of issues might it have? A car for this price point is likely to have high mileage and be several years old. When you buy a new car, you lose over 20 percent of its value the moment you drive it off the lot. Your current car has already lost that value.
How To Extend Your Car’s Life
If you want to keep your car for a long time and avoid coming in contact with costly repairs, there are some steps you can take now. Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid surprise problems and costly repairs. Follow your manufacturer service guidelines based on mileage or time intervals. Get your vehicle’s fluids changed as often as recommended. According to Legacy Auto, a car repair in Boulder, CO, it is also a lot easier to get in contact with a reliable mechanic than you might’ve thought. Engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant are three fluids that should be kept up with. It’s a good idea to find a reliable shop so that you can have maintenance done on a regular basis.
Run the Numbers
If you do get a high repair bill and are wondering if it’s worth it, it’s important to run the numbers. For example, if you drive a 2005 Honda Accord that requires repairs totaling about $3,000, you can check the value on Kelley Blue Book and see that the car is only worth about $3,600 if you sold it. However, remember that repairing your car is still cheaper than buying a new one.
If you were to go out and buy another used vehicle at $3,600 rather than repair your old one, how do you know that a $3,000 repair isn’t lurking on that one? On the other hand, your old car might be ready to go another 50,000 miles after this repair. To compare, let’s say that you want to buy a used 2017 Mazda 6 that costs about $21,500. If you get a loan on this vehicle with three percent interest, you’ll pay about $387 per month for five years.
That means you’ll pay over $4,500 in the first year, which is obviously more than repairing your old Honda. Add in the additional costs of insurance and registration, and it’s possible that your monthly and yearly expenses might take a big hit. There are definitely some scenarios where replacing your old vehicle might be worthwhile versus a repair bill. However, in many cases, you are still better off repairing your old car.