Winter weather is on its way, which means icy roads and a higher rate of collisions and car troubles—even with the major construction on areas like the Woodmen and Union intersection that has been going on forever. Whether it’s winter driving that causes damage to your car, or just plain old wear and tear, your car will eventually hit the point that it’s just not worth repairing. At Your Import Car Doctor, one of the questions we see our customers struggle with time and again is how to know when a car just isn’t worth it to repair anymore. We pride ourselves on our honest policy, and we will always tell you when a repair is necessary or if it can wait. We also welcome your questions, to help you make a better decision based on your needs. If you’re unsure whether your car is worth it to repair, or if it’s time to trade it in, here are a few of the most predominant factors to consider.
No Easy Answer
The truth of the matter is, the question of “repair or replace?” is going to depend largely on your individual situation. For some, a few hundred dollars to keep your car up and running is well worth it, but that won’t be the case across the board. Things like the cost of the repairs, how frequently your car needs fixing, how many miles are on the car, and your financial situation can all sway the decision one way or the other. Let’s start with the basics and build up from there.
How much will the repairs cost?
One fairly easy metric many people use is the question of car repair costs versus the value of the car itself. This is actually one of the big factors auto insurance companies use to determine whether they will pay for repairs or consider your car totaled, so it’s a good starting point for determining whether to replace your car or not. For example, if your car is more than a decade old, it’s probably not worth more than a few thousand dollars if it’s in decent shape. So, if it’s going to cost a few thousand dollars for the fix, you might be better off trading your car in and using that money to purchase or put a down payment on a newer car. Many car value sites suggest a guideline of half the value of your car or less; if the repair will cost more than that, it might not be worth it, and if the repair is going to be more than the value of your car, consider carefully.
How much will it extend the life of the car?
The other big part of the cost versus value question is how much more use you’ll likely get from your car. If the necessary repair is a few thousand dollars, but you’ll end up with an entirely rebuilt engine, that could extend the life of your vehicle enough to give you several more years of use. However, if you’re looking at a higher cost repair on, say, the car’s axle or something that doesn’t impact the engine’s function, that repair might not be as worthwhile.
How often does your car need repairs?
With a twenty year old car, it might feel like your car is in the shop every other week. If that’s actually the case, it’s probably time for some re-evaluation. If that’s just a bit of hyperbole, however, it’s a good idea to actually track how often your car goes in for repair work and how much each visit costs. An older car that only needs routine car service and the occasional small repair job may not need to be replaced just yet. But if you really are going in for major car repair on a monthly basis, it could be time to set that money aside for a car that needs less attention.
Is your car paid off?
This is a big one for most people. Finally submitting that final payment and no longer being beholden to the bank is an amazing feeling, and one we all want to hold onto. You’re probably not in any rush to take on car payments again. If your car is not paid off yet, this can have a pretty big impact on trading it in; at the very least, you’ll need to get enough from the sale to pay off the current loan, so be sure to check your car’s value versus the amount you have left to pay. You probably don’t want to end up paying a chunk out of pocket when you go to trade in your car. After all, the goal is to save money, not spend more.
How are your finances?
When it all comes down to it, the biggest factor between choosing car repair or replacement is your financial situation. So often, people with car trouble can afford a couple hundred dollars for repairs but cannot afford to put a few thousand dollars down on a new or new-to-you vehicle. Even if your car may need further repairs six months down the road, that could still be better than a few hundred dollars a month for the life of another load. If finances are a concern, be sure to discuss with your mechanic how much they think the parts and labor will add up to and if the repair can wait.
When you’re on the hunt for car repair you can trust in Colorado Springs, come to the team that has been serving the city for decades. We pride ourselves on honest service, so we are happy to explain every repair your car actually needs versus what can wait. Contact us today to get your questions answered or schedule service!