Purchasing a brand-new vehicle is a costly endeavor. With new cars at wallet-busting prices, it can be difficult for the average person to justify their cost. For those just making ends meet, the expense of a monthly car payment could be too much to bare. The luxury of new car ownership could be just beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, the owners of older vehicles that require costly repairs are faced with an uncomfortable dilemma. Do they continue to pump out hard-earned cash to fix their clunker, or is it time to throw in the towel and accept that their car has reached the end of its usefulness? Sometimes scrapping your car is the best option.
If you’re facing this dilemma, here are some of the things that should tell you if your old car is really worth fixing.
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Know Your Vehicle’s Resale Value
Before you can determine if your car’s repair costs justify the fix, you’ll need to have a fairly good idea of what its resale value is. Without knowing what you can expect to sell it for, you’ll have no clue if the repair is worth the money.
Several online vehicle resale value calculators can supply you with this necessary information. All that’s required is the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) and an honest appraisal of your car’s condition. Those couple of dents that have become invisible to you will be glaringly apparent to a prospective buyer. Popular resale value calculators include Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.
The Cost of Repairs
Older vehicles will typically have more issues than those owners of ones that still fret over every little scratch they get. It’s a fact of life that as cars get older, the frequency of repairs will increase. This is especially true of cars with excessive mileage.
Armed with the knowledge of what you can expect to get for it if you sold it today, it should be apparent if it’s worth fixing. If the cost of the repair is equal to or greater than the value of the car, it’s a no-brainer that it’s not worth fixing. You can shop around for a cheaper mechanic, but it most likely won’t save you enough to justify the repair.
The Frequency of Repairs
Another factor that should be considered is not only the cost of a big one-time repair but also the cost of smaller ones. A vehicle that’s older than a decade and has a considerable amount of miles on it will typically require servicing more often than newer ones. Although those little required repairs don’t hit your wallet too hard, over time they can nickel-and-dime you to death. For more information about car repairs and panel beating be sure to check out NRC Group.
Taking into account the frequency of repairs is something to think about. And knowing that your car is getting up there in years, you can sometimes predict what’s going to break next. Certain makes and models of vehicles are notorious for having mechanical issues the older they get. A simple internet search for yours can give you an idea of what could be your next major repair.
Are you the only driver of the vehicle or does your partner or child use it also? If you or they aren’t mechanically inclined, you could be putting yourself or your loved ones at risk of breaking down on the road in the middle of nowhere, or worse, in an undesirable location.
Breaking down isn’t the worst that could happen either. Older vehicles that need repairs could be exponentially more unsafe to drive. Putting off fixing your car’s brake rotors due to the expense will put whoever is driving it at risk. If you can’t afford to maintain the safety of the vehicle, it’s definitely time to consider junking it.
Replacement Parts Are Difficult to Find
If your car is over two decades old and it’s your main source of transportation, it could prove to be difficult to find appropriate replacement parts. Although this is more common with vintage or classic cars, it still holds true for some clunkers that are still on the road. Parts for these older cars may not be normally stocked by garages and could sometimes take a day or two to be ordered and delivered. If the necessary repair leaves your vehicle undrivable, waiting for parts could be a major inconvenience.
If this has happened to you more than once, it’s a red flag alerting you that it’s time to cut your losses. Sure, the parts and labor have a price, but time is also money. While waiting for parts, you may need to rely on taxis or rideshare services to get you around.
The Bottom Line
If your older car is costing you more than it’s worth to keep it safe and on the road, your best opportunity is to sell it to a dealer who specializes in purchasing vehicles in any condition. You’ll get a fair amount for your beater and won’t have to go through the hassle of trying to find a private buyer or deal with a used car lot who may not even be interested in it.