How to Tell It’s Time to Repair or Replace Your Car
Automobiles reach the end of their lives at different times depending on how well you’ve taken care of them over the years, much like ourselves. When cars reach the end of their run, it can be hard to let go of it or admit that you need to take it to a mechanic. Generally, cars with over 200,000 miles on them will need more attention and are closer to the end of their lives than newer cars, but in most cases, the number of miles on an automobile isn’t the only sign that it needs work or needs to be put down.
Here are a few signs that your car needs to be repaired by an ASE certified, experienced mechanic, or that it’s on the outs:
- Repair cost vs. worth
On paper, it’s simple. If the cost of repairing your car is more than what the car is currently worth, it’s best to scrap or sell the car and move on. In the real world, this can be a difficult decision. While paying to replace your steering column will help you get some more mileage out of your automobile, it may make more financial sense to avoid the repair and put that money towards a new car altogether. You can get a base reading on your car’s value on the Kelly Bluebook website.
- Gas efficiency
All cars lose precious gas mileage as they age. It’s part of your car getting old. Record your gas mileage as closely and as meticulously as possible to see when it starts to decline for your car. The faster and more severely it declines, the more issues the engine or the transmission could have, leading to costly repairs. Weigh the savings in gas costs a repaired engine or transmission will have against the cost of an entirely new car.
- Insurance costs
Insurance costs are different for new cars and old cars. Older cars with high mileages on them probably won’t qualify for the safety-related discounts that insurance companies offer, yet a new sports car or luxury vehicle will cost more to insure than a family sedan. Factor in the costs of repairs or replacement in your insurance policies before you decide to repair or replace your car.
- Driving habits
How you use your car could necessitate replacement or major repairs as well. If you have an older car that you use to commute fifty-plus miles a day, it has a greater risk of breaking down and costing you more on repairs than if you have a new car that you use to tool around town. Major repairs might make more sense on an older car that you won’t need to drive fifty miles a day, because you’ll get more out of the repairs in terms of how long you’ll use the car.
These are all factors you should consider when deciding whether to buy a new car or repair the one you have. Most people could use at least some work on their automobile, and most repairs offer net gains for the customer, but when a car has reached the end of its usefulness and becomes a sunk cost, it’s time to move up to a new car altogether.