When To Repair Or Replace Your Car

October 29, 2019

© Sonya Etchison | Dreamstime

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One of the best feelings in the world is making your final car payment!  Now all you are needing to pay for is gas, insurance and maintenance.  But eventually, those repairs start adding up, with even routine maintenance inching up into the hundreds-of-dollars realm. Is it time to retire your ride and buy a new car, or stick it out for the long haul? Part of it is math, and part of it is just taking a good look at your personal situation. In the end, both factors should determine whether a new car is in your future, or you should stick with what you've got. The first, and perhaps biggest question you should ask is how much are you paying in repairs? Even a couple hundred dollars in regular maintenance every several months is less than any new or used car payment would be. However when big items start to fail, such as the air conditioning system, you really should consider some things. If the repair costs less than a single month and your vehicle is paid off, it’s a no-brainer. If it’s less than a couple of months and you think that you’ll be able to go a while without additional repairs or maintenance costs, it makes sense to go ahead and get the repairs done. Where you start running into trouble is when you start to have more months when your car requires repairs than months when it doesn’t. You also need to consider the value of your car. If the repair is less than half the value of your car, then you’re better off doing the repair. If you take your car to a mechanic and they quote you $1,500 on a vehicle that’s worth $4,000, you’re probably still better off getting the work done. If you know your vehicle is only worth about $2,000 however, it probably doesn’t make much sense unless you can spread those repairs out over a period of time that makes it worthwhile and financially feasible for you. Of course, there are no guarantees that a new (or newer) vehicle won’t break down or have the same repair costs that your current one has, but odds are it won’t (thank you warranty). You do have to consider some of those “softer” costs and benefits that come with owning a newer car. A new(er car will also save you the time of going back and forth to a mechanic and finding a ride while your car is being repaired. Dependability and reliability are worth a lot. Finally, think about your budget. Even new cars sometimes have unexpected repair costs, and there’s a big difference between a $500 car payment every month and a $500 out-of-the-blue repair. Ultimately it’s your budget you need to consider.  But don't wait on your car to make that decision for you.  You should try to make the call to get a newer vehicle before your old one gives out completely.

SOURCE: Lifehacker

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