Buying a car is one of the most significant purchases you can make in your life. A house is a collective decision, often practical, but a car can be a personal, emotional choice.
They say time and tide waits for no man, and there’s a good chance some time has probably passed since you purchased your beloved car, and even though it hasn’t aged gracefully, it may still require some repairs.
Maintenance costs can cost well into the hundreds, if not thousands, but should you sell your car when the maintenance costs seem a bit overwhelming?
The Big Picture
When your old car demands more than the usual regular maintenance, repairs, and upkeep, keep a level head before you make perhaps a bad decision for yourself and your family.
Sit down and answer a few questions first before you can make the call to repair or replace the old car. Make an assessment what needs to be done and remember to be realistic, honest and upfront with yourself before you make a decision.
Do you Trust the Mechanic?
Trusting someone else to you give you straight answers is sometimes difficult. Especially when you take your car in for repairs. It can feel like you are being ripped off every time. So the first question to answer is Do You Trust Your Mechanic?
Of course, a mechanic wants your repeat business and after each repair, probably hands you a list of things that need to be done or will list some upgrades or repairs that will benefit you in the long run. Do you trust that what he or she does is in your best interest?
So, what can you do when faced with such Issues?
A mechanic should be like a barber, you should only do business if you completely trust them. While some repairs may be necessary, some are offered to pad their pocketbooks. There is an old saying, “Never trust a mechanic who drives a new car. He is either charging too much at work or doesn’t know how to fix his old one.”
Do the repairs need to be done immediately or can they wait? If they can wait and it’s safe to drive your car, then it’s probably best to do so.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions and don’t feel bad when you to compare mechanics and repair services if you want more than one opinion.
What if I need the repair?
If your car is worth $5,000 and the repairs cost about $1,000, then you should consider getting the repairs done; however, if the costs are more than half of the market value of your car, then you should make the repairs if you think these repairs and/or upgrades increase the market value of the car. This is rare as many repairs and upgrades commonly do not increase the value of your car like it would your home.
Are the repairs adding any value and giving your car a new lease on life? Is it a rare issue that can add to the life and quality of your car?
What about buying a new Car?
Does the math work?
While considering a new car, we often forget that even a new car will require maintenance and repairs. Does that also figure in your calculations and expenses?
If your current car is costing you costly repairs every few months, then it is time to consider getting rid of your old car—especially if the car is already paid off. If you don’t have to pay for a repair bill, your money could then be used for a new car down payment.
The prospect of a new car is always exciting and there may be nothing wrong in wanting an upgrade or change. However, if you have a budget and other expenses demanding your attention, you should really think this through.
Doing the math
Take a notebook and write the amount that you’re paying for repairs and maintenance. If the car is paid off, you own a vehicle and are done with the hassle of monthly payments. In the long run, buying a new car would cost more money in monthly payments than repairing your old car but you might get better gas mileage which could save a few pennies.
Unless your old car requires regular and expensive repairs, then it definitely will cost you less than a newer car on a monthly basis.
While the rational and practical questions have been asked and answered, it is time to deal with the emotional ones.
Is the hassle and worry of what will happen to your car at any moment stressing you out?
Do you constantly panic at the idea of unexpected expenses springing up at any time because of your car?
Is your car putting a strain on your budget due to the constant repairs?
Do you really like this car and not sure if you are ready to make a change?
Maybe it will be less stressful and calming if you buy a new car. A new car will have maintenance costs but the first few months will hopefully be smooth and hassle-free.
However, if you trust your mechanic, and you have been taking good care of your car and treating it right, your car could still be dependable and reliable. According to an AutoTrader report, the average lifespan of a car in the United States is over 10 years, higher than it ever has been before. Your current car may still have some life in her yet!
If your current car is broken or at the end of its life, you are bound to make a snap decision. Never make a decision like this when you are angry, frustrated, or pushed against the wall.
Instead, start planning better and invest time and energy in researching options long before you actually have to buy a new car. In the meantime, take care of your current car so it will last you as long as you need it.
Stephanie Lynch writes about all things concerning ways to save money in life. For more than 10 years, she has specialized in helping people save money and finding out what particular services/items cost in life.