What to Do When You Think Your Car Is on Its Last Legs

If you ever have the premonition that your car is about to die, you shouldn’t ignore it.

A car on the brink of death is a safety hazard, and brushing aside any remotely concerning issue could put you at risk for serious injury and even death.

There are many reasons as to why a car is reaching the end of its life, and while letting go does not feel like an option, it might be the best one.

This is what to do when your car is on its last legs:

Check the battery 

An issue that may cause you to believe that your car is a goner is a dead battery.

Luckily, car batteries can always be replaced. If a car doesn’t start, hopefully the problem may lie in its inability to spark electricity necessary to kickstart the engine. However, if there are more issues preventing your car from revving to life, don’t assume that a battery is the worst of your worries.

Consult the opinion of a professional mechanic

Go to a professional and get their honest opinion on what to do with your car. You can research all you want on the internet, but only a mechanic can meticulously take apart a car. They will determine whether or not your car is worth spending more money over, will repair broken belts or fix a leak in the coolant system if necessary, and can thoroughly educate you on why you should never avoid issues altogether.

Replace old parts 

Sometimes, a car can be salvageable if its equipment and parts are easily replaceable. But only choose to update your vehicle’s parts if the pros outweigh the cons. You don’t want to keep fixing an old car over and over again. Doing so actually decreases its selling value over time. When you think about it, the money you spend on parts could actually have bought a used vehicle!

Consider upgrading your vehicle

Saying goodbye to an old car is difficult, but investing in a new one is not only better for your sanity, but safety as well. If possible, look for used vehicles in your area and scope out which would be better suited for your lifestyle now. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a car, and there’s also the option of switching to a different and cheaper mode of transportation such as a motorcycle or scooter.

At the end of the day, a car on its last legs is never a safe car. If you can replace the battery or old parts – great! But certain problems can never be adequately fixed.

If you can’t find certain parts of your vehicle in auto stores anymore, it may mean that the car has become obsolete.

Evidently, if saying goodbye to your vehicle is the best route to take, then follow through with that decision. Your safety and well-being are more important than a car.

Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer who has written for a variety of automotive, travel, and lifestyle publication, and is currently working with Audi Marietta. An auto-enthusiast and self-proclaimed “gear-head”, Trevor loves working on cars and writing about the ensuing test-drive. In his free time, you can find Trevor working in the garage or lifting weights at the gym.

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2 Responses to “What to Do When You Think Your Car Is on Its Last Legs”

  1. Robert S says:

    I have several issues with this article. First, the author and I seem to have very different ideas about what it means for a car to be on its last legs. I’m thinking major structural corrosion, major structural body damage, multiple major systems worn out at the same time, or some combination of those. He seems to think it means a dead battery or a broken serpentine belt. Second is the suggestion that repairing things that are broken reduces the value of a car. I can see a reduction in value in a collectible going from numbers matching to not (say with an engine swap), but in most cases a functioning car is worth more than a non-functional one. Next, we have the statement that some problems can never be adequately fixed. This is not true. There are some problems that can’t be fixed in an economically effective manner, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed, just that it’s very expensive. Corrosion repair comes to mind. Finally there’s the bit about parts stores not carrying parts for your car. Thanks to the internet, parts support for old cars is easier than ever. I drive a 35 year old car and can get any part I need for it. I just may have to wait a week or so for it to ship.

  2. John Carr says:

    They don’t make cars I like any more. I’m willing to put a LOT of money into repairs to avoid buying something new.