When is the Right Time? How to Decide When to Buy Another Car or Keep on Repairing

By CarsFellow 4 Min Read

Even ordinarily reliable vehicles start to break down more often as they age. Drivers who own their cars often become attached to them, creating a lot of conflicting feelings when it comes time to decide whether to make repairs or replace the vehicle. Read on to find out what to consider when faced with this difficult decision.

Has the Car Been Well Maintained?

Not all drivers provide their vehicles with adequate maintenance. Ongoing maintenance requires more than just the occasional oil change. Drivers also need to top up fluids, check their wheel alignment periodically, change their spark plugs and air filters, and have their tires rotated on schedule.

Well-maintained cars keep their value better and experience fewer repairs. It’s never too late to start, either, so if the vehicle only needs a minor repair right now it’s likely worth paying a mechanic and then visiting telletire.com to find a local tire shop that can help with ongoing maintenance.

How Much Will the Repair Cost?

Minor repairs that cost less than a single month’s worth of payments on a new vehicle are almost always worth it, especially if the car is in otherwise good condition. Most drivers are only conflicted when they face the prospect of making more expensive repairs. As a rule of thumb, it’s only worth making expensive repairs if the total cost of parts and labor will add up to less than half the vehicle’s value.

Is a Catastrophic Breakdown Imminent?

It doesn’t make sense to make even relatively minor repairs on a vehicle that’s about to need a new engine or transmission. Spend the extra money on an inspection if the car has been leaking transmission fluid or oil, producing strange sounds, or handling poorly. A professional inspection will turn up potentially serious problems and give an owner a better idea of whether the car is worth repairing.

How Bad Would a Serious Breakdown Really Be?

Workers who rely on their cars to make their daily commutes, heads of family who need to pick up the kids from daycare on time every day, and those who drive substantial distances regularly have different concerns than people who only use their vehicles once in a while. An unreliable vehicle can wind up costing them a job, creating headaches when it comes to childcare, or leaving them stranded on a long stretch of highway. For these drivers, it’s often worth replacing the vehicle if minor issues keep coming up and getting in the way even if the cost of repairs isn’t that high.

Does the Car Have Sentimental Value?

Not all of a vehicle’s value to a driver can be measured in dollar signs. Those who are particularly attached to their cars and have been driving them for years or even decades tend to be more willing to shell out for repeated repairs, and that’s fine. This is another circumstance where ongoing preventative maintenance winds up costing less in the long run.

The Bottom Line

The decision to pay for repairs or purchase a new vehicle can be tough, especially for those working with strict budgets. Ultimately, it will always be a personal decision since there’s typically more than just money at stake. The best way to avoid trouble is always to maintain a vehicle well and address minor problems as they come up instead of waiting for them to turn into catastrophic failures.

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