How to decide if it’s better to repair or replace your car

How to decide if it’s better to repair or replace your car

Many drivers will find themselves in a position where they need to decide between repairing their current car or replacing it by buying a new one. Before this decision can be made, there are a few considerations that need to be addressed.

There’s a risk you take when choosing to repair your car before considering your other options, where, later on, your car requires more repairs and the total slowly builds up until you reach a point where you need a new car anyway.

You might be a sentimental vehicle owner but, at the end of the day, the decision relies heavily on finances and what will make the most financial sense. You need to consider the options to make an informed decision that you won’t regret down the line.  

Start with a quote for both


As finances are the main aspect to consider, the first thing you need to do is ask for a quote for a repair and a quote for a new car.

Obviously, the price of a new car will almost always outweigh the cost of a vehicle repair. But you should rather look at it in terms of monthly instalments that you’ll be paying for the new car compared to the bulk cost (or possibly monthly cost) of repairs that need to be done.

A few ways you can weigh up repairs over a new car is to look at it in one of the following approaches:

  • If the repair quote is less than a month’s instalment for a new car, then have the repair done.
  • If the repair quote is less than half of your vehicle’s market value, then have the repair done.
  • If the repair will add significantly more years to your vehicle, then have the repair done (even if it costs more than it’s “worth”).

Obviously, the opposite of those approaches is also true and in favour of buying a new vehicle. Basically, it comes down to the value of your vehicle and what more you could be gaining for the same value in a new vehicle.

Consider previous repairs


You might think “starting with a quote for both” will mostly be in favour of going ahead with the repairs, but there are other considerations that will affect this decision.   

For instance, if your vehicle has been in for major repairs more than once a year or even every other year. A regular need for repairs or maintenance, beyond the usual minor filter and oil changes, means that your car is declining and in need of rest.

Major repairs aren’t meant to occur regularly and, unfortunately, when your car starts having bigger problems, it comes with a bigger repair bill and dent in your finances. When you add those costs together, you’ll very likely find that the best money move would be to Google “pre-owned car dealerships near me” and start the car financing process as soon as possible.

Not only do repairs become more frequent and expensive, but the chances of other issues arising and needing attention are higher. In this way, it’s not always the more affordable option to “just do the repair”.

Think about it long-term


You need to see frequent repairs as a sign that your vehicle is no longer reliable and that your safety is now at risk. So, now you need to think about it in the long term.

Your one option is to continue paying for and having repairs done on a car you’ve already paid off, and hope it continues to last you for years to come. Or, you could try to trade in that car (or try your luck at selling it off a car auction) and start paying for a new car that you know shouldn’t need repairs for a good few years.

The sooner you stop paying for repairs, the sooner you can put that money towards a more reliable vehicle. Spending money on car repairs only to have to buy a new one soon after anyway, is wasted money.

You need to recognise when your car is reaching the end of its life and start investing the repair money into a down payment for a car dealership sale. And, remember, you don’t need to buy an expensive car to replace the one you have. Many second-hand cars for sale are reliable, certified and affordable to finance, unlike the hopeless repairs you would be making to your old car.

There will also be newer model cars than your current car that can provide some of the latest safety features you didn’t have before – another long-term benefit. And if you need one more reason why it might be better to replace your old car, consider your current expenses on fuel and maintenance that could be halved when you’re driving your new, economical vehicle.

Authored by: mjones

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