If you’ve ever been hit with a repair estimate that was bigger than you were expecting, you probably know the feeling. The moment when you’re wondering how much money your current car is worth, and if it would be better to buy a new vehicle instead of continuing to repair your old one.
Of course, if you’ve been in that situation, you probably also know how hard it can be to make a decision. After all, new cars, even when you buy them used, are still expensive.
The least you can expect to spend on a new vehicle, even used, is $2,000-$3,000 after registration fees, insurance, and other costs. And at that price, you probably have a used vehicle that might need its own maintenance work done soon.
You can get a lot of repair work done for the money it takes to buy a car.
But, at the same time, there comes a point where pouring more money into an old vehicle isn’t a good idea. A time when you should, instead, start saving that money to get a new car.
Here are some criteria to help you decide when you’re faced with the decision to spend more money on an old car or to stop and instead get a new one.
When Repairs Are More Expensive Than Car Payments
This is one of the most common measures of when it’s time to get a new car instead. Every car is going to have some maintenance costs, but if you start to spend more in a year than you would pay in car payments + normal maintenance on a newer vehicle, it’s probably time to get an upgrade.
Notice that this is spread out over a whole year. One $1k-$2k repair isn’t necessarily going to push you over the edge.
Even a $3k-$5k repair might not be enough if the repair costs for the last several years were much lower.
However, there is an exception to that rule, which we’ll talk about in the next section.
When One Time Costs Exceed The Value Of The Vehicle
Older vehicles usually come with the benefit that you own them, the insurance is more affordable than the insurance for new vehicles, and you don’t have to worry about the cost of a monthly car payment.
That said, sometimes repairs literally aren’t worth it because the vehicle isn’t worth the cost of the repair.
This happens because once a part is used in one car it’s not as valuable as the new part. Even if the car is potentially salvageable for scrap parts and metal after it stops being drivable, scrappers usually pay very low prices because they still have to put in the work of scrapping the vehicle.
If your vehicle is only worth $1k-$2k while it’s working, and you’re faced with a $3k repair, it might be time to get a new vehicle. Especially since you’re more likely to get increasing maintenance costs as the vehicle gets older.
You Don’t Know The Car’s Repair History
If you bought this car already used and didn’t get a complete car repair history, you might need to be willing to get a new car sooner than you would if you knew the repair history.
That’s because a neglected car can have much more expensive bills, and more of them a lot faster, than a vehicle that was well maintained as it aged.
For instance, if your car needs some major scheduled maintenance that wasn’t done when your vehicle hit a certain mileage milestone, that might be a sign that it will need more maintenance in the long run.
In that case, especially if you’ve already gotten your money’s worth from the vehicle since you bought it, it might be time to get a new vehicle sooner rather than later.
Contact Ethan’s Honest Auto
Looking for repair work on your vehicle, or need a second quote before you decide whether you’re going to get a repair or buy a new vehicle in the Cache Valley or South East Idaho region? Ethan’s Honest Auto can help.
Contact us to set up an appointment and we’ll see how we can help.