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Repair vs. Replace: When Is It Time to Kick Your Car to the Curb?

Aside from your home, your car is typically one of the most significant investments you make. In addition to the cost to purchase the car itself, there are routine maintenance costs and any incurred expenses for repairs. In fact, according to a Consumer Reports survey, the average car owner spends about $205 a year for a 5-year-old car and almost twice as much at $430 for a 10-year-old. 

So how do you know when it’s worth it to invest more money into repairing the car you have or retiring it and getting a new one? Read our blog to learn more about how to know if it’s time to work on your relationship with your car  — or brake up for good. 

Common Repairs

No matter how diligently you have your car serviced, sometimes repairs are unavoidable, often simply due to the wear and tear your car experiences over time. 

In addition to oil changes, battery replacement, and cooling system repairs, some examples of the most frequently performed repairs starting at around 100k miles include the following. 

  • Dried and corroded belts and hoses
  • Worn rotors
  • Malfunctioning electrical parts
  • Aging water pump

When to Repair 

Even if you own an older vehicle, there are several reasons why it would benefit you more to keep it and invest in any needed repairs to keep it in good working order. In addition to the following reasons, it is usually cheaper to repair than replace a car, and car insurance and registration fees tend to be lower on earlier model cars.  

Payments

When you own an older car, the likelihood is higher that you have paid it off or are close to, and without that monthly payment, you will have more money to use toward repairs. A major repair such as a broken transmission can cost thousands of dollars, which may seem equitable to a down payment on a new car. However, there are also monthly payments to consider if you must finance your car purchase. 

Value

Another benefit of keeping the car you have has to do with valuation. When you purchase a new car, it depreciates a certain percentage as soon as you drive it off the lot. With an older car, you don’t have to worry about that immediate reduction in value. 

Time

Maybe you planned to get a new car but needed your current car to last you long enough to save up. In that case, repairing the car allows you to continue driving it and be able to rely on your transportation without necessitating the need to come out of pocket for a new one before you’re fully ready. 

When to Replace

On the other hand, there are times when it may make more sense to retire your current car and invest in a new one. 

In addition to the reasons listed below, it may be advisable to purchase a new vehicle if any of the following are true. 

  • You can no longer afford the necessary repairs to keep your vehicle operational. 
  • Your current car consistently breaks down on you and is at the risk of becoming dangerous. 
  • Repairs will cost half or more of the car’s current value. 

Reliability

Newer cars with warranties mean you have time during which your repairs will be covered before you have to pay out of pocket for significant repairs. On the other hand, older cars can sometimes experience avalanche repairs — when one system needs repair, you will notice others may follow suit. 

Enjoyment

Another reason you may consider buying a new car is that you’re tired of dealing with the components that don’t work the best. With these vehicles, no matter how well you try to take care of it, it is just more outdated than you want to deal with anymore. If you’re constantly needing to take your car into the repair shop (for big and small reasons), you may begin to feel that your car is costing too much money and attention that could be better used elsewhere. 

Safety

Safety features are continually being added and improved upon in later model vehicles. For example, new cars often offer emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane drift warnings, and backup cameras, to name just a few. 

How to Get More Mileage Out of Your Current Car

If you haven’t yet had to make the difficult choice of completing major repairs to your car or replacing it altogether, there are steps you can take to extend its life. 

Maintenance 

Regular inspection and maintenance services may help your vehicle avoid costly repairs. Particularly if you drive an older car, staying on top of issues before they worsen. Find a trustworthy, honest mechanic who can tell you what repairs are needed, as well as if they can or can’t wait. 

Guidance

If you can’t decide whether continuing to make repairs to your car is worth it, seek the guidance of reputable, experienced mechanics who have serviced cars like yours and know whether repairs would be advisable. 

City Auto Repair Keeps Your Car on the Road 

When considering whether to repair or replace your car, you have many factors to think about to make the best decision possible. If the pros of repairing your car outweigh the cons, it’s worth it to invest in keeping your current car, and vice versa. Your trusted, experienced team at City Auto Repair is here for you throughout the life of your car — for inspection, maintenance, repair services, and expert guidance for assessing if your car is worth repairing. Our passion is keeping your car safely on the road for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and enjoy worry-free car ownership, no matter the age of your vehicle.