Your car needs regular care to keep it running. However, at some point, you may begin to wonder if it’s worth it to keep putting money into it—especially if your vehicle is getting older and needs a major repair. Should you pay for the repair, or would it make more sense to invest in a new vehicle?
Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer—it really depends on the cost of the repairs, the age of your vehicle, and other factors. If you’ve kept your car well-maintained, you should expect to get 200,000 to 400,000 miles out of it. With proper servicing, your point of diminishing returns is going to be a lot further in the future than if you’ve neglected it.
With that in mind, here are things to consider with each option to help you make the most informed decision.
Things to Consider with Repairing Your Car
Repairs are almost always going to be less expensive than buying a new car, even with a major repair like a transmission or engine rebuild. Depending on your vehicle, this could cost around $1,600 to $8,000—significantly less than the price of a new car.
When you need a major repair, it’s always a good idea to crunch the numbers. Consider the cost of the repair versus all the expenses that come with a new vehicle, including the down payment, vehicle licensing tax, insurance, and calculated monthly payments. According to Edmunds, the cost of monthly payments for the average new car with a 70-month loan is $637—or $7,644 over the course of a year. Used cars aren’t much better, with an average monthly cost of $535. Insurance and registration fees will also be higher on a new vehicle.
Things to Consider with Buying a New Car
More often than not, getting the repair will be the more cost-effective option, but there are times when purchasing a new vehicle is worth the expense and peace of mind.
Even if you’ve kept up with your maintenance schedule, old vehicles can be unpredictable. If you find that you’re repeatedly visiting the repair shop and the costs are getting out of hand, it may not be worth the money to keep it going. Likewise, if your vehicle is getting increasingly unreliable and breaking down frequently, you may want to consider investing your money in dependable transportation.
With a new vehicle, you won’t have to worry about repairs for at least the duration of a new car warranty (approximately three years) and major repairs aren’t likely for even longer than that—especially if you keep up with your factory-scheduled maintenance. Purchasing a reliable, certified pre-owned vehicle may also help soothe your nerves on the road.
Another thing to consider is that a new car will be safer than a model that’s, say, 20 years old. They have better rigidity and crumple zones, as well as a variety of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) safety features like blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking.
Extending the Life of Your Car
If you don’t have to make a decision yet about whether to repair or replace your vehicle, you can take a few steps to extend the life of your current car.
First, make sure to get your car serviced at the intervals recommended by its manufacturer. You can find the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, or feel free to ask your service advisor.
Second, pay attention to your vehicle. Often, cars will warn you of a problem long before it turns into a major repair. Any changes in how it sounds, smells, feels, or drives, lit dashboard warning lights, or signs of leaks or damage should always be addressed sooner rather than later. Waiting too long to fix an issue, or ignoring one completely, are two of the most common reasons why drivers end up needing a more expensive repair.
Buying a new car might seem like the best way to avoid a large repair bill, but it’s a decision that should always be carefully weighed. While maintaining your current car will likely be the most cost-effective option in the long run, there are times when it’s worth the peace of mind that comes from the reliability of a newer vehicle. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth keeping your current car running, we’re always happy to give it a full inspection and our honest opinion. We also offer pre-purchase inspections for pre-owned vehicles. Contact Accurate Automotive Attention today at our Central Yuma or Foothills location, or request an appointment online.