It happens to everyone. You’ve had your car for years. You love it. It gets you where you need to go and never gives you trouble…until one day, it does. It starts relatively small. You need brakes. Then you notice one of the brake cylinders is leaking. Then, one day, your radiator coolant hose springs a leak. Then you need to change the whole radiator. Then the water pump goes. That’s it, you decide. I’m done with this.
There are a few things to consider that will help you make the right choice when you start to wonder, “Should I try to repair my car or just get a new one?”
Expensive Fixes Happen
This is an unfortunate truth of vehicle ownership. After a car is more than five or ten years old, there are repairs that need to be made. Things like CV boots, brake rotors, and even alternators break down. If your car is nearing 100,000 miles, more expensive things start to go, and repairs can cost upwards of $1,000. This might be a point where you start to consider replacing your car, but you have to weigh whether a new monthly payment is easier than the costs of the repairs.
Why Fix Your Car
There are several factors you’ll want to consider, which are in favor of repairing your existing vehicle.
- Cost: Though the repairs may seem really expensive now, in the long run it’s probably cheaper to pay $1,000 to fix the car than it will be to pay $300 per month on a new vehicle.
- Insurance: The cost of insurance on a new vehicle will often be higher than on your existing one.
- Depreciation: The moment you drive off the lot, a new car loses almost a quarter of its value. You don’t have to worry about that with your existing vehicle.
Why Buy a New Car
There are also a lot of reasons to throw in the towel and buy a new car.
- Confidence in your ride: Once breakdowns start to happen, they seem to snowball. With a new car you’ll have a few more years to go before you need to worry about major repairs. New cars are safer, too.
- Constant garage trips: Repairs don’t just cost you in money, they cost you in time. You need to be back and forth with the garage, consulting, dropping off and picking up your vehicle, taking time away from work and family. This can be a real pain.
- Monthly payments are more affordable: It might well be that you can more easily afford $300 per month than $1,500 at a single go.
When the cost of repairs in time and money is greater than your ability to pay for the repairs, it might be time to get a new car. Even though you’ll have monthly payments, the savings in time and stress could be worth it. In the end, you need to weigh the situation and make that decision on what is best for you.