Many motorists have no intention of replacing their vehicle any time soon. Replacing your car for a new one is an expense that you may want to put off for a while. Like my dad always said, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. Sometimes the situation may arise when the time to make a decision about the car’s destiny will pick you. You can suddenly find yourself at a crossroad when the staggering cost of major car repairs meets the staggering cost of replacing your car. Unfortunately we do not know if the vehicle may need additional repairs in the future or not. Sometimes when it’s broke you really do need to fix it or replace it. Either way there is a decision to be made. A vehicle that needs a major car repair like a transmission or engine will have a low resale or trade in value. Either you dump the car for pennies on the dollar or invest more than the blue book value to make it a car again. Now what to do? We must sit down, look at our options and make an educated decision. Exceeding the blue book valve is not the end of the world if you decide that the car is worth keeping. It is usually not worth investing thousands into a used car and then turn around and sell it. You get a better value from your investment if you can get three to five more years of use out of your car. Your vehicle is an investment. When that major failure occurs you are forced to invest in repairing it or invest in replacing your car.
Is your car worth keeping? How much have you spent on your car in the last five years? Do you know the current condition of your car? Are there any “milestone maintenance intervals” coming up like a timing belt or spark plugs? How do you stand as far as tires, battery and struts? It may be a good idea to have a complete inspection done prior to making that decision. Consult with your car care provider and discuss the value of your vehicle. Sometimes multiple car repairs combined with bad paint or interior will condemn a vehicle.
First we must ask ourselves, how much do we like our current vehicle? Does it do what we need in a vehicle? Have you thought about what you would replace it with? It is good to do a feasibility study to see if you could really afford a new car. Remember that there are other expenses related to car ownership. The cost of insurance and D.M.V. registration fees will go up drastically when updating your vehicle. If you finance the new vehicle there be interest fees that you wont get back. First make a practical decision on a car that meets your needs. In today’s economy you may have to “dime down” your choice. The cost of replacing your Audi A6 with a Mazda 6 would be much less money compared to another Audi. Look at the total expenses including car payments, increased DMV insurance costs and bank fees. Compare those costs to the estimate for major car repair on your current car. With higher insurance, DMV fees and interest on payment it will usually be less money to invest in your current car when compared over a five-year period.
If you know me then you know I am going to say it is best to stay on top of your vehicle’s care and avoid any major car repair. Proper maintenance can help avoid major failures and possibly keep you from having to make a decision. Decide to take good care of your cars first.
John Vanek-Car Time at Orinda Motors
When a car reaches 100k and beyond you should build your expectations of the higher car repair budget.