when is it not worth repairing a car

Automotive

When Is It Not Worth Repairing a Car?

As a car owner, there may come a time when you have to decide whether fixing your car or selling it is the most prudent option for you. Sometimes, the best decision isn’t always clear and requires more research and analysis. If you face this situation and wonder how to move forward, consider the following statements regarding when it is not worth repairing a car and how each one relates to you.

Your Car’s Overall Value Is Less Than Desired

Knowing that something’s wrong with your car can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it’s your only mode of transportation. But before you decide to repair it or trade it in for something else, you need to know how much it’s worth. By using websites like Kelly Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds, you can search your vehicle’s make, model, year, and mileage to generate a trade-in estimate. You can also enter your VIN or license plate number to get a more accurate appraisal.

Another alternative is to visit the dealership and request an appraisal. If you choose this option, be sure to clean the vehicle’s interior and exterior and locate any paperwork you need beforehand, like the car’s title, registration, and service records. Being prepared can help streamline the process and potentially raise the appraisal amount.

Once you have an appraisal estimate, compare the number to past, present, and future maintenance costs. Specifically, is your car worth more or less than its maintenance costs? If its value doesn’t align with its expenses, trading it for something different might be your best option.

Your Car Is Old or Has a Long History of Repairs

While evaluating when it is not worth repairing a car, another factor to consider is your vehicle’s overall condition and maintenance expenses throughout the past year or two. If you’re the owner of an older or high mileage vehicle or one that has a lengthy repair record, maintaining it might not be financially worthwhile. Likewise, fixing a car with rust can be foolish, mainly if the problems exist under the car’s surface.

Identify any repairs you have made and how much they cost. If you don’t remember, you’ll want to track down the receipts or contact your auto repair shop for a history report. But if you keep an organized record of your repairs in a car maintenance log, you’ll be able to check your expenses hassle-free.

After reviewing your maintenance history, compare your previous out-of-pocket repair costs to your car’s current market value and future repair expenses. Have you already spent more money on repairs than what your car’s worth? If so, then it might be time to move on and look for your next set of wheels.

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Your Current Repair Estimates Are Rather Pricey

Once you research your car’s value and repair history, you can compare the numbers with your existing repair costs. If you aren’t sure how much a repair will cost, AAA offers a Car Repair Estimator that you can use to figure out estimates for parts and labor. Simply plug the information into the estimator and choose the service you need from the list to generate an estimate.

Some of the most car expensive repairs include the following:

  • Engine front cover replacement – $1,722–$1,978.
  • Engine control module (ECM) replacement – $927–$1,007
  • Transmission replacement – $4,890–$5,085
  • Catalytic converter replacement – $1,730–$1,769
  • Engine control module replacement – $927–$1,007

Remember, cars are giant machines consisting of many parts, and they can break down at any point. So if the most critical components need to be fixed, you will likely have others to repair in the future. Furthermore, the make and model of your vehicle can affect the cost of a repair. Repairing a luxury vehicle will likely cost much more than standard brands.

With that said, having your certified mechanic complete an expensive repair may not be in your best interests if it will cost you more than what your car’s worth. For example, fixing it may not be practical if your car’s worth $5,000 but needs close to $3,000 in repairs.

Your Car Warranty Is No Longer Active

The reality of paying high repair costs directly out of pocket can be harsh, especially since some repairs are expensive and can deplete your budget and patience. Unfortunately, any warranty protection you had likely expired a long time ago if your car is older or has exceptionally high mileage. Without an existing auto warranty, you’re solely responsible for paying the bill to maintain your vehicle.

Instead of wasting time and resources on a car that’s with your mechanic more often than you, it may be in your best interests to begin shopping for something else. Ultimately, the decision is yours and is one you’ll have to carefully evaluate and budget for accordingly.

Get the Coverage You Need Before It’s Too Late

Having a solid vehicle service contract can save you time and money on preventative maintenance and unexpected breakdowns, whether your vehicle is old, new, or in between. At Extended Auto Warranty, we provide in-depth reviews of the best warranties based on actual research. Check out our extended warranty provider reviews to explore your options and connect with a provider to receive your free quote. Finding a plan that offers you peace of mind while covering preventative maintenance and expensive repairs is possible!

*Repair estimates derived from RepairPal.com.

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