Are you missing work or social activities because your old clunker keeps breaking down? Do you feel like you’re spending too much on repairs?
Having a car that works can make or break your professional and social life. But figuring out if you should repair or replace your vehicle can be tough.
You don’t want to get suckered into making constant repairs on a car that just keeps breaking down, but can you really fit new car payments into your budget?
If you’re wondering what to do with your car, this article’s for you. We’ll give you the inside scoop on whether to repair or replace your used car.
The Benefits of Repairing Your Car
The average cost of car repairs is about $1,000 per year, or about $80 per month. If you have an older car, however, you know how it feels to get stuck paying for expensive parts and repairs.
So is it worth it to repair your car? As long as your repairs are less than half of what your car is worth, go ahead and get them done.
You might be wondering how you can save money if you’ve got to pay for car repairs. The answer is that even expensive repairs probably cost less than the monthly payment on a new car.
The average new car payment is more than $500 per month, an all-time high. If you’re paying more than $6,000 per year, you might as well get a new car.
Before you have work done on your vehicle, though, talk to your mechanic about how much it’s going to cost to do everything. They may be able to help you finance the cost of repairs.
Stay Within Your Budget
Although you may want to buy a new car, your budget might not have the room. If you’re thinking of buying a home or taking a vacation, repairing your car will help you save money towards those goals.
In fact, taking out a loan for a new car could hurt your credit score. Increasing the amount of debt you owe may cause a temporary dip in your credit score.
You’ll also be adding a new account with no payment history, which could hurt your chances of getting a mortgage or personal loan.
After about six months of regular payments, however, your credit score should return to normal. Get your mortgage first and then think about whether you can afford to finance a new car.
Keep a Classic Car Running
If you have a classic car, you may have to pay higher maintenance costs. It’s worth it, however, when you drive down the street and everyone notices you pass by.
Even if you don’t have a classic car, you may have a sentimental attachment to your vehicle. Was it your first car? Did you start a new job or take your first road trip in the car?
You might know intellectually that it’s a good idea to replace your car, but follow your heart. If you want to repair it and keep it running, then you should talk to your mechanic about how to proceed.
When to Replace Your Car
If you don’t have the budget to buy a new car, don’t panic. There are a few options available to you, including buying a certified pre-owned vehicle or leasing a new car.
Before you commit to buying a car, talk to your local Jeep dealership for more information about their used and new cars. They can help you figure out how much car you need – and how much you can afford.
Avoid Constant Repairs
The most compelling argument for buying a new car is that you’ll save on repairs. If your used car has a transmission problem or an engine problem, you’re signing yourself up for thousands of dollars in repairs.
Think about the time you lose from work each time your car breaks down. How much are you losing in wages each month?
When is it time to get a new car?
New cars often have extended warranties that will last you for three years or more. That’ll cover any repairs and help you keep your car on a maintenance schedule.
Lower Your Next Down Payment
If you’re going to sell your car and buy a new one, talk to your dealership about the trade-in value of your used car.
Never take the first offer on your car, but do take the time to shop around and see what different dealerships have to offer.
If you don’t have much money kicking around for a down payment, ask your dealership if they’ll take your trade-in in lieu of a down payment.
You may not have to pay anything to get started with a new or certified pre-owned car.
Upgrade Your Safety Equipment
Take a look at your car’s safety equipment. How does its back-up camera work? How about its proximity detectors?
Most likely, your current car doesn’t have these newer safety features. You will probably not be able to install new equipment on an older model, so it makes more sense to get a new vehicle.
Getting a new car will give you a huge safety upgrade, a critical advantage if you’re driving in busy urban areas.
If you’re planning to have a child or are already chauffeuring around half the neighborhood, invest in safety upgrades and in your peace of mind.
Best Times to Buy a New Car
If you’re looking at the calendar, trying to figure out when to replace your car, we’ll give you a helping hand.
The best time to replace your car is at the end of the year. Dealerships are trying to meet sales quotas and you could get a great deal.
Other times to buy are at the end of the month and when a new model comes out. If you’re willing to drive last year’s model, you could save thousands of dollars.
Keep in mind that cars lose about 20% of their value in the first year. If you’re looking for a new car, you can usually find one that’s a few years older for an even better deal.
How to Sell Your Car Online
If you’re not getting the trade-in value you want from your car, you can choose to sell it online.
Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways you can raise the value of your car is to give it a thorough cleaning. When you take pictures, you don’t want to have any junk in your back seat or clutter in your trunk.
You might find that you’re only getting a few serious inquiries a week, but keep your minimum sales price in mind. Don’t sell your car for less than it’s worth and reject “lowball” offers.
Finally, always meet potential buyers in a public place. If they want to inspect the car, meet with them during daylight hours and always stay in the car if they want to test drive it.
How to Find a Good Used Car
Before you commit to buying a new car, try to find a new-to-you used car. Try to bring along a friend or family member who knows a lot about cars: they’ll be able to help you avoid buying a lemon.
So what should you look for? The first thing to look at is the oil. It should be a clear color of dark brown. If it looks more like milk, then the car probably has a problem with its coolant.
That could be a big expense that you should avoid.
Another thing to look at is the transmission fluid, which should be red or dark pink. If it’s darker than that or smells like it’s burning, skip that car entirely and find a new used car lot.
No mechanic or dealership worth their salt should be trying to sell you a used car with transmission problems.
If you can, take your time and shop around for a great deal. You may have an urgent need for a car, but buying a broken vehicle won’t do you any favors.
Repair or Replace? What to Do When You’re Not Sure
If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your used car, talk to a mechanic that you trust. They will be able to tell you the true value of your car and the value it could have as a trade-in.
People use their cars for different reasons. Are you planning on taking long trips in your car or just using it for your work commute?
Do you need a car that seats eight people or can you get a regular sedan?
Talking to your mechanic is a good step because they may know a private owner who’s selling the kind of car you need. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues: you never know where you’ll find your next vehicle.
Do you need more information on DIY car repairs? We have a wide range of blogs that will help you make your own repairs and save money to get a new car.