Car Replacement on a Grassy Field
Buying and Selling Cars

When Is Right Time to Replace Your Car?

The average age of a vehicle in the U.S is around 11 years

There comes a time when parts keep needing replacing or you’re spending most of your free time visiting the mechanic. But how do you know when to replace a car?

If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know.

What You Should Regularly Check

Before we tackle the “repair or replace car” argument, it’s important to regularly monitor your vehicle so it’s in great shape. You should always check:


The oil in your vehicle is the key to it running smoothly. Check your oil level by pulling out the dipstick and seeing where the oil level is. If it’s below the minimum mark, you must add oil so it maintains a healthy level.

A general rule is that you should get an oil change every 3,000 miles and it should appear brown or black. If it’s light or has a milky appearance, head to your mechanic because it could mean coolant is leaking into your engine. 

Tire Pressure and Treads

Tires that aren’t properly inflated can cause blowouts which is dangerous when you’re driving. Invest in a tire pressure gauge to monitor your tires. Always check with the tire manufacturer to find the right pressure as they can vary.

You should also check your tire treads have the right traction so you don’t slip driving down the road. Bulges, lumps, and wear are all signs it’s time to get new tires.


Get your brakes regularly checked by a professional so your car is safe on the road. This is one aspect of your car you can’t take for granted.  


Check all your lights including turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, and headlights. These are all crucial in letting other vehicles know what you’re doing which can prevent accidents. 

How to Decide When to Replace a Car

“When should I replace my car?” You ask. To help, consider these questions:

Is Your Vehicle Unsafe or Unreliable?

If you’re unsure whether to replace a car, consider its condition. You may save an unreliable vehicle with maintenance but there’s no guarantee that it will stay this way. Reliability is tricky because if it dies every now and again then it may not justify splurging on a new car.

But if you have a car with high mileage, you may be frequently visiting the mechanic. Not only do constant repairs drain your savings but it may force you to cancel plans and be late for work. 

How Much Does Maintenance Cost?

People replace cars when they’re spending an extortionate amount on repairing their vehicle. This depends on your situation because if you have a reliable vehicle that’s paid off, paying for its maintenance makes sense. But eventually, you may spend too much.

You can calculate it by weighing up the maintenance cost and your vehicle’s current value. If the mechanic says it’ll cost $3,000 for major work on your clutch and your car is worth $7,000 then it’s worth it.

But if your vehicle’s only worth $4,000 then think hard before getting maintenance done. There’s no guarantee there won’t be further hiccups down the road so that money may be best spent putting a down payment on a new vehicle.

Have an honest chat with your mechanic to see how many months the vehicle can go on with no repairs. If they think another large issue will arise in the next couple of months, then it’s best to replace your car. 

What Would Your Total New Car Costs Be?

Now it’s time to calculate how much a new car would cost. For instance, the average monthly car payment is around $400 but that depends on the vehicle’s model and how long you’ll be paying it off.
If you’re stretching your financing over years and drive hundreds of miles, you risk not getting it paid off before it breaks down.

You may not fit a new car into your budget, so figure out how long you can keep your current one running because you don’t want to plunge into more debt just for an upgrade.

Where to Sell a Car Not Worth Repairing

You’ve browsed these Lamborghini models and took the leap. Luckily, you can sell your old car to make back some money to the following places:

  • Junkyards and scrap yards
  • To an individual
  • A dealership
  • Online to a car buyer 

These all depend on how far gone your vehicle is. Junkyards and scrap yards are fantastic places to sell off the scrap metal value of your vehicle whereas dealerships may accept slightly damaged cars as a trade-in towards a new one.

If you’re selling online or to a private individual, schedule a time for them to see the car and be honest about its condition. 

Replacing Can Be a Good Option

Now you know when to replace a car. 

Calculate how much repairs are and how often you have to fork out for them. If it’s getting too expensive, consider investing that on a down payment for a new car as it’s more practical.

To maximize your vehicle’s lifespan, take good care of it. For instance, keep checking the brakes, oil, engine, and lights so you and others are safe on the road. Good luck!

Did you find this article helpful? If so, check out our other posts covering everything from car sales to the latest in auto news.