Repair Older Vehicle Or Put Money Into Another Vehicle?

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

If you have a vehicle that’s a little bit older, sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it to put more money into it for repairs. Here are a few things to think about when you get into that situation.

First of all, think about what blue book value is on the vehicle. Obviously, if it’s only worth $2,000 and you need $3,000 worth of work it’s not worth it. Secondly, if you were considering getting a different vehicle anyway, skip putting lots of money into your old one and trade it in as is. The repairs needed will knock a little off its trade-in value, but you usually are not going to get your repair money back out of it if you trade it in right after you get it back from the shop.

In an effort to save money on repairs, sometimes people don’t want to fix everything that’s wrong with their vehicle. But don’t cut corners on safety-related items. That means you should not skip repairing things related to brakes, steering and tires just to keep your costs down.

On the other hand, things like air conditioning or a power window that won’t roll down are more comfort items and repairs to systems like that can get very expensive. If you can drive without some of those comfort items in an effort to save a few bucks, that’s up to you.

Not only is it important to consider what repairs the vehicle needs right now, but you need to consider what it will need over the next 12 months. For example, will it need the timing belt and water pump replaced at a certain mileage in the near future? Repairs like that can set you back hundreds or more dollars, so throw all that extra expense into the equation when you are considering whether to keep your older vehicle or not.

One very important thing to look into before you put a lot of money into an older vehicle are structural problems such as rust. Rust is not only cosmetically ugly, but it can get into the structural rails and suspension of a vehicle and corrode them away until they fall apart. It makes no sense to put hundreds of dollars of repairs into a vehicle that’s literally falling apart at the seams.

If you still are on the fence as to whether or not to repair your older vehicle, make sure that your mechanic goes over the list of repairs with you. What might look pretty intimidating on paper might not be so bad once they tell you what absolutely has to be done versus items you might be able to wait on. Spending money to repair an older vehicle is never fun, but most times it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a monthly car payment.

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