For millions of people, the preferred way to get around is by vehicle. While owning a vehicle is a luxury for some, it’s a necessity for many drivers who need a car for work or for other travel reasons. Even after the vehicle is paid for it can still be a costly investment. The routine maintenance, the unexpected repairs, the insurance, and the cost of fuel all add up to a big expense.
For the majority of drivers, the cost of owning and driving a vehicle outweighs the option of alternative transportation as they prefer the freedom of coming and going when they choose, rather than keeping track of public transport service schedules or relying on someone else.
If you are putting a lot of money into your car for repairs, it can often be more cost effective to purchase a newer vehicle. There comes a time when the repairs are not viable and it’s time to move on.
Repair or Replace?
You love your car. It was the first ‘grown up’ purchase that you successfully paid off. You’ve gone everywhere in your car. It’s a part of you; but it might be time to let go. Consider the following to help you decide whether or not you should repair or replace your best friend on four wheels:
What’s the Problem? How Expensive?
If you have an issue that can be easily fixed and may extend the life of your car, it’s probably safe to go ahead invest in the repair. If you’re unsure, talk with a trusted vehicle technician; most will be honest if you ask their opinion.
But if you need a replacement motor, for instance, you could be looking at paying 25 percent of the cost of a much better vehicle. And while a new or second-hand engine could potentially extend the life of your car, you might be better off putting the money towards a newer vehicle. On the other hand, if all you need are new brakes or new tyres; that could be a worthy investment.
“A significant amount of accidents occur due to an issue with the car or the operator of the vehicle,” says Henry Carus & Associates. As always, safety on the roads should be a priority. Before deciding whether or not to repair or replace your vehicle, have it checked out for safety. Is the vehicle unsafe to drive as is? How much safer will it be after a few minor repairs are made?
One other thing to consider is whether or not your car has safety features such as airbags and crash-avoidance features. Not only do these features make for safer driving and a lower incidence of being injured in the event of an accident, but insurance rates may be lower for vehicles with such safety features.
What’s Your Budget?
If you’re one of those drivers who sets aside money for car repairs, you’re probably better off than most. Trying to save money and establish a budget just for vehicle maintenance can be tricky, particularly if you aren’t having a good run with your car.
While you should be coming back to your budget in order to revise it, the best time to do this is when you start to have multiple repairs. Look at the future of your vehicle. Do you anticipate more repairs in future? Will you be able to afford them? Once you can answer these questions, take a look at the cost of a newer car payment. Is it cheaper than repairing your car?
Whether you are looking to repair or replace, it will be a financial investment and it’ll be up to you to decide what is easier and most cost effective.