Should You Repair or Replace That Car? [column]

“Should I repair or replace my car?”

I get asked this question quite often. For whatever reason, it seems some people have a “problem” with replacing their cars. It could be because they have difficulty getting good buyers. In the end, they continue paying repair bills and deal with the inconveniences that come with owning an unreliable car.

I do not know what “drives” people to high mileage cars?

I hear customers make comment like: “This car has to go another 20,000 kilometers” or brag about how many kilometers they are determined to put on their vehicles. They make comments like: “I am going to drive this vehicle 280,000 kilometers whether it likes it or not”. Now if this is a challenge you are up to, go ahead and take it. But remember, some cars may last a long time and do so with relatively low maintenance cost, but this is not the norm.

So how does one know when it’s time to get a new car?

Well, I do not have an end limit on this, but I can provide some helpful guidelines to assist you in your evaluation process.

Perform an evaluation of your vehicle yourself using car prices from stocks around town. The checklist also can assist you get what is missing on your car and its cost and is self-explaining and easy to use. If you have a concern or a potential problem you might uncover with an item on the list, have your mechanic inspect it during the next step.

Determine what future maintenance cost will or could be. Get the maintenance schedules that are closest to your current mileage and the next higher mileage schedule. Take your car to the mechanic (hopefully the mechanic that you regularly visit and have a good relationship with) and pay them to inspect all the items on the two schedules. The cost of these inspections should be fairly inexpensive, and the information they will provide will be more than worth the expense. Add up all recommended repair costs plus all previous repairs during the year. Divide this number by 12 to determine your average repair cost for the given year. This number will not however include any breakdown or unexpected repairs.

How much is your car worth? Trading in your vehicle for a new car is the easiest but will not bring in the most money for you. The new car dealer will pay you a wholesale price for your car, and in doing this, you are leaving money on the table. Selling your vehicle to an individual at a retail price will require a little more work on the part of the seller, but there can be greater financial gain in doing so. A car dealer can provide you with similar “comparable” vehicles like yours, so you can get a feel for the market in your area. I recommend going to see and tests drive your competition before you set a price on your car. Take along the used car checklist and evaluate the competition just as you did your car. How does your car compare?

Could you place a higher price on your car after your evaluation, or is your competition in better shape?

How much will your next car cost, and how will you pay for it? Now that you have determined your yearly repair costs, the value of your current vehicle, and a possible sales price you must calculate the payment of the new car. Keep in mind you are replacing a vehicle that you know will be incurring future repair costs.

In my opinion, you would replace your current vehicle if your average yearly repair bills are more than ten percent of the price of the new car you would like. These four steps are just a guide to help you remove the emotion tied to selling your current car and buying the new one. After doing these steps, you might find that you are not in the “money pit” and the maintenance schedules and check list gave you an easy way to forecast and plan for up coming repair expenses.

Source : The Independent

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