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How to Tell if a Car is Not Worth Fixing

Even though almost everything can be restored for a certain fee, beyond a certain point, you may discover that maintaining an old car is no longer a wise choice. When it’s the third time your vehicle broke down this month, the thought of spending more money on your old machine might be daunting and feel like you’re flushing money down the toilet.

Is it time to let go, or would it be better to repair your vehicle one last time? There isn't a straightforward answer to this question, but we can help you by explaining in detail when is it not worth repairing a car and what to do in that case.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Car?

There are a few telltale signs that can inform your decision. Consider the following:

Are the car repair costs exceeding the vehicle’s value? Before proceeding with any repair, make sure to obtain a current evaluation of your vehicle’s worth and compare it to the repair estimate. Some repairs, like changing the timing belt, are expected after the car has passed more than 60,000 miles. However, the cost of a second servicing might exceed the car's value.

Similarly, spending money on minor repairs and regular maintenance, such as changing the tires and brake pads, is expected. But clutch, catalytic converter, or transmission replacements are some of the most expensive car repairs that might add up to near or more than the car's resale value. In that case, the car isn’t worth repairing.

Does the car have a long service history? It’s usually worthwhile to spend money on a repair if you believe it will increase the lifespan of your current vehicle by a year or even longer. First, consider the type of repair and the amount you'll have to spend. It can be wise to spend on a modest repair rather than buying a new car. But, if it looks like you frequently bring your vehicle in for progressively major repairs, it’s a sign that it isn’t worth repairing.

How much do you spend on monthly maintenance? Think about your car maintenance expenses over the past year. Does it go over your car's market value? In this case, it's time to consider a replacement. If your auto is always in need of expensive repairs, it would be preferable to get rid of it before more serious issues arise.

Is there rust? Rust damage is one of the biggest car problems you should never ignore. Even though rust isn't as bad of an issue as it was for older car models, it’s not unusual for cars to have rusty rims, particularly in areas that frequently get snowed in. On a modern vehicle, rust is rarely worth repairing because, once you notice it, there's probably more of it hiding where you can't see it. An auto with significant visible damage or corrosion is often not worth the expenditure from the standpoint of mechanical auto repair.

Can you DIY the repairs? Even without previous mechanical experience, you can perform some repairs by yourself. This might include replacing wiper blades, air filters and headlights and changing the oil, batteries, or spark plugs. You might even be able to replace the car’s brake pads on your own if you have a basic understanding of mechanics. However, more complicated tasks like replacing an engine call for professional assistance. Of course, any repairs you could DIY will certainly save you money, but going to a professional technician will provide you the assurance that the task will be done correctly every time.

When is it Not Worth Repairing a Car?

There are instances when the numbers don’t add up, and your car is beyond repair. Here are the four situations when you should consider junking your vehicle.

The Car Was Involved In an Accident

If your vehicle was involved in an accident and the extent of the damage outweighs the cost of the car, it means that it isn’t worth trying to repair it. Even if the car isn’t totaled, its dependability might be compromised. It might be challenging to determine the long-term harm that has been done to a vehicle after a collision. Over time, parts can become loose, concealed frame damage can show up, and things can start to feel off. So, if your auto has significant damage, it’s time to let it go.

The Car’s Reliability Is Questionable

You might think about selling your vehicle the moment its unreliability starts making it difficult for you to get to work, hang out with friends, and go on road trips. If this is the car’s tenth breakdown this year and you get the chills every time you start your car in the morning, it might be time to invest in a new vehicle. After all, the purpose of cars is to make our lives more convenient.

There Are Electrical Issues with the Car

If there are any electrical issues with your car, it usually isn’t worth fixing. Electrical problems can do huge damage to your car. Also, such problems can be quite expensive to fix, depending on the extent of the damage. So, it's preferable to get rid of the vehicle and purchase a new one.

The Car Has Safety Issues

When it comes to driving, safety is always a priority. Therefore, if you’re driving a car without a driver's airbag, smart seat belts, or passenger protection compartments, or with any alarming issues that could potentially compromise your safety and put you in a dangerous situation, it’s best to start shopping for a new one with more advanced safety features.

What to Do with a Car That’s Not Worth Fixing

Your car may be far past where you can fix it, but that doesn't imply it has no worth.

Selling your damaged car to a junkyard or a junk car buyer specializing in recycling car parts is an easy way to get rid of it. You'll be able to get rid of your car swiftly without having to worry about fixing it or selling it. Even if you can’t sell your car, junkyards are willing to buy it as long as the car has salvageable parts.

Photo by Mike B on Pexels

When Is It Not Worth Repairing a Car: The Bottom Line

Getting rid of your beloved car is always a tough decision. However, sometimes it's a necessity. To determine when is it not worth repairing a car, you should get a repair quote, compare that amount to how much your car is worth, and factor in how much you would have to spend on a new, more dependable vehicle. By looking at all these numbers, you can choose whether doing additional repairs is a lost investment.


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