Tired of pouring money into your aging automobile? A new car would be nice, but is that the smartest decision? There’s no definite answer to these questions, of course. But looking at both sides of the issue can help you make a more informed decision.
No matter how attentive you have been to the needs of your, some expensive repairs are unavoidable due to excessive wear or time itself. All rubber belts and hoses will eventually dry out and crack. Metal on rotors will warp or wear thin, and electrical parts will just stop working. Other wear-and-tear items such as axle boots, belts and brake rotors will need periodic replacing as well. The timing belt is another big-ticket item on high-mileage cars and should be replaced at around 100,000 miles on most vehicles. This is an appropriate time to replace the water pump and the other drive belts, too. Sometimes referred to as the “timing belt package,” this can cost $1,000 or more.
Here are some considerations on both sides of the question from the Edmunds.com website to help you with your decision.
If you think buying a new car isn’t right for you, here are a few examples of why it might be a good idea to get the repairs done.
It is almost always less expensive to repair a car than buy a new one.
A blown motor or failed transmission will run you between $3,000 and $7,000 to replace at a dealership, still not as much as buying a new car. That $3,000 or $7,000 would certainly make a nice down payment, but then there are the monthly payments to consider. You can perhaps purchase a used car for that much, but just keep in mind that another used car could come with its own set of issues.
Insurance and registration fees will be higher on a new car.
A new car typically loses an estimated 22 percent of its value in the first year. Your car has already taken that depreciation hit.
Here are a few reasons why buying a new car might be the way to go.
You don’t want to worry about future breakdowns. Repairing a single problem with an older car, small or large, doesn’t guarantee that something else won’t go wrong. A new car comes with a warranty, usually at least three years, and often far longer. That means you won’t have to worry about shelling out for any major repairs during that period. And some new cars come with free standard maintenance, too.
You’re tired of leaving your car at the repair shop and arranging other transportation. Trips to the mechanic are costing you too much money and time away from work or family.
You’re fed up with your old car, and even when it isn’t in the shop it just doesn’t fit your needs any longer. Take a look at your budget and make an honest assessment of your financial situation to see if a new car will solve your problems.
You want something safer for your family. New cars have modern safety equipment features like electronic stability control, back-up cameras and blind-spot monitoring.
Time to buy another car?
One easy way to decide is with some simple math: If the cost of repairs is greater than either the value of the vehicle or one year’s worth of monthly payments, it’s time for another vehicle.
But not all decisions come that easily. Wondering whether your car will get you to work in the morning can keep you awake at night. A few sleepless nights and then it’s better to part with that car on your terms rather than waiting for it to break down…at exactly the wrong place and time. If you make the decision while the car still has some value, you can even sell it or trade it in and use the cash into a down payment on your next one.
It’s hard to put a price tag on the peace of mind that a new vehicle can bring.
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