How to Decide If You Should Fix or Junk Your Car

March 9, 2018 8:46 am Published by

Your car has been with you through thick and thin, but lately things just haven’t been the same. Visits to the mechanic are becoming more frequent, and you’re concerned that a major repair event could be right around the corner. It would be nice to have a crystal ball for times like these, but unfortunately things just don’t work that way. So should you try to fix your car, or is it ready for the scrapyard? Below are five practical tips to help you make a well-balanced decision.

1. Consider Repair History

What types of repairs have been made on your car up until now? If you’ve already taken care of some of the most significant maintenance items (e.g., replacing the timing belt, water pump, alternator, etc.), you probably won’t have to worry about any major repair issues in the near future. That being said, cars can be full of surprises sometimes, especially as the miles start piling up. It’s not a bad idea to check out some online forums for the particular make and model of your car, to see what issues other owners are having. This can give you some insight as to what might be around the corner.

2. Find Out Current Value

Use an online vehicle valuation tool such as Kelley Blue Book to get an idea of what your car is currently worth. More often than not, this will be a disappointing exercise. Keep in mind also that if your car needs to be fixed, that value estimate will drop even further. If repair costs are going to exceed the current market value of your car, is it really worth it to keep it? A good rule of thumb to use is that if the repair estimate is less than half of the car’s current market value (e.g., a $1,200 repair on a vehicle worth $4,500), you would probably be better off just biting the bullet and getting the work done. By the same token, it wouldn’t make much sense to get that same repair work done on a car that’s only worth $2,000.

3. Check for Open Recalls

If your car needs some type of major repair work done, it’s a good idea to check for any open recalls on your vehicle’s make and model before handing over any of your hard-earned money to the mechanic. Who knows – you might end up being able to get the repairs done for free by the dealer!

4. Consider Total Maintenance Costs

Even if your car is completely paid for, you can have a “hidden car payment” by way of ongoing repairs and maintenance costs. True, you might not be doling out $300 or $400 per month on a payment, but if you’re getting hit with a major repair problem every three months or so, it’s almost the same as having a monthly payment. Add up the total amount of money you’ve spent in repairs and maintenance over the past 12 months, and then divide that number by 12. This will give you an idea what your current “hidden car payment” actually is. If it’s virtually no different than having a new (or a better used) car payment, you might as well replace your current vehicle with something more reliable.

5. Consider Insurance Costs

If you’re thinking about replacing your car with another one, find out how this will affect your insurance costs. More than likely, you’ll be paying a little more for anything newer or better. Be sure to factor this into your budget when weighing out your options.

Deciding whether you should fix your car or junk it is not an easy task, but it doesn’t have to leave you feeling stumped. Keep the above tips in mind to help you make an informed decision that will make sense over the long haul. Remember, if you decide it’s time to junk your car, we’ll take care of all the details. Simply call your nearest U Pull & Pay, and we’ll handle the towing arrangements and pay you for your vehicle – it’s that easy!

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This post was written by Scott Blankenship

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