Cars: Should I Repair or Replace?

Harold Sasnowitz |

Now and then someone asks me how to decide if a car should be repaired or replaced. Of course, I also have had to face this decision. Here’s thoughts on possible considerations to take into account, and of course, the decision may rest on the specific facts and circumstances.

• Will the repaired car be worth more than the cost to repair? If not, the “investment” in the repairs may not be worthwhile. On the other hand, if the purchase of the “new” car would adversely affect your financial situation, the repair may be worthwhile anyway.
• Do you think there is a risk that the repair will leave the car in a questionably safe condition? Certainly, this is an impetus to replace the car.
• How many months of car payments will the repair cost? For example, let’s assume that the monthly cost of a car loan is $350. If the cost of the repair is $ 1,000, the repair cost is less than three months of loan payments. If you think the repaired car will last more than three months, then it might make sense to commit to the repair.
• Are you thinking of replacing the car before the repair became a necessity? If so, this is a good opportunity to act on your thoughts. While this is not, strictly speaking, a financial consideration, it may be a good chance to satisfy your emotional self.

Your thought process may be different than the considerations above, but, on the other hand, these may reinforce your value system. Good luck whatever you do!