Are the repair bills really worth it, or should I just get a new car?

Want to keep your car longer? Not sure your car is worth keeping? In today’s uncertain economy many people are trying to decide if their car is worth keeping and fixing, or whether they should just buy a new one.

We all know that today’s cars are lasting longer and longer. With proper care, virtually any car can be kept running as long as the owner wants to keep it. Nobody considers it a big deal anymore to be driving a car with over 150,000 miles on it.

But at some point you have to decide if you should continue to put money into your current car, or look for a newer one. I wish there was a short easy answer to that question, but there is not. Most of the time, you are far better off fixing your old car rather than trading in for something else. But still there is a point that it is just not worth putting any more money into an older car.

So how do you decide if you should keep or trade?

The best way is to have the car professionally evaluated. That is not something that can be done by just walking around the car, or taking it for a quick road test. There are many things to consider before you decide to spend money fixing your current car or spend money on a new one. ($300-$500 a month for the next 3-5 years.)

This is a rundown of some or the priorities that you should consider before you decide to keep driving what you have, or run out and buy a new car.

Safety first!

You have to consider the overall safety of a vehicle, before you start looking at the other areas. Let’s not waste money fixing a broken power window, or replacing a leaking water pump, when the car has safety issues that need immediate attention.

Determining how safe a vehicle is requires a close look at the steering and suspension parts, the brakes and the tires etc. This requires putting the car on a lift, removing the wheels, and taking a close look at what is ok, and what may need some work, fight away or in the near future.

Dependability!

Once a car is determined to be safe, you need to know if it’s going to be dependable. Let’s face it, no matter how safe your car is, what good is it if it is going to leave you stranded somewhere!

While it’s impossible to tell you that your car will never break down, a close look by a trained eye can determine a lot about how dependable your car really is. There are many telltale signs of serious problems down the road that can be prevented if caught early enough.

For example most cars today have a timing belt which needs to be changed at around 100,000 miles. (Some older cars required this service at 60,000 miles.) If this service has not been done and the belt is allowed to fail, the resulting damage could easily cost over $1,000.00 in repairs!

A fuel pump failure can leave you or your loved ones on the side of a road, waiting for a tow truck, while cars are whizzing by at 70 mph! Did you know that most fuel pump failures are predictable?

A close look at your transmission fluid and/or your mileage can also save you thousands in repair bills if all that is needed is a fluid change. Why burn up a perfectly good transmission when you can avoid it with routine maintenance.

Drivability!

So you have determined that your car is safe, and it is dependable, now what? Everyone wants to drive a smooth running car, with plenty of power. We all want to know that our car is not wasting a lot of gas, or that it may not pass the next emission test.

Today’s computer systems are very sophisticated. A trained technician can tell a lot about how efficiently your car is using gas. It can also predict future problems, before they occur, even before the “Check Engine” light has come on.

This goes way beyond plugging in a “code reader” and finding out if the computer has recorded any fault codes. A thorough look at all of the data as well as the various “system monitors” can help determine if you are headed for expensive repairs down the road.

Conclusion

If you are considering repairing your current vehicle, or trading it for a newer one, why not bring it to R&R Auto & Tire for a thorough evaluation? We will give you an honest opinion of the condition of your car. If we determine that some things need attention, we will also give you a written estimate for any suggested repair work.

After you have made your decision, be sure to follow up with proper maintenance.