Should You Repair or Replace Your Damaged Car?


Picture this: You’re driving on the interstate, heading home from work. You pass a merging lane. Horns blare, lights flash, and when the dust settles, you’re sitting in a crumpled mess of a car. You’ve just joined the over sixteen thousand people who get in wrecks every day.

It’s been a week or so since the accident. You’re not sure if it’s better to repair or replace your old, reliable vehicle. Here’s how you can make the best judgment call on how to handle your damaged car.

How Much Is Your Car Worth?

The major deciding factor in the debate over whether to repair or replace your damaged car is the value of the vehicle. While to you, your car is a priceless treasure, to a buyer, it might be worth less than two thousand dollars.

The general rule of thumb for declaring a car a total loss is when the value of the required repairs exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value of the car itself. However, if you’re spending three thousand dollars to fix a four thousand dollar car, it might be time to consider replacing it.

How Difficult Will the Repairs Be?

Another factor in whether or not you should repair your vehicle or not is how difficult it will be for a car repair service to fix the damage. If the damage boils down to some broken windows and dents in the body, view this auto body shop for assistance and move on with your day. If, however, vast swaths of the car’s mechanisms are damaged and need replacing, you might be better served to find a new car.

Can the Damage Be Fixed?

All this debate over repairing or replacing your car is a moot point if the damage to the vehicle is beyond repair. If the amount of damage your car sustained in the accident can’t be fixed, then obviously, you will need to find a replacement vehicle.

Do You Intend to Sell the Car Later?

Many people invest in a car not just for themselves, but for future owners as well. If your car is relatively new and you intend to sell it at a later date, then it might be worth it to invest in repairs. Cars with visible damage sell for less than their undamaged counterparts, and any invisible damage will be spotted by a buyer sooner or later. So, if want to sell at any point, you should go ahead and get the car repaired.

How Long Will the Process Take?

Neither repairing your current car nor replacing it with a new one is a process that will happen overnight. Some repairs, by their nature, take longer than others. While pulling and replacing an engine may only take eight to fifteen hours, that repair time is just half the story.

Depending on how old your car is, the parts used in your transmission and engine might be hard to find, or may not even be used anymore. If that’s the case, your repairs might take even longer than usual to finish.

And when it comes to buying a new car, you have to allow yourself time to look around local lots. You need to shop around and be sure that you’re getting the best deal, especially if you finance your vehicle. Car salesmen can smell desperation a mile off, and if you come in with the air of needing their assistance ASAP, you’re likely to get ripped off.

How Much Will A New Car Cost You?

Piggybacking on the above point, another thing you should consider before giving up on the car repair company is how much a new vehicle will cost you. In general, new cars will cost more than repairs to older ones.

Sometimes, the cost of even a down payment on a new vehicle will far exceed the cost of repairs, even if the value of the car isn’t worth the repairs being put into it. While value should be a major consideration, if you don’t have the money to spare, then you’re limited by the hard numbers you can afford.

How Expensive Will This Car Be Down the Road?

It’s one thing to decide that you’d rather pay three thousand dollars to repair a seven thousand dollar car than put three thousand down on a brand new one. It’s another to consider the future costs of maintenance on your seven thousand dollar car.

Do you want to continue paying for the maintenance and tune-ups this older car will require? Or would you rather have a warranty that can help cover those tune-ups for you in the future?

What Alternatives Do You Have?

If neither repairing nor replacing the vehicle seems affordable to you at the moment, then it’s time to consider what alternatives you have. If you live in the city, you might be able to get away with using public transport or calling an Uber to get you where you need to go while you save up for the costs.

Alternatively, if you have co-workers, family, or friends you can carpool with, you might be able to buy yourself some time to save for the repairs or replacement vehicle.

To Repair or Replace? Let’s Recap

Deciding whether to repair or replace your damaged vehicle can be tricky. You should, first and foremost, consider your finances. Look at what options you can afford. After that, look at the value of your car versus the value of the repairs. Then, with both of those factors in mind, make your final decision.

If you do this, then you can be sure you’ve made the right choice. And if you need more help deciding what you should do with your old, damaged car, check out our blog today for more articles like this one!

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