Deciding Whether To Repair Your Old Car Or Replace It

Deciding Whether To Repair Your Old Car Or Replace It

Your car is one of your most significant investments, and it’s essential to maintain it properly. If you don’t, or if you’re in an accident, you may end up thinking you have no choice but to trade in your car. Before deciding, compare the difference in the choice to repair or replace your vehicle.

Do your research before you decide whether to repair or replace your car

In choosing whether to repair or replace, you will need to make various decisions, and they can be difficult. Do a little research about the costs and complexity of the repairs you need. These questions can help.

How much is your current car worth?

First, you need to know what your car is worth. Even if money is not an issue, a $500 repair to a $50,000 car differs greatly from a $5,000 repair to a $10,000 car. You can find current values for your vehicle easily online, such as at It offers forms that you can complete with information about your car to receive a quick quote. The more detail you provide, the more accurate the value will be.

How much would a new car cost?

Once you know what your current vehicle is worth, think about what kind of car you may want to replace it with. If your car is no longer available, you’ll be looking at similar cars. You also need to consider whether you want to buy used or new. Be aware that both new and used cars are in very tight markets right now due to supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic, so costs will be high.

How much would the repairs cost?

The amount the repairs will cost depends on several factors. First, how extensive are the damages? Does your car have one small problem, or did it suffer a major accident that caused massive damage? Will your insurance cover the damage? How much will your deductible cover? Were you at fault, or was the other driver? Is your car an expensive or foreign vehicle that always costs more to repair?

Most common issues not worth fixing

Some issues cost so much to repair that they are almost always not worth fixing. In these cases, the decision of whether to repair or replace your car is often much easier. Here are some common issues you might run into.

Flood and water damage

Generally, if your car has been in water deep enough to seep under the doors or has even been fully submerged, it meets the definition of a flooded vehicle. When one of these floods damages your car, the repair costs can be astronomical. Although your insurance may cover flood damage generally, most often the insurance company will total your car because repairs are so complex.

Blown engines

Replacing an engine, even in a modest car, is scarily expensive. The average cost is $4,000 and can be much higher, depending on your vehicle.

Transmission replacements

A transmission costs, on average, about half the total cost of an engine, but is still a major expense.

Factors to consider

Think about these factors, too, as you decide whether to repair or replace your car.

Do you own your current car (Is it paid off?)

If you’re not making payments, paying for significant repairs can create some heavy new monthly costs. Consider whether you might be better spending that money on a new-to-you car rather than on repairing your old one.

How old is your current car?

Today, a car is expected to last around 12 years or 200,000 miles. Where your car falls on that expectation timeline affects your calculation.

Does your current car meet your needs?

Finally, think about whether the car you have now meets your needs. If it doesn’t, then now might be an opportunity to make a change.

A final consideration: funding

Once you’ve looked at all the issues to decide whether to repair or replace your car, work with your bank or other sources of funds. Unless you have a big chunk of cash on hand, they will be another deciding factor in whether you fix or repair your car. If you decide it’s time to replace your car, check out the online inventory at for a variety of quality used cars to fit your budget.