If you're a car owner who has been dealing with a car that seems to need more in repair costs than the vehicle is worth, you may already be feeling pressure to get a new car. However, sometimes the decision isn't always that easy to make. It's not just a matter of how much you're spending per month on repairs. Here are three reasons why you may want to keep that repair-happy car instead of getting another one.
Do You Have a Down Payment?
If you get a new car, even a new-to-you used car, you're going to need a down payment. The down payment could be much higher than the amount of money you're paying toward repairs each month. If you can't spare that much from your savings, getting a new car even after trading in your old one could cost too much. You could try to get a super-cheap car or ask for special no-money-down financing, but those could have side effects that make owning those cars just as costly as repairing your old one. For a new car, a no-money-down deal could make your monthly payments skyrocket past what you're paying for repairs on your old car. And if you buy a super-cheap car, like a very old used car, you could end up with the same repair issues or worse than what you have with your current car within a short time.
Would You Buy Used or New?
Speaking of problems with used cars, even if you could afford a down payment, you have to take a look at the repair records of the cars you're looking at. Even new cars can turn out to be lemons. A used car could, again, have hidden problems that your mechanic doesn't spot during the pre-purchase inspection, or it could develop serious problems shortly after you buy it. That could leave you right back where you started, only with a car where you don't have complete maintenance records. At least with your current car, you know exactly what's been done on it and what still needs to be done.
Are You Spending More Time at the Repair Shop Than on the Road?
It can be painful to have to shell out money for car repairs, especially if they seem to happen every month. If you're also spending a lot of time at the repair shop -- so much that you're missing work and having to rent cars to get anywhere -- then getting a new car may be best. But if the repairs are generally reasonable in terms of how long they take, and you're not spending your life at the repair shop, then the frequency of repair isn't such a black mark against keeping your current car.
If your car is experiencing repeated issues, talk to your repair shop, and to others in the area like Alaska Professional Auto, about the underlying causes. It could be that rebuilding your engine may eliminate the problems (as expensive as that might be, it could pay off in the long run). Or, maybe you need to find another repair shop to begin with. But start talking to the shops now so you can get your car into better shape.