To Repair or to Replace: That Is the Age-Old Car Question

It is common for cars to have some interesting quirks. Maybe the passenger’s window doesn’t go down all the way, or maybe you hear an odd rattling sound when you turn corners. Unfortunately, cars’ funny quirks often turn into annoying complications, and then devastating problems. A car that constantly needs expensive maintenance isn’t fun to own or drive, and you are probably wondering whether the upkeep is worth the cost, or whether you should just junk your old wheels and find something reliable and new.


To repair or to replace is a question most car owners ponder at some point during their vehicles’ lives, and it isn’t a decision to make lightly. This guide provides a few considerations to help you decide which choice is best for you and your car.

If You Repair…

Despite the fact that the average American household contains 2.8 cars ― meaning more Americans own more cars than ever before ― few people know how to perform their own car maintenance and repairs. Knowing how to work on cars is a beneficial skill; it can save you thousands of dollars during the life of your car, and it allows you to cultivate an emotionally fulfilling hobby. More pressingly, it means you can work on your car ad infinitum without even considering replacing.

However, if you don’t have time to learn car maintenance, choosing to repair your vehicle is an entirely different choice. To make this decision, you must research the type of repairs your car needs. A mechanic can diagnose your car troubles, provide estimates for repairs, and explain how much time those repairs should add to the life of your car. You should consider this information while you decide whether to repair or replace.

There are two situations when repairing is the obvious choice:

  • When you can’t afford to replace. Buying a new car almost always costs more than repairing your old one, so if you don’t have a few thousand dollars in your bank account ― or you can’t spare an extra few hundred dollars every month on a car payment ― repairing is probably your best option. However, you should still make sure that your repairs don’t exceed the value of your car, or you will only continue to waste money.
  • When your car still has value. Certain makes and models of cars are outstandingly good at retaining their value, which means your incredibly old clunker might be worth more than you expect. Still, a running car can fetch a better price than a broken-down car, so spending the money on repairs could make you some major cash in the long run. You can save money by changing your own battery. Hardwarexpress a good place to find car batteries for affordable prices,

 If You Replace…

It is hard to ignore the allure of brand-new cars, especially those with futuristic features that so often appear on car commercials. However, replacing your car can take as much time and energy as repairing it. Plus, replacing is usually dramatically more expensive because you are paying for an entire car rather than a few small parts. Worse still, you must endure the hassle of getting rid of your old, broken-down car, which you will hardly get any money from.

Still, replacing might be the better choice if any of the following circumstances pertain to you:

  • When you just bought it. If your brand-new car (and even used) keeps breaking down and it hasn’t been that long since you purchased it, you might have a lemon, especially if you find it seems to spend more time getting repaired than in your garage.  It is imperative that you return it to the seller and demand a refund or replacement ― then seek legal counsel if the seller refuses.
  • When you have a good budget. As you already know, cars aren’t cheap. Before you try to replace your current car, you should have your finances in order. You can peruse your credit report online free-of-charge to learn what types of loans you are likely to get, and you should understand your savings to determine what you can truly afford. Then, once your budget is set, you should replace.
  • When you want peace of mind. Repairing your car is most often the frugal option, but if you are willing to pay for the reduced likelihood that your car will fail anytime soon, you should replace. Those who rely on their vehicles for work are more likely to replace for this reason alone.