Is your car struggling to start on a morning, showing off more colourful lights on the dashboard than your Christmas tree at home or making noises that can be described, at best, as worrying?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you’ve got a decision to make. Do you get your car into the garage for a repair or do you say ‘screw it’ and get yourself a new one? For many, the answer might seem obvious – a new car is too much to afford. But in some instances, buying a new car can actually be the more cost-effective option.
Here are three things to consider when weighing up the question of repair vs replace.
Cost of repairs versus cost of purchase
As we’ve just alluded to above, often paying to repair a car can actually represent much worse value than buying a new one. In some instances, the cost of the repair might be more than buying a cheap used car because the parts and processes involved are so unique, time-consuming or difficult. In others, you might find the cost of repairs to be a little cheaper, but not so much so that they represent better value in the mid- or long-term.
One scenario many find themselves in is simply not being able to afford a new car even if it is the right option. Depending on your budget, you’ll need to weigh up what costs you can afford, and how you can most efficiently use your budget right now.
How effective will the repairs be?
Another thing to bear in mind is the cost of repairs versus their effectiveness. Are you paying £50 for a simple fix that’ll sort you out for a year or £1,000 for a big repair that might only keep your car on the road for another three to six months?
If you can find a garage that’ll be honest with you about your car the best course of action for it, you should be able to get a good gauge on how effective any repairs will be, and therefore whether they represent good enough value to stave off buying a new car.
What do you want the car for?
If you are considering a new vehicle, a broader question to ask yourself is what you need it for. If you’re thinking about spending now for the long term, you might want to invest more into a new car that’ll be with you for the next few years. If you need a no-frills, A to B runner that’ll take you to the shops once a week for the foreseeable future, then a cheap repair probably makes more sense.
Whatever you do, your decision should be made with a balance of costs and common sense in mind. Unexpected repair bills can quite literally throw a spanner in the works, and you may start to consider short-term loans to get the necessary work done. In any circumstance where you decide to take out a loan, it’s absolutely essential that you ensure you can make the repayments in full and on time.
So, if your car runs into trouble, consider these three things: how the upfront costs of both options work against your budget, which route will be more cost-effective and whether you want to think in the short-term or long-term when it comes to your car going forward.