Giving Up the Fix: Should I Trade in My Car or Pay to Repair It Again?


So you’ve had your car for a good number of years now and you’ve been through a lot together. Maybe you even have some type of emotional bond.

But this is now the third time this year that ‘check engine’ light has turned on without warning, or that something with your brakes has started to go a little wonky. It’s becoming a lot to handle. 

It’s at this point that you’re probably wondering: “Should I trade in my car?” 

It’s a common question for those a good few years into car ownership. A new car likely sounds nice, but expensive. But so are countless repairs that don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. What do you do? 

We’ll walk you through the proper decision-making process below. 

Run The Numbers 

When it comes to replacing your car, there’s more than just math on the line. After all, you’ve had your car for a number of years and maybe you don’t want to see it go. Or maybe you have a few situations in your life that getting a new car would only complicate.

It’s important to keep these things in consideration. But also, let’s be honest: running the numbers can really help. Because the numbers don’t lie. 

Go ahead and get a good estimate of the current trade-in value of your car. Try Edmunds, Blue Book, or whatever your preferred website is for such a task. Be honest in your evaluation of your automobile: lying here won’t do anything but hurt you later. 

Now, let’s take a look at that little problem you’re having. If it won’t charge you, call up or take your car over to a local, trustworthy mechanic. Someone your friends or family members maybe have had a good experience with. 

Get a solid estimate on what the repair to your car is going to cost. If you can, also get an idea of how much such a repair could add to the value of your car. 

With these numbers in place, you can compare the money you would save by getting a new car as opposed to paying for the repair. And that’s a one-time repair. Even if the number is lower than the cost of a new car, as it likely is, you’ll need to factor in the cost of repairs in the future. 

Why You Should Just Repair Your Car 

Now, the actual numbers in your particular situation will differ from someone else’s who is reading this blog. You’ll need to be able to crunch the numbers yourself and see if a logical solution presents itself. 

But if it doesn’t, we can walk you through a few sound arguments why repairing your car is a good idea. 

The biggest and most obvious reason is that buying a new car is an expensive business. Even an incredibly expensive repair, like a failed transmission, is still likely cheaper to afford than a new vehicle altogether. And that’s not to mention the new insurance and registration fees that a new car will require. 

If you’re hard pressed for cash at the moment, a new car is likely not the financial burden you need. 

Repairing your car can also help you to avoid the depreciation that haunts new car purchases. New automobiles depreciate at a value of over twenty percent in their first year. Your current car has already gone through that loss of value, so no worries there. 

Repairs can give you time to get your financials in order. Have a hopeful promotion coming up, or just need a little more time to save? A repair, even if it’s just a band-aid, can help get you over the hump to where you need to be. A hasty car purchase is never as fun as a thoughtful and planned-out one. 

And maybe, as we mentioned before, you just don’t want to say goodbye to an old friend. 

Why You Should Trade In Your Car 

 Of course, maybe you have no such emotional attachment to that irritating hunk of junk. The idea of pouring even one more dollar into it infuriates you. There are a number of good reason to trade in your car and get a new one as well. 

For one, it can take away the stress and fear of further breakdowns. You use your car every day to get to work, travel, and take of your family. The last thing you want is an unexpected hassle in middle of the highway. 

Even if it costs a high price to get a new vehicle, can the price of peace of mind really be overvalued? 

Also, you want your time back. Time spent going to mechanics and repair shops is time you could be used doing something else. And many times, your car is out of commission for days at a time. This requires complicated and expensive re-adjusting of your schedules, calling in favors… a real headache. 

And it goes without saying, your safety is at stake here. Maybe the repairs you need to your car aren’t too serious, but the longer you have a vehicle, the more likely they might get serious.

Your safety is worth any cost, and a new vehicle might be able to provide that for you.

Trading in your car for a new has many huge benefits and doesn’t have to be a wallet drain. If you learn how to properly prepare and sell your car, you can help relieve the financial burden of a new one. 

“So, Should I Trade In My Car?”

That’s up to you. There are a number of pros and cons when it comes to trading in your car. If you’re wondering ‘should I trade in my car,’ start considering the things above. It all depends on the problems you’re facing and the financial flexibility you have at hand. 

Need more automobile advice, tips, or tricks? Check out our blog for more.