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Car Repairs: Is Fixing My Car Worthwhile, or Is It Time for a Replacement?

We get it – you’ve had that old, trusty ride for what seems like forever, and it’s gotten you through some tough times. But when the brakes or transmission go, and it’s time for some serious (expensive) car repairs, it’s time to consider whether spending more money on car repair and maintenance is worthwhile, or if you’re better off looking for an upgrade.

Out of all the Canadian used car shoppers we spoke to in a recent survey, only 64% of them actually needed a new car, while 36% just wanted one. Those that needed a new car were facing major car repair costs and had run the numbers and decided that replacing their vehicle was more logical than fixing it.

For many, deciding between car repairs/replacement is a difficult. Here are some things to think about:

How much are you currently spending on car repairs?

We all know that person – the one that can’t bear to let go of their beloved high school ride. But when it comes time to put a $900 set of brakes on that vehicle that’s probably only worth $700… it’s time to ask yourself if that really makes sense. Calculate your used car value and the cost of the car repair and maintenance required. If the repair costs are higher than the car’s value, it’s probably time to say goodbye to your old ride.

What’s your used car value?

The actual value of your used car depends on many factors, outlined here, like accident history, location, and age, for example. There are resources available online that can get you started in figuring out your used car value. Using the free CARFAX Canada Value Range tool you can find out the average range that similar vehicles have sold for in your area. From there, with a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report, you get access to the history of the vehicle, as well as a free History-Based Value report. This value takes the information from the history report and generates a value that is completely unique to that vehicle.

Do you have a car repair shop you trust?

If you’ve been driving your car for what seems like a lifetime, chances are you have a trusty car repair shop with a mechanic you can count on. Go see them and get their opinion on whether it’s worthwhile to keep your old ride. They’ll be able to do an inspection and give you a solid idea of the vehicle’s condition, plus they can let you know if there are any major repair costs coming up soon.

Pros to having the car repairs done

  • Fixing it is quicker and easier
  • You won’t have to renegotiate insurance rates on a replacement car
  • No need to make a long-term financial commitment

Pros to replacing your vehicle

  • Many replacement cars will come with warranties and early maintenance
  • CPO/extended warranty options are available, even if you buy used
  • New technology/fun features
  • Your replacement car will likely be more reliable
  • Think of all the time you’ll save when you don’t have to take it into the shop all the time

If you decide that it’s time for a replacement, consider whether you want to buy new or used, or whether it’s better for you to lease or buy. Whichever choices you make, CARFAX Canada has plenty of free information to help you find the right car for you -- just download our free Buying Guide.