To be sure, most of us have faced or will face the decision to keep driving our old car (that’s paid for) or sell/trade it for a new one. For some who are financially stable and not mechanically inclined its an easy choice. They may reason, “I can afford a new car, so why be troubled with the inconvenience and sometimes high cost of repairing the old car?”. For others the choice to trade up may be less black and white. For them, taking on a monthly payment would be challenging but at the same time they can’t afford to face constant monthly repair bills.
We all know driving a car comes at a cost. We may need to change the vehicle we drive for reasons other than financial. For example: we might be thinking about safety or the need for more room because of an expanding family. But, if our decision seems to hinge on the cost of a car payment vs. the cost of maintenance, keeping a few things in mind while making our choice might help.
How handy are you? There’s no question that one of the biggest costs to keeping a car on the road is Labor – the cost of working on your car. Today many auto shops have labor rates near $100.00 per hour, not to mention book rates- the amount of chargeable hours to make a standard repair. The cost of trouble- shooting a problem on your vehicle can be quite high, wreaking havoc on anyone’s budget. The more repairs you can manage yourself, the less costly keeping your old car running will be. Remember even minor repairs add up.
Is my car reliable? The question of reliability can be quite subjective. Ask yourself: Can my schedule take the inconvenience of a break-down or time consuming repair? It never fails that your old car will likely break down at the worst possible time. So, deciding how you will handle it can go a long way in making your decision to keep your car or not.
Who will be driving the car? Do you have to turn the key just right to start the car or is there a trick to getting the windshield wiper blades to work? Cars can have a personality all their own and sometimes the only person that can drive your car is you. If this is your situation and your home life has changed; ergo, you’re now married, or your teenager just got their licence. Now just might be a good time to get a vehicle that is a little more driver friendly.
Finally the cost of insurance should be considered. Generally new cars cost more toinsure so if we are trying to weigh the costs of a new car vs. the cost of keeping your old one,you need to include insurance. Checking with your agent on the cost of insuring a car you are thinking about buying, can take as little as 5 minutes, easily time well spent.