How do you decide if you want to spend more than the trade in value of a car to have it fixed?

chorle 09/07/2018. 20 answers
Cars & Transportation Maintenance & Repairs

20 Answers


Robert M 09/20/2018.

Your engine is LOOSELY based on the SAAB FOUR BANGER and is a FINE engine until GM finds a way to screw it all UP for you! For $500 or so you can get LOW MILEAGE ENGINE from the junk yard! The ECOTEC is EVERYWHERE! SO DO NOT bother to have it FIxED! But you can ALSo do something YOURSELF here! you MUST use ONLY EUROPEAN FULL SYNTHETIC OIL and ONLY EUROPEAN coolants as well! The CRUZE is a BLENDED car with a SAAB engien and GERMAN trans in it! Theirr BRAKES are stil GM CHEAP ones and you probably do NOT even hve HEATED SEATS or SUNROOF either! >>>LEARN where your THROTTLE BODY is and clean it with AMsOIL POER FOAM! Get a SLUDGE evaluation and do a ful internal CLEANING HERE! if you were in MICHIGAN I woudl come to YOU! If you even NEAR michigan and PAY FOR THE GAS I will fix it for you for HALF that [rice! NObODy shoudl charge 3,000 bucks for a REPAIR of an engien, even THAT ONE! They are ROBBING YOU! Send me PLANE FARE and I will come to YOU and fix it to las ANOTHER 100,000 MILES and GOING STRONG with ZERO leaks or issues! >>THE MAIN THING is to use the PROPER ENGIEN OIL and NOT valvolien or other CHEAP oil changes! Use PEnNZOIL LATINUM that gives a 500,000 mile ENGINE WARRANTY with it!


curtisports2 09/20/2018.

Calculate if the major repair will get you another year or three out of the car without doing anything more major. Then divide by that many months and see what that 'car payment' looks like compared to what you'd be paying for a new car.

Looking at your update.....a 6 year old car (sold in 2012) with above average yearly miles on it, with a vague description of the problem that offers no evidence that it will be properly fixed for $3k. Assuming the car has no payments remaining on it, $3k is a car payment of $250 a month for one year. If you can get three more years out of it without putting any more into it other than gas, fluids, tire rotation and yearly inspections, you'll get that 'payment' down to about $85 a month and then it might be worth hanging onto it. But from what you said the problem is, I don't know that you might not have more serious problems. I'd be inclined to let it go now for what you can get for it and start over.

Read more for my approach to this.

I drove my '89 Accord for 20 years. Aside from routine maintenance that you will have on any car you keep beyond the initial 3 or so year warranty, I had three major repairs but not catastrophic like motor or transmission. They averaged about $1,200 each, and they happened at the 10, 13 and 16 year marks. Each time, I figured that if I could get one more year out of it, $100 a month was a cheap payment for a car that I still loved driving and still looked and ran great. And I got three years out of it before I had to put more serious money into it. Best thing I ever did, keeping that car 20 years, until the body was starting to eat through from road salt. I gave it to my brother in law and he drove it another four years and all he did was put tires on it.


STEVEN F 09/20/2018.

Look at THREE numbers, NONE of which is the trade in value.

1. How much could you sell the car for AS IS, to someone that knows its condition?

2. How much would if cost to repair?

3. How much could you sell the car for after repair?

If 1 + 2 are less then 3, it is financially worth fixing, even if you immediately sell it.

If 1 + 2 are more than 3, it is time to think about replacing it.


don r 09/20/2018.

Look in your wallet for money to buy a new car. No money for new car= fix the old one. Cars are not investments, so trade-in value is a poor indicator of how you care for it. You never get full value in a trade-in anyway.


JetDoc 09/20/2018.

Sometimes, it's more a matter of desire than practicality. I have owned a few cars over the years that I regret letting go. If I had my '65 Mustang or Olds Cutlass 442 back again, I'd probably spend more than they are worth to repair and restore them.

Other cars I've owned... I was happy to see them go, even if I lost money on them. It's just money, and you can't take it with you when you're gone.


thebax2006 09/20/2018.

By asking a good mechanic if it's worth fixing.

Are the tires new?

Are the brakes okay?

Does it need any suspension work such as ball joints or struts?

Are you sick and tired of driving it?


DR + Mrs Bears face 09/20/2018.

Hi so it is your choice as you are the only one effected by this decision.


acid victim 25 09/20/2018.

There could be more issues caused by the problem you're fixing

And some repair shops will "fix it" in a way that causes more problems

Cut your losses - - get a different car


Happy Gramps 09/20/2018.

antifreeze in the oil = an engine that needs to be rebuilt..........the transmission will not last much longer...........it seems that vehicle did not receive the proper maintenance


Kenny 09/20/2018.

Got money to buy another car?


Jackolantern 09/20/2018.

There are a lot of factors to decide this. How much do you like the car, what overall shape is it in, etc. An older car that is in great shape and has been taken good care of can be well worth spending time and money on.


Grandpa 09/20/2018.

I had a 2000 Ford Ranger Pickup with almost 300,000 miles on it. Thanks to good maintenance, the truck was all original except the tires, belts, and hoses. My Grandson was happy to get the little truck. He has totally rebuilt or replace everything. Since the Ranger is no longer made, and the physical condition of this one is virtually new, It is not losing value, but gaining in value. If he was to try and trade it in on a newer vehicle, the dealer would low ball the value of the little truck saying it has over 300,000 miles and is 18 years old. In reality, the vehicle has been totally restored and has only about 20,000 miles since the restoration. To a knowledgeable buyer, it is worth several times what a dealer would give him in trade.


STEPHEN 09/20/2018.

There is no point in spending more than a car os worth to fix it when something else could go wrong at any time. So the money you spent would be just wasted. Or you spend more money. And so it goes on.


Anonymous 09/20/2018.

By the size of your bank account. Then it is a flip of a coin or some other weird quaint way of making a decision....decision making impaired by a few beer, lets say & then by throwing a single dart at a dart board with mechanic shops on it. Where it lands is the guy you go to.

(even if it lands on "Harry's Fluck it or Fix it Shoppe") The dart has spoken.

You definitely want more than one mechanic's quote on repair costs.

I would (as a buyer) looking for a vehicle with closer to 50K on it, (which is more normal), not one with TRIPLE the mileage...as cars wear out. It is no different for choosing a mechanic. Hopefully you get what you pay for...somebody who knows what he is doing.

. Your first bid is an estimate on the cost. Each mechanic shop is his own business.............so see what the other guy's estimate is.

. It will be different. This is information you hold close to you(like playing poker) Maybe one shop has a junker CAR like yours sitting out back with a good motor in it, so will swap motors for cheaper than rebuilding it. YOU JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY KNOW...or can do for you.And you don't tell them about the "other shop prices" It is your information to chew on before you decide.

A friend of mine goes to 5 shops before she chooses 1 to do the job. Either all their numbers are close to the same or they are different. Higher and lower. Then you choose who you want to PAY your money to, You are the one who broke it.

If you do the work yourself and do not charge for your labor time(as it is your toy) then yeah, I have spent more than the trade in value many times only because I could not get this car for that cheap again and I already committed myself and I did not want to be seen driving a piece of junk(I got a reputation to uphold) Besides where would I get this experience from (except my own car) ? I can't mess up a customer's car.

. So I learned lots of stuff, stuff you would have to go to trade school or work as an apprentice in a shop....being a engine overhauler, tune up mechanic, doing a valve job, reringing the overbored cylinders, ignition tune up, various carburetor overhauls, autobody rust repair techniques, autobody plastic filler(bondo) work,fiberglassing, shock replacement, CVJ disassembly and reassembly and reuse, tape up car body, spray on primer/surfacers sand car smooth clean clean clean, spray on finish coats, reassemble all the parts removed from the body while it was being sprayed. Remove the tape from the car and clean the areas the paint got through to the inside, anyways. Yeah, several weeks and several thousand dollars later on a $400 car; no worries. Oh yeah, and repaired the odometer so it was now counting off the miles again as it stopped at 60,000 miles and the cost of a new speedo head was $900.00 If I messed it up I knew I could sell the car for a $1000 because now the car runs. Instead, I drove it for like 10 years+ across the country like 15 times coast to coast. And still sold it for several thousand dollars. I never made any money on it.


0NE TRlCK P0NY 09/20/2018.

Depends on the make and type of car.

CASE in POINT -

A few years ago I purchased a 1959 Jaguar XK150 Convertible at an estate auction. The late previous owner had purchased the car brand new and maintained it in like new (actually better) condition for over 50 years. Back in the day this car sold in the $6,000.00 range. The previous owner spent much more than that on the car over the decades it was in his possession.

Appraised value of my car as of last Summer = $130.000.


M. 09/20/2018.

Life is tough.

There are many questions.

People don't generally sell vehicles for the trade-in value. They want much more.

When people are given an overly high trade-in value on a new vehicle purchase, the extra value comes from a part of the inflated selling price. If you don't have a trade-in, you can get the seller to lower the inflated selling price too.

You can hardly BUY another car for the cost of the needed repair, even if it's an expensive repair.


Jay P 09/20/2018.

It's a judgement call. Sometimes you may want to repair the vehicle if it has generally been a good/reliable vehicle and this looks to be a one time repair ( not a reoccurring issue ). Another scenario would be if the vehicle has sentimental attachments to it and you want to keep it.


Egbert 09/20/2018.

Trade it in.


Erik 09/20/2018.

You drove the poor thing to death. That's close to 2500 miles per month. Plus, the trade in value of the car is close to zero, since it either stopped running or is about to... Take that 3K, plus whatever else you can scrape together, and buy another car.


Anonymous 09/20/2018.

In good condition, the car is only worth about $4500 tops with that many miles on it. So, do you want to spend three grand in order to have a car worth $4500, or do you sell it for $1500 with the blown engine, then put that and another $3000 toward a different $4500 car whose mechanical history and condition is unknown? Or can you use that $1500 as a down payment on a more expensive car, which again might be a crap shoot unless you know how to properly inspect and test drive a vehicle before buying. Without knowing your financial situation or the condition of your vehicle, or your skills, that's a tough call for us to make.

Personally, I'd probably fix it and try to get another 60,000 or so miles out of it, which you could do if you learn to take care of it and don't ignore incipient problems. If you do elect fix it, get at least 2 more quotes from reputable shops for repair, and at least 2 quotes for replacing it with a used engine from a junkyard, which might be the cheapest option.


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