Repair or Replace, when is it time to trade up

030713holtsWhen the cost of a repair exceeds the value of a car, it’s time to trade up writes Geraldine Herbert

We may all relish the smell of a new car but the reality for most is quite different. But just because your car is old or has high mileage is not a reason to change it. Today’s cars however are far more reliable than before so if it’s not giving you any problems, hold on to it.

Taking good care of your car is an easy way to prolong its driving life and cut costs. Do regular checks and servicing and ensure replaceable items are periodically changed according to manufacturer’s recommendations; all will pay huge dividends in the long run.

There comes a time, with even the most reliable car, when faced with another high repair bill you’ll need to make a decision to repair or replace. But how do you know when is the right time?

Essentially it’s a trade off between depreciation and increased repair bills; if you sell too early you maybe forgoing a year or two more of stress free driving but leave it too late and reliability could become a serious headache.


Before you pay for repairs consider the following

•        Is the repair less than a few months’ repayments on a new vehicle? If it is and it is unlikely that there will be additional repairs or maintenance costs in the near future, it makes sense to go ahead and get the repairs done. Repairs become an issue when they become a regular occurrence.

•        How much is the repair going to cost in relation to the overall value of the car? If you know your vehicle is only worth about £1,000, a costly repair, over 50% of the value, generally may not be worth it. However, you need to consider how long the repair will add to the life of your car. If you know the repair is something that’s only a once in a while issue and will add a few years to the life of your car, it makes sense to get it done.

Remember that it’s better to make the decision to part with that car on your terms rather than waiting for it to break down at exactly the wrong time. If you make the decision while the car still has some value, you can sell it or trade it in, turning it into a down payment on your next car. If you also can take advantage of any incentives or deals being offered on new cars, you may find that a new car is within reach for you. It’s hard to put a price tag on the peace of mind that a new car can bring.

Geraldine Herbert

21st July, 2014


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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