Repair or replace your car? 2 tips to decide

Repair or replace your car? 2 tips to decide

There's no hard or fast rule about when to repair or replace your car, so Angie's List asked highly rated mechanics for their advice.

Studies suggest the average owner keeps a vehicle about 9 years, but an informal survey of more than a dozen auto service specialists say many of their customers are keeping their vehicles for even longer. That’s a lot of oil changes, tune ups, tire changes, air conditioning service and other general repair work.

There are two factors to consider when making a decision:

  • Affordability: When two consecutive years of repairs exceed the annual cost of a replacement vehicle – including payment, increased insurance cost, maintenance and service – it’s time to go car shopping.
  • Safety: Your car’s chassis structure, sometimes called the frame, is designed to help absorb impact during an accident and damage to it could compromise safety for everyone in the car. That chassis can rust from exposure to water, salt, air and smog. When rust to the vehicle body or chassis becomes extreme or unsafe structurally, it is time to replace the vehicle. Also, if you have an older car without some key safety features like airbags, you might want to consider an upgrade. Stop and think about how you feel about your car, too. Do you still trust it to be safe for you and your family? Or, do you feel like there’s always something wrong with it?

Keeping your car in top running condition is vital and will save you money in the long run:

  1. Oil Changes: Oil is the engine’s blood, and is critical to a car’s long life. Your vehicle’s oil should be changed depending on your driving habits, typically every 3,000-7,000 miles or around 3-6 months. You should check your oil about every 1,000 miles.
  2. Tire Maintenance: Properly maintained tires improve the steering, stopping and traction of your vehicle. Tire pressure should be set to the manufacturer’s specification. Tires that are over or under inflated wears tires out faster, affect fuel consumption, and are a safety hazard. Rotate and balance your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles and get an alignment check every year to make sure there are not suspension problems.
  3. Fluids: Transmission fluid, break fluid, and coolant can break down over time and lose their effectiveness. All fluids should be checked and topped off every oil change. Have your transmission fluid flushed out every 50,000 miles, depending on your driving habits.
  4. Brake Check: Brake inspection should be part of your vehicle’s ongoing maintenance to ensure safety and reliability. You should have your brakes inspected at least once a year; more often if you experience grinding or shaking when you break. Regardless of care, brakes will likely need to be replaced every 20,000-30,000 miles.
  5. Scheduled Maintenance: Failure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule could lead to breakdowns, poor fuel economy, and a higher cost of ownership in the long run. Having a certified professional inspect your car according to these schedules is an opportunity to catch problems before they get you stuck or escalate into larger repairs. Build a relationship with a shop or mechanic. Bouncing from shop to shop may save a few dollars on particular jobs, but in the end the only one who will have any responsibility for the condition of the car will be you. A good mechanic, who is familiar with your needs, your expectations, and your car, will help you get the most from your car.

More Like This

Auto repair check-up: Don't ignore warning signs

Keep your car healthy by following regular maintenance schedules and treating problems when they first arrive. Boston auto expert shares what should be on your checklist.

Leave a Comment - 2

Comments

Jim Magditch

Subject: Avoid the fluid flushing services

Correction - skip the fluid 'flush' services - these services are a waste of money. It's better to have the fluid drained and the filter changed (if equipped) than throw money down the drain on a fluid flushing srevice. The simple reason the fluid flush does not replace the filter in the system,such as the automatic transmission, and therefore does not sustitute for the proper servicing.

Patrick A Hess

Subject: Auto maintenace

It is recommended to have a vehicle inspection every other oil change or every oil change! depending on the oil change place the tech will check out your vehicle for leaks, loose parts and tire wear. Also when you have your tires rotated have your brakes checked. Lots of times when you do this you can solve problems that lead to bigger problems in the future! I am a ASE certified auto tech and have seen to many vehicles come in where there vehicle was not checked out often and lead to costly repairs. Please keep your car checked out and repair what is wrong with the vehicle because you don't want to end up with a tow and out if a car for days! Some people say shops just want to make money well I just want safe vehicles on the road I want familys safe and secure. I don't repair unnecessary parts I fix whats wrong!

View Comments - 2 Hide Comments

Post New Comment

Deals

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 3 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!