To Keep Or Not To Keep… That Is The Question

8 12 2010

Dale BertramThe Question, should I keep my car or trade it in? This is the          question we are asked when we give a customer a large repair estimate on their older vehicle.  This answer is subjective as many items have to be weighed per each individual’s financial situation.  What was the nature of the repair?  What is the cost of parts and labor?  How does that cost compare to a down payment on a new vehicle and monthly payments plus higher insurance costs?

The General Answer is you save a significant amount of money fixing your current vehicle instead of purchasing a new vehicle.  If the body of your car is in good shape and rust-free, it is worth getting it repaired and serviced.  Even if it needs a new transmission or engine repairs it will most likely be less than the sales tax on a new vehicle.  If your vehicle is not worth fixing and you are in the market for a used car be sure to have a pre-purchase inspection before you buy.

The Kelley Blue Book Equation lets you know your vehicle’s Blue Book value.  If the cost of repairing your vehicle is less than 15% to 25% of your car’s total Blue Book value it is worth repairing.  If you have paid off the vehicle it is even smarter to keep the car as it is now an asset.  Kelley Blue Book or The Blue Book ® is the vehicle resource used by consumers and the automobile industry to establish price guidelines.  It has been in use since 1926.  You can visit their website at www.kbb.com to find out more about your particular vehicle.  Another good source of information is www.carbuyingtips.com and http://trade-in-value.com.

Let’s Do The Math; an average new car is $28,000 or $373 per month for five years after 20% down.  A rebuilt transmission can cost $1,500 to $3,500.  This amount may seem high but it is still less than the $5,600 the new car down-payment would cost you on top of the $373 monthly payment.  That does not include insurance or sales tax. 

Going Well Beyond 100,000 miles as advances in vehicle quality and engine technology have allowed us to keep our vehicles on the road longer. The secret to a longer life for your vehicle is keeping scheduled maintenance.  Most vehicle manufacturers don’t tell you service intervals after 100,000 miles. We recommend having a complete inspection and evaluation at least twice a year.  This will keep your vehicle driving for miles to come and save your thousands of dollars. 

Here is how four years of car payments with low maintenance costs compare to four years with your present “paid off” car with higher maintenance costs:

These are the facts. To keep or not to keep…that is the question only you can answer!  Remember…$13,681 is a lot of money!

Happy Motoring!

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