It can be hard to let go of your current vehicle. Maybe you don’t have the cash to get a new car, or you’re sentimental and want to hold on to the old one.
Or perhaps you think that there’s no reason to get a new vehicle if you can fix your current car instead.
But some repairs might be too expensive to justify. So, if you want to avoid wasting money, consider skipping the following repairs and replacing your old car instead.
Bad brake rotors and drums
New brake pads are a relatively inexpensive fix and should be a regular part of your maintenance schedule.
However, you might face higher costs to replace rotors and drums. If your car is getting long in the tooth, it might make sense to get a new car instead of paying for this repair.
A faulty alternator
The alternator provides the juice for most of your car’s electronics. A bad alternator can lead to an even worse repair.
Alternators may need to be replaced every 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles. But if your car is especially old, it might make sense to skip this fix and head to the dealer lot.
An engine that needs a rebuild or replacement
A bad engine is pretty much the end of your car unless you are willing to dig deeply into your wallet.
An engine rebuild or replacement will likely cost you several thousand dollars—money that could be used for the down payment on a new car.
Pro tip: If buying a new car makes more sense than fixing an old one, consider a side hustle to make extra money so you'll have cash for a down payment.
A bad head gasket
The head gasket is a specific engine component that could also cost you serious cash if it needs replacing.
The head gasket seals the engine cylinders. That protects the rest of the car from leaking fluids and coolants.
This fix can cost you $2,000, which might not make sense in a car that is not worth much more than that.
A wonky transmission
Transmission replacements or major transmission repairs can be costly in terms of both parts and labor.
Don’t be surprised if you have to pay $5,000 for the repair. At that point, it’s probably better to use the cash as a down payment on a new car.
A stolen catalytic converter
Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which makes them a prime target for thieves. Repairing a catalytic converter, which reduces harmful emissions, can be a costly fix of a couple of thousand dollars.
If your catalytic converter is stolen, you may want to check with your car insurance company to find out if it will cover the replacement cost. If not, it might be time to shop for a new vehicle.
A deployed air bag
If your airbags go off in a crash, the replacement cost can easily run you around $3,000. That’s expensive enough to make you think twice about keeping your car.
In addition, it’s likely that an accident caused your airbags, so you might be facing other repair costs.
A bent frame
The frame is the foundation that the car sits on. Issues with a bent frame could lead to problems with the rest of the vehicle.
You might easily face a $10,000 bill to repair the frame, so your best bet might be to get a new car.
A cracked engine block
Cracks in your engine block are a serious issue and aren’t easy to fix.
The bill can add up to thousands of dollars, and most people will likely opt for a new car instead.
A bad radiator
A radiator helps to cool your engine. So, issues with your radiator can cause you serious problems.
Replacing a radiator can cost at least $1,000. That’s not hugely expensive, but repairing a very old car might not be cost-effective.
Steering rack issues
If you’re having trouble steering your car, it could be a sign of issues with your steering rack.
But a repair can cost up to $2,000. So, think long and hard about whether this repair is worth making on an old car.
An electric car battery that needs replacement
The batteries that run an electric car are not as quick and easy to replace as that little car battery under the hood of a vehicle with a combustion engine.
You don’t have to worry about oil changes, but you should factor in the cost of replacing electric car batteries. That cost can be anywhere from $5,000 to upward of $20,000.
Many car fixes are worthwhile. But if your car is especially old or a repair is costly, it might be time to buy a new vehicle.
So don’t be afraid to get a new car if repairs become too expensive. Counterintuitive as it might seem, it is possible that buying a new vehicle could boost your bank account over the long haul.