Auto Repair Bills Got You Down?

May 30


Ace Abbey

Ace Abbey

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Are you contemplating whether to invest in a new car or continue repairing your old one? This is a common dilemma for many car owners, especially when faced with frequent and costly repairs. This article delves into the pros and cons of both options, providing you with the necessary insights to make an informed decision.

The Cost of Auto Repairs vs. New Car Payments

Evaluating Repair Costs

If your car is over a decade old,Auto Repair Bills Got You Down? Articles you might be questioning whether the next repair will cost more than the car's current value. According to a 2021 AAA study, the average annual cost of owning and operating a vehicle is approximately $9,666, which includes maintenance and repairs (source: AAA). For older cars, repair costs can be a significant portion of this total.

The Reality of Wear and Tear

Every vehicle, regardless of make or model, will experience wear and tear over time. Regular maintenance is essential to keep your car running smoothly. However, as cars age, the frequency and cost of repairs tend to increase. A 2020 report by CarMD found that the average check engine light repair cost was $384.24 (source: CarMD).

The Temptation of a New Car

The Financial Implications

Buying a new car is undoubtedly exciting, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The average cost of a new car in the U.S. was around $40,000 in 2021 (source: Kelley Blue Book). Financing this purchase typically involves monthly payments that can strain your budget. According to Experian, the average monthly car payment for a new vehicle was $563 in Q2 2021 (source: Experian).

Depreciation: The Hidden Cost

New cars depreciate quickly. On average, a new car loses about 20% of its value within the first year and around 60% after five years (source: Edmunds). This depreciation can make the financial burden of a new car even more significant.

Making an Informed Decision

Weighing the Options

When deciding between repairing your old car or buying a new one, consider the following factors:

  1. Current Repair Costs: Calculate the annual cost of repairs and compare it to the potential monthly payments for a new car.
  2. Vehicle Reliability: Assess the reliability of your current vehicle. Some cars are known for their longevity and may be worth the investment in repairs.
  3. Financial Situation: Evaluate your financial stability. Can you afford a new car payment without compromising other financial goals?

Practical Tips

  • Set a Repair Budget: Allocate a specific amount for annual repairs and maintenance. If repair costs exceed this budget, it might be time to consider a new vehicle.
  • Save for Future Repairs: Create an emergency fund specifically for car repairs. This can help alleviate the financial stress of unexpected breakdowns.
  • Consider a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle: If a new car is too expensive, a certified pre-owned vehicle can be a cost-effective alternative. These cars often come with warranties and have undergone thorough inspections.


Deciding whether to repair your old car or buy a new one is a significant financial decision. By carefully evaluating repair costs, vehicle reliability, and your financial situation, you can make a choice that best suits your needs. Remember, a well-maintained older car can often be more economical than a new car with high monthly payments.

Interesting Stats

  • Longevity of Cars: The average age of cars on the road in the U.S. reached a record high of 12.1 years in 2021 (source: IHS Markit).
  • Repair Frequency: Vehicles aged 6-15 years are 2.5 times more likely to need a repair than newer vehicles (source: CarMD).

By considering these factors and statistics, you can make a more informed decision about whether to repair your current vehicle or invest in a new one.