When your car runs into a problem and you think it may be on its last legs, you might be asking yourself, “Should I scrap my car or fix it?” If this is the situation you currently find yourself in, here is what you need to know before calling up your local junk removal services.
Should I Scrap My Car or Fix It?
When it comes to figuring out if you should scrap your car or fix it, there are a few things to consider. Not all cars are a lost cause, and if you have a strong personal connection to your vehicle it can be worth looking into fixing it. Car mechanics can tell you everything that needs to be done, and so long as the work is feasible, it could be something to think about. Here are some conditions to consider before giving up the ghost.
Calculate the Maintenance Costs vs The Cost of the Car
While asking yourself, “Should I scrap my car or fix it” Consider also asking if the cost of maintenance is worth it compared to what you paid for the car. For some reference, the average cost of automatic transmission rebuilds can be anywhere from $1100 to $2800 and up. For a suspension repair, you could be looking at $1,000 to $5,000 depending on what needs to be done. If your engine needs repair — or replacement — these costs can get even higher. Smaller problems like a lost key can even be easily rectified by an automotive locksmith who can make a replica for around $150.
For drivers of older used cars, the cost of repair in these instances may be more than the car’s current worth, making scrapping a better option. However, if your car still has a decent resale value and the repairs are reasonable, it may be worth sticking it out and keeping your vehicle.
While having a mechanic look at your car you should also ask for their professional options on whether they would recommend a fix or not. In many cases, your mechanic will tell you if they think repair is worthwhile. If you’re thinking of scrapping your car due to body damage, car body repair is something else to get an estimate on before deciding to scrap. Many dents can be fixed easier than you might think and it’s worth getting a professional option before making a decision.
Consider Incentives and Insurance
Junking your old car might be worth it if your local dealer is offering rebates and incentives that could benefit you. For instance, a year of free maintenance could be appealing to those looking to cut costs on maintaining their vehicles. However, newer cars often come with higher insurance costs and you may want to weigh the savings. While not having to pay for oil changes is night, you might end up paying more if your insurance goes up by $50.
What Are Your Replacement Options?
While a discount car rental can get you around for a bit, without a permanent vehicle lined up you may want to hold off junking your current one. If your thinking of trading in your vehicle for another used one, remember that this vehicle may come with its own set of issues in the near future. Does this outweigh the costs of repair now?
Is Your Car Currently Safe?
One of the biggest considerations to thinking about when deciding if you should scrap or fix is the level of safety that your car currently has. Do the airbags work? Are the brake lines rusted? If you fix the problems now what new safety hazards might come up soon on the horizon? Even after repairs, you want to feel safe in your car, especially if you’re going to be driving it frequently. If your car can’t be guaranteed safe, you might want to think about scrapping it.
Consider the Age of Your Car
Unfortunetly, cars don’t last forever and transmissions and engines only last, on average, for about 15 years. Your vehicle’s body likewise can wear out after 20. If your car is nearing a decade or two old, you may be better off scrapping it instead of fixing it. Although extensive repairs can help prolong the life of a car, for most vehicles this is unreasonable, unless it is highly sentimental.
Look at Your Finances
Finally, one of the largest things to consider is if repairs fall within the scope of your finances. Not everyone has $5000 to spend on suspension repair and scrapping your car to lease another may be more financially feasible. If you have a decent nest egg saved up for emergencies this could be the time to use it; however, consider how this will affect you long term. Does fixing your car take priority over other potential emergencies that might crop up before you can adequately save again?
These are the most important things to consider when asking yourself, “Should I scrap my car or sell it?”. Take into consideration both the short-term and long-term benefits of fixing and scraping, as well as how you plan of acquiring a new vehicle. While scrapping your car for money to a junkyard may be appealing to just get it out of your hair, if you don’t have a backup vehicle and need transport, you’ll need a plan. All of this should be seriously thought about before making any final decisions.
What You Need to Do Before Scrapping
If you do choose to scrap your car, there are a few things that you’ll want to do beforehand. While you may think that scrapping your car is as easy as calling a junk removal service and having it hauled away, there are some important things you need to do first.
Research Local Scrap Yards
When looking for the best place to scrap your vehicle, you’ll need to do some research. Reputable dealers will be able to prove that they are licensed and they should be able to show you if you ask for it. By making sure your scrap yard is licensed you can ensure that you are doing business with a law-abiding establishment and not someone working under the table. You’ll also be more likely to get a fair price with a licensed dealer.
Remember to Removed All Your Belongings
Before handing your car over to a scrap yard, or even a pawn shop, make sure to check and double-check that you have everything that you own out of it. Once you turn the car over it will no longer be yours and you’re likely to not be able to access it again. Be sure to take any documents with personal information especially to ensure that you won’t be losing any important documents. If you have any clothing, ice scrapers, CDs, or decorations you should also remove those to ensure they won’t be lost. Be sure to doubled check under the seats and in any crevices as well, you never know what may have fallen and gotten lost.
Don’t Forget to Take Your License Plates
One thing that many people overlook and forget is their license plates. While you may not think removing these is a big deal, some states can require you to return your plates to the DMV when you apply to cancel your title. This can be a legal requirement in order to transfer ownership. You may also want to use your plates on your new vehicle, especially if you’ve had them customized. So don’t forget to have them removed before leaving the scrap yard or pawn shop.
Take Any Parts that Might Be Valuable
Some parts such as the alternator, gas tank, starter, and entertainment system can fetch good money to the right buyer, and if your taking your car to the junkyard it can be worth tanking them. A mechanic can help you with the removal if you can’t do it yourself, and then you can have it towed to the lot if you’ve taken a component that stops it from running. Even if you’re not planning on selling the parts separately, if you’ve had a custom radio installed, for instance, you might want to have it taken out for use in your next vehicle, especially if it’s still in good condition.
Sort Out Your Paperwork
Although you won’t always need paperwork when turning over your car, it will be needed if you want to transfer or cancel your title. If you no longer have your title you can call your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for more information on what you need to do to get a copy.
Cancel Your Insurance
Once your car has been turned over you should cancel your current policy or have it transferred to your new vehicle if you have one. You don’t want to forget to do this only to end up paying for a car that you no longer are driving. Some insurance companies will offer a grace period if you can’t call them right away; however, you shouldn’t put this on the backburner for too long.
Consider All of Your Options
While scrap yards are great for cars that are on their last legs, need extensive repairs, or no longer run, there are alternatives if your car does still operate. Some charities will accept used vehicles in good condition and donations like this can give you the opportunity to take a decent tax deduction. While it may not be instant cash in your pocket, you can rest easy knowing that your car will help someone less fortunate, and come tax season you may get more back overall.
Keeping Your Car In Good Condition
While no vehicle lasts forever, going forward there are some things you can do to help your car last longer. If your vehicle isn’t rated to be used to hauling heavy loads, overloading it can put a strain on parts and cause them to wear out quicker. During the summer a lot of homeowners buy large amounts of gravel or mulch for landscaping, for instance, but filling up your trunk could cause problems. Instead, seek out live floor trailer rentals to help keep your personal vehicle in good condition. Similarly, if you’re planning a road trip and your car already nearing 200,000 miles, you might want to look for RV services so that your car doesn’t have to make the journey. Long road trips are much less fun if you end up stranded 500 miles from home.
You should also make sure to always get regular oil changes and tune-ups to ensure that your engine isn’t being put under too much duress. When your mechanic tells you to change your filter you should also take their advice. A clogged or dirty filter can damage your engine if left alone too long. Additionally, when driving, you should try to maneuver as smoothly as possible. This means no sharp braking and no hard accelerating. Ultimately the best advice is to listen to your mechanic and try to get repairs as quickly as possible when they are needed. Letting things go unchecked and unchanged for too long will only age your car quicker.
So, Should I Scrap My Car or Fix It?
When asking yourself, “Should I scrap my car or fix it?” it’s important to consider all of the little details described above. No two situations will be the same and what is right for someone else may not be right for you. Work with your local mechanic and get their professional opinion first and foremost. If they think it’s worth saving, look at your finances and see if repair is a feasible option. With all of this in mind, you can rest easy knowing that you made the best-informed decision for you.