Behind purchasing a home, car purchases are some of the largest investments that many make in their lifetimes. So, when things start to go bad, it’s not uncommon to try and fix a vehicle to get more life out of it.
However, at some point, a clunker becomes just that… a clunker. It becomes the type of car that becomes more expensive to fix than replace. So, how do you know when that is happening, and what do you do when it does. Is your car worth fixing or is it time to sell it as a junk car to try and recuperate some of the money that went into it?
Is It Worth Repairing Your Car
This is the first question that you need to answer. If not, we’ll talk about what to do next. Nonetheless, here are a few things to consider with regard to whether or not it’s worth fixing up your car when it breaks down:
- Consider The Cost Of The Repair – It’s just about always worth taking your vehicle into a mechanic to find out how much money it would cost to fix it. While you may pay a small fee to find out what’s wrong with the car, this cost is well worth it when it comes to making an educated decision with regard to fixing your car or getting rid of it as is. If the engine or transmission need to be replaced, that can be quite costly. However, if you need a new radiator, the cost of the repair may only be a few hundred bucks.
- Find Out The Current Value Of Your Vehicle – The most trusted place to do this is Kelly Blue Book, and it’s absolutely free. All you need to do is answer a few questions about your car and you will have a reliable value as to what you can get selling it outright or trading it in. If the repairs cost more than you could buy the car for, it’s probably time to junk it.
- Think About Vehicle Age – Have you had the car for a long time? Have different components started to fail consecutively? Does your vehicle’s odometer read in the six figure range? If so, you may have a car that is slowly meeting its end. As such, it may be better to sell it now before anything goes wrong.
The three factors above will likely give you a good understanding of whether it’s worth fixing your car or it’s time to sell it.
How To Get The Most Money If It’s Time To Sell
If you’ve decided your car has crossed over into the junk category and that it’s time to get rid of it, you’ll want to recuperate as much of your investment as you can. Because cars depreciate in value over time, it’s highly unlikely that you will recover all of the money that you put into your car, but it’s worth trying to get everything that you can. With that said, here are your options:
- Trade In Your Car – Car dealerships are always looking for a way to make a sale, and sometimes that includes buying a car that doesn’t run for more than it’s worth. Since you’re going to be in the market for a new vehicle, it may be worth trading in your clunker as part of your down payment. Keep in mind that whatever the dealership loses on your trade, they’ll want to get back in the sale price, but with a junk car opening the door and strong negotiation skills, you may be able to work out a great deal.
- Sell Your Car To A Junkyard – Junkyards pay cash for cars that don’t run. For them, it’s an investment. They’ll sell the parts of the vehicle that do work as well as the metal the vehicle has in it. A simple search on Google will provide you with a long list of companies that buy cars that don’t run. Call around for the best offers!
- Sell Your Car As Is – There are tons of car enthusiasts out there that use cheap junk cars as parts cars in builds. You may be surprised at what you can get by simply listing your vehicle as a parts car on Craigslist.
- Part Out Your Car – While this process is going to take the most time, it’s likely going to yield the most money. If you know mechanics well, you may be able to disassemble your vehicle and sell the working parts. Taking extra care to clean the parts before posting them online for sale will likely increase your chances of making the most money off of your car.
I’m a finance guy, so naturally, I try to get the most out of every investment I make. That’s why I run my cars into the ground, and when they’ve found their end, I do what I can to get as much money back out of them as possible. However, I’ve learned over the years that knowing when to cut the cord on a junk car will not only save you headache, it will save you money. Follow the guide above, and you’ll know if it’s time to sell your car and get a new one and how to go about it if so!