When is it time to buy a new car? Mine has close to 300,000 miles on it. I intend to run it to the ground. What, in your estimation, is the determining factor to junk it?
I would stop driving the car when it is no longer safe. There is no amount of money worth your or your family's safety. It is one thing to have to have duct tape on the seats and keep driving it. But it is quite another if the engine falls out when you are driving alone on a deserted stretch of highway. I'm at 216,000 miles and counting.
Determine what you would pay per month on a loan for a newer car (brand-new or used). If you're putting more than that amount of money into your old car for repairs on a monthly average, it's definitely time to consider a purchase, especially if the newer vehicle would include a warranty to cover major repair expenses.
I tend to buy my cars with cash and then pay myself a car payment amount that goes to my replacement fund. So, if my car is nearing that point in its life where major things are going to start going wrong, I look to see what's in my replacement fund and what sort of car I think I'll need for the next ten years. If I have enough to buy the replacement car, and I find the replacement car for the price I'm willing to pay, I'll buy the replacement car (I did this with my last new-to-me car).
I've also considered buying a new-to-me car when my life has changed a lot and a different car would meet my needs better. For instance, you may need a four-door car when you need to use car seats for kids.
One other scenario of when to junk the car occurred for me when the cost of repairing the car to make it pass inspection was more than the car was worth. We also didn't have the money then, so we junked the vehicle and happened to find a cream puff for a few hundred dollars that met our needs and gave us time to save some coin for the next replacement car.
Megan in PA
I always run my cars until they are close to dead and I have had no problems getting 250,000 from a car.
You can do that if you do all the recommended maintenance, on schedule. Do oil changes every 3,000 miles, timing belt changes as recommended, tires and brakes as they wear out. Second, I fix the "little" things as they break. Not having working door handles can be a big frustration.
However, some cars won't make it that far. I bought one car that was a "lemon" and another that was a discontinued model that parts became increasingly hard to get.
So, how do I decide when to a car is "dead?" Here are my considerations.
Polagaya in Monroe, WA
Most recommend that when an annual repair bill (not regular maintenance) reaches 50% of the current value of the car, then you should get rid of it.
Take the Next Step
Sign up for our free weekly eNewsletter Surviving Tough Times.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.