If you’re debating whether the time has come to buy a new car, do a cost analysis before taking any steps toward purchase. After all, car buying isn’t a decision to make lightly, and prices of new vehicles have soared in recent years. That’s why it’s important to consider whether you’d be better off fixing your old car instead of buying another one. Follow these tips to improve your odds of driving your old car for as long as possible, thus saving your hard-earned cash.
Perform maintenance consistently
First and foremost, perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. That’s the easiest way to ensure it remains in its best possible condition for its age. What does regular maintenance involve? For example, stay on schedule with oil changes. Not doing so could kill your engine.
Regularly checking your coolant is also crucial if you don’t want to end up with an expensive disaster. Then there are all those other components to keep an eye on and change when needed: timing belts, spark plugs, etc.
Research repair shops carefully
Maintenance isn’t necessarily the sort of thing you might feel comfortable doing yourself. That’s why it’s essential to find a trusted mechanic. Before you decide who’s right for you, do your research carefully. Though technicians at a dealership will almost certainly know what they’re doing, they’re highly unlikely to offer the best price for their services.
To find trusted mechanics near you, ask around. Whom do your friends and neighbors trust? What do online reviews say? Pose your question in local online groups, and see what people say. Some mechanics specialize in servicing cars made by specific manufacturers, so if you can find one with an appropriate specialty, you’ll be even better off.
Ask about financing repairs
If you’re facing expensive repairs, you may think fixing your old car isn’t viable, especially if you don’t have the cash. You might find yourself considering purchasing a new car just to be able to take advantage of the financing.
But before you do that, the folks at Consumer Reports recommend speaking with your mechanic. Some offer financing on repairs, allowing you to pay for the services over time. That might be a better deal than putting the repairs on your credit card, which probably has a high interest rate.
Consider extending your old car’s warranty
Extended warranties have gotten a bad reputation recently, thanks to frequent scams. But that doesn’t mean choosing an extended warranty is terrible in every situation.
Let’s say your car is nearing the end of its manufacturer warranty, and you know you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover a potential major repair. In that case, you might want to consider an extended warranty to hedge your bets and avoid a situation where you face costly repairs you can’t afford.
Before signing any extended warranty paperwork, read everything carefully to understand what’s covered and what’s not. The last thing you want is an ugly surprise when you’re already stressed about the need for major repairs.