When you’re contemplating the end of the line for your car, you may have doubts about the wisdom of letting an older car, beat-up truck, or damaged vehicle go rather than repairing it. However, buying a replacement car is a significant investment that you don’t want to make prematurely. Learn when it’s the smart choice to junk your vehicle rather than repairing it.
1. Necessary Repairs Are Extensive
Find out the value of your car as it is right now. Compare the difference between the value of the vehicle with and without the repairs it needs. Then shop around to get an idea of how much the repairs will cost. You generally have two options for repairs: buying new parts and having a dealership repair your car and buying used parts and having a local mechanic install them. Look into the prices of both options to get a full picture of what repairs would look like.
If the repairs will cost more than the value of the fixed vehicle, it’s time to junk the car, especially if you think that you’ll need to make future repairs soon. Instead of spending money on the car now and later, put that money towards getting a new vehicle. You’ll be much better off in the long run by paying for a better car now instead of sinking money into a failing car.
2. Vehicle Parts Are Unavailable
For some makes and models of vehicles, vital aftermarket auto parts are no longer available. Car manufacturers are not compelled by law to continue producing rare or out-of-stock auto parts.
You have the following choices when parts are no longer available:
• Find used parts in pick-n-pay lots.
• Hire machinists to fabricate parts.
• Purchase a junked car for parts.
Used auto-parts suppliers are great sources of information about hard-to-find parts. However, they can’t always find the parts you need right away. If having custom parts made by a machinist is out of your price range, it’s time to put your old vehicle out to pasture in the junk lot.
3. Vehicle Model Is Defective
Some cars hold their value for many years. They’re designed — and built — to last. Other cars have design flaws and component failures that limit their lifespan and reliability.
Don’t invest a boatload of money on repairs for a doomed car. Do some research on the make and model of the vehicle you want to fix. Begin by locating the auto’s vehicle identification number (VIN) on the car’s title, registration, or insurance card. You can also find the VIN on the following spots on the vehicle:
• Driver’s side windshield/dashboard area
• Front or back inner doorframe
Search for manufacturer-sponsored and online recall sites that let you input the VIN number. If your vehicle is included in their database, you’ll then see a list of recalls for your specific make and model.
The VIN search results are limited on some sites. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosts an online site that searches for recalls by VIN that have occurred over the past 15 years. However, the site only covers recalls by major U.S. manufacturers of light vehicles and motorcycles.
VIN-search sites may not cover every last detail about your make and model of car, but the information they provide is reliable. Recall sites and manufacturers’ databases are useful starting places to find out if your car is unsafe.
You can also find model-specific information posted in online forums dedicated to particular cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Consumer watchdog websites routinely list information about automaker recalls and problems.
Know the risks when you repair a questionable car. If you aren’t sure whether the expense of a big auto repair will add more safety to passengers and time to your vehicle’s lifespan, sell the vehicle. Use the cash for a down payment on a newer vehicle you can trust.
4. Car or Truck Is Sitting Unused
Do you have a vehicle that’s been sitting in a barn, shed, or driveway for months? Do you have plans to fix it but have yet to get around to it? The following problems can develop in cars that sit for long periods:
• Fouling and thickening of fluids
• Corrosion of parts and body
• Loss of battery power
• Degradation of tires and brakes
• Erosion of belts and hoses
• Infestation by rodents, spiders, and insects
Don’t let a vehicle rust away in front of your eyes. Offer the car or truck to a junkyard for parts while the parts are still worth selling. If you wait too long, the unused vehicle won’t be worth repairing or trading.
Have that junk vehicle hauled off your property in the Chicago area by contacting City Auto Wreckers. We offer salvage-yard and junkyard services in Aurora and throughout the Northeast Illinois region. Get in touch today.