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Should You Fix Your Broken Car, or Buy a New One?

Should You Fix Your Broken Car, or Buy a New One?

Owning a car can be great, but when things go wrong you can end up with large bills to pay, or tough decisions to make, should you repair the car or sell it? This is particularly true if your car is an older model, or has done lots of miles.  

Large repair bills that can be hard to justify, our latest blog explains when and when not to cut your losses with a broken car. 

How to know if repair bills are too expensive? 

Depending on what the issue is, there may be quite a bit of information online that can give you an idea of how much your car would cost to fix. This is the first step to establishing if your car is worth keeping or not. 

Research online 

There are plenty of resources published online that can advise on rough costs for various jobs, be sure to account for local variations, if you are in London for example the rates will be higher than elsewhere. 

Check out our article for average repair costs by vehicle brand.

Forums are another great resource for first hand information from other car owners, places such as Honest John are great for impartial advice. 

Get quotes from reputable garages 

Probably the most accurate way to estimate how much your car is going to cost to fix is to contact local garages directly, most will want to see the car in person and even take it for a test drive before offering advice.  

It’s also important to get more than one quote, just to make sure the garage is competitively priced, remember to check if the VAT is included, and account for the costs of not having a vehicle whilst yours is being fixed. 

When is it not worth repairing a car?

If your car is going to cost more than its value when repaired to fix, it's probably not worth repairing. This can change depending on how easy it is to buy a comparable replacement.  

Overall it is a tricky thing to decide, as there are many factors to consider, not only is it the cost to repair vs what the car is worth, you also have to consider what you could purchase at the time to replace your car.  

With the shortage of new cars and the Covid pandemic, the second hand car market is booming, meaning you may not be happy with what you can get for your money nowadays. To make an informed decision on whether to sell or repair, consider the following: 

  • Can you sell your broken car? The options are often limited for extracting money from your broken vehicle. 
  • When your car is fixed, how much would it be worth? 
  • Will your car be easy to fix? If the problem is relatively simple, albeit expensive, you can invest in the vehicle with more confidence that it will be possible to fix it 
  • Can you replace it at a reasonable cost? Research a reasonable replacement for your car, with the features that you need, it might be that the car you’d want is much more expensive than you previously thought 

Are damaged cars difficult to sell?

Unless priced very competitively, a damaged or broken car will be fairly difficult to sell. This is because the market for non-driving cars is very small compared to ones that are on the road. 

One reason a person or business may buy a broken car is to ‘break’ it - where they strip it of its parts and sell them on. This is best suited to less common or specialty vehicles like sports cars or ultra-luxury ones, as there is a lesser supply of those cars for the dismantler to buy. 

Some garages or mechanics may purchase broken cars with the intention to fix them, but they will want to take on as little risk as possible, so if your car’s fault is un-diagnosed or difficult to diagnose, they will offer a lower sum. 

Should I repair my car before selling it? 

If you’re finding it hard to sell your broken or damaged car, it may be worthwhile fixing it before selling. This can be a cost effective solution as a working car will attract far more buyers than a broken one, and thus a higher price.  

Once repaired, it’s advisable to get a new MOT so the new buyer can be reassured that the car has no outstanding faults. 

What if I can't afford to fix my car?

If your car requires significant repairs, and is not worth trying to sell whilst broken, there could be another option available to you.  

We offer zero interest finance for car repairs, from any one of our approved garages in the UK.

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