Repairs or Replacement: What Does My Car Need?
Not having to make payments for car monthly is amongst the simple pleasures of life. Imagine your trustworthy ride has been paid off, you just have to pay for car insurance, repairs, and gas.
However, eventually, these repairs may start to add up, with the routine maintenance going up to the realm of hundreds of dirhams. Your beloved car doesn’t seem as trustworthy now, does it?
Is it finally time to get rid of your vehicle and purchase a new one, or stick your ride for the long haul?
Although it may seem like a difficult task to decide when your old friend is costing you more than purchasing a new one, in reality, it is not that hard to make a call in this case.
Practically, the decision is based on math as well as your personal situation. Ultimately, both the factors will decide the fate of your vehicle- whether a new one (probably new to you) will replace it or your tried and true car will stick around with you until its wheels fall off.
Repair or replacement is a big decision and we will walk you through it one step after another.
Just keep one important thing in mind, your calculations will guide you in the correct direction and assist you in taking a stress-free and suitable decision.
Should You Replace or Repair Your Car?
Before jumping into numbers, it is essential for you to remember that there is always a lot more when you talk about getting your car repaired. This means with the math or calculations you can only see if you are leaning more in the direction of replacement or repair.
Various other factors like the amount you owe on your vehicle, your repair frequency, and more are also in the game. You need to consider them too while you run your numbers.
Now, the first thing you need to do is take out an estimate of your car value (without repairs). For the heck of understanding, let us assume the value to be AED 5,000.
Let the estimated cost of repair be AED 1,000. In terms of this example, the repair will increase the value of the car to AED 6,000. However, this may not be the case every time, it may vary on the basis of the car’s overall condition and the kind of repair. Your mechanic will give you a heads up on the value that will be added to your car with the repair.
Therefore, in this assumption, in case you had to sell your vehicle after the repair immediately, you would still recoup the dirhams you had put in it. In such a case, probably you are more inclined in the direction of repairs.
Now, in case this is your commuting vehicle, and you run late for work at least once every week owing to the breakdown, you should think about evaluating what these repairs are costing you and your peace of mind.
Alternatively, if that first mechanical bill is close to AED 2,000, and the value of the vehicle is increased to just AED 6,000 with this repair, you are more inclined towards selling the vehicle and using that amount to buy another vehicle with your AED 7,000. This way, you are essentially gaining a better vehicle for the same amount of money.
If You Choose Repairs-
Have you decided on going ahead with getting your car repaired? Your next issue would be making payment for it. This is because it may cost a good amount of money. But what if you do not have the availability of cash for making payment of the bill? Don’t worry! Here are a few steps to look for the funds you need for the repairs.
#1 Shopping Around
Do not go for the initial quotes that are handed to you. Get the first diagnosis through a trusted dealership or from a larger mechanic shop; however, do not assume that their price is actually the price.
The major portion of your cost is probably labor and not parts. And, you will always find the labor charges to be higher at more established larger shops.
In order to look for a reliable mechanic at a lower rate, you can ask your friends or relatives about their mechanics. You can then approach their suggestions for finding the most suitable price. Also, inquire if they have any discounts and offers.
#2 Things You Can Do Yourself
Probably you require new brakes; however, you also have to get the door handle replaced that broke off in the morning. You have the option of getting the brakes done at the mechanic shop and look for an after-market replacement for that door handle online. An online video can help you in fixing it yourself. Make sure you follow all the directions carefully.
#3 Things that can Wait
In case your estimated repair is still not in your comfort zone, ask the mechanic about the things that you need to fix now and the things that can wait for some time. Do not skip the important safety characteristics like tires, timing belts, and brakes. But not having automatic windows for some time won’t be a problem.
#4 Create a Budget
Let us assume you have reduced the price of the repair to the extent possible. Then, comes the time to look for the cash for making payment of the bill. It is recommended that before you begin to overturn the cushions on your couch to find loose change, make a zero-based budget. You can use various free budget apps that will help you make a budget quickly. Moreover, it involves a lesser amount of hard-work than finding change on your couch.
#5 Adjusting the Funds Here and There
In case you are still short of money, do not worry! Just keep your budget back in unimportant areas such as haircuts, restaurants, movies, clothes, and more such expenses. You can also take help from your savings on a temporary basis. And, the last resort, you make use of your emergency fund if the repair is absolutely necessary. But make sure you restock this fund as soon as you can.
#6 Create a Budget for Repairs in the Future
Make sure this issue does not happen with you again by making a line item within your budget for future repairs and maintenance of the car. This way, the funds will be available when you need them (which you will).
If You Choose Replacement-
Now, let us assume you have decided that repairing your current vehicle is not worth it. It is time to welcome a new one. Although it is tempting to wish that your next ride is new and is under warranty (read- zero repairs and of course no headache, at least for some time), the last thing you should think about is heading to your nearest car dealership. Why, you ask? Here is the answer-
When it comes to new vehicles, the depreciation is jaw-dropping. For instance, if the value of a car is AED 50,000 today, then its value would be around AED 20,000 by the end of 5 years. In fact, after a year also, there can be as much as 20-25% drop in the car’s value. Therefore, think about purchasing a new car only when your net worth is counted in millions of dirhams. Allow someone else to take the wrath of depreciation.
The best option you have is purchasing an affordable used vehicle with the funds you have saved (including the money you have earned by selling your current vehicle). This way, you own a vehicle, instead of the vehicle owning you. The used vehicle does not refer to a crap car; it simply means you have played smart enough to make someone else bear the initial value drop.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that although it is important to own a car these days, you have to make sure that your car does not own you. Do proper analysis and calculations before coming to a conclusion. Whether to repair or to replace is totally your decision, just keep in mind that you make a wise one. Period.