The average annual cost of maintenance for a car in the U.S is over $500. That may still be affordable, but do you know what to do when car repairs are too expensive? Some repairs may be more expensive than the value of the car itself.
If a serious problem develops with the engine it could cost more than $7000 to repair. A problem with a brake line could set you back $1000, or if you have to have any work done on the suspension it could cost around $2000.
These expenses are unplanned and therefore it may be beyond your financial reach.
Given the age and condition of your car, can you imagine finding yourself in this position? If it happens to you then you will have to make some tough decisions but before you do, check out the advice in this article so that you’ve got all your possible options on the table.
Worse Case Scenario
If you’re facing an astronomical bill that potentially exceeds the value of your car, then you need to weigh up several factors.
Ultimately you will need to decide whether it’s worth the cost of the repair or whether you’re better off selling the vehicle for the best price you can get. Consider the following factors:
The first thing to think about is how long you have had the car and what is its service history like? Is this expensive repair one of many repairs that reflect an inevitable downward deterioration of your vehicle? Or could you say, that overall, the vehicle is in very good condition and there have been very few problems?
If it’s the latter, you may feel that your spending on the repair is more like an investment in keeping the car for longer, and it will pay itself off so to speak as you use it over the longer term.
In further helping you weigh this decision, you should think about the residual value of the car. Which is better, to buy another car with the same value as the repair plus the residual value, or keep the existing car and pay the repair expense?
That depends on how much you value the vehicle you have. That isn’t just its immediate resale value but your overall opinion of the vehicle and its previous usage.
If you cannot afford the repair cost, don’t be quick to dismiss keeping the vehicle; think about the options below.
Get a Second Opinion
If you’re not convinced by the diagnosis at the doctor’s clinic you’re wise to seek a second opinion. You should do the same with the cost of your repairs. You can check out alternative costs of parts by using the internet and consider non-branded parts if possible.
A similar idea is to think about secondhand parts that are work perfectly fine and could be used in your vehicle. You may not end up with the highest quality repair but if it makes a difference between being affordable or not, then it’s a no-brainer.
The point is not to be quick to give up but to thoroughly explore all the possibilities.
Identify Labor Costs
Replacing a blown head gasket can cost between $1000 and $2000. The repair is expensive, not because of the parts but because it’s a time-intensive job. So make sure you get a repair quotation with a full cost breakdown of parts and labor.
This will allow you to compare the labor costs with other service providers. Do you have any family, relatives, or friends that are skilled enough to do the repair for you? You could try to negotiate with them a reduced labor cost.
No matter how much you have knocked the price down to rock bottom it still may be beyond your budget, in which case you need to find some extra cash or a source of credit. Consider the following:
Take on Extra Work
This could be over time, extra shifts, or a second job for a temporary period. You may be surprised at what other avenues of work are open to you in which you can generate additional income. These days there are lots of online work opportunities that are flexible, well paid, and even very enjoyable.
Get Some Credit
This could be from your family or possibly a friend. Make sure you have a clear agreement and put it in writing. You want to keep on good terms and avoid strained relations through a misunderstanding.
Another possibility is to apply for a loan from the bank. This will give you reasonable interest rates and set out affordable payments over the agreed period. If a loan is not going to work you can always opt for a credit card as a last resort.
Another creative idea that may work for you is to consider sharing your car with someone else. It may not seem ideal but if you’re in a fix and cannot afford it, then sharing the ongoing running and repair costs could be a massive help.
What to Do When Car Repairs Are Too Expensive – Don’t Panic
If you find yourself in this situation thinking about what to do when car repairs are too expensive, it can be difficult to think past the depression. However, don’t give in to panic.
In this article, we have taken you through several options that you can explore to either get the price down into a more affordable bracket or to consider ways in which you can generate some credit to pay for the repairs.
The bottom line is that if you have no choice you may have to sell the vehicle and cut your losses, but before it comes to that follow the advice in this article.
You may be surprised as to what’s possible. Check out the other latest articles on our site that will keep you happily motoring along.