After an auto accident, most people tend to be a little shaken. At such a time, it can be tempting to forget about all the problems that will now have to be fixed. Hopefully, we are talking about damage to your vehicle and not damage to your person. Either way, you will have to eventually make the difficult determination as to what you should do with your damaged car. Should you fix the damage, or is it time to buy another car? In this article, we will attempt to help you make that decision.
Start By Getting An Estimate From Your Mechanic
Unless you happen to know a lot about auto repair, it will be very difficult for you to determine what sort of repairs need to be done. That’s why you need to have it towed to a trusted shop. For a minimal fee, they should be able to tell you everything that needs to be fixed and give you an estimate on the repair costs.
When you bring your car into the shop, make sure you tell them the situation and let them know that you don’t want any repairs done yet. Unless you want to get stuck with a potentially large repair bill, you need to make sure they understand your goals: You just want to know what is wrong and how much money it will take to fix the problem.
When an insurance company is making this kind of decision, they look at the value of the car and compare it to the estimated cost of repairs. If the repair cost is higher than the current market value of the car, it’s not worth the money to do the repairs.
Repairs That Should Be Done
The good news is that most car repairs will not be so expensive that they exceed the value of the vehicle. Indeed, the vast majority of your vehicle’s parts will not cost anywhere near that much. Here are some examples of repair jobs that aren’t particularly expensive:
- Brake system replacement
- Replacement of gas or oil lines
- Repair or replacement of a starter
- Repair or replacement of a battery or alternator
- Replacement of one or more transaxles
- Installing a new radiator
None of these jobs are likely to exceed the value of your car, but a lot of small expenses could add up to that kind of money. That’s why you need a combined estimate showing all the necessary repair costs.
Repairs That Should Not Be Done
There are certain repair jobs that are likely to exceed the value of your car, especially if more than one of them needs to be done. These include:
- Engine replacement
- Total engine rebuild
- Transmission repairs of any kind
- Suspension issues
- Head gasket replacement
Of these, transmission repairs are probably the worst. They have a tendency to rack up huge repair bills that can quickly exceed the value of an older car. If you see any of these issues, there is a good chance that your car will have to be replaced.
Scrap The Old Car To Help Pay For The New One
If you find yourself in a situation where your car is totaled, but you don’t have the money for a new one, you can sometimes use your old car to pay for a new one. There are several ways in which you might do this. First of all, don’t bother taking your car to the local scrapyard. Chances are, they will give you less than $200 for it, and that’s not enough to put you in another vehicle.
There are a lot of people who will buy broken-down cars. Sometimes, these are mechanics who plan to fix and re-sell the vehicles. Other times, these people work for auto part wholesalers. Either way, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone who will give you a decent price for your vehicle. It still probably won’t be enough to cover the cost of another car, but it will give you a good start.
If you are mechanically inclined, you might choose to sell the vehicle for parts on a piecemeal basis. If you want to try this, you should have the wreck towed to your house, where you can take your time removing all the salvageable parts. These can be sold online at various places and should bring near-retail prices if the parts are in good shape. Sometimes, this method can actually bring enough money to pay for another vehicle.
Will The Car’s Resale Value Be Affected?
Yes, the resale value of your car will definitely be affected. Whenever extensive repairs are necessary, it will reduce the value of the car by a certain amount. Auto dealers are pretty good at finding this damage, so it isn’t easy to lie about this one, either. Unfortunately, your car’s resale value will probably be lessened, and there isn’t much that you can do about that.
Beware Of Band-Aids
Some auto mechanics will try to get your money by offering quick and cheap repairs that function kind of like a band-aid: They cover up the problem and allow the car to work, but the root of the problem is not addressed. Anytime you hear the words “temporary fix,” you should probably say no. You will only make things harder and more expensive in the long run.
Even if you know a little bit about auto repair, there are some vehicles that are beyond saving. Most of us grow to be pretty fond of our vehicles, but there comes a time when you have to accept reality and let your old workhorse die with dignity. Of course, most repairs will not fall into this category, so your car will probably be alright. Either way, we hope that this article has been helpful to you and that you will fill out the contact form below to receive more of our work.