Cars get older every day they’re removed from the factory, and that age carries some serious liabilities with it. Older cars are harder to repair, and they need more frequent maintenance as the parts start to break down and fail. There comes a point when it’s time to ask yourself, what should I do with my old car?
If the maintenance costs per year are becoming more than the monthly payments for a new vehicle would be, then replacement is the best option. Why spend more for less, when it’s clear that you are already going to have to put the money out there one way or the other.
If the car has been well maintained and isn’t costing much from one year to the next then it may be worth it to fix those little issues that could use some attention. The old adage of “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it” can be applied to cars by saying “if it isn’t broken then don’t replace it.”
Another aspect of car ownership that has to be considered is registration and insurance. These bills pile up every year, and in some states the registration fee can get worse with older vehicles than with newer ones. Likewise, if you’re paying for additional insurance that may not be necessary or worthwhile in the case of an accident then you may be throwing money away as well. (This is something your agent can help you determine during your annual insurance review.) If your car is paid off, you should give your insurance agent a call without a doubt to see if there is somewhere you can save money or determine if it may be more worthwhile to upgrade to a newer model after all.
While many cars become classics as they age, there are many more that just become scrap. While it’s tough to know what will become a valuable vehicle when it ages, sentimental value may be a reason to hang on to the car. If you’re lucky then that sentimental value could turn into a return on value for that car you cared for.
Ultimately, knowing what to do with an older car comes down to understanding the cost of that car. If the car is becoming more costly to maintain and register than it should be, then the choice is clear. If you want to preserve your car and keep it as it reaches classic status then it’s important to care for it correctly. Either way, knowing all the costs from registration fees, maintenance costs and insurance costs are critical to making the right decision. Your next step should be to check in on those fees with the DMV and your insurance agent so you can start planning what to do with that old car.