Cost, inspection may determine whether to go new



Paying for automotive repairs may be less expensive than buying a new car, but a new car may offer more options.


A fundamental question, if there is one: Should we fix our old hunk of junk or should we get rid of it and invest in a new vehicle?


It’s a tough choice. As a matter of fact, experts are all unanimous: there is no miracle solution to come up with the best decision possible. Let’s try at least to shed some light on the matter.

We all have to admit, a new car is expensive. First off, there is the initial investment: In 2005, the average automotive transaction was $32,210, says the DesRosiers Automotive Consultants firm. Add to that total fuel, car registration and insurance — the latter being up to three times more expensive for a new vehicle than for a used one.

Before making the jump to the “brand new” side, try and find out if your hunk of junk still has some good years to give you. After all, the longer you preserve it, the more you alleviate its value depreciation — again according to the DesRosiers firm, a new vehicle loses half of its value within its first five years of use.

There is nothing better than a complete car inspection undertaken by a reliable mechanic to help you find out the real condition of your old car. If repairs are necessary, compare their cost with the value of the automobile — which you will find by browsing through price guides available in stores.

Tell yourself that it is sometimes worth it to invest a few hundreds of dollars in repairs and maintenance for an older vehicle rather than get caught up with monthly payments for a new car.

Phil Edmonston of the www.Lemondaidcars.comwebsite states that these repair costs should add up to an average total of $700 to $800 per year. Are you in that situation? If you are, you have a good car in your hands.

If, in the ’70s, vehicles lasted an average of 150,000 km, they are nowadays much tougher and can last at least 300,000 km. On the other hand, we must find a way to avoid mechanical relentlessness. Don’t insist on making repairs that involve the engine or transmission, the vehicle’s vital organs. The latter are amongst the most expensive items to repair and their mediocre condition is perhaps a prelude to the car breaking apart.

Also know that not all vehicles are equal in their aging. A survey taken at the break of the new millennium by the CAA revealed that the Japanese brands need fewer repairs than any other brand and that the repairs, when needed, were less expensive.

With this advice in mind, you still want to get rid of the old car? Comfort yourself by remembering that new cars come with warranties, airbags and ABS brakes.

And who knows, maybe you will be able to take advantage of one of those dealership offers, like 0 per cent financing that enables you to save thousands of dollars in interest.