It may be time to say goodbye …
If you’ve never owned an older car with plenty of miles, well, then you haven’t lived. Some of the best trips are the result of a cracked radiator in Ridgeway, a lame fuel pump in Hays, or a distributor that decided to fizzle out in Taos. But as “fun” as all that is, it gets old when it’s a daily occurrence and you’re just trying to get to work. The only question is: When is it too much to repair?
Well, that depends on the car and what it needs. Obviously, an old Chevy truck is going to be a lot easier to repair than your 1997 BMW 7-series and that means the cost-to-benefit between the two is going to be different. However, there are major events that in both cases will mean your car is ready for the yard.
Engine failure is one of them. An engine replacement with a remanufactured unit, including parts and labor, for an old 5.3L Silverado, will run you about $4K, give or take a few dollars. Even a head gasket repair can fetch triple digits. Now, that’s a lot of money! And if you’ve got a high mileage transmission, it’s only a matter of time before that goes, too.
Speaking of transmissions, they’re not as costly to replace as engines but they’re not necessarily cheap either. If you suspect your BMW is having transmission issues, it’s time to part ways.
If your car is really old, then it could be a variety of systems. You could need a radiator, water pump, alternator, wheel bearings, brakes, etc. and all of that can add up fast. A good mechanic can generally tell you what needs repair and what’s about to need repair.
In my opinion, if the cost of repair adds up to one-third to one-half of the vehicle’s value, or close to it, then it’s time to consider parting ways with it. Or just drive it until it bites the dust, just make sure your steering and brakes work properly. It’s not worth hurting somebody else over.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any interesting beater car stories? If so, let us know in the comments below!