Most of us that own vehicles have gotten that dreaded (yet expected) call from the service advisor of the shop we’ve dropped our vehicle off to be checked out at. The call telling us what’s wrong with the vehicle, and how much it’s going to cost to fix it.

When faced with a large repair bill, it’s easy to just tell the advisor, “No,” and deal with it when you’re not on the phone faced with an immediate decision. The best bet is to tell the advisor that you need a little while to think it over.

All too often I hear, “The car isn’t worth that,” or, “I’m just gonna get another car.”

To fix, or not to fix: That is the question.

If you honestly believe that the car is not worth fixing, I advise you to do some homework first. Check a website like Kelly Blue Book first, to find out what your car is worth on the market. Another tool is craigslist or Auto Trader to see what cars like yours are selling for. You may be surprised. Just make sure you’re comparing like for like condition.

Here’s a few more things for you to consider. How much do you like your current car? Have you kept up on repairing things as they happen, or have you let it snowball into a bigger issue than you can afford to repair by ignoring needed repairs?

What will it take to fix the problems on your existing car? $1,000? $5,000? What condition will a $5,000 car be in if you were to buy one? What has the prior owner ignored and now made your problem? Take whatever the amount the repair will cost and spread that out over a year’s time. Would you rather have that amount, or a car payment? Every car will have maintenance and repairs at some point.

You know the history on your own car. You know what’s been done, and what needs to be done. Make sure you have all the information you need to make a repair decision that is in your best interests, not one driven by emotions.

As always feel free to ask questions.