Monday, July 4, 2022

Is It Better To Repair Or Replace Your Aging Vehicle in This Car Market?

 Repair or Replace? That is the question.

Phil over at Busted Nuckles had a post about cars the other day.

$700 A Month Car Payments Are Way Out Of My Price Range

So, here is my opinion. And yes, opinions are like assholes.

In my opinion, if you have a car at the present time, and you like that car, keep it. Do NOT indebt yourself for 5 to 7 years(or longer) at 400 to 800 bucks a month to buy a vehicle that may not last that long. 

The newer cars can have upwards of 20 computer modules operating various functions in them. When something quits working on one of those vehicles, do you have the necessary knowledge and or special equipment required to troubleshoot and repair those cars? Some of the scantools required for these vehicles go for a grand up to five grand or more. And sometimes it requires more than one scantool to repair the vehicle. And that's not to mention the training and schools the technicians have to go thru to gain the knowledge to work on these computerized behemoths. And just how much cost is going to be incurred to repair one of them?

Older vehicles can be repaired using standard mechanical knowledge, which, if you have any intelligence at all, can be relatively easily acquired simply by watching youtube. I have tried to find repair videos on rumble but have not been successful.

You don't always need a fancy scan tool to repair an older car or truck, although in a lot of cases it helps. But, you should acquire a cheap obd2 scan tool so that you can read the codes found in the computer. That will usually give you a direction to look for in troubleshooting. Those tools can be had for as little as 20 dollars. Or more.

If you can tolerate the stigma of driving an older vehicle, I recommend that is what you do. But, in some cases that may not be possible and you may have to resort to a newer vehicle. If that is the case you should consider one of those vehicle warranties I keep getting calls about to tell me mine has expired.

If you don't want to or can't work on a vehicle, that's okay. Talk to people about a mechanic they like and would recommend. Or maybe two or three. If you need work done, get several quotes. That may not always be possible, but try. 

In any event, I think cars are too damn expensive right now. And so I recommend hang on to what you've got, kind of like that old song.     


  1. Stigma? Within my crowd it's grounds for bragging rights (I've driven "classics" my entire life - mainly because I could never afford new anyway).

    'Having' to build it from the ground up when you first 'get' it (I seem to have been 'donated' ("Take that piece of crap ..."), or occasionally 'found' ("Cut it out of the tree/clear the barn and it's yours"), most over the years) means I know I can fix anything that goes wrong.

    Fixing a broken vehicle isn't the issue for most now, figuring out how to change a wheel (not a tyre, a GD wheel FFS!) is more than most can manage.

    I (guilty pleasure) like watching all those YT videos of "parked in a field for 40 years, will it start?". The amazing thing is most of the old ones do. Now how many new computerised ones will be running in ten years from now (even if parked in a garage)?

    1. The word stigma was a bit of sarcastic snark on my part to the demos and other idiots. I too like watching those shows. Vice Grip Garage is one.

  2. I drive a 2000 Chevy 1 ton C3500 basic truck with 275,000 miles on the ode... Only vehicle I ever bought new and I still own it. It has one computer and I can diagnose that and fix what ever needs fixing. It is far cheaper to fix this even if it cost a thousand bucks. That is a little over one months payment nowadays. I have had offers up to $10,000 to sell it. The body is rust free, no accidents. I will keep my truck mainly because it was the last year of no airbags for 1 ton trucks.

    1. I have a driveway full of old vehicles, all needing tires.

  3. I bought a set of tires for my truck from a regional tire store here a couple of months ago and 4 245/75R16 tires cost me $1000 bucks... I figure once I am settled in my apartment and sell my travel trailer I won't be doing much traveling, what with the cost of gasoline now and everybody and their brother having a camper now and I have seen and been to place I wanted to see and experience, the tires should last me for the rest of my life....

  4. Interesting thread.

    I crossed that abyss last year, when my twenty plus year old, Detroit iron's tranny, started to slip (at 145,000 miles). Three grand? Or ... get a new used econobox, for $20K (!). More money, significantly higher insurance (was paying $550 a year, last year!). And some cars, are quite popular theft targets, with lowlife scum (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla)

    I had already sunk a goodly sum, in the previous twenty four months. And the tranny would bring me up to 11K in repairs, for two years (was a formula car wrench in my youth. Now arthritic hands, from wrenching). The only thing that hasn't been touched, is the still butter smooth V8). Wasn't easy, but I girded my loins. And threw down for the tranny rebuild.

    With the further collapse of the economy. It proved to be the right call. By a country mile. Though at the time, it was an agonizing decision. Best part? Two months ago, I needed to replace both rear window motors/actuators. Parts store had them in stock the next day! Quite common, non descript sedan. Not sexy, but then the only ride that ever got me laid? Was the two wheeled, inline six banger Honda CBX.

    Ah youth ...