Fix or Flip? How to Handle a High Repair Estimate

January 5th, 2024 by

It’s a situation anyone can relate to: you encounter a problem with your vehicle, dutifully take it to your local repair shop or dealership, and are rewarded with a repair estimate that’s undesirable, to say the least. Inevitably, the question enters your head: should I bite the bullet and pay for repairs, or is it time to trade in my vehicle?

It’s a genuine dilemma, because there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. But with help from HoneyCar, you can alleviate your stress and come to an informed decision that best suits your situation.

Step One: Analyze The Cost

First off, don’t beat yourself up over a large repair bill! Even the most diligent car owners are inevitably faced with unavoidable, high-cost repairs. No vehicle is designed to last forever, and wear-and-tear items such as belts and brake rotors will require replacement at some point. Batteries die out, tires deflate… it all comes with the territory.

Just remember that it’s almost always less expensive to repair your car than buy a brand-new car, and repair is often still cheaper than trading in for a newer, used model. But when you’re dealing with a big-ticket issue such as a failed transmission or blown motor, and the estimate lands anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000, it’s time to seriously consider your options.

Step Two: Weigh the Pros and Cons

To give you an idea, imagine you’ve just received a $5,000 service quote. It’s an imposing figure, and it can make the decision to repair or replace all the more overwhelming. Before things escalate, try breaking it down into a pros and cons list. Once you’ve considered all the factors, you can then decide which path to choose.

Pros for Fixing:

  • FIX if you’re saving for a brand new car and are confident the repair will keep your current vehicle on the road for another year or two. If a new car still seems like a viable option afterwards, you’ll hopefully have saved enough to make it possible.
  • FIX if you’re planning to trade for a comparable vehicle. Although trading for a used vehicle may be cheaper than paying for the fix, there’s no guarantee that any vehicle you trade for won’t come with its own set of issues. Check or a similar source to review the vehicle’s history before you commit to anything.
  • FIX if the car means a lot to you. Seriously, don’t discount sentimental value. If the car was a gift from a loved one or a dream car you worked hard to save for, don’t give up on it just because a calculator says it’s the correct adult decision. You may wind up regretting it, and it’s much easier to sell a car than to buy it back.

Pros for Trading Up:

  • FLIP if your current car has been experiencing recurring issues. If you’ve been making frequent trips to the garage recently, it’s most likely time to move on.
  • FLIP if the repair bill is more than half the current value of your vehicle. Consider trading up at this point, as the next issue could lead to either a significant depreciation in value or a total loss.
  • FLIP if your current car is seriously lagging behind in modern safety features. If your car lacks emergency braking, collision detection, blind-spot monitoring, or other, now-standard safety amenities, consider trading up to a more recent model for the sake of your own safety.

Step Three: Make the Call

Ultimately, the decision to fix or flip is yours to make. But if your Venn diagram has left you with more questions than answers, our team of professionals is here to guide you towards the right path. If you decide the time is right to flip, check out how to sell or trade at HoneyCar today. When you’re ready for your new ride, schedule a test drive with usWe’ll settle the finance process before you drive off our lot, ensuring much-needed peace of mind as you drive confidently towards life’s next challenge. 

Posted in HoneyCar How To