Should You Repair or Replace Your Car? - Money Matters Blog - Cinfed Credit Union

Money Matters for Cinfed Members

Should You Repair or Replace Your Car?

Posted on November 16, 2020
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Should You Repair or Replace Your Car?

By Coach Fin

You and your ride may have many miles in your rear-view mirror. As the odometer ticks by or you reach certain checkpoints in your mind, you might wonder if it’s better to make some repairs and keep on rolling…or start fresh with a new set of wheels. Here are some things to consider before you decide.

Maintain your car to avoid costly repairs

Maintenance is key to avoiding costly repairs. And today’s cars are easier to maintain than in decades past. Items like spark plugs, which used to need frequent replacement, can last 100,000 miles or more, according to Consumer Reports.

If your vehicle has lots of miles, but you’ve taken good care of it along the way, it may last for many years without costly repairs. Follow these maintenance tips to keep your motor running in top shape.

For protection from the unexpected costs associated with repairs, you can invest in a program like Cinfed’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (also known as MBP or Extended Warranty). The MBP can give you peace of mind knowing that repair bills will be covered without putting a significant dent in your budget.

Compare repair bills to the cost of car payments

You should expect to replace tires, batteries, belts and brakes from time to time. But if your car has needed pricey, unusual or frequent repairs, it’s tempting to cruise by the nearest car lot to eye the latest models. Before you drive off with a shiny new car payment, see how your repair bills compare to monthly payments.

In July 2020, the average cost of a new vehicle was more than $38,000. In 2019, used cars averaged nearly $21,000. If you don’t have the cash to buy a car outright, you could be looking at several years of monthly payments. It’s becoming more common for people to finance cars for five or six years. The average payments are just under $400 per month for used cars and nearly $570 per month for new cars.

If the cost of car repairs is getting you down, consider the impact a regular monthly car payment could have on your budget. Add up your necessary repair costs (not maintenance costs) to see if you’d be better off keeping your current car.

How to know when it’s time to replace your ride

Sometimes there’s just no way around it. You need a new vehicle. How do you know when it’s time to replace rather than repair?

  • You need a safer car.
  • Your car has been in the shop multiple times in the past year.
  • You want to stop worrying about constant breakdowns and can afford a new car.
  • A repair would cost more than half the value of your vehicle.

If you’re losing sleep worrying your car will leave you stranded, it might be time to upgrade.

Do this 8-point inspection before you go kick tires

Car shopping can be exciting. Especially when Cinfed loan rates for new and used cars and trucks are as low as 2.24% APR.* Before you take your first test drive, though, it’s a good idea to:

  1. Make sure you know what you can afford.
  2. Research the models you’re considering.
  3. Find the value and going prices for the cars you like at edmunds, Kelley Blue Book or TrueCar.
  4. Get a CARFAX® report on any used vehicles you like.
  5. See how much it will cost to insure the model you want.
  6. Get pre-approved for an auto loan - Cinfed’s Fast Lane Auto Loan literally put a check in your hand, so you can shop without worrying about financing.
  7. Check into a Flex Auto Loan to get lower monthly payments on the car you want.

Visit Cinfed to learn more

Learn more about car loans at the Cinfed Financial Education Center. When you’re ready, call a Cinfed branch or schedule an appointment. We’re ready to help however we can.

*APR= Annual Percentage Rate; Annual Percentage Rate is based on credit history, vehicle year, and term of loan. Floor rate limit for new Flex Auto Loans is 3.24% APR. Subject to credit approval. Federally insured by NCUA.


Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656


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