When To Repair or Replace A Car

Are there any good rules-of-thumb for decding when to replace a car rather than repair? In my case, I have a 1995 Toyota Camry XLE. Blue book $4500-5000. I have had very few problems until the last year. I spent a few hundred last winter for an alignment(after hitting a pot hole), $500 this past March for the exhuast system, and now am looking at about $2200 of repairs. Is it time to get another vehicle? I’m thinking of used, 2006 Audi A4 for $25-29k.

If $1000 is all you have put into it since 1995, then putting an additional $2200 in, to me, is a no-brainer. This assumes the car is in otherwise good condition. The Audi may cost you in additional maintenance as well as paying off a car loan. Consider that when you figure you break even point.

I agree. This question is asked over and over on this board and the answer from one point of view is that it’s almost never cheaper to buy a newer car than the one you already own. Especially in the your case of moving from a paid-off Camry to a $25K Audi. Financially, this makes no sense at all. For example, I would wager that the sales tax alone on the Audi will maintain your Camry for another 3 or 4 years (unless the Camry is rusted out). On the other hand, if you’re bored stiff with the Camry and want a fun car, AND can afford the damage, go for it. By the way, how many miles on the Camry?

What planet do these folks come from? You’re asking if you should put $2200 into a vehicle that has the potential to serve you reliably for many more years, or spend $27,000 on something that’s going to lose $3,000 in value as soon as you drive off the lot and then lose about another $18,000 over the next ten years for a total loss of $21,000!

Fix the Camry and send me a check for $3,000 because it makes as much sense as buying a new car.

The Audi is used so steep depreciation is already mostly hit.

Value of car vs. cost of repair + condition of car today = Worth repairing. I would fix that one in a heart beat. Stay away form the Audi.

A 2 year-old Audi equals lots of depreciation left to go. Ten years from now it’ll be worth $6,000 if you’re lucky. Not much left to lose on that Camry.

For me, the rule is to find another car when it looks like I will be spending at least as much on repairs as I would on car payments. Unless you abuse or neglect it, a car like your Camry shouldn’t reach that point for at least another 10 years.

Sounds like you’re paying a lot for your repairs. How about a breakdown of the $2200?

The averge life long upkeep for a Camry is about $1100/year for maintenance, repairs and tires. For and Audi you would at least DOUBLE that!! So, in the long run, an Audi costs at least $1100 mor per year to keep going.

Also for the average car, the Life Cycle Cost is about 1/3 depreciation, 1/3 maintenance and repairs, and 1/3 for gasoline. All the owners who got a fabulously long life out of their Camries did the required maintenance and repairs, as outlined in the owners manual.

As per other posters, if the car is in good shape and you have done the basic maintenance, just keep driving it and maintain/repair it as needed.

You can usually keep a car going for a long long time and can be cost justified to do so. I don’t believe in the formulas etc. You should replace when you don’t like it anymore, it is obsolete-that is doesn’t meet your needs for fuel economy, hauling, etc. anymore, or when you are not willing to drive it long enough to get you money out of a major repair. If you are looking at a $1000 repair, just be sure you are willing to drive it another 20-30K to justify it. Something to be said though for a new car with a warranty and someone else worrying about it. Something to be said for no payments too. Takes your pick.

196,000 miles on the Camry. This first major repair is due to major leaks, which seem to have shown up in the last 3-4 months. Replace head gasket and related work, oil pan gasket, power steering pump and water pump. All this hiting at once! I got 3 opinions so I know the work is needed. By the way I have religiously save my car payments sice I paid off the Camry so I’d be looking to pay cash for the used Audi. I like the A4 I just hate parting with money.