Auto Dismantler and Recycling

Fix My Old Car or Get a New One?

Bay Area Auto Recycling

If you’re shopping around for Bay Area used cars for sale, you might want to put down that newspaper (or — perhaps more accurately now that it’s 2013! — close that web browser).

Although we live in a society where “newer is better,” the economics generally suggest that car owners should hold on to their old vehicles and fix them up first. As Jamie Page Deaton articulated in a popular U.S. News & World Report article, many Americans are under the spell that it’s cheaper/safer to purchase a new car than it is to fix an old one. But that’s a myth!The reason it’s a myth is that the car you own has already been paid off, at least in part. In her analysis, Deaton shows that maintaining and fixing up an old Honda Civic (as opposed to ditching it and getting a new car) can lead to savings in excess of $2,700… over just one year.

But people get confused about this calculation. They overestimate the hassles of short-term inconveniences (e.g. setting up more frequent maintenance and purchasing replacement auto parts). They also underestimate the lifetime inconveniences of wasting money on new vehicles.

03-CIVIC-EXTrue: there is “value” to your time. Every time you repair an old transmission or leave work to get your tires rotated/replaced, you pay more than just the sticker price of the parts and service. You pay with your time as well. But even when you include “the value of your time” in the calculus, the cost-benefit analysis clearly shows that sticking with an old car almost invariably makes more sense.

Rather than taking our word for it, do a cost benefit analysis yourself. Deal with facts, rather than with intuition. Take the time to crunch the numbers, since slight alterations to your personal auto policy can lead to cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • How frequently will I need to replace my cars?
  • At what point will the repair bill/annoyance factor drive me to get a new vehicle?

Develop a personal system to replace/maintain your vehicles. Actually document it on paper, possibly using business process maps. Then noodle with the system, as you need to, based on feedback and experience.

Let our Bay Area auto recycling shop help you solve your current repair needs and connect you with further resources.


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