Eventually every car gets to that point- the time when you have to ask yourself, “Is it time to dump this hunk of junk? Or can I salvage it reasonably?” But so much depends on your situation it may be hard to tell. For example, are you a mechanic? If so, you have the skill to repair it, but what about the funds? There are several important questions to consider before you decide to dump, donate, or invest in repairing your car.

1) Is your car rusty? Rust is a corrosive agent that is hard to do anything about. If rust is showing up through the paint at the base of the doors or around the wheels, you may decide it just isn’t worth continuing to pour money into the vehicle. Body damage is costly and rust is not something most people can afford to contend with.

2) Is the car making noise? Any unusual noises in a car will generally progress and worsen over time. Are there leaks? Cracks in important places? Are there serious repairs to be done? Is the engine or transmission nearing the end of its viable life?

3) Do you really need this vehicle? Maybe you’re ready for an upsize or a downsize, depending on the stage of your life and/or family. Maybe you need a four-wheel drive or are ready for a sportier car. Consider your needs moving forward before you consider laying out big bucks for a re-haul. And if you are concerned about the environment, ‘reuse and recycle’ is not a good motto for an old car that spews fumes into the atmosphere.

4) How expensive will the repairs be? Ask for more than one opinion and be sure you have a good estimate before plunging ahead. Using the Blue Book, determine if the repair expenses are reasonable for the value of the car. But if the repairs cost more than it would to replace it, you may need to ask yourself the next question.

5) Are you seriously attached to this car? Do you have a lot of special memories with this car? It is an old VW van you can’t part with or a 50s Chevy? If the car is truly special to you, it might be worth spending a lot more than its monetary value in repairs because it carries greater sentimental value. The important thing is that you make the best decision for your needs.

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