Should I Repair My Car, or Replace It? The Importance of Workshop-Client Relationships

Posted February 27, 2024

As the state of the economy fluctuates, the topic of balancing the figurative scale between continuing to invest in your current vehicle, and the option to replace it with a new / pre-owned vehicle, is a common stressor in many family households. A very large factor in this difficult-to-make decision rests in the trust of your local service workshop. If you don’t have an established relationship with your regular automotive service provider, how can you comfortably make that difficult decision when it comes time to do so?

Large chain quick lube facilities will almost never inspect your vehicle, nor do most have your best interest at heart. They tend to focus on the quick jobs that make easy money, and generally hold less accountability as a result of not performing quality inspections. Though new car dealerships are on the other end of the spectrum (they will recommend anything and everything), many times, they will overlook something as a result of not performing post-service testing, which results in the need for you to immediately return for a less than enthusiastic follow-up. It is also a rarity that the service personnel advises in a more personalized format (reviewing your vehicle / estimate with you) in the interest of building trust and transparency.

Our Auto-Bon team is highly skilled in personalized advisement relating to whether it makes sense to continue maintaining your existing vehicle, or move into something new / pre-owned. We focus a very large part of our operation on maintaining trusting relationships with our clientele, so that when it comes time for you to make that difficult decision, we are there to support in whichever direction is the most pragmatic based on your individual circumstance(s), giving expert advice on how to move forward, including coaching on the selling / buying process, and what vehicles may best suit you and your family.

We take great pride in our service process and logistics, from the point of check in & pre-service road test, to our detailed inspections (and subsequent advisement and/or Q&A), to the calculated service process, finishing with our post-service road test, inspection, and confident release of your vehicle from our devoted care.

Factors that our team always take into consideration when determining how we are going to recommend moving forward on a car repair / service, versus consideration for vehicle replacement include:

  1. 1. Age of the vehicle
  2. 2. Overall value and/or rarity (i.e. is it a collector / classic heritage vehicle)
  3. 3. Availability / cost of difficult-to-source parts
  4. 4. Condition of the underbody (is there a significant amount of irreversible / cancerous rust)
  5. 5. Life expectancy of the powertrain / chassis components
  6. 6. Internal knowledge about problem vehicles / engines / powertrains
  7. 7. Current mileage / overall service history
  8. 8. The balance of any lien / loan owed on a vehicle and the property tax value.
  9. 9. The cost to replace the vehicle with a comparable vehicle
  10. 10. Sentimental value in the vehicle (when applicable)

With 2023 interest rates as high as they were, and maintaining the same percentages in 2024, in many cases; if your existing vehicle is in good structural / cosmetic condition, it is generally more cost-effective to repair it / preventively maintain it, versus trading it in or selling it private party. Maintaining / repairing also maximizes the lifecycle of the vehicle, and saves you money longer term, as you avoid the monthly car payment and a high property tax bill.

When making a decision about purchasing a new / pre-owned vehicle, it is vital that you take into consideration the town assessed value, which will dictate the property tax you’ll be paying, along with any pertinent information surrounding the financed interest on the vehicle you are looking into purchasing, including dealer fees and warranty coverages / plans. Vehicles that are not certified-pre owned should *always* be brought to a neutral party workshop for what is known as a Pre-Purchase Inspection, something our team is also very proficient at. A PPI offers vital insight into whether a vehicle is a good candidate for purchase, as it can identify historic issues, and items that a seller may not want you to know about as a potential buyer.

Often, it is more wise to purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle, which carries an extended factory warranty (by default), and the initial [new car / first owner] depreciation of the vehicle has already occurred, yet the general “wear and tear” that deters many from purchasing pre-owned vehicles is most often minimal with no service need spared, as most manufacturers have stringent criteria for cars that don the “certified” distinction.

With that in mind, sometimes vehicles are more sensible to purchase new (depending on the vehicle), and when interest rates are lower as an incentive, the purchase of a new vehicle is often a sensible option (nowadays), as reductions in insurance premiums with the ever-changing advanced safety features also factor in fairly heavily, and the amenities that most new vehicles boast add further allure to the decision.

Many manufacturers also offer a secondary (extended) warranty when purchasing a vehicle new or certified-pre owned, which extends the coverage period of the drivetrain, powertrain, and electrical system (including interior / cabin electronics), which is rather vital in today’s scope of highly technological automobiles, as there are more electronics, sensors, and general components than ever before. Frankly put, they don’t make things like they used to, and this widely recognized saying also argues in favor of holding onto and maintaining a very large spectrum of older automobiles.

Categories: Diagnostics, Electrical, Engine, Fuel Efficiency, Maintenance, Uncategorized