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Should I Repair My Car Or Sell It?

If you were involved in a car accident, you might be shocked by the estimated cost of repairs you receive from the mechanic.

Or perhaps your engine is giving you troubles, and the repair shop just told you how much it will cost to replace it. Maybe wear and tear have had serious impacts on your car, and you just wanted to know what kind of work it needs.

Trying to fix a damaged car adds up fast. Whether it’s body damage, mechanical problems, or something else, not all fixes are worth paying for. In some cases, you might need to decide if you have car problems not worth fixing.

The sections below describe what to do when car repairs cost more than your car is worth, and when it’s time to sell.

Don't Fix It - Sell It!

Enter your zip code below to get your FREE estimate and see how much your damaged car is worth. You can get paid in 24-48 hours with free towing!

Is Your Car Too Expensive To Repair?

When you get an estimate from a mechanic to do work on your vehicle, you should take some time to figure out how much your car is actually worth.

Take a look at local markets in your area — Craigslist, for example, or Facebook Marketplace — and see how vehicles with equivalent damage are valued.

Once you know what your repair bill might be and what cars in your vehicle’s condition sell for, it becomes a lot easier to do the math.

When Repairs Cost More Than The Car Does

depressed woman sitting in front of the computer, holding bills in her handsWondering if it is worth it to fix your car? When trying to calculate if a car repair’s more than the value of the car, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will the repairs increase the value of my car?
  • How much could I sell the car for as-is?
  • How badly do you need a working car right now?

Each car situation is unique. So when should you not repair your car?

Here’s a scenario that can help you figure that out. Assume your vehicle is worth about $6,000, and you received a repair estimate of $2,000. Will the $2,000 in repairs bring your vehicle’s total value to $8,000, or will it still be somewhere in the $6,000-$7,000 range?

Ask yourself another question: How much could you get if you sold the vehicle in its current condition? Combine how much the car could go for with the estimated cost of repairs.

Could you buy a decent vehicle for that money? In that case, it might make more sense to sell, take your savings and earnings, and put them towards a new vehicle.

Finally, consider the headache associated with having a non-running car. If it will take weeks to repair your vehicle, you will have to figure out your transportation for that entire time period. Is your car worth the wait?

When Is It Not Worth Repairing A Car?

In short, if there’s no return on your investment, it’s not worth repairing the car anymore. Cars are a depreciating asset, which means the longer you keep it, the lower its value is. Damage to the car only accelerates that process.

If you’re starting to question the value of paying for repairs, it’s time to switch strategies. Instead of trying to figure out what repairing your vehicle could cost, you might need to decide what to do with a car that’s not worth repairing. The answer: sell it.


Where To Sell A Car If It's Not Worth Repairing

the woman stands in front of three numbered doors and wonders which one to chooseWondering what to do if car repairs exceed its value? If you're trying to decide whether to repair or replace your car and decide on replacing it, you can sell a car not worth repairing in any of the following places:

  • Junkyards and scrap yards
  • To a private individual
  • To a dealership
  • To an online car buyer

Junkyards and scrap yards typically offer you the scrap metal value of your vehicle.

However, depending on the car’s make, model and year, this may not be the best offer you can get on your car. Additionally, you might need to call multiple different yards to compare quotes.

Private individuals may also be interested in your damaged car. Keep in mind that you will need to schedule a time for potential buyers to come see the car. Additionally, if the car doesn’t run, you and the buyer will need to negotiate who will cover the cost of towing the vehicle.

Some dealerships may accept a damaged car as a trade-in towards a new vehicle. This may help you get a replacement car more quickly.

Keep in mind that many dealerships do not specialize in trading and selling damaged cars. You might not get the best trade-in value for your car, and you will be limited in what kind of car you can buy as a replacement.

Selling your car online is generally the fastest and easiest way to get an offer and get paid.

How can I get a quote for my car instantly?

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Why You Should Sell Your Damaged Car To CarBrain

the man sits in front of the computer and shows

Selling to CarBrain is the fastest and easiest way to get paid for your damaged car. We specialize in buying less-than-perfect cars, vans, trucks and SUVs, which means we know how to value your vehicle.

CarBrain can buy all kinds of makes, including:

  • Toyota
  • Jeep
  • Ford
  • Hyundai
  • Chevrolet
  • Nissan
  • BMW
  • And more!

CarBrain quotes are also valid for seven days, which means you have time to think it over before completing the sale.

CarBrain offers ALWAYS include free towing and free title transfer. We can help you schedule your free pickup in under 48 business hours. There are no hidden fees or charges.

How To Sell Your Damaged Car To CarBrain

Selling to CarBrain is simple. All you have to do is:

  1. Upload photos of your vehicle and its VIN to get a guaranteed offer right away.
  2. If you like our price, you can schedule your FREE pickup in under 48 business hours.
  3. The tow truck driver will arrive with a check in hand. All you have to do is sign over the title and hand over the keys. You’ll get paid on the spot.

Stop asking what to do when car repairs are too expensive. The answer is sell your car — to CarBrain.


Expensive Repairs? Get a Cash Offer Instead

Should I Repair Or Replace My Car?

That depends on the current condition of your car, how often it has needed repairs in the recent past and how often you anticipate it needing repairs in the near future.

For instance, if your vehicle is four or five years old, chances are even a somewhat costly repair is still worthwhile, since you can probably get many more years of use out of the vehicle. However, a car approaching the 10+ year mark may have depreciated enough in both value and reliability that repairs may be a waste of money.

At What Point Is It Not Worth Repairing A Car?

A handy rule of thumb is if the cost of repairs approaches 50 percent or more of a vehicle's current market value, it's no longer worth trying to fix it. Instead, at that point it makes more sense to try to sell the car and put the proceeds, plus the money you would have spent repairing it, towards the purchase of a newer, more reliable one.

Which Car Problems Are Not Worth Fixing?

Typically, problems to the engine and transmission, or even the alternator can be expensive enough to think twice about.

Of course, you also have to consider the age and general condition of the car. Engine problems in a brand new vehicle may make complete sense to repair, whereas brake problems or even electrical problems in an older vehicle may simply not be worth it. It's always a good idea to consider the remaining life of the vehicle when trying to calculate whether repairs are still worthwhile.

Should You Fix A Car Before Trading It In?

In most cases, it does not make financial sense to fix your car before trading it in. That's because the cost of fixing the car typically exceeds the value you'll get from the car for having the problem repaired. Cars naturally depreciate in value the moment they leave the dealership, and repairs will never restore them totally to their previous value.