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When Is It Not Worth Repairing A Car?

Car repairs can be costly, and sometimes they may not be worth the expense. If you're wondering when it's not worth repairing a car, you may want to consider factors such as car repair cost, estimated repair cost for automotive repairs, and costly repair bills. In some cases, you may have car problems not worth fixing, and you may need to decide if it's worth fixing my car calculator.
While we don't offer a "repair or replace car calculator," our instant value calculator can help you determine your car's worth. By using the calculator, you can get an accurate estimate of your car's value based on its make, model, year, and condition. This can help you make informed decisions about whether to repair or replace your car.

When Repairs Cost More Than The Car Does

Wondering if it is worth it to fix your car? When trying to calculate if a car’s repair is more than the value of the car, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will the repairs increase the value of my car?

  • Is it worth fixing cosmetic damage on my car?

  • How much cash 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?

should you repair or replace

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?

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.

repair or replace car

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.

While we don’t have a “repair or replace car calculator,” we do have an instant value calculator available to help you identify just how much your car is worth.

The sections below describe what to do when it’s not worth repairing your car, if car repairs are too expensive and you still owe money on it, and when it’s time to sell it for cash.

How Selling Your Car to Us Beats Costly Repairs - Real Success Stories

How Selling Your Car to Us Beats Costly Repairs - Real Success Stories

"Exactly What I NeededEddison and CarBrain were exactly what I needed when my old minivan gave up the ghost. A $3000 repair to the transmission didn’t make any sense on a vehicle worth less than that price tag. I filled out several online questionnaires for selling a vehicle for scrap. All of them asked similar questions and gave me an offer in exchange for my contact info. CarBrain had the best offer by over $100. Eddison stayed in touch with me, but struck the balance between that and being pushy and overbearing. All my questions were answered, and the sale took place without a hitch, even though the vehicle was a decent distance from my home. Glad to get something for a vehicle that wasn’t fully operational and had lots of years and miles on her."

★★★★★ Verified    Nathan    Phoenix, AZ     Date: 01-22-2024

"We were very satisfied with our experience. Our vehicle needed a new engine and to repair it was going to cost more than the car was worth. After looking at other alternatives CarBrain offered us significantly more money than anyone else. Jorge was very helpful, accessible and was quick in responding to our questions. The entire experience was easy. We would highly recommend CarBrain to anyone."

★★★★★ Verified    Patrick R    Pensacola, FL     Date: 12-03-2023

"Life SaverThe ease with which I was able to sell the vehicle. It was a simple, fast process and disposed of a vehicle beyond repair."

★★★★★ Verified    Susan Hayden    Woodstock, GA     Date: 01-07-2024

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.

If you're facing car repairs too expensive still owe money on your car, you may want to consider selling it to a dealership or private buyer. However, if you owe more on your car than it's worth, you may need to pay the difference out of pocket or roll it into your next car loan. A repair or replace car calculator can help you determine the best course of action.

Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your car's value, FAST!

Is It Worth Repairing A Car After An Accident?

Whether or not it’s “worth” repairing after an accident is dependent on the severity of the accident, the cost of the necessary repairs, and the value of your vehicle. There are plenty of situations where repairing your car is likely your best option.

When it's time to sell your car for cash, our car value calculator can also help you determine a fair price to sell it for. By understanding car repair prices and your car's actual value, you can make informed decisions about whether you should repair my car or sell it.

Is It Better To Repair Or Replace A Car?

New cars can be expensive, so if your auto insurance covers your repairs, then fix your car right up. Furthermore, getting a new car will likely saddle you with new debt and you may even need a few thousand dollars upfront to even get the car.

Keep in mind that, should you choose to repair your car, fixing a vehicle is time consuming. Whether you do it yourself or pay a professional, your car is out of commission and you’re a pedestrian for that duration.

car damage under the hood

Is Fixing Cosmetic Damage On A Car Worth It?

Massive repairs to your vehicle often won’t restore your car back to its original value. However, if you’re wondering if it’s worth fixing a small dent on your car then you should proceed with the repairs.

Small imperfections can be repaired to improve your vehicle’s appearance and overall aesthetic. If you’re planning to sell it, this can tip the scales in your favor for a higher asking price.

When Is A Car Too Expensive To Repair?

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.

At What Point Is It Not Worth Fixing A Car?

Aside from the car repairs being too expensive, the age of your vehicle weighs in on if it’s worth fixing. If you find yourself wondering if fixing an old car is worth it, it likely isn’t. The costs of repairs will likely exceed the value of older cars.

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

Wondering 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.

Why You Should Sell Your Damaged Car To CarBrain

Selling to CarBrain is the fastest and easiest way to get cash 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 buys all kinds of cars — you could say We'll Buy Your Car! Some of the most popular cars we've bought that needed repairs include:

  • 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 sell your car

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. Employees

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We Make It Easy To Sell Your Car For $$$

Selling your car for parts with CarBrain couldn’t be easier — it takes just a few steps.

Easy Process Step 1

Enter Your Vehicle Information

Describe your vehicle as best as you can. We will need accurate information about the condition, location and mileage of your car. Most vehicles receive an instant offer in less than 90 seconds.

Easy Process Step 2

Accept Your Junk Cash Offer

As the vehicle owner, you will need to provide keys, a signed title and access to the car. If your title is held by a lien holder, we can help you get the title released.

Easy Process Step 3

Get Paid & Schedule Pick Up! works with a nationwide network of partners to pick up your vehicle. On average, we can have your vehicle picked up 24 to 48 hours after you accept our offer.


We know you don’t want to spend weeks negotiating with your local junkyards, and with our service, you don’t have to. Get your quote from CarBrain today to get started!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What To Do With A Car That Is Not Worth Fixing?

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.

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