Used car buyers guide: repair or replace?

Used car buyers guide: Repair or replace

As much as we enjoy our cars when they are running right, they can and often do go wrong. This of course means that you will need to repair your car in order to stay on the road. With some repair work costing hundreds if not thousands of pounds it can be tempting to cut your losses and change vehicles into something better. This isn't always an easy decision to make, which we have written this blog post offering our advice as both an  MOT, service and repair center and used car sales specialists. In this blog we will offer you our impartial advice on how to deal with this big decision.

Factors to Consider

There are plenty of factors to consider when making the decision between repairing and replacing your vehicle. These include the costs of repairs, condition, history and market value of the vehicle in question.

Consider the age of your vehicle

If your car is relatively new, you can be more confident that other parts around the vehicle won't have suffered serious wear and tear (unless its been used intensively like a taxi for example).  This means that there is less chance of another big problem arising in the near future.  A newer car will also be worth considerably more than an older vehicle in most cases which means the cost of repairs will be far less than the cost of replacement.

If your car is older, it may have some more problems around the corner. This could be the case even if its relatively low mileage because many components on a car can rust or perish whether the car is stood still or in motion. Combined with the probability that your older car is no longer holding its value, it's likely that the cost of repairs will be bigger than the cost of replacement. 

Check your maintenance History

As an independent car servicing centre we cannot stress enough the importance of regular car servicing and maintenance. If your car has been regularly serviced and looked after appropriately there is far less chance of a fault developing in the future.  

A good service record and maintenance history will help you decide whether it is more cost effective to repair or replace your vehicle.  If for example you can see that your car has been regularly serviced and has nothing major due  in the near future then you can be more confident that your repair is a good investment. 

By contrast if your car has a poor or missing service history it could be an indication that further repairs or expensive maintenance are on the horizon.  For example, if you're faced with a big gearbox repair bill but you suspect a cam belt change is due soon,  that's another cost to consider. 

You can read more about why a cam belt change is so important here: Car servicing: 6 reasons why you should change your cam belt! (

Consider the mileage

Mileage is another factor you should consider when deciding whether to repair or replace a car.  If your car is a low mileage example, its likely to have suffered less wear and tear over the span of its life. High mileage cars will of course have been used more in comparison and so logically be more open to parts failure moving forwards.

Something to remember here however is that mileage should be used as an indication only. There is an argument to be made that a well looked after, high mileage car with a solid service history is a safer bet than a low mileage one that's not been looked after. This is why checking your maintenance record is a crucial part of making your decision.  

Do your research

If you are leaning towards replacing your car then it is good practice to do a bit of research before making any commitments. Researching the costs (including tax and insurance) of your potential next car is a good starting point. You'll also want to read up on reviews and common issues to ensure you don't get any unnecessary surprises in the future. This can of course be a bit intimidating with so much information to take on board however our car sourcing service can help. 

Look at the numbers

When making your decision between repairing or replacing your car there are some key figures to keep in mind

  • The cost of repair work: List all required repairs and the costs.
  • Market value: Determine the current market value of your car
  • Replacement car costs: Calculate the cost of purchasing a new or used car including insurance and tax
  • Break even point: The point at which the repair cost and market value exceed the cost of replacement

Your decision, our suggestion

Repair If:            

  • Repair costs are significantly less than the car’s market value.        
  • Your car is relatively new, with low mileage, and has been well-maintained.        
  • You cannot afford the upfront cost of a new or used car.     

Replace If:            

  • Repair costs exceed the car’s market value.        
  • The car frequently breaks down, causing inconvenience and additional costs.      
  • You desire the improved safety, technology, and fuel efficiency a more modern car provides.

Whatever you decide, E&J Jarvis used car sales and service centre are here to help. Whether you decide its time to look for your next used car or you want to repair the car you have, we have the experience and knowledge to help you through every step of the way.

Contact Us