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(PHOENIX) – As we enter 2021 with high hopes for the COVID-19 vaccine, the reality is we’re facing several more months of uncertainty. That can make major financial decisions, like whether to repair or replace a vehicle, even more stressful. Your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) offer the following advice to help consumers make an informed decision.

Crunch Numbers

  • Conventional wisdom says if the cost of the repair plus the value of your car is less than the car’s value after the repair, then it makes sense to replace. For example, if your car is worth $5,000 and the repair will cost $1,000 then you’ll want the car to be worth $6,000 after the repair. A trusted certified mechanic can help determine how much a repair will add to your car’s value.
  • But there’s more to consider, like whether you owe money on the car and how often you’ll need future repairs.
  • A newer, more fuel efficient car will generally save you money on gas and need fewer repairs but insurance and registration fees will be higher. Plus you may have a new or higher monthly payment.

Consider Time

  • Repairing will give you time to research options and save for another vehicle (preferably a used one that has been checked out by a certified mechanic).
  • Finding a buyer for a car that needs significant repairs can be challenging.
  • Take into account how often your car will be at the shop and how it will impact your daily life.

Sentimental attachment

  • Money aside, if the idea of replacing your car makes you feel like you’d be losing a good friend then repairing may be the best route.
  • If the vehicle doesn’t fit your lifestyle, consider letting someone else invest in the repair.

If you decide to repair:

  • Get quotes from reputable mechanics. Ask for a breakdown for parts and labor.
  • After consulting with a certified mechanic, determine what repair(s) can wait. Focus on the highest priorities, with safety coming first. One you find a trusted mechanic stick with that person or shop to maximize the relationship –and savings.
  • Do it yourself. Maybe you don’t want to tackle an oil change but changing an air filter is one of the easiest replacements on your car. Ask your trusted mechanic for other suggestions and check out tutorials online – but be sure to do your research follow all safety precautions.
  • Before deciding to replace, consider investing in exterior and interior detailing. Professional hand washing, polish, and steam cleaning can restore a vehicle’s luster.

If you decide to replace:

  • The best financial move is to buy a used car with cash from the sale of your current vehicle plus savings. A used car, paid in full, brings financial freedom. And a used car, properly maintained, will bring peace of mind for years.
  • A new car loses more than 20 percent of its value the first year. Edmunds data show the Ford F-150 pickup loses 28.6 percent its first year. Carfax says after the first year, cars then lose 10 percent of their value each year for the next four years. So, after five years the car is worth just 40 percent of its purchase price.

NARPRO (Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals): The Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) helps car owners find skilled and honest car repair shops. NARPRO only recommends independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shops that have passed 26 rigorous tests. Visit www.NARPRO.com to find recommended shops near work or home. NARPRO is the easiest way to find an honest mechanic in the Valley.