Is fixing your old car worth it? There will come a crossroads where you have to weigh the pros and cons of fixing your junker. Maybe you were lucky and got a brand new car in high school, perhaps you got a hand-me-down, or perhaps you bought an old car later on that gets you from A to B. Whatever the case, you will have to say goodbye to that car eventually. How do you know when the time is right? 

My Struggle

So after graduating from college, my mom and I traded cars. I took the old Lexus hybrid, and she took my Hyundai. My younger cousin needed a car, so he got my old car. I wanted the Hybrid cause it was better on gas, the insurance was cheaper, and it had a completely rebuilt engine. (I blew a piston in the engine, but that’s a story for another time.) So I thought the car would last a few more years than most. Boy, was I wrong. 

I’m writing this article a week after selling my car because the hybrid battery died. Do you know how much it costs to fix a hybrid battery? $6,000. On top of that, my car needed a few other things fixed, so the total repair cost was around $7,000. My car isn’t worth that much money, but I also knew that I couldn’t afford a car payment at the moment. I don’t have $400 a month to blow on a car payment. So I sold my old car, bought an electric bike with part of the money, and slowly adjusted to my new lifestyle. (Winter is going to suck, but my dog seems to love riding in the doggy backpack I got her.) 

Knowing when to say goodbye

How much is your car worth?

Knowing how much your car is worth is one of the biggest factors when it comes to decision-making. But, if you’re like me and your car’s repair cost is more than it is worth, then you already have one red flag. The best way to figure out how much your car is worth is by checking the Kelley Blue Book price. They have a few different options for filling in your car’s details, but once you do, they will give you an estimate on how much your car is worth. 

Do you need a car? 

Most of us probably barely used our cars over the pandemic. I kept asking myself why I spend so much money on something I am barely using, but I know for some that having a car is a necessity. I grew up in South Florida, where it is a must to have a car; otherwise, you will have a hard time getting places. So the idea of not owning a car here in Portland kind of freaked me out. I’m not used to safely riding my bike on the road or having reliable public transportation. Figuring out whether you need a car is asking yourself how much of your lifestyle will change. I now order my groceries online. The silver lining is that I can’t walk into a target and spend an unplanned $200 since I can’t carry it back with me on my bike. There have been some growing pains with the change, but all in all, my day-to-day life hasn’t changed. Guess that’s a pro of working from home and living in downtown Portland. 

Who buys cars?

There are a few people who will buy your car. 


Most dealerships will buy your car as a trade-in if you buy a car from them. If you are going to buy a new car, this can help out with your down payment. 


Most junkyards will buy your old beat-up cars for cash. You might not get as much as you would from a dealership, but it can still be a sizable bit of cash. I sold my car to a dealership since the dealerships I talked to didn’t want to buy a car that needed more work than it was worth. 

Private Buyer 

You can post your car on craigslist or a website like it. You never know who might buy your car. It’s worth a shot. Just a bit more work on your part. 


All in all, fixing an old car is all about your needs and what you are willing to give up. If you live somewhere where having a car is a necessity but can’t afford a car payment, then maybe sinking the money into your car now is worth it. On the other hand, maybe you can get away with not owning a car like me. It takes some time to get used to, but what’s life without a little adversity? Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it’s the right move. And if you aren’t sure what the right move is, then do what I did and ask everyone in your life literally what they think. Getting input from your friends and family might make the decision easier. So is your old car worth fixing? 

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