Replace vs. Repair a Used Car

By Tara Baukus

Dear Driving for Dollars,

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I own a pickup truck that I owe about $9,000 on, and my transmission just went out. This is a $5,000 repair. Am I better off buying a cheap, used car for $2,000 to $3,000 and getting rid of this one?

-- Josef

Dear Josef,

If your pickup is in good condition otherwise, then it's better to get it repaired versus selling or trading it and replacing it with a $2,000 or $3,000 car. Any used car you choose at that price is likely to be in worse shape than your current car, and you could find that this car needs extensive repairs at a later date.

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Yes, fixing the transmission is one of the most expensive repairs that can be made on a car. However, it also means your car is likely to be set for many, many more miles as long as you've kept up with the recommended maintenance.

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