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We own 1994 Cadillac and a 1994 Volvo 850 wagon. About every two months one of the cars (if not both) are in the shop for repairs. I added up all the repair bills (not oil changes) for the last three years, took the most expensive year, divided by 12 months, then divided by 2 cars. The cost per month per car was $300. Since we couldn't buy a new or slightly used car for $300 per month, we figured we should keep repairing the cars. However, this methodology strikes me as overly simplistic, but being an English major, I don't know another way to figure the cost. How do you determine when it is no longer economically advantageous to repair the heap? When is the time to buy a new (read slightly used late model) car? Thanks. Georgellen

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Dear Georgellen, If the body of your current car is in reasonably good shape (check the underbody to see how rusty it is) and the car suits your needs, take it to your mechanic and find out how much it would cost to bring it into mechanically good condition. You may find that, even if it needs transmission or engine work with new tires and shocks, these repairs may cost less than the sales tax on a new car. Check out your present vehicle thoroughly, then decide. Beyond your personal budget for repairs, another way to check on whether it’s reasonable to repair your car is to check its current Kelley Blue Book value. A general rule of thumb is that if a cost of repairing your current car is less than 15% to 25% of your car’s total Blue Book value, it’s still worth repairing. Obviously, if you are finished making installment and your car is now an asset and payment-free transportation, it becomes an even wiser move to keep the car. good Luck, Amy Mattinat

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