As automotive enthusiasts, we love our cars, and we do everything we can to keep them on the road for as long as possible. However, with some cars, there comes a point when we have to accept that things just aren’t working out and it’s probably time to sell the car and move on.
If your car is constantly breaking down and is becoming a black hole for your money, you should probably consider trading it in for something more reliable or selling it. First, you should figure out what the cause of the issues is, see if you can fix it yourself, and lastly understand what your selling options are.
In this article we’ll go over the most common issues that cause cars to break down, as well as what you should do if your car turns out to be a bit of a lemon.
What is Causing the Issues?
A car is a complex piece of engineering, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. However, some mechanical issues are more common than others.
Dead batteries are a frequent issue for cars, especially if you live in an area that gets particularly cold during the winter. If you’re attempting to start your car and your engine is cranking slowly or your interior lights fail to come on when you put your car into accessory mode, these are signs that your battery isn’t working as well as it should.
Tires are another common point of failure. It’s always prudent to replace your tires before they get too worn down. You should also make sure that your tires are filled to the correct pressure; tires that are under- or over-filled are more prone to failure.
If your car is experiencing electrical issues while running, that’s a sign that your alternator is failing. The alternator provides electrical power to the car when the engine is running, and also charges the battery. If your alternator dies completely, your car will stop running, so having a functioning alternator is incredibly important.
Your car also relies on belts to drive various mechanical components within itself, most notably the serpentine belt and the timing belt. These belts wear out over time, and if they break, it can cause catastrophic damage to your engine and the other components attached to it.
Is the Car Paid Off?
If your car is giving you more trouble than it’s worth but you haven’t finished paying it off yet, it can make it more difficult if you want to sell that car. However, it’s still entirely possible for you to do so.
You’ll first need to determine how much you still owe on the car. Once you do that, you’ll need to explain the situation to the buyer to make sure they’re ok with performing such a transaction. If you can pay off the remainder of the loan on your own, then you definitely should; however, if you aren’t able to do so, you need to make sure that the buyer is willing to cover the remaining cost.
We’d recommend checking out this article if you need a more thorough explanation of how to sell a car that you still owe money on.
Is It Time to Get a New Car?
Obviously, every car is going to have mechanical issues at some point or another; that’s the unfortunate reality of automobile ownership. However, if your car is constantly going in and out of the shop, it might be time to look for a more reliable vehicle.
You should also consider getting a new car if the cost of any single repair is going to be more than what the car is actually worth. The Kelley Blue Book can give you an estimate of your car’s current worth based on the make, model, and mileage.
It may also be worth it to get a new car if your current car simply doesn’t suit your needs; maybe you need something with better gas mileage, or maybe you need something bigger to accommodate a larger family. In any case, if your car simply isn’t meeting your needs, it’s never a bad idea to look for another car that does.
Can You Fix It Yourself?
This depends on your own mechanical ability and how complicated of a fix you need to perform. If all you need to do is replace a blown tire or change your engine oil, these are pretty easy tasks that pretty much anyone can do, even if you don’t have much experience working on cars.
However, if you’re talking about a repair like replacing an alternator or a serpentine belt, that’s probably something that is best left to a professional mechanic, especially if you don’t have any prior experience performing any similar repairs.
What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down in the Middle of Nowhere
If your car happens to break down far away from civilization, it’s not the end of the world. Even assuming you don’t have cell service and can’t contact help, there are a few things you can do to get out of this situation.
If you break down in a remote area, it’s usually best to remain with your vehicle and wait for help. Turn your four-way flashers on and pop the hood, to make it obvious that you need assistance. If possible, you’ll also want to leave your engine running so that your battery doesn’t die.
If you do decide that you need to walk for help, leave a note on your car indicating your situation and what direction you’re heading in. That way, if someone comes across your car, they’ll know where to look for you.
Unless you really love your car, it’s almost never a good idea to hang onto it if it keeps giving you problems. There’s no point in settling for less when you’ll almost certainly be able to find something better without too much effort.
It’s important not to put more money into your car than it’s actually worth; knowing when your car’s time has come will save you much stress and frustration.