Repairing old cars

Is it worth repairing old cars? As soon as the question is asked it is generally followed by ‘how old?’ To a person who buys a new car every eighteen months, a four year old vehicle will be considered old. Someone who calls a four year old car ‘new,’ will probably consider a twelve year old vehicle, ‘old’. Should you own a car 15 to 20 years old, or a limited edition, it may well be termed a classic. So when does it become uneconomical to continue repairing an old car?

Always Consider the Trade in Value:

Today’s modern cars, with computerised engine management systems, will give years of service if properly maintained. However, there comes a point where the trade-in value starts to drop quickly, and trading it in to get the best deal on a newer model should be considered.

As cars get progressively older, when annual repair bills begin to overtake what the payments on a newer model would be, it’s probably time for the car to go to the dealers.

Consider the Classic Aspect:

Obviously there are exceptions to this. If the car falls into the classic category, especially if the owner has the experience and facilities to undertake his own repairs, there is a good case for keeping it. Eventually, provided it is in good, original condition, its sale price should start to increase, although to a limited market.

A car doesn’t have to fall within the accepted ‘classic’ category for it to be worth repairing either. A limited edition model, will likely gain in value quicker than an older car, depending on the numbers produced.

A First Car; or Second Car:

If an older car is your only car, the one you rely on to get to work and back. The one you need to pick up the weekly shop or take the kids out on a weekend, then reliability is a must. If, after regular repairs, you turn the engine over every morning with baited breath hoping it starts, is it really worth hanging on to?
If on the other hand it is a second car, the one your partner likes driving out of pure nostalgia then to him, continuing repair costs are probably an acceptable price to be paid.

It’s always worth remembering, age doesn’t necessarily equate to classic. If the old car you own is a model churned out by the million, then you’re going to have a long wait for anyone to consider it a classic. More like 50 years at least, rather than the accepted 15 to 20 years, for it to see any appreciable increase in value.

Safety is a Big Factor:

In built safety features are a big plus in today’s modern cars, although none of them should be considered as an excuse for poor driving. If somebody else owned your old car, or a model like it, would you be happy to see your kids being picked up for school in it?

If the answer is no, then perhaps it’s time for a change. Restoring and running old cars can be a great hobby. With the right model, it can also be a lucrative investment. Think carefully about your old car. If the repair and running costs are climbing, while depreciation is hitting rock bottom, perhaps it’s time to consider a newer model.