When to get rid of your car: 7 genuine signs

2020-08-30 • 4 min read

When to get rid of your car: 7 genuine signs
The photo was still loading when you opened the Print window. Reopen it to include this photo in your print.When to get rid of your car: 7 genuine signs

Have you been holding on to your sad old jalopy for longer than you should? Everyone who’s not a multimillionaire with a 30-car garage must face this question sooner or later. It’s a simple dilemma: do you keep cramming money into it that you’ll probably never see again, or should you sell it (along with a CarVertical history, of course) and take one more problem off your hands? When to get rid of your car: here are seven ways to tell if it’s finally time to say goodbye.

1. A noisy cabin, vibrations while driving, and similar issues

Any mechanic can quickly find the cause of it all, and if not, the guys at the technical inspection probably will. Poor wheel alignment, rattling stems, or the wind whistling through worn door seals. There are hundreds of causes. The fix is likely to cost a few hundred minimum as well, but will that be an investment you really want to make?

2. Increasing repair bills

This brings us to the next point – the older your car, the more often you’ll have to fix it. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself: should I keep spending my money on a car that has one wheel in the grave, or do I want to hand this honorable job over to some other sucker? Once you start investing a lot into your car, try to figure out if you’ll get those investments back once you sell it. Since you’re probably bad at maths, let us be the desperate nerd who feeds you answers on the test the hopes of gaining your affection – no, you’re pouring that cash down the drain. None of these arguments will hold water, of course, if you are in the unfortunate state of having fallen foolishly in love with your jalopy - “until death do us part.”

3. More frequent repairs

Many fall for this sticky trap. That repair only cost 100 - not too bad. And this one was just 50. But if this happens every week or two, you’re just denying that you have a problem. Enter all of your automotive expenses into a spreadsheet so you don’t forget anything, or write it all down on a piece of paper if the Information Age skipped you.  A list of the maintenance you’ve done will also definitely help when you try to sell your car.

4. A greater need for safety

“They really knew how to make cars back then,” says the old man as he strokes the old ’83 Ford Sierra in the garage that it hasn’t left for more than a decade. Whether or not you want to break it to poor old gramps is up to you, but he’s in love with a lemon. No, the metal wasn’t thicker back then, no, they didn’t have airbags, and no, a car’s size doesn’t determine its safety. In fact, safety requirements have been increasing year after year, and any modern car is going to protect your delicate eggshell of a skull much better than a first-generation Hummer.

5. Rust

At first glance, the occasional spot of rust may not seem like a serious problem. But rust can be trickier than a desperate despot clinging to power in a country that doesn’t want him anymore - and they can be just as dangerous. If you don’t stop it in time, it can eat through your gas tank, fuel line, brake fluid system, and any of these can become huge problems. Your best bet is to prevent rust in the first place, but if you’ve got it, your best bet is to sell your car.

6. Your car is slowly falling apart

Old age ain’t pretty, and it’s not just the rust. Parts start falling off, systems stop working, you can’t get it up anymore (the fuel gauge, of course), and women no longer look at you the way they used to… Anyway, if that happens and your first response is “it just needs some duct tape” or “this little blue pill should do the trick”, then that’s the beginning of the end. You’re best off selling your car now before you’ve replaced it entirely with a car-shaped mass of duct tape.

7. Your needs have changed

We don’t even just mean getting a wife and kids. If a younger and more beautiful you decided to buy a big, beautiful dog - suddenly, that low-riding two-seater sports car is way too tight on space. If you take up surfing, you may start having serious thoughts about a station wagon. And so on and so forth. We all change, and so must our cars!

The photo was still loading when you opened the Print window. Reopen it to include this photo in your print.
The photo was still loading when you opened the Print window. Reopen it to include this photo in your print.

Try VIN Number Lookup

Learn everything there is to know about your next car.