What to Do With a Car You Can’t Fix

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What to Do With a Car You Can’t Fix

In most American cities, a car is the only legitimate means of transportation, which means your own four wheels are the most efficient way for you to get to work, to stores, to social events, and to all of your other responsibilities. Thus, when your car breaks down, you need it fixed fast.

Yet, regardless of the powerful magic most mechanics can work, not every car problem is fixable ― at least not in a way that works for you. The next time your engine doesn’t start, you could easily be stuck with an irreparably broken car on your hands and no clue what to do. Here are a few solutions for some of the most common unfixable problems you might have with your car.

When You Can’t Afford Repairs

There is no way around it: Cars are expensive. Ignoring the colossal cost of buying a car, expenses like auto insurance, registration fees, and fuel can easily put you in the red. Unfortunately, unexpected repairs usually aren’t cheap, especially when your car is no longer under the manufacturer’s warranty and you must send your car to a garage. Ideally, you would have an emergency savings account to pay for costly surprises like this, but even if you don’t, there are alternative ways to pay for necessary repairs.

First, you should call your insurance company. Many plans cover the cost of repairs, particularly when they are due to some type of collision. Unfortunately, you do need to meet your deductible before insurance kicks in, which requires spending a few thousand dollars. If this doesn’t work, you might try calling other auto-related organizations you could be subscribing to, such as AAA or AARP, both of whom offer plans with motor vehicle benefits. Even some credit card providers offer perks such as roadside assistance and warranties on repairs ― but this doesn’t give you license to wantonly use your credit card.

When It Keeps Breaking Down

You just fixed your car’s last problem, and now it has broken down again, maybe even for the same problem. A single car repair is annoying enough, but when you can’t seem to get ahead of your car’s maintenance, it is enough to abandon the thing by the side of the road and buy a bike instead.

There are only a few reasons a car could constantly break down. For one, your car might be reaching a certain age or mileage. Even with an excellent maintenance schedule, few cars function well past 100,000 miles. After that much wear-and-tear, dozens of parts need replacing, which means you could be in and out of the repair shop for quite a while. It might be time to scrap your old, beat-up car and get something newer and more reliable.

Another option is that you unknowingly bought a lemon. Though precise lemon laws are dependent on your state, typical lemons are cars with dangerous or impairing problems that persist after three or more trips to the mechanic within just a few years of purchase. If you can prove your car is a lemon, you should seek legal representation so you can recoup your losses and obtain a vehicle that won’t constantly break down.

When It Is Just Too Broken

Perhaps the most disheartening scenario is when you take your car to the mechanic only to learn that the problem is impossible to solve. It might be that the mechanic has no clue how to repair your broken car or that the break was so fundamental to your car’s existence that there is no sense in trying to patch it. Issues such as blown pistons, a bent frame, and a separated head gasket require so much time and money to fix that you might as well buy a new car.

Still, before you give up on your clunker, you should make sure your mechanic’s diagnosis is accurate. First, you should obtain a second opinion from another mechanic in your area ― ideally one with good ratings and extensive experience. If the second mechanic says the same, it is probably time to start considering options for your dead vehicle.

You might not believe it, but plenty of car dealerships accept broken-down cars in exchange for trade credit. Because you need a new car anyway, this might be your best option, though you will need to transport your clunker to the dealership. Alternatively, you could donate your car to charity. Some charitable organizations gladly accept large donations in any condition, as they have the infrastructure to sell your car in parts or flip it for a profit. Just because your car doesn’t run doesn’t mean it lacks value to everyone, which means you can still use it to your benefit.

Editorial Team
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