Has a recent visit to the car garage burned a hole in your pocket? Did it trigger an impulse desire to replace your old and worn out car with a shiny new model? Well, you are not alone! While we all love our cars, the prospect of spending a chunk of money on maintenance is not very pleasing, especially if you have been making more trips to the car repair shop than say, your weekend abode.

Understandably, you will wonder what’s the better thing to do – repair or replace your car. Off the cuff, it’s always hard to tell which one’s the wiser financial move. While some people would either lean on their instincts or procrastinate endlessly, many prefer to do the math and figure out the best time to trade up. If you belong to the latter category, here are some tips to help you decide.

Do the math

The first question you must ask yourself is exactly how much does it cost you to maintain your car. You may find that repair and maintenance costs start pinching more and more as your vehicle ages. Spending a few hundred dirhams on upkeep and then shelling out a considerable sum on engine work or rebuilding transmission does not make sense if the current market value of your car is not that much.

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But aren’t repairs still cheaper than a new purchase?

Yes, but there’s more to it than just that. Old cars are susceptible to heavy-duty repairs such as a blown motor or a failed transmission which may set you back by several hundred or thousand dirhams. While you may be okay with spending some money and sticking with your existing car, it’s always advisable to rope in a mechanic to ascertain if there are any major repairs just around the corner. If several parts are old and worn out, it is more judicious to sell it for a fair price now and make a new purchase.

Think ‘overheads’

You may get fed up of driving the same car and feel like replacing it just because it does not feel new anymore. But you must ask yourself if you can commit to the financial liability that comes with a new vehicle. True, maintenance and repair won’t cost you that much, but the insurance premium will be considerably higher on a new vehicle. To get a better estimate, you can visit sites like Souqalmal.com to compare insurance policies offered by various companies in the UAE. If the quotes fit your budget, then go for a replacement. Otherwise, it’s wiser to stick with the current car for a little while longer.

[Related: Car Insurance: Pay Attention to the Small Print]

Safety first

Getting stranded in the middle of the road due to a sudden car breakdown can be very risky, especially if it starts happening frequently. Does it make sense to keep throwing your hard-earned money on continued repairs? Plus, another thing to consider is safety. Cars manufactured over 10 years back have very basic safety features compared to their modern counterparts. New vehicles boast of features such as front and side airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control, forward collision warning. If you are a stickler for safety and your old car lacks most of these features, you may as well opt for a trade up.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to finances and your peace of mind. So do the math and evaluate the pros and cons for a clearer picture.