The decision to scrap your car is predominantly guided by the economics of keeping it on the road. The inevitable expenses of car ownership are the depreciation of the vehicle’s value plus the regular maintenance and running costs including insurance, garage/ repair bills and spare parts.
Road accident write-off
If your car has been involved in a major road traffic accident, it will probably be declared a write-off, depending on the severity of the impact. In certain circumstances it might be possible to fix it up and get it roadworthy again; however, the cost of doing so could be more than it’s worth. To determine if it’s destined for the car wreckers, weigh up the cost of repairing and maintaining the car against selling it for scrap and replacing it.
Saying goodbye to old faithful
If you are completely dependent on having your own transport, you need that transport to be reliable. Even if your car has never been in an accident, over time maintenance costs will increase. Running an old car for many years is often a false economy, once you’ve added up what that old car is costing you versus its actual market value. But even so, many of us get attached to our cars: it is part of our everyday life, and it’s easy to take it for granted while it consistently gets us from A to B (or even from A to Z, if we enjoy our extensive fuel-guzzling countrywide road trips).
When we have the same car for a long time, it becomes associated with so many travelling memories, and it’s difficult to imagine life without it. That is, until it stops being the reliable runabout that we once enjoyed driving, and increasingly becomes a liability; things start going wrong, time and time again, and garage bills just seem to get bigger and bigger. Your car might be destined for the wreckers if it’s simply going to cost too much to keep it roadworthy.
Keep in mind the acronym CAR:
Condition – do you find yourself spending more time at the garage than you used to, gazing agog at one hefty bill after another? If something major is wrong with your car – for example, persistent problems with the chassis, engine or suspension; or if there’s a continuous series of minor annoyances needing attention, all of which cost you time as well as cash, it could be time to scrap it. Keeping a car roadworthy is never going to be cheap, but it shouldn’t put undue stress and strain on your lifestyle and finances. Car ownership is supposed to provide an overall benefit.
Age – while it’s not always the case that newer cars run better, certainly vehicles that have been on the roads for a decade or more and clocked up in excess of 150,000km are more prone to the usual age-related frailties that affect us all – tired engines, excessive oil consumption, dodgy battery, malfunctioning sensors, worn brake pads, overall decrepitude …
Reliability – when you no longer feel like your car is a reliable mode of transport – particularly if you don’t feel safe driving it, or you are often anxious about what could possibly go wrong next, it could be the right time to approach a local mechanic or car wreckers for advice about scrapping it.
Remember that if you still have outstanding finance on the car, it is not your sole decision to scrap as you do not have full ownership. Also, if your mileage is not too high and the car does still run reasonably well, you might be able to get more cash by selling it privately to someone who can squeeze another few road trips out of it.