I Have a 2008 Car With 185K Miles on It. Should I Pay $3,000 To Repair It?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

My 2008 Model Toyota Camry Needs About $3,000 Worth of Work. Should I Repair It or Buy a New One?

Tom from California: “Here’s my dilemma: I have a 2008 Toyota Camry with 185,000 miles that needs about $3,000 worth of work, probably more than the car is worth. I think it’s time to buy a new car. This could be a safety issue, but late-model used cars now cost as much as new cars used to cost. 

“New cars are also more costly, hard to come by and the selection is limited. I may have to settle for a color or equipment I don’t really want. 

“Should I repair my existing car, which I know you usually would not recommend, and wait for prices to drop and availability and selection to improve or pay the higher price for a new or used car, which I may not really want, but that’s still available?”

Clark’s Take on Whether It’s Worth It to Spend $3K on a 2008 High-Mileage Car

Clark says: “You’re right, this is a dilemma, because I looked up the value of your 2008 Camry, and it’s right in the ballpark of what these repairs would cost.”

“So (sighs), I’m gonna say this. I’m shallow breathing saying it: Pay to repair the Camry.

“If you really can get it completely up to date for $3,000, you have very low risk going ahead and repairing it.”

“If you got another six months out it, you’re fine because the Camry would still have residual value, selling it at the end of that time period,” Clark says.

As for buying a new car, Clark says you may have to wait a bit for prices to drop, but it’s likely going to happen.

“I think you’re going to see some price pressures easing in the car market if you buy yourself some time,” he says. “So I would — shockingly, I know it’s surprising — I would buy that time.“

Should You Repair Your Car or Not? Here’s How To Know

Here’s Clark’s general rule on whether or not to repair a car based on its value.

“If the cost of the repair is half or less than the value of the car, you should always do the repair,” he says. “If the cost of the repair is between half and the full value of the car, AND if you think the car will last for another year, you should do the repair.”

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

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Do you have a question for Clark? Use this form to ask him! And remember that you can listen to the Clark Howard Podcast at any time here.

If you have a question but don’t want to go on the air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.

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