If you regularly use your pickup truck to tow trailers, haul construction items, or help friends move, you're probably well aware that you get out of a truck just what you put into it. This makes the "repair or replace" decision a tough one when your truck requires an expensive repair like an engine rebuild, transmission replacement, or suspension overhaul. Read on for some of the factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your old truck.
What's its Resale Value?
It can sometimes be helpful to conceptualize repair costs as a percentage of the vehicle's value. For example, it makes little sense to sink $5,000 into a vehicle that won't be worth more than $4,000 even after repairs. Some people advocate a rule of thumb such as spending no more than one-fourth to one-half the value of a vehicle on repairs. But because trucks tend to hold their value better than smaller passenger vehicles, these rules of thumb are less useful and often involve much larger dollar figures.
By determining your truck's resale value, you'll have more of the information you need to make potentially tough decisions. Sometimes, it may be better to sell your truck "as-is" and use the proceeds to invest in a different truck. In other cases, you may have trouble replacing your truck for less than twice or even three times its current value, in which case making repairs the best option.
What Future Problems can be Expected?
Often, the decision to replace a vehicle isn't made because of one expensive repair, but because of the impending need for many less-expensive repairs in the future. A one-time engine repair can be dealt with if it's likely to provide the truck with another couple hundred thousand miles of problem-free service, but if your frame is so rusty you're at risk of putting a foot through the floorboard, your truck may literally fall apart before you rack up many more miles.
If you've kept meticulous service records, keep your truck garaged (or at least somewhat protected from the elements), and drive it frequently, paying a hefty repair bill or two may still be more cost-effective than selling (or scrapping) your old truck to buy another. But if your truck is parked where it's exposed to sun, snow, and sleet, doesn't have much of an ascertainable service history, or looks like it's held together with zip ties and baling twine, it may be best to limit the amount of money you sink into repair costs.
To learn more about truck repairs, contact an automotive repair center, such as White Pass Garage.