How to Tell if Your Car Is Worth Saving After an Accident

Charlotte Miller

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The price of used cars has skyrocketed 21% in 2021. Income stagnation, a semiconductor shortage, and a lack of inventory for both used and new cars are contributing to the spike.

Unfortunately, after an accident, you may be wondering if it is worth fixing up your vehicle or looking for a new one. Even in this tight car market, you may have no choice but to start looking for a new vehicle or seek out a car repair.

Before you decide, you should weigh the pros and cons of the situation and search out multiple voices for advice.

In the following article, we’ll lay out some ways to determine if your car is worth fixing after a crash or if it’s time to head to the dealership.

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Your Health After an Accident

It may sound off-topic, but first, consider your health after a crash. If you have suffered a serious injury, do everything in your power to guarantee your current and future health before taking on the stress of a car repair.

This falls under the category of compartmentalization. If you are not well, your car can wait.

Determine the Vehicle’s Value

To know if it’s worth repairing your car, you need to know its value. Consult resources like Kelley Blue Book and Carfax to determine this. Do not depend solely on your mechanic or a car dealership for this number. 

Mechanics are busy and may not have the time to evaluate the value of your car fully. A car dealership will inevitably lowball any estimate they give you.

Factors you’ll need to know include the number of miles on the vehicle, how old it is, and if the vehicle requires frame repair

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Cost of Repairs

Next, get some estimates on what it will cost to fix the vehicle. This is tricky because you may need to call multiple mechanics for estimates. What a repair costs at one shop may be much less at another that specializes in that type of repair. 

As part of this calculation, you need to determine how much your insurance will cover and if you need to hire an attorney to recoup the cost of your vehicle. 

Salvage Value

If the cost of repairs is greater than the vehicle’s value, it’s hard to make the case to go forward with the fix. However, if you are leaning towards scrapping the car, call around to salvage yards for a scrap value. You may get more for your car as scrap than as a trade-in at a used or new car lot. 

Can You Afford a New Car?

Even if the auto repair is more than the car is worth, you may have no choice but to fix the vehicle; if you can’t find a car to buy, that’s worth the money. This can be a tough personal decision because you are weighing several hard to predict quantities.

Some of the questions you’ll need to try an answer are: After the fix, how long will my car last? Can I afford a new car payment? Is an affordable used car better than my fixed-up vehicle? 

In many cases, a used car of equal value to your vehicle isn’t worth buying. However, spending the money on a down payment for a new car purchase or lease may upgrade your ride significantly. 

Don’t Move Too Fast

Whatever you do after an accident, don’t make a hasty decision. Once you’ve told your mechanic to go ahead with the repairs, there’s no going back. 

Take your time to make the proper decision and consult family, friends, and professionals before making your final move.

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