This is a two-post series with part one being published on February 14, 2020. If you haven't already read that one, you might want to catch up first.
So here we are again, talking about whether you should fix the beater. There's risk involved no matter what you do. You might fix it and something else breaks next week. You might buy a new car and that one breaks. (Side note: if you fix it and it turns out that wasn't the problem, we need to talk with your mechanic and make sure that was a one-time mistake and not repeat carelessness).
Here's the best question to ask yourself: “Do I love this car?” If the answer is yes, then you should seriously consider fixing it. If you don't love your car, you need to find a car you love. If this repair won't put you into debt, you should fix it so that you're not desperate to find a new car. If you don't fix it, just remember that Ubers for a week are cheaper than years of loan interest and vehicle maintenance.
Most people say things to me like, “the value of the car isn't worth that much.” This is a car-repair-fallacy. Cars are expenses, NOT investments. You're not restoring a work of art or buying stock in a failing business. You're paying to move you and your family around (hopefully safely and comfortably). That's why we return to the fundamental question: “Do I love this car?”
There we go, we've made it simple. If you like the car, fix it. If you don't, don't. I don't want to sell repairs to a customer that isn't happy with their car. Those repairs will just make them unhappy with me as well. Good business for me is a group of long-term customers. I'll help you find a good car so that you'll trust me and come back to me when it needs service.
Thanks for reading!