Toronto is a titanic metropolitan area struck annually by fierce, hard Canadian winters – a brutal yearly beating for any vehicle, from a full-size SUV to a Mini Cooper, to take again and again. Regular, quality TLC will preserve a car over many years and many kilometers, but nothing holds back the years forever.

The time comes in every used car’s life when the repairs that keep it on the road exceed the cost of replacing it. Unfortunately, sentimentality can make an owner blind to practicality and unable to see exactly where that line between “repair it” and “replace it” lies.

At our best, Quixl Auto can help you not only get the best used car for your needs for your money, but also to get the most reliable, safest time on the road out of the years it has left. At the same time, we also want you to know that pinpointing when your cherished used car has become a costly albatross comes down to some very simple math.


Obviously, the point when it becomes more economical to trade in rather than go on with repairs isn’t objective. One isolated, inexpensive repair when you don’t owe many more payments or have a car paid in full makes absolute sense. So too would a slightly more expensive fix made when few other significant repairs loom just over the horizons.

Owners approach the critical repair-or-replace choice when something else wears out and breaks down every few months. The decision becomes even more pressing when either a single repair or a string of them needed within a short span surpasses half your vehicle’s market value. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds values need to come under consideration If your car is getting up there in years or miles (or both.

A few reasonable rules of thumb worth considering:

  • If vehicle repairs cost you the equivalent of one regular monthly payment every four months, it’s probably about time to part ways
  • If one repair or several in rapid succession ends up costing you half or more of your car’s market value, then your vehicle has officially become more trouble than it’s literally worth
  • If the repair or repairs won’t extend your vehicle’s life on the road longer than what it would take to pay off the repair cost’s equivalent in payments – assuming you don’t already have the vehicle paid off

(NOTE: If it’s a one-time, exceptional issue that needs fixing, get the work done, as long as it’s likely to extend the vehicle’s life)

Before paying for a repair, skimming the Internet or inquiring to your mechanic about known recall notices could save you a bundle. Some recall notices will even swap out additional defective parts that might go undiagnosed initially but have become known to cause catastrophic problems later.


This is the time to take stock of how much trouble your vehicle has been lately versus its positive and negative impacts on your budget.

Let’s again visit the best-case scenario in which you own your vehicle outright. Provided your vehicle is only costing you fuel, maintenance and insurance expenses, there aren’t many reasons to replace it. Replacing your ride makes sense pretty much only under a scenario in which swapping out one particular vehicle class, make or model for another could dramatically reduce your insurance or fuel expenditures.

Ongoing payments on top of mounting maintenance make purchasing a new or new-used vehicle a much more viable option, provided the math shakes out. True, the money you’ve already spent on maintenance is sunk, but the numbers should tell you nearly all you need to hear if you’re sinking more into maintenance than you could be paying toward a new vehicle.

With that in mind, a little know-how could put a dent into your monthly maintenance costs:

  • Provided you take the time to learn the procedures and research your car’s specific make, year and model, you may be able to hand basic tasks such as replenishing fluids, oil changes and replacing air filters and spark plugs on your own with a single free afternoon
  • Stick with a mechanic trust and be wary if you always feel pressured to tack on optional tasks
  • Many dealers will similarly over-stress unnecessary work through free “100-point” inspections performed with scheduled maintenance – watch out!
  • If you’re driving a high-mileage vehicle, don’t underestimate the sizable costs that a warranty covering all early repairs could eliminate, letting you focus strictly on mundane (and less expensive) regular maintenance visits

If you have questions, Quixl Auto is glad to help out with answers. We build our reputation with every sale by pairing Greater Toronto Area buyers with reliable, cost-effective vehicles that exceed their needs through years of dependable driving.



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