When to Scrap Your Car

How long is too long before you need to scrap your vehicle? No one can really give you a reliable estimate in years, because different cars have different reliability estimates. In addition, far too many factors play into how long a car will last, e.g., if it’s driven mostly in your city, used to haul the family trailer every weekend in the summer or used as your daily commuter car. Below I’ve compiled a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide if your car’s seen better days and is now destined for the scrap heap.

Is It Safe to Drive?

This is the most important question of them all. If you suspect your old car will crumble if hit, the steering wheel won’t react when it really counts or you just get a bad feeling when you sit down in the driver’s seat, then either get a safety inspection and have it repaired immediately, or have your car scrapped. Holding on to it, whether it’s to save money or because you simply love your vehicle, isn’t worth the risk.

How Much Are You Spending at the Garage?

Consider two costs: maintenance and repairs. Then consider two factors: your time and money. Write out how much money you’ve spent over the past six months to a year having your car repaired. If you’ve spent more money during that time than you would have on car payments, consider scrapping your car and buying a new one.

Also ask yourself how much time you’re spending at the garage and how much time are you losing by not having a car? If you drive daily to work, how do you get there and what do you pay when your car is getting repaired?

Seeing the answers to these questions on paper can help make decision the easier for you. Although it may seem nice to live without car payments, you may come ahead with a new car and its warranty than continuing to use your current one.

You’re Concerned About the Environment

Manufacturers continually improve gas mileage. In fact, 80-90% of a car’s environmental impact comes down to fuel consumption. If your vehicle is over 10 years old, then recycling it properly and buying a new one with a more efficient fuel system will actually benefit the environment more.

How to Scrap Your Vehicle

The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association recommends you contact one of two programs. Retire Your Ride will find you an auto recycler in your area who will pick up and pay for your vehicle. Don’t expect much—you’ll probably be lucky if you get a few hundred dollars. But it’s off your hands and being properly recycled.

Car Heaven runs a similar operation. However, instead of your receiving money for your vehicle, the money is donated to a charity. According to the national charity, over $4 million has been donated to charities since 2000. You will get a charitable tax receipt for donating your vehicle.

Scrapping Your Car Needn’t Be Onerous

Stay realistic: if your vehicle is unsafe, contact Retire Your Ride or Car Heaven and scrap it immediately. If it still offers you a safe ride, evaluate how much time and money you’re spending on it. Lastly, if you’ve held on to your vehicle because you want to help the environment, its age may mean it’s causing more harm than a new vehicle would. There’s no recommended age to scrap your vehicle, but the above signs can help you decide if it’s time to say good-bye.

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