4 Options for When Your Car Dies

pile of old wrecked cars in junkyard

Cars aren't built to last forever. After clocking anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 miles, most cars will be no good.

It's possible for a car to die sooner than this threshold. If you abuse your car (use it for purposes it wasn't built for -- like off-roading a luxury saloon) it'll throw in the towel much sooner. A road accident can also damage a car so significantly that abandoning it is the only logical step.

So, what should you do when your car dies?

There are a couple of options, right from the downright outrageous to the sensible. Read on to learn more!

1. Try Fixing It?

Sometimes a car will act dead, only to rev up and get back to business after a good mechanic has knocked a few things together under the hood. 

If your car won't start and it's nowhere near the expected end-of-life mileage, there's a good chance it's got some legs left. You just need to find an experienced mechanic to diagnose and repair it.

If it's still under warranty, you're in luck. Just call up the manufacturer's dealer and they'll have specialists look at it.

But if it's out of warranty, you'll certainly pay for the repair out of pocket. Here's the thing, though. You don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a car that's on its deathbed, even if your mechanic says it's fixable.

If the repair bill is somewhere close to the current market value of the car, it's best the give up on it. The car is dying. In this case, engage the following option.

2. Junk It

To junk a car is to sell it off for parts, and whatever remains is scrapped as metal.

Contrary to popular belief, a car doesn't have to be totaled in an accident to be a prime candidate for junking. Even a car that looks perfectly okay can be junked as long as the cost of repairing what's ailing it is greater than the market value.

Regardless of what has caused your car's death, junking it for cash is an ideal way to get rid of it. There are companies that specialize in buying junk cars. Just find one near you and your car will be as good as junk.

Before you do that, though, you might want to bring in a mechanic to remove parts that can be sold off in the used car markets for an extra buck.

3. Donate It

You're not interested in fixing the car or it isn't fixable. Junking it doesn't interest you either.

There's a better option: donate it.

Most charities will gladly take your dead car and sell it off for parts or junk it to raise the money they need to advance their causes. Think of donating your dead car as an indirect cash donation.

4. Walk Away from the Dead Car

Yes, you can literally walk away from your dead car - and you wouldn't be the first. You've probably seen abandoned cars rotting away beside the road or even in someone's backyard.

If a car is giving you a lot of trouble, why bother spending a penny more on it? You can simply walk away from the trouble.

When a Car Dies, It's Not Always the End

When a car dies, you might be tempted to fix it and squeeze a couple of thousand miles from it. Sometimes it will rise from the dead, sometimes it will stay dead. You can then junk it, donate to charity, or even abandon it.

Do what you please, but keep reading our blog for more guides on how to do various things in life.

 

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