Is maintaining an older car more expensive than buying new?

Auto Shop Extended Warranties
Posted at 6:24 AM, Nov 18, 2022

According to the Department of Labor, vehicle maintenance and repair prices have seen their largest increase since 1974.

Supply chain issues and a shortage of qualified technicians are partly to blame.

"Generally speaking right now, there are more jobs than people to fill those jobs. So that's going to cost the employers more because they have to find the right people and they have to train them often,” said Brian Moody with Kelley Blue Book.

Moody says rising labor rates are a big factor.

"If you have a desirable skill and there are a few people that have that skill, you can command more for your services,” Moody said.

From rear-view cameras to blind-spot monitoring systems, vehicles today are also packed with features that keep us safe on the road. But they can add to repair bills.

Moody says even though maintaining vehicles is more expensive, drivers shouldn't skip routine maintenance as a way to cut corners.

"If you can't afford to fix all of the things that are wrong with your car at once, ask the mechanic... ‘Hey, can you help me to prioritize these things? Which are the things that are going to fail and which are things that are just niceties?’” Moody said. “And if you have that relationship, they'll work with you and say, ‘Hey, let's do these things first, then bring it back in a month and then we'll do these things.’"

Moody says it's better to hang on to an old vehicle and pay for repairs. He says buying a new one right now is more expensive in the long run because of higher interest rates and insurance costs.