If you’ve grown used to your regular ritual of towing your car back to the repair shop, you may finally look up and wonder, “Should I fix my car or scrap it?”

The answer isn’t always a simple one.

Depending on the age of your car, your driving and maintenance habits, and your financial situation, your vehicle could be either a fixer-upper or a piece of scrap metal. But if you’re on the fence, you’re in luck: keep reading for a simple guide to help you decide when it’s time to salvage vs. scrap a car.

1. Maintenance Costs vs. a Car Payment

When you’re considering whether to fix vs. scrap a car, the factor at the forefront of your mind is probably your wallet. Before we go any further, do a few calculations to see the cost difference between repairing and replacing the car.

First, figure out how much you spent on maintenance over the last twelve months, including normal tune-ups and one-time repairs. You may also want to add the current repair cost you’re considering. Divide this number by twelve, and you’ll know how much you pay for your car per month on average.

Next, weigh this number against the amount you’d pay on a new (or new-to-you) car. If the cost of maintaining your old car is higher than this car payment, it may be time to scrap your ride.

2. Safety

If your current ride is outdated enough to make it unsafe, you shouldn’t even be wondering, “should I fix my car?” It’s time for an update!

That doesn’t mean you necessarily need the latest top-of-the-line airbag technology or lane departure warnings, though these things go a long way toward safety. However, you should at a bare minimum have functional brakes, tires, seatbelts, and airbags. If you haven’t been keeping up on your car’s maintenance, you should seriously consider scrapping it when (eventual) signs of mechanical failure start cropping up..

3. Big-Ticket Item Repair

While minor nicks and fender bender dents can be ignored, you should keep in mind upcoming repairs to two critical big-ticket items, your engine and transmission. If you’ve replaced one or both of these, you may want to stick with your car for a while longer. If not, it may just be a matter of time until you need some costly repairs.

4. Pricing Your Current Car

The value of your car may be an important factor in your decision, so it’s a good idea to check out an established site like the Kelley Blue Book. Don’t forget, of course, that the value of your car drops if it needs repairs upon the sale. If you’re still not sure how to price your car, a company like Cash Auto Salvage can give you a quick quote to give you a better idea.

Don’t forget to check into any incentives or rebates offered by the salvage company or dealer. Some companies offer limited maintenance for new cars, for example, which could make the choice a little easier.

5. Insurance Costs

Whether you’re considering opting for a new or used car, you’ll want to factor in the new insurance costs. Rates for a newer car will be higher than those for your current vehicle, so you’ll need to factor the cost into your budget.

Should I Fix My Car or Scrap It?

Ultimately, the final decision depends on you. Sifting through your answers in the points above, you should be able to come to a decision about the question “Should I fix my car or scrap it?” Whatever you decide, make sure you’ve done your research!

Want more tips to help guide you through the big decisions in life? Check out our other guides for more info!