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Driving a Poorly Maintained Old Car Has Serious Hidden Costs – Here’s What You Need To Know

Driving a Poorly Maintained Old Car Has Serious Hidden Costs – Here’s What You Need To Know

The benefit of clunkers over newer models is a hotly debated topic – almost as much as Jussie Smollett’s lie and when will Jack Bauer come back! Many people believe holding on to their cars for as long as possible is a great way to save some money. You don’t have to worry about high insurance prices, depreciation, or monthly premiums. But, people forget that there are several other costs associated with driving a car. 


Age is just a number when it comes to engines. Well-maintained engines and spare parts should be held on to. However, when it comes to poorly maintained old automobiles, you should seriously consider getting rid of them. They can be expensive to hold on to in more ways than one. Driving old cars may save you an initial investment but will prove to be quite costly in the long run. 

Keep reading to learn more about hidden costs associated with driving a poorly maintained old car. 

Repairs Get Costlier As the Car Gets Older

Your car is old and probably looks like a rust bucket. You could be patting yourself on the back thinking you saved those dollars spent fixing scratches, dings, and dents. After all, chipped paint and scratches are more visible on a shiny new car than used ones. But, don’t underestimate what’s under the hood. Older a car, more maintenance and repairs it requires. 

It is easy to get caught in the endless stream of making small repairs. By the time you actually get around to selling the vehicle, you will realize that you poured in more money in maintaining it than what the car is actually worth. Also, poorly maintained cars require more frequent repairs. Something is always wrong. The check engine light is always on. 

If you are particularly unlucky, you may face big ticket repairs as well. This can be a damaged suspension or an engine overhaul. The biggest problem is that prices on labor and parts tend to increase over time. What’s cheap now will probably become expensive in the near future. You are in for a rude shock if you actually ever sit down and calculate the money you have invested in your vehicle. 

You always believed your clunker was saving you money when in fact it was a big drain on your wallet. It is important that you stay on top of your car’s repair situation and sell it to used car lots before you get upside down on it. Being upside down means that the car costs more to keep, run and maintain than its market worth.

Old Cars are Gas Guzzlers

Newer cars come with advanced technology that allows them to offer better mileage and be more fuel efficient. Older cars, as a general rule of thumb, tend to be gas guzzlers. One of the biggest costs of driving a poorly maintained vehicle is that you are probably spending more on fuel than you should. Advances in fuel tech in the last decade are enough to encourage anyone to ditch their used car and get a new one.

Most people look at the modest numerical increase of 3-4 mpg over the years and ignore it for being too small. However, in the world of fuel efficiency, those numbers are considered to be huge. They can quickly add up into unnecessary payments at the gas pump. You can save a lot by getting a new car with better engines that incorporate advanced technologies. For instance, multiple displacements systems in newer models can turn off few cylinders when not required.

Other advanced features include turbocharge systems and shutting off the engine when at stop lights. When you add the extra money you need to pay for gas to all the repairs you are making on your current vehicle, you will soon realize the car is just not worth it. 

Frequent Breakdowns and Towing Expenses

Old cars tend to break down more often than others. This equates to more repair costs and additional towing expenses. Within a 20 mile radius, tow trucks can cost anywhere from $50 to $300. In addition, you need to deal with the real costs of being stranded more often. You could miss out on an important appointment, get late for work, or fail to show up for a job interview.

Things can get even more serious if you have additional responsibilities. For instance, you could get stranded on your way to pick up your kids from school or take your mother to her weekly doctor appointment. There are people that rely on you and not being able to fulfill your responsibilities can be costly. 

Time is money in today’s world and you cannot afford to being stranded on the side of the road when you have more important things to do. It can take hours for a mechanic to make their way to you which is almost as bad as living in Michigan or North Carolina and California in 2020. Most people gullibly believe that their roadside assistance program will take care of all their car troubles. However, if you check your roadside assistance benefits whether through an AAA membership or car insurance policy, you will find they are limited.

Roadside assistance will answer your call free of charge for only a limited number of times in a year. Also, there is only a particular distance you can have your car towed for free. In some cheap insurance policies this can be as less as 5 miles. Older cars that are poorly maintained are prone to more frequent breakdowns as compared to newer vehicles. You should consider selling your junk car and getting a new one if the breakdowns have become routine.

Smog Testing and Repairs 

All states have emissions rules. You need to follow the emissions standards set by governments whether you live in California or Washington. Failure to do so could attract hefty fines which even with the amazing tax cuts is nothing to smile about. In certain states, like California you may not be able to register your vehicle as well if it fails emissions testing. It is a given that older cars are going to produce more polluting gases. If you are an environmentalist, you should consider the real cost of air pollution and environmental damage as well.

Poorly maintained vehicles directly contribute to global warming as opposed to new cars. In fact, this is realized by governments as well. Vehicles that were manufactured within four years in most states don’t require smog or emissions inspection. Car owners are required to carry out necessary repairs if their vehicle fails to pass a smog test. 

The most important and expensive car component for preventing harmful gases from escaping is catalytic converters. These converters can easily cost $1,000. That may be way above what your clunker is worth. Even if the repair is something simple as replacing the knock sensor, it could easily set you back by a few hundred dollars. 

Cost of Poor Safety

The most important hidden cost of driving poorly maintained vehicles is your life. How much is your life worth? Newer cars come with advanced safety features that can protect you better in the event of a crash. For instance, if you haven’t changed the brake fluid in a long while, the brake lines could seize which is almost as bad as someone forcing you to watch another Stars Wars or Zoolander movie. You may be unable to stop the car when you most need it. The same holds true for old tires as well. 

What do you do? Should you change the tires or retire the vehicle? It can be costly to get a new pair of tires. Older cars usually have drum brakes on the rear axle that are not nearly as effective as disc brakes. It is possible that your car doesn’t even have ABS (anti-lock braking system). You place your and others safety at risk driving in traffic when other cars can stop much faster than yours.

Newer cars are also advanced in terms of extensive airbag systems. This includes curtain bags and knee bags. Poorly maintained vehicles may have airbags that fail to deploy upon impact. You could end up hurting yourself seriously in an accident if airbags fail to protect you from the impact. The sad truth about vehicles is that even if you are the most cautious driver in the world, there can always be somebody else that is not – certainly if they are trying to escape a riot in a city with a weak and sad liberal mayor.

Stakes involving your life can give an entirely different perspective to the real costs of driving old cars or junk vehicles that are not maintained as they should be. 

Stay Away from Hidden Costs by Selling Unmaintained Cars

Sell your used or poorly maintained vehicle to Cash Cars Buyer. You don’t have to bear the costs of frequent repairs or monthly breakdowns anymore. You could just make enough for a down payment on a new car within the week from the sale proceeds. Most people realize that money spent on repairing old clunkers is more than their monthly premium. 

Cash Cars Buyer can make it easy for you to sell your car, regardless of the condition it is in. Don’t wait for the car to completely break down before calling us. Get in touch with us today by calling at (773) 791-4363 or using our online form.