Replace, Repair, or Make Do?

vanWhen a small item in your home breaks, it’s an easy enough thing to toss it out and buy a new one. But when something larger breaks down, you then have a decision to make. Is the item able to be repaired? Can you live without it or continue to use it in its current condition? Or is it time to get a new one? Sometimes the item isn’t really a need, but a want, and you really can live without it. Sometimes going through the hassle of a repair is more emotionally costly than financially expensive. Only you can determine whether you should replace it, repair it, or make do.

Our minivan was great when we first got it. My brother-in-law was its previous owner, and he kept it in good running condition. But we’ve had it for six years, we’ve carted around four kids in it, and it’s definitely had its fair share of challenges. The air conditioner broke, and if you’ve ever been in Utah during the summer, you can imagine what we’ve been enduring. The muffler clean fell off a couple of months ago. The emissions are becoming worse and worse. The electrical system has problems, the radio button is broken, the passenger window won’t go down – and coupled with the lack of air conditioning, that’s a problem – and just last week, the lock on the sliding door broke. We were faced with the question: should we replace the van, repair the van, or try to make do?

Making do wasn’t really an option. A broken lock on the door is a huge safety issue.

Repairing it was an option. The piece to fix the door would have been around $160.00, if purchased new, but then we started to tally up the costs of the other repairs. There was more wrong with the van than it was worth. And so we looked into replacing it, and that’s what we eventually decided to do.

More often than not, you can repair an item for less than it costs to replace it. But it’s something to investigate carefully – some items are now made so inexpensively that you’re saving money just tossing the old and buying new. Do a little research into your specific circumstances, and use your money wisely.

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