The economy is having an impact on the highway. Today the average car on the road is more than 10 years old. That means Americans are driving older and older cars. Which brings up a common question for mechanic Tim Kotter.
"I get people all the time who bring in a a car that has a specific problem and they way, is it worth it?" said Kotter of Kotter VW Repair. In other words, should they fix the car or get rid of it.
"It's a hard decision to make," said David Ely with Convoy Auto Repair, "When do you put money into it and when do you walk away from it?"
Mechanics say they are seeing older and and older cars coming in for repair. They say the tough economy has consumers looking for ways to keep their cars on the road longer. But at some point you need to make that tough call, do you fix it or get rid of it?
David Ely says at some point you need to face facts, "There is a point when basically it's time to do the eulogy service on your car."
There are basically three decisions a car owner needs to make when their car goes into the shop, you fix it, you buy another used car or you buy a new car.
According to edmunds.com there are two rules of thumb. You don't fix your car if the repair costs more than the value of the car. You don't fix your car if it costs more than a year's worth of monthly payments.
But mechanic Tim Kotter says you have to look at more than one simple repair. You have to look at the cost of repairing your immediate problem but also look at what potential problems are right around the corner.
"If you fix this then you're going to have to look down the road two, three, four, six months," said Kotter, "something else is going to go wrong and do you really want to keep doing that?"
In tough times, car owners want to get as many miles as they can from their aging cars... that usually means more trips to the mechanic.
"The financial decision to keep verses the financial decision to make a monthly commitment means a lot of difference in today's world," David Ely said.
A difference that often includes making car payments, paying more for insurance and registration verses simply paying for repairs. And that often means spending more money than you'd planned on. Not an easy decision to make in these tough times.