When you have extensive damage to your car, you may panic and wonder: What should I do? Do you fix it, or sell it? You can sell your car to a private buyer, a dealership, an online car buyer, or even a junkyard. If you’re not comfortable parting your car out, you can even sell it yourself! But before you do this, you need to know what you’re dealing with and whether it’s a good idea to fix the car.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, check out the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Many manufacturers have special programs that offer free or discounted service work to their customers. Some are called secret warranties, while others are known as “service actions” or “customer satisfaction campaigns”.
Automakers may issue technical service bulletins to let their dealerships know about a problem. Those bulletins may hint at a safety issue. For instance, GM sent technical service bulletins to dealers in 2005 about ignition switches that could not be properly installed, leading to a blazing crash and injury. But GM didn’t consider this a safety problem, and the company was sued for not fixing the defect.
If you’re paying for repairs at an auto repair shop, check for detailed invoices. These invoices should show all the repairs, parts and labor, and whether new or used. The invoice should also show the odometer reading when the vehicle was left for repairs, and the promised delivery date. Make sure the invoice matches your written estimate. Moreover, you should inspect the vehicle before paying for the work. If it’s still not fixed, you can’t drive it away without paying the bill.