In America, used cars can sometimes be bought for next to nothing. Unfortunately, that’s because thousands of severely compromised vehicles get quickly patched up and sold with “Like New” decals, which can make buying a used car pretty nerve-wracking.
Sometimes it’s the driver’s fault; certain people still think that oil changes shouldn’t be mandatory and that a smoking tailpipe isn’t a bad sign. Other times, there is nothing that can be done — like when a deer jumps out in front of the car while you’re cruising at 70 miles per hour and in turn the entire front of your car gets rearranged.
But regardless of whose fault it may be, sometimes the best plan of attack is actually knowing when to surrender. Cars aren’t cheap, but neither are they inexpensive to fix, and knowing when to hang up your hat is half the battle when repairs suddenly seem too overbearing.
We spoke with a few industry experts and auto repair shop owners, and came up with 10 repair problems that cause most people to walk away from a vehicle. Whether it be tedious, dangerous, or just downright pricey, this cheat sheet compiles some of the worst automotive fixes in an effort to let you know when to let go.
1. Road salt is basically a carcinogen to cars
Older cars in particular tend to rust out faster than most people can say the word “tetanus,” and in areas that get lots of snow this issue is expedited at an alarming rate. Surface corrosion quickly eats into quarter panels and wheel wells, while exhaust systems and fuel tanks get the brunt of the road grime underneath. Certain areas are also very expensive and difficult to repair, so if your car has a rear quarter panel or a large section of severe rust along its frame rails, it might be time to reconsider your daily driver.