When Fixing Your Old Car Costs More Than Its Worth

Many petrolheads have discussed the high cost of replacing EV batteries, which can exceed $10,000 for some users. However, electric cars aren’t the only vehicles on the road that have battery packs with a limited lifespan.

Another type of car that also contributes to battery consumption is hybrids, which have to change their batteries after a certain period of time. Such a change could make the car a financial write-off on paper, depending on how old and valuable the vehicle in question is – even if it’s otherwise in good mechanical condition.

This happened to a 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid that was featured on The Car Care Nut channel on YouTube, where a Toyota expert technician called AMD hosts the show. It’s kind of weird that the owners choose to fix the Camry instead of letting it go to the scrapyard, because the replacement job risk making the car worthless.

With years of experience in working on Toyotas, the host explains how hybrid batteries are complex and require replacement after some time. As the cells in any battery wear out over time, different factors such as usage and climate can affect how fast this happens.

According to AMD, a refurbished battery that costs much less isn’t a good option, because it’s usually not fully refurbished. These batteries often have only some cells replaced, and the others are still aged and prone to faults. He says the best way to ensure value for money is to get a new battery from a trustworthy source.

But then there’s the issue of how much the whole thing costs. The new battery alone was a whopping $4,600, not counting the labor. As if that was not enough, the Camry’s ABS actuator also needed to be replaced with a new one that cost over $1,660.

A 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid in good condition would cost between $4,090 and $6,289 from a private seller, according to Kelly Blue Book. But most owners would give up on this 15-year-old Camry, since the repairs would cost nearly $6,000.

The family had owned the car since it was new, and they were looking for a car to give their daughter. They had already replaced the old Camry with a newer vehicle, so they decided to fix it up.

The current owners were aware of the battery and the ABS problems, but the car was otherwise in good shape. It had a clean body without rust, no accident history, and a sturdy engine that was fixed under warranty. They thought it was better to keep the old Camry running than to gamble on a used car as their daughter left for college.

As the mechanic wisely advises, the only drawback is that the insurance wouldn’t cover the repair cost if the car got into an accident, but would only pay the claimants based on how much the company thinks the car is worth.

In the end, they preserved a flawless car on the road, which minimized landfill and possibly made their carbon footprint a bit smaller. AMD predicts that the car could last for another decade without needing any more major repairs.

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