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Car Safety, Tires, Wheels, Auto Body, Brakes, Engine, Interior, Paint, Transmission, Fuel Efficiency (MPG), Buying Insurance, Coupe, Convertible, Hatchback, Truck, Sedan, Wagon, SUV, Van
#1 of 863 To Fix up or Trade up, that is the question.
Dec 14, 2004 (8:20 pm)
I need your advice. I have an 89 Reliant, 4 dr. with the 2.5 Litre engine and A/C (no other options). I bought this car 16 months ago with 114,000 km. I put on 225 km/day commuting to work and back so today it has 163,000 km on it. Today, the alternator died on it. Aside from a set of tires, this is the only major problem I've had with it.
It is due for a tuneup for sure and possibly some other major maintenance. I've been getting around 28-29 miles per imperial gallon. Due to the amount of driving I'm doing I'm considering trading the K car off on something that gets better mileage.
My question is, should I be wary about things going wrong with the K car and look to trade up to something more reliable and better on gas or should I just spend some cash on a tuneup and other items to bring it up to par?
If the answer is to fix up the K car, what items should I have the mechanics check out knowing that I've done nothing to it and don't know the history of it's first 114,000 km?
If the answer is to trade up, what would one recommend for high reliability and fuel economy based on 225km/day of driving? Note that I only have about CAD$3000 to play with and can't afford to buy or lease anything new.
Thanks in advance for your opinions,
Humboldt, SK, Canada
Dec 14, 2004 (10:14 pm)
I don't think I'd trade a known vehicle for an unknown one, especially in the price range you are shopping in.
You should look at repair and maintenance costs in relation to monthly car payments on a new car. Can you fix this old car up for say the equivalent of $100 a month? Well if you can, then you won't finance a new or nearly new car for anything near that, and buying a cheap used car might easily result in $100 a month bills anyway.
I'd say that unless there is something really dreadful wrong with your car, I'd fix it up.
Dec 19, 2004 (6:23 pm)
And I agree. The math seems to say you have a very good deal going with what you have, versus the alternative you outlined. Run the K car until it is well worn out, then go for the "trade up." I personally have had great luck with (preDaimler) Chrysler vehicles. I have not yet owned any of their vehicles built since the merger.
Dec 20, 2004 (11:44 am)
It's almost always cheaper to repair the car that you currently own. Most people just want a new/different car and they will use a couple of expensive repairs as the economic justification for trading. I usually buy a 2-3 year old vehicle and put 150000 miles or more on it before I sell it.
#5 of 863 Fix dent on trade-in?
Jan 15, 2005 (7:23 am)
I need some advice. I have a 2003 Acura MDX that has a crease in the liftgate and a scratch on the bumper. The body shop estimate is $600 to fix. I will be purchasing a new vehicle(not another Acura) soon and trading the MDX in. Should I fix the back end or trade it in as is? Thanks.
#6 of 863 You should fix it,
Jan 15, 2005 (7:38 am)
for several reasons. If it's traded/evaluated with the dent in place, you have to understand that used car managers are not body shop managers, and don't estimate down to the penny. They may decide that what you have an estimate for of $600 is actually a $1600 hit.
Driving up with a damaged vehicle also prompts going over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb. That little ding or scratch that wouldn't have been noticed on a normal walk-around gets seen and there's a few more hundred dollars lost.
Having "curb appeal" is priceless. Get the dent fixed, get the vehicle detailed, and drive up with a clear conscience and a beautiful rig - a quick walk-around, and you'll get all the money for the rig that you deserve.
#7 of 863 Fix Dent?
Jan 15, 2005 (1:19 pm)
Thanks so much for the advice. I will do that.
#8 of 863 Too late for me to make a
Jan 15, 2005 (2:36 pm)
long story short, but in reality, that $600 dent could cost you $2k at trade-in...
#9 of 863 1993 Saturn SL1 - repair or ditch?
Feb 12, 2005 (11:40 am)
I've had my 93 SL1 (and associated headache) for a year now. The week after I bought it, something happened and the car was overheating ... extremely. Since the sales lot I bought the car from mysteriously vanished (the entire lot!), I took it to a Saturn dealer.
The dealer replaced the water pump or a sensor or something - can't remember now - total bill $650. When I started up the car on the Saturn lot, the car was shaking vilontely (had not done this before). I shut it down and walked back inside.
The informed me that my timing chain had skipped (funny they didn't notice it when they had my car in pieces). So they wanted another $1,000 to fix that). Total bill now $1,650.
I came back a few days later and started my car again which now puttered (evidently to a bent valve). They said that it would cost another $950 to replace the valve. I was now completley out of my savings. So they said that it would be ok to drive the car as long as I didn't mind the puttering at an idle.
On the way home I realized that my accelerator now had a point after an inch or so of being pressed down where it became stiff. I figured out I could push harder to get past the point I needed to be able to merge into traffic without being run over, but that the power I had when I first drove the car was now about half. I took it back to the dealer (3rd time in one week) who said that I had a bad throttle box (of course I don't even know what these parts are). They wanted another $900 to fix that (funny how every repair is $900!!).
I figured I'd tough it out until I could afford to have it repaired. Until about another week goes by and the alternator goes out. A friend of mine knew how to replace the alternator so he did. I can afford free
But now as I'm driving down the road the headlights (and dash lights) just sporadically dim out for a second or so and sometimes the car nearly stalls just idling. My friend doesn't know what the problem is. The alternator was a new part.
So now, I have a bent valve, dimming headlights, sticky accelator, sometimes have to jiggle the battery cable to start it, and on top of it all it seems to burn oil quickly.
Here's my question. Am I just a glutton for punishment hanging on to this car, or is it worth saving up the money to fix all these problems? And are these problems normal on a car this old with 146,000 miles? Do I keep the car or get rid of it like a hot potatoe?
Feb 14, 2005 (4:32 pm)
Given the car's resale value and mileage, and given that you have no used car lot anymore to sue for being ripped off to begin with, I would definitely pull the rip cord, take the painful hit and put your money into something worthwhile.