Author Topic: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car? - UPDATE  (Read 2466 times)

TwoJays

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Hi all, we'd appreciate any advice you have for us!

The AC compressor on my 2003 Jeep Liberty went out a few years ago and I've been driving it without air conditioning since then. I'd continue doing so but in August my wife and I are moving to the east coast (about an 18 hour drive from home) and my in-laws will be helping drive the Jeep and/or moving van. If it were just me, I wouldn't fix it but I'm not sure how well my wife and/or in-laws will handle that long in a hot car.

The repair shop quoted me about $1,200 to fix the AC so I looked up how easy it would be to DIY. I'm no car mechanic but I've managed to do some other repairs on it myself and this seems a lot more complicated. I'd certainly need to have a shop assist with the refrigerant as I don't have the right tools. Total cost if I could do most of the work myself would be roughly $500.

This particular fix aside, I'm starting to wonder if it is time to trade in the Jeep. It only has 160k miles but quite a few things are starting to go wrong (blower motor, door lock actuators, several relays, etc.) and the repair costs are adding up even though I've been able to do most of the work myself. If we get a new (to us) car, it would need to be able to tow our other car (2003 Grand Am) cross-country when we move.

Similar Jeeps in the area are going for roughly $2,000 and we could pay for the remainder of a used car with cash. The catch is that we're moving so I can go back to school so our income situation for the next 2-3 years will be uncertain until my wife finds a job out east. We currently have enough cash to last us about a year and the new car would only cut 2-3 months out of our reserves.

If there's anything else you need to know to make recommendations, suggestions, etc. please let me know. Your thoughts are most appreciated!

Would you:
A) Fix the AC on the Jeep and continue to DIY what we can until it completely dies.
B) Trade the Jeep in for whatever we can get and buy an older, low-mileage vehicle that can tow (~$6k).
C) Trade the Jeep in, rent an SUV for the move (~$500), and buy a mustachian car after the move.
D) Something else?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 07:15:38 AM by TwoJays »

BlueMR2

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2017, 10:02:30 AM »
I'd go "B".  Jeeps are great hobbyist vehicles, not so great mustachemobiles (reliability is not a strong point, nor is gas mileage in my experience).  Buying/selling (and renting) cars is painful, do as little of it as you have to.

TwoJays

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2017, 10:20:43 AM »
Thanks for the input. I agree that the Jeep isn't mustachian. I bought it while in college and fell into the trap of 4WD and the ability to off-road. At least I paid cash!

The hassle of buying/selling/renting isn't lost on me but I don't mind it so much that I want it to factor into the decision too much. Aside from the pain of multiple deals, would you still go with B? What would you say is likely to produce the best long-term outcome for us financially?

Bucksandreds

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2017, 11:49:05 AM »
I'd upgrade cars in your situation.  I'm looking at the Honda HRV as my Ford Fiesta's AC has been blown for 1.5 years.  I only have 135,000 miles so I'm trying to hold out a couple of years. The HRV is an SUV that gets in the 30s MPG and has Honda Reliability under $20,000. I like new or very lightly used base models in automatic that I'll drive for 6-8 years (I drive a lot for work) nothing like the first 2-3 years of no repairs.

Car Jack

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2017, 12:04:54 PM »
I'll take door number 33: Sell both cars and buy one used newer Accord.  Then you don't have to tow a car and you have something more reliable than either of your cars.  When you get to your destination, if you need a second car, buy it there.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 01:22:24 PM »
I'll take door number 33: Sell both cars and buy one used newer Accord.  Then you don't have to tow a car and you have something more reliable than either of your cars.  When you get to your destination, if you need a second car, buy it there.

I like either options B, C, or the one that Car Jack mentions above. Also, what will the living situation be like out east? If you are living close enough to take public transport/walk/bike to school on a regular basis, then I like Car Jack's option even better. I'm not sure what city you are moving to in the east, but parking can suck there.

lbmustache

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 01:25:24 PM »
I'd upgrade cars in your situation.  I'm looking at the Honda HRV as my Ford Fiesta's AC has been blown for 1.5 years.  I only have 135,000 miles so I'm trying to hold out a couple of years. The HRV is an SUV that gets in the 30s MPG and has Honda Reliability under $20,000. I like new or very lightly used base models in automatic that I'll drive for 6-8 years (I drive a lot for work) nothing like the first 2-3 years of no repairs.

I have a HR-V. It's a great car and if you drive with a light foot - 40mpg on the freeway! Very easy to drive/park/haul stuff.

TwoJays

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car? - UPDATE
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2017, 07:15:09 AM »
Hi All - Thanks to those of you who provided me with some insight. I'm happy to report that with a little elbow grease this weekend, my Jeep AC is now blowing out air at a frosty 42 degrees thanks to a self-installed air compressor!

Repair Shop Estimate: $1,200
Total DIY Cost: $385

Had to pay for the shop to evacuate and recharge the refrigerant but still over $800 back into the 'stache. Makes my Monday just a bit better. :)

BuffaloStache

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car? - UPDATE
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2017, 12:48:32 PM »
Thanks for the update and good luck with the move!

HipGnosis

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Re: Car Needs New Compressor - Time to Buy Another Car? - UPDATE
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 10:33:20 AM »
CONGRATS!!