Author Topic: How Much Money to repair used car?  (Read 10281 times)

N

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How Much Money to repair used car?
« on: July 26, 2013, 08:23:00 AM »
So, I have a 2005 Ford Focus wagon zxw.
I bought it used on CL for 3800, it has 145K miles on it.
Its ok as cars go, I dont love it, but it has a roomy trunk for all our stuff.

Since I bought it in November (could be october, cant remember for sure) I put in a new battery, replaced all the tires, had an alignment, which is Fine. Then the trunk latch broke and would not open anymore. While they were looking at the latch, they discovered that the wiring to the latch was all ripped up and compressed and that the rear defogger wouldnt work either. So to fix all that was 460. Ive now spent over a thousand dollars in the last 6 months.

When they did the alignment, they told me the left front knee is torqued/bent and should be fixed. The car wont stay aligned. The alignment did last a few weeks, but now its off again. The steering wheel pulls to the right and the car pulls when driving. If I dont fix it, it wears badly on the tires and reduces gas mileage. The quote is 500 plus another alignment for 80.

Now, granted, with my car that I sold, I had a payment of 375 a month, and I owed 10k on it, so even if I get the knee fixed on the car, I still ahve spent way less than I would have. But Ive never had a car that needed a lot of work, or really, any work besides routine maintenence, so I dont know if this is normal spending on a 8-9 year old car.

I feel sort of panicked and anxious (and certain my husband will see this as impending doom and be mad that I sold our nice new car and bought a junker) so if anyone can talk me off the ledge or provide another perspective, Id appreciate it.


Spork

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 08:46:43 AM »

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that car has been wrecked one or more times...  The "how much" is going to be wildly dependent on where it's been hit, how many times and how hard.

To get perspective, you may need a trustworthy, disinterested mechanic (possibly body shop) to go over it and see what is damaged.   It's hard to say without hands on.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2013, 09:04:23 AM »
But Ive never had a car that needed a lot of work, or really, any work besides routine maintenence, so I dont know if this is normal spending on a 8-9 year old car.

I feel sort of panicked and anxious (and certain my husband will see this as impending doom and be mad that I sold our nice new car and bought a junker) so if anyone can talk me off the ledge or provide another perspective, Id appreciate it.

It's not the age of the car that is wearing things out, it is the mileage and how it is used.  The first few repairs are totally normal, but the bent 'knee' could be from hitting something.  I have no idea what piece they are actually referring to as the 'knee', but it might be a ball joint or tie rod end.  There are a lot of rubber parts that tend to break down with a lot of use, like ball joints, tie rod ends, swaybar end links, strut mounts, motor mounts, transmission mounts.  I would have someone experienced really go over the car, to get an idea what repairs might be coming up, so you can decide how long you want to keep it.

I've been looking for economical transportation, and I think the most inexpensive way to do it would be to avoid the quick depreciation in the early years and avoid the increase maintenance costs in the latter years.  I was thinking that might be buying a 3 - 5 year old car, with 50,000 miles and driving it until the big repairs start stacking up.

Tony_SS

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2013, 09:33:52 AM »
This is why you have to be very careful when buying used... you don't want to buy someone elses problems. You shouldn't buy an older car with a lot of miles unless you know how to fix things though. This is what is costing you $. Not the fact the car needs repairs, but the fact you have to pay someone to do them.

Take that into consideration.. if you guys can't fix the car, sell it for something with low miles , even if you have to borrow a little money. We got a loan for 3k at 1.69% for our Honda Ody. It will be paid off in 6 mons.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2013, 09:57:01 AM »
Please don't panic. You will have to fix stuff on a used car with miles. I'd be interested to know what this "knee" is on the front end of the Focus. it's a very simple design similar to other econobox designs, nothing special. If it is a bad tie rod end or something of that nature, it is a cheap part and the quote sounds high, but the slipping out of alignment wouldn't generally be a bad tie rod end.

Most of the stuff you've done is general expense on any car - tires, battery, alignment - so those can't be included in condemning a certain car. The outliers are the trunk and the suspension damage. I can't speak to the trunk but the roads in Illinois are terrible so suspension damage on any car is always a possibility. A wreck is possible but not necessarily the case here. If there is any more detail on the actual issue (like what a "knee" is) then that might help.




Eric

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2013, 10:16:37 AM »
Most of your fixes so far have just been general maintenance.  Cars need batteries and tires.  For future repairs, you need to decide what's important and what's not.  If something is throwing the alignment off, that's important.  As long as the engine is good, I'd say fix anything else that's important.  However, the minor fixes are stuff that you should be able to let go on an older car.  I'm not sure I would've spent money to get the rear defogger fixed.  You'll probably end up with other smaller things that don't work right.  Consider that "character".  Old cars with character make for better stories anyway.

AliciaKnits

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 11:40:12 PM »
I'm in a similar situation, I have a 2005 Ford Taurus, 135,000 miles (I've put on 23,000 of those miles in the last two years since I've owned it). In January, there was a gas leak (I could smell gas in the car and was getting headaches while driving), so the gas cap was replaced; the water pump was replaced; and the cabin air filter was replaced (wasps made a nest in it). This was all fixed for $1,000. Now, it's making a horrible noise, enough that people are commenting on it, so I have to take it in next week for repairs. Not sure how much, but probably at least another $500 to $1,000. It also needs new wiper blades and at some point will need a new tie rod (this will be very expensive, I will replace the car before I have to replace this, as it's the same cost as the car could sell for right now). I'm planning on driving this car for at least another year before we buy again, most likely new (we're looking at electric vehicle once our income is higher) or at least 2 years old.

I don't mind the repairs right now -- I'm unemployed and am driving it sparingly (once or twice a week at most). The kicker is that it is still in my in-law's name, I owe them $400 for it, which they have said to pay when we're debt free (at least another year). They also pay for all repairs and for the car insurance. I'm in a pretty sweet deal right now, I know.

Considering we have similar cars and they're acting similar with repairs needed and about the same mileage, it's most likely due to procrastinated maintenance on the car that you and I are now having to deal with as the second (or third, I'm the third) owner of the car. It sucks, but I'd rather have this car now than a car payment.

Hope that helps :)

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 12:05:14 AM »
well, the wiring to fix the defogger also controlled the automatic opening for the trunk. I think in hindsight, I could have skipped that and just had them repair the latch and use the key.

however, since the wiring work was done, the car has died a few times, it happens just as you put it into park, before turning it off, the engine dies. Im taking it back to them to have it looked at. Its frustrating,

Im pretty sure it was never in an accident, because I saw the vin report on it.

anyway, Im not totally panicked, but I now think I should have a thorough inspection to see if there are other major things wrong and get more info on the "knee". sigh.

hybrid

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 07:30:24 AM »
well, the wiring to fix the defogger also controlled the automatic opening for the trunk. I think in hindsight, I could have skipped that and just had them repair the latch and use the key.

however, since the wiring work was done, the car has died a few times, it happens just as you put it into park, before turning it off, the engine dies. Im taking it back to them to have it looked at. Its frustrating,

Im pretty sure it was never in an accident, because I saw the vin report on it.

anyway, Im not totally panicked, but I now think I should have a thorough inspection to see if there are other major things wrong and get more info on the "knee". sigh.

As my vehicles get older I often have issues where I have to decide "Is it worth it to fix this problem?"  For example, I finally lost the AC compressor on my 96 Mazda B2300.  It will be several hundred dollars to get the AC working again.  Well, you can guess what I opted for there.  I would have opted to open the trunk with the key as you suggest.  Just not worth the money you dropped into it.

The problem on the front end though needs to be fixed, and whatever is maing the car die needs to be taken care of as well.

I tend to disagree with MMM about how reliable used cars are, and I have owned very reliable cars in the past.  I would say you need to budget $1000 a year every year for maintenance given the age and mileage, especially if you don't have the skill set to fix a car yourself.  And if you don't actually spend that much money?  All the better.  But I'd budget high all the same.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 09:40:50 AM »

I tend to disagree with MMM about how reliable used cars are, and I have owned very reliable cars in the past.

I think it comes from a different viewpoint (not right, wrong, or otherwise). He has arranged his life to minimize travel by vehicle, so having a reliable vehicle is not a necessity (though his are new enough that they should be fairly reliable). Additionally I believe he does his own auto repair, and keeping an ailing car running can bankrupt you if you have to take it to a shop. If you are not yet in the position of making vehicle use optional, and you just plain don't have the skills and equipment to work on your own cars, then its shooting yourself in the foot to nurse along a POS car.

One other thing, mentioned above, Carfax is not 100% reliable. They are only as good as the reporting data they receive, which is sometimes not 100% complete. I've learned to use Carfax to weed out the bad apples right away, and the ones that pass get a detailed inspection (my own or a trusted advisor). Example: I bought my 02 Focus a couple years back. Clean Carfax, under 100k miles, pics looked good. After driving about 5 hours to get to it, was tired, it was rainy, so all I thought about was loading it up and heading home after a cursory look. After really looking at it later, I discovered it had had a fairly hard hit to the front / chassis. Did not get the frame rails, but got the engine / transmission crossmember (it had been rewelded), and I found writing on the transmission the indicated it was a junkyard unit. Later for some other work I pulled the inner fender liners and discovered mismatched hardware and sheetmetal folded in the wheelwells. Then I looked at the bumper and realized it was a bad imported replacement bumper (not an OEM one). Bottom line, it had been driven hard over a curb, concrete divider, or something, the bumper was destroyed, the transmission was hit hard enough to crack it (or the axle was yanked out at an angle and cracked it), the left front suspension had been driven back so much that the tire and wheel hit the driver's floorboard / inner fenderwell. Likely what happened is they didn't report it to insurance, repaired it "good enough" and then sold it. I used to trust Carfax implicitly but you still have to do due dilligence.

So back to the OP.... I can't help much on the stalling since I don't know all the details. But Focaljet.com is a focus owner's forum and there are troubleshooting sections for learning and posting. IMO if the stalling started immediately after the hatch was "fixed", they could be connected. I had an ex-gf once who had a Saturn. Totally randomly on left turns the lights would stop working (so we stopped making left turns.... ha ha ha). I removed the crapily installed aftermarket alarm system, no luck. At my wits end, took it to a shop that I knew and trusted, and specialized in electrical. After 5 or 6 hours they finally tracked it down. The car had apparently had Autozone fog lights installed, they then removed them... and left the bare wires dangling. On left turns the foglight wire would ground on the metal radiator support and blow the fuse for the lights. So anyways, it was an issue I wouldn't have expected but it was simple to fix once we found it.

By the way, they didn't happen to call the "knee" a "knuckle" would they? Because the knuckle (or upright, or other names) is a real part.

Spork

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 09:50:08 AM »

One other thing, mentioned above, Carfax is not 100% reliable. They are only as good as the reporting data they receive, which is sometimes not 100% complete. I've learned to use Carfax to weed out the bad apples right away, and the ones that pass get a detailed inspection (my own or a trusted advisor). Example: I bought my 02 Focus a couple years back. Clean Carfax, under 100k miles, pics looked good....

This was my experience as well recently.  I went to look at a Honda Fit.  It had clearly been rear ended and repaired: a flex point in the bumper cover, flecks of paint missing, misaliagned body panels, clear evidence of straightening if looked at from beneath, etc.  It had a clean Carfax.  When I asked the dealer if it had been rear ended, he was evasive and answered that as "it has a clean carfax."  If no police report exists and no insurance claim has been made, there's no paper trail.

I suspect if a grayish dealer gets a damaged vehicle and fixes it themselves, it doesn't get reported.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 11:30:50 AM »
Yeah, MMM drives his car very rarely. We put about 600 mi on ours per month. I just did the math, but it seems pretty high. 20 mi a day? wow.

Im still learning how to be mustachian. Buying this particular car was on the impulsive side, and in retrospect, I would have done more due diligence before paying for it, but at the time, we were hemorrhaging money and about 20K more in the hole than today. The car we had was costing us over 450$ a month and I really wanted to make some fast decisions.

I plan to assume 1k repairs/year (already was in budget, so Im not totally freaking)

Next year, when we are out of debt, and probably settled into a new apt, hopefully closer to DH work, we will re-evaluate the car situation.
right now, we are 13 mi from DH work (one way)

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 02:10:24 PM »
Yeah, MMM drives his car very rarely. We put about 600 mi on ours per month. I just did the math, but it seems pretty high. 20 mi a day? wow.

We drive a combined 4000-4500 miles a month... which would be about 150 miles a day so... don't feel too bad :)

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2013, 09:49:45 PM »
I'm in a similar situation, I have a 2005 Ford Taurus, 135,000 miles......
It also needs new wiper blades and at some point will need a new tie rod (this will be very expensive, I will replace the car before I have to replace this, as it's the same cost as the car could sell for right now).

Where did you get a quote for that tie rod? I have a 2003 Taurus which is the same generation and I think the last tie rod I replaced cost about $130 and even my 200k miles, hail damaged, backed into twice, dirty as hell inside Taurus is worth about 10x that amount

I totally missed this. A cheap tie rod end from O'Reilly is $15.99. There is only one "special" tool and O'Reilly / Autozone rent it. Make friends with someone who works on cars on the side... quick! It takes less than an hour to replace..

Recon

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 11:24:34 PM »

One other thing, mentioned above, Carfax is not 100% reliable. They are only as good as the reporting data they receive, which is sometimes not 100% complete. I've learned to use Carfax to weed out the bad apples right away, and the ones that pass get a detailed inspection (my own or a trusted advisor).


+1 on this.  My father works at Carfax, and I interned there.  They have a great service, and every day they are expanding the number of shops that report to them, but they're never going to get 100% of the records.  Even if they did have every shop in the country signed up, there will always be shady dudes out there who don't report repairs.  As stated: use Carfax as an initial screening mechanism to catch obvious damage, then ask the seller to have a pre-purchase inspection done at a good independent shop (preferably one that specializes in that particular make) for the ones that do pass the Carfax test.  The shop will usually charge you an hour of labor, which can be about $100, but it's a trivial expense in light of what you might otherwise pay in repairs on a lemon.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 10:22:59 PM by cnp318 »

BlueMR2

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2013, 10:09:39 AM »
Even if they did have every shop in the country signed up, there will always be shady dudes out there who don't report repairs.  As stated: use Carfax as an initial screening mechanism to catch obvious damage, then ask the seller to have a pre-purchase inspection done at a good independent shop (preferably one that specializes in that particular make) for the ones that do pass the Carfax test.  The shop will usually charge you an hour of labor, which can be about $100, but it's a trivial expense in light of what you might otherwise pay in repairs on a lemon.

Not just "shady dudes", but also Mustachians that repair their own damage (but would hopefully be honest enough to inform the potential buyer about it).

Recon

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2013, 10:24:40 PM »
Even if they did have every shop in the country signed up, there will always be shady dudes out there who don't report repairs.  As stated: use Carfax as an initial screening mechanism to catch obvious damage, then ask the seller to have a pre-purchase inspection done at a good independent shop (preferably one that specializes in that particular make) for the ones that do pass the Carfax test.  The shop will usually charge you an hour of labor, which can be about $100, but it's a trivial expense in light of what you might otherwise pay in repairs on a lemon.

Not just "shady dudes", but also Mustachians that repair their own damage (but would hopefully be honest enough to inform the potential buyer about it).

That's a great point too, and close to home because my father and I have usually done most of our own work.  Even if he wanted to, he wouldn't be able to get our repairs onto the Carfax report.  So I guess I would have to revise that to "shady dudes and shade tree mechanic Mustachians".

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2013, 08:54:33 PM »
ok, so, its the knuckle not a knee.

had the shop look over all the car and they said it all looks fine. they could not get it to replicate the stalling/dying out and he said he really tried. I got it back today and it did not die at all, and no hint of it either, when I was parking, which is when it happened before.

anyway, so its 500$ for the knuckle replacement and another 80 for alignment.
Im guessing I need to do it, for the life of the car and for safety.
any more input on that?

I am concerned about going ahead for this reason: Shop A put my tirerack tires on and aligned tires. They are the ones who said replace the knuckle, for 7-800$ total. They seemed very nonchalant about the necessity of the repair. Shop A has tons of good reviews on yelp, written up in city magazines, etc etc very reputable. We've used them for tire stuff in the past.

However Shop A is not super convenient to my house. and they dont do general body work, so when I wanted to fix the latch, I found Shop B. Shop B is 5 blocks from my house, also great and numerous yelp reviews, dozens of thank you cards inside from customers. Shop B guys are very nice and seem to know what they are doing, however, he is basically taking me on my word that the knuckle needs to be replaced.

So my concern is, I spend 580 on this repair, it still pulls right and then somebody says, Oh, well, it this other thing no one ever mentioned before or considered. Then what?

Ive had the car since Oct and its always been this way, but we always drive in the city,pretty much, never highways. Never over 50, probably.
But Im headed on a 6 hour highway trip in two weeks.

I want to take care of the car and keep it for many more years, but I dont want to waste money.
Everyone I know would just say its my fault for selling off my nice new car that still had a warranty (and a 10k balance, but still)

thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks,
N
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 09:11:56 PM by startingfromthestart »

ritchie70

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2013, 11:33:45 PM »
Don't have "shop B" just do stuff because "shop A" said you need it. Let "shop B" figure it out too. They may come up with something different.

I owned muffler/brake/suspension shops for roughly a decade and I don't think we replaced very many knuckles, assuming it's the part I think it is, so I'm suspicious of someone saying you need one. Get someone else to have a look.

I totally don't understand why a tie rod would be very expensive, unless maybe they're replacing an entire rack and pinion unit for some reason? There are some cars where the tie rod is pretty inconvenient, but it shouldn't ever make it into "very expensive" range.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2013, 11:36:23 AM »
Yes, I would not clue Shop B in to what Shop A said. Just say, "it pulls to the right while driving in town under 30 MPH" or whatever the case may be.

As far as the knuckle goes, I find it hard to believe it needs replaced. The knuckle on these cars holds the wheel bearing, connects to the ball joint, strut, and tie rod end. It is made of cast or forged iron (I don't recall which) and is stronger than nearly any other suspension or frame component. The only way I could see it needing replaced is in some freak occurance. In other words, I'd get a second opinion, from Shop B.

As far as the stalling, I can understand your frustration as it is a safety issue, and it can be hard to duplicate. If it happens again I'd take very careful note of when / where. For instance, I currently have an issue on my Volvo where the trunk unlocks itself. It ONLY does it when the car is shut off. When I've caught it unlocking itself, it does it rapidly and repeatedly. Additionally, it seems to do it more often when it is humid out. Therefore, my primary conclusion is the pad underneath the trunk lid that you press to unlock the unit, has had the weatherstripping damaged, and moisture is entering the unit and making it think that someone is continually pressing on the pad to unlock it. May not be what's wrong but it gives me a place to start. The more info you have the better. Another example, that I posted somewhere on here recently, was with the fuse for the headlight circuit in an old Saturn and ex had, blowing randomly. Taking notes, it only happened turning one direction (right I think), with the lights on. I wasn't able to find the issue but took it to a good electrical shop and they finally discovered that it was a loose, live wire to some aftermarket fog lights that had been installed at one point. It would short against metal, but only on a right turn, as there wasn't anything to short against when the wire moved around on a left turn. ANYWAY, my point is, take note of how long the engine has run, how hot it is out, humidity (e.g. is it always when it just rained? Or dry but very humid?), etc. There will be a pattern at some point someone can use to diagnose and repair without just replacing components that might still be good.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2013, 07:00:55 PM »
to sum up:
shop b sent me to shop c (firestone) because I was leaving town on monday am and they wanted to rule out a significant problem before I left. Shop B didnt think I needed the knee/knuckle at all. they said rear control arm was causing the pull.

firestone did an alignment and said they needed additional manual labor to get it aligned properly cost 148$ tried to sell me a lifetime alignment plan for 180$ didnt take it. they said if I felt like being a perfectionist, I could get the rear control arm replaced for 350ish dollars, but that it wasnt really critical. I left firestone on sat afternoon with a perfect alignment. lasted 10 miles.  didnt even hit a pot hole. by the time I left on vacation, monday am, after driving 10 city miles, it was pullling again, and the steering wheel is obviously offcenter to the right, about 1-2 o clock. Drove my 700 vacation miles ( all highway)

no idea what to do about it or do next. will do some research on ford focus forums. (fofofo? lol)

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 02:44:21 PM »
I left firestone on sat afternoon with a perfect alignment. lasted 10 miles.  didnt even hit a pot hole. by the time I left on vacation, monday am, after driving 10 city miles, it was pullling again, and the steering wheel is obviously offcenter to the right, about 1-2 o clock.

Well, it it's good leaving the shop, and gradually (in this case, pretty quickly) becomes out of alignment, something is moving around under there. Not necessarily unsafe, but not right either.

These cars do get bad bushings, and can be a little squirelly, especially the rear suspension. But as far as bushings go there is nothing there that can be perfectly aligned and then go to hell in a few blocks. The only thing I can think of, without looking at it, is the adjusters on the rear control arms are shot, and unable to be tightened, and are rotating after just a little bit of driving after an alignment is done. But they can't move enough to make the car dogtrack which would make the front steering wheel unaligned.

Best thing to do is join Focaljet, explain in detail what's happening, and hope someone has experienced it before. If I'm up in Chicago anytime soon I'll look at it if you want and see if there is anything obviously wrong. I'm kind of mystified myself.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2013, 05:12:06 PM »
thanks! will check out that site and if you do come up here, and would take a look, that would be awesome.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2013, 12:58:51 PM »
well, piled in the car this am to head to beach. car backed out, tires locked. I thought maybe I had a flat. no flat. backed out into alley, tires seized, steering wheel started spining 360, no control over tires, cannot drive.

sigh.

tow truck came and took it back to shop b.

waiting for verdict.

not sure if it had to do with the alignment issues or if its a whole separate problem.

realized something the other day about the alignment. the car actually pulls left. If I line the steering wheel up to the 12 oclocck position, the car veers off to the left. if I drive it straight, the steering wheel points to 1-2 oclock.

anyway. more headaches.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2013, 06:40:50 PM »
shop b called. broken tie rod. something about not the inner or only the inner, its not the steering or something major, however, its still managing to cost me 325$ plus 75 for the tow.

and then there is the alignment issues. sorry, Im just venting. sigh.

everywhere I go online, including this thread, says a tie rod is cheap.

wth.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2013, 02:57:38 PM »
Really sorry to hear that. Only thing I can say is really glad it didn't happen on the highway!!

If it truly was no movement of either tire (turning left or right), then it is the steering shaft. If one tie rod or tie rod end was bad, then one tire would still turn. Never heard of a steering shaft letting go, then are generally redundant in their failure mode.

Can you ask for the old parts back and post a pic? I'm curious what actually happened.

Another Reader

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2013, 03:18:06 PM »
In my opinion, this car is a pile of junk that could have endangered you and your family with its most recent breakdown.  In your shoes, I would not put another penny into this car.  You are throwing good money after bad.  It will be one problem after another and no one you are dealing with can properly diagnose or repair it.   

I would write this off an expensive lesson in old used cars.  Gather as much cash as you can and buy a better quality newer car that meets your needs.  In your situation, I would do that even if it meant a car payment.  Yes, this is heresy, but you have neither the knowledge nor the time to chase down all of the problems with this car.  And safety for your family is paramount.  Deal with the money issue in the best way possible, but move on.

savingtofreedom

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2013, 03:29:01 PM »
In my opinion, this car is a pile of junk that could have endangered you and your family with its most recent breakdown.  In your shoes, I would not put another penny into this car.  You are throwing good money after bad.  It will be one problem after another and no one you are dealing with can properly diagnose or repair it.   

I would write this off an expensive lesson in old used cars.  Gather as much cash as you can and buy a better quality newer car that meets your needs.  In your situation, I would do that even if it meant a car payment.  Yes, this is heresy, but you have neither the knowledge nor the time to chase down all of the problems with this car.  And safety for your family is paramount.  Deal with the money issue in the best way possible, but move on.

I agree with the above.  I am very sorry about your current situation but this sounds dangerous and not worth the continued money or effort. Good luck.

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2013, 04:09:01 PM »
hmm.

Ok, picked it up. It was actually the inner and outer tie rod, the guy said his guess is that shop a or somewhere earlier overtightened the connection between them and stripped the connection, so that when I got the alignments, any bump would move the connection and it would come out of alignment.

Seems perfect now. steering wheel is set straight up, drives well.

also, I think one tire wasnt turning, but the other might have been.

I should have asked to take pictures of the parts! duh.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2013, 08:04:59 AM »
hmm.

Ok, picked it up. It was actually the inner and outer tie rod, the guy said his guess is that shop a or somewhere earlier overtightened the connection between them and stripped the connection, so that when I got the alignments, any bump would move the connection and it would come out of alignment.

Seems perfect now. steering wheel is set straight up, drives well.

also, I think one tire wasnt turning, but the other might have been.

I should have asked to take pictures of the parts! duh.

That sounds entirely plausible. I just didn't think that someone would actually strip out the threads on a part so critical to safety and then just.... leave it. Once again, my faith in humanity takes a hit.

I also wouldn't listen to the posters above (not trying to start an interweb war here)[EDIT - that sounds hostile, I'm not trying to be, this is just my opinion]. Any car will have something wear out or break if you drive it long enough. Most of the ones you've had are general maintenance especially with the miles on this particular car. The safety issue sounds like a mechanic-induced issue, not a used car issue. So, I guess what I'm saying is I hope you don't take the advice to heart and go shopping (yet). I DO agree that throwing good money after bad isn't worth it. Been there, done that. Just don't think it applies in this particular case.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:41:06 AM by Forcus »

N

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2013, 11:00:57 AM »
thanks @forcus, I dont feel like this car is a lost cause yet.

Forcus

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2013, 07:57:33 AM »
And sorry again if my comments were d-bag-ish... lol.

I certainly know about lost causes. I used to regularly buy sub-$1000 cars, put 3-4k in them, get tired of them, then sell them.... for 1000-ish. My wife (before we were married) drove her parent's car, a 1992 Lumina with 230k miles. They put 2 transmissions, 2 sets of head gaskets in it. As I recall each repair was around $2-3k (mechanic's price), which they of course put on their credit card. Could have had a brand new car, or a newer car with a payment, and that would have made more sense than pushing the old girl on. I just don't think your wagon is there.. plus I just have a major crush on Focii (no tattoos though).

BlueMR2

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2013, 10:05:02 AM »
Some cars are just not meant to be saved.  My wife dearly loved her '90 Mitsubishi Eclipse, but after 3 engine failures in 4 years, it had to go.  Beyond that, the door handles had both snapped off, something in the rear end of the car would bind up and make it start shuddering/hopping if you drove over 55 mph for more than a few minutes (and basically the whole rear of the car was replaced twice to no effect), the transmission lower mount was bent, making it hard to shift it reverse and 5th, the roof liner was falling in, the springs in the seats had collapsed, etc...  The really sad part is that the car was only 12 years old when she sold it for scrap.  Her current car (Toyota Celica) is now 12 years old and other than having an early transmission bearing failure has been bulletproof...

Rangifer

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Re: How Much Money to repair used car?
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2013, 01:42:21 AM »
No offense to anyone in this thread, but the moral of the story here is that if you don't know anything about cars then you should pay for a pre-purchase inspection.