Author Topic: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive  (Read 20993 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Hey guys,

So my car has gone through a lot just in the past couple years. It's a 93 Camry with 204k miles on it. First, one side of the vents stopped blowing cold air from the AC. This went on for a while. My mechanic didn't seem to want to fix it because it just seems like a lot of trouble. OK no big deal - I'll just close the vents and blow cold air from the other side. I even tried to flush the radiator and refill it but then this exposed an issue where the radiator ending up needing replacement - it leaked and I basically wasted all my money on that coolant and then paid for a new radiator. Then while driving on the freeway with the AC on not that many months ago, I heard this loud screeching sound and smelled burning rubber... I confirmed that this happens about 5-10 minutes after driving the car around with the AC on. Sounds like the AC Compressor needs replacement. And all on top of that, I pulled an idiot move and backed my car out of the carport with the driver's side door open, resulting in the door bending backwards and causing the fender to buckle in near the hinge. I did go to the junkyard to get a new fender and door and was able to slap them on. So aside from the car looking ridiculous while driving it around, it's *extremely* unbearable to drive especially when it's been parked out in the sun. Take for example today, just driving around for 5 minutes my back and legs were sweaty and I had to keep wiping my face of sweat... blowing the air isn't a good option when it blows hot. Someone suggested the spray-water bottle trick but I have serious doubts that will be very effective, considering it's not just my face that feels hot and sweaty.

Anyway, in short, I'm getting really tired of this car. We have a little one on the way and while being a one-car family might be ideal, I don't *ever* want to have to install a car seat in the Camry while the AC isn't working and considering how hot it can get in there.

What do you think guys? After all I've been through with the car, should I just at least get the AC compressor replaced (or whatever the issue is...hopefully that would be it)? Or given the current state of things, should I just sell the car as-is and look for another used Camry (or other brand/model)? 

jj20051

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 03:30:14 PM »
Your car sounds like it's nearing the end of its usable life. If you need a car go with something in the $3k - $6k range preferably under 60k miles. (As an example you could get a ford fiesta with 48k miles for $6k; it'll get 35 - 45 mpg.).

By the time you replace the AC pump and the misc other things that are probably wrong with a car that has 200k miles you'll have put in $6k anyway. (Seriously the AC pump will probably be over $800 installed alone).

VCaddy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Location: Texas
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 03:35:36 PM »
You have to replace the condenser and lines at the same time as the compressor, unless you want your new compressor to get trashed by the contaminants in those parts.  I'm sure somebody will buy it as is for a work beater. 

BicycleB

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1781
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 03:48:55 PM »
I vote for new used car that will carry you through the next phase of life.  Try looking up MMM's "Ten Cars for Smart People" post.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 03:53:10 PM »
I'm with the others. Its been a valiant run, but at this point its probably OK to splurge and buy another used car. This coming from someone who drove around an old Ford taurus with no A/C plus the passenger side window would not roll down. I made all the way into June in Arizona before I couldn't handle it anymore and caved.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 04:21:04 PM »
I think you made a valiant effort with the door replacement and it's time to move on. Sell the car as is and buy something cheap with working a/c. :)

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 04:34:04 PM »
Wait, so far all the votes are to replace the whole car because the A/C compressor stopped working?  WTF?  A radiator and an A/C compressor are not major items.  It's not like your transmission or head gasket blew.  Fix the compressor.  Keep driving the car.

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 04:44:38 PM »
Wait, so far all the votes are to replace the whole car because the A/C compressor stopped working?  WTF?  A radiator and an A/C compressor are not major items.  It's not like your transmission or head gasket blew.  Fix the compressor.  Keep driving the car.
Plus, it will be fall weather soon...put it off until next year!

Also, if or when you replace it we need to figure out something cool for you to do with your current car. I vote for demolition derby or gut it for autocross!

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 04:56:05 PM »
Wait, so far all the votes are to replace the whole car because the A/C compressor stopped working?  WTF?  A radiator and an A/C compressor are not major items.  It's not like your transmission or head gasket blew.  Fix the compressor.  Keep driving the car.
Plus, it will be fall weather soon...put it off until next year!

Also, if or when you replace it we need to figure out something cool for you to do with your current car. I vote for demolition derby or gut it for autocross!

Rallycross!

(I'd suggest Chump Car or LeMons, but I'm not sure how the rules account for a car you've owned for a while, and was relatively valuable when you bought it.)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 06:00:10 PM »
Wait, so far all the votes are to replace the whole car because the A/C compressor stopped working?  WTF?  A radiator and an A/C compressor are not major items.  It's not like your transmission or head gasket blew.  Fix the compressor.  Keep driving the car.
Plus, it will be fall weather soon...put it off until next year!

Also, if or when you replace it we need to figure out something cool for you to do with your current car. I vote for demolition derby or gut it for autocross!

Rallycross!

(I'd suggest Chump Car or LeMons, but I'm not sure how the rules account for a car you've owned for a while, and was relatively valuable when you bought it.)


This was actually a hand-me-down car that my parents bought off my uncle not too long after his wife passed on.


humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 06:22:46 PM »
Wait, so far all the votes are to replace the whole car because the A/C compressor stopped working?  WTF?  A radiator and an A/C compressor are not major items.  It's not like your transmission or head gasket blew.  Fix the compressor.  Keep driving the car.


This is what I was thinking.  I drive a 99 camry and the ac doesnt work.  I just drive in my undershirt.  Also, i bike 13 miles to work every day and barely ever drive my car.

bsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
  • Location: Texas
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 06:29:02 PM »
MMM had a pretty good article a while back where he tried out driving on a long road trip without a/c. He used a spray bottle full of water to periodically spray himself. He said it was surprisingly effective.

KittyCat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Age: 30
  • Location: CA, USA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 06:37:23 PM »
MMM had a pretty good article a while back where he tried out driving on a long road trip without a/c. He used a spray bottle full of water to periodically spray himself. He said it was surprisingly effective.
The OP mentioned that the spray bottle trick and that it might not be effective for him, plus he has a child on the way and does not risk having the child in there without AC.

For the record, I just bake inside my car; I have a high temperature tolerance range/comfort zone.

Yankuba

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1357
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 06:41:32 PM »
The OP is having a baby! He needs AC for the baby so he/she doesn't overheat and a newer car should be much safer. Get something preowned and certified for $5k

Deano

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 06:41:37 PM »
It's really miserable to get stuck somewhere with a little one-this car owes you nothing and as long as you're not hurting for money (as in no debts etc.) then buy a used car for under 5k that will be more reliable. It's not about the AC, it's about the general trajectory of this car's life-it's going downhill. It could be good for a long time still, but it would be better being owned by someone who can do all of their own work.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 06:44:20 PM »
Yeah, this car isn't baby material.

bsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
  • Location: Texas
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 08:07:59 PM »
Babies are such a bunch of complainypants.

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2015, 08:58:04 PM »
If it weren't for the baby and you're not already FIRE I'd just say suck it up and deal with the heat. But since baby, just replace the A/C. It's a Camry...why replace the entire car?

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2015, 09:56:38 PM »
You can get a new compressor from Rockauto.com for as little as $141.00 depending on your engine etc.  While it's best practice to do a lot more than replace the compressor and recharge it, it would work for years that way.  If you can't do it surely you know someone who can help you do it.  Add $30 or 134a and maybe a new drive belt and you could have working a/c for $200 if you want to work at it.

Remember someone put the car together, you can learn to repair it.

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2128
  • Location: Florida
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2015, 10:34:28 PM »
Priority is a safe car with AC for the baby. End of story.

The car had a nice run - let it go.


JimLahey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 127
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2015, 10:48:57 PM »
It just cost me $700 in parts/labor to get my A/C system fixed. Granted my car is an 06' Taurus with half as many miles as your car. You can't replace just the compressor alone. You also have to replace the drier/accumulator and orifice tube. A special pump is required to remove and refill the freon. Sell it as is and get a nice used car with working A/C.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4059
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2015, 12:08:52 AM »
Plus, it will be fall weather soon...put it off until next year!

We don't where the OP is but fall weather doesn't start until late November in the south.

worms

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2015, 12:56:39 AM »
Babies are such a bunch of complainypants.
Lol! Actually, babies are tough, it's their owners who are complainypants! 

Babies were around long before AC was invented.  Ours were raised on the equator and didn't experience AC in a car until we were back in Northern Europe!

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2015, 09:49:33 AM »
Haha, I'm in Southern California. The weather has been in the 80s and 90s lately. I mean, it does seem as simple as "I'll just have the AC Compressor and a couple tubes replaced and call it done for under $1000" but will it really be that straightforward? Especially in the long-run? I can barely do my own car work let alone have the time to do it once the baby is here... one more thing to worry about. In fact, at this rate, I don't even know if I'll have time to fix anything or get a new car before the baby is here considering how long it takes me to research this stuff. This is really something I should have thought about months ago. It just turns out that the AC died within that time frame, forcing my hand, and now I need to make a decision. The car drives OK but in the back of my mind I still wonder how long I should hold onto it. I don't intend to put a carseat in it at this point and we also have a Rav4 which is the primary car we drive around in. I generally only commute with the Camry or take it around on short errands (and at this point given the weather, the only time of day I'll drive it besides for commuting is early morning or late night!), but yesterday I was driving out to get lunch (I know I know, anti-mustachian but it was just one of those days where I didn't bring lunch) and was only driving around for 10 minutes and had sweat dripping off the back of my head by the time I got back LOL. It's not the sweating alone that bothered me, but the fact that I was going back into work and sweaty.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 09:58:16 AM by jplee3 »

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2015, 10:22:50 AM »
I mean, it does seem as simple as "I'll just have the AC Compressor and a couple tubes replaced and call it done for under $1000" but will it really be that straightforward?

Yes, yes it will be.  Then if something else minor breaks, you can get that fixed too.  It blows my mind that people (upthread) somehow think that getting a different car will automatically come without anything that can break.  Cars break.  Yes, even those newer ones.  Find a good mechanic if you can't do it yourself.  You know the car drives fine.  Your kid will not care if the quarter panels are different colors.  It sounds like s/he won't even ride in this one much if at all.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2015, 10:25:43 AM »
Also, MMM would punch half of you in the face.  You should feel shame.  Maybe try www.alwaysgetanewcareverytimeanythingminorgoeswrong.com/forum for your dirty pleasure.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2015, 10:26:52 AM »
I mean, it does seem as simple as "I'll just have the AC Compressor and a couple tubes replaced and call it done for under $1000" but will it really be that straightforward?

Yes, yes it will be.  Then if something else minor breaks, you can get that fixed too.  It blows my mind that people (upthread) somehow think that getting a different car will automatically come without anything that can break.  Cars break.  Yes, even those newer ones.  Find a good mechanic if you can't do it yourself.  You know the car drives fine.  Your kid will not care if the quarter panels are different colors.  It sounds like s/he won't even ride in this one much if at all.

Yea, if this were my only car, then I'd feel more strongly about ditching it and buying another used. But if it's as simple as replacing a few things that won't cost an arm and a leg, then fine. But I've been down this road before too where one thing breaks, you fix it, then more crap breaks, etc etc etc rinse and repeat... I mean, it is a pretty old car (22yrs!!) so I suppose things are expected to fail - but it just sucks if and when everything starts failing at the same time!

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2015, 10:56:04 AM »
Yea, if this were my only car, then I'd feel more strongly about ditching it and buying another used. But if it's as simple as replacing a few things that won't cost an arm and a leg, then fine. But I've been down this road before too where one thing breaks, you fix it, then more crap breaks, etc etc etc rinse and repeat... I mean, it is a pretty old car (22yrs!!) so I suppose things are expected to fail - but it just sucks if and when everything starts failing at the same time!

You've been down that road with this car?  If not, then you cross that bridge if (not when) you come to it.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2015, 11:23:54 AM »
Yea, if this were my only car, then I'd feel more strongly about ditching it and buying another used. But if it's as simple as replacing a few things that won't cost an arm and a leg, then fine. But I've been down this road before too where one thing breaks, you fix it, then more crap breaks, etc etc etc rinse and repeat... I mean, it is a pretty old car (22yrs!!) so I suppose things are expected to fail - but it just sucks if and when everything starts failing at the same time!

You've been down that road with this car?  If not, then you cross that bridge if (not when) you come to it.

Yea... with this car: catalytic converter, a couple radiators, head gasket, transmission, shocks, a bunch of other crap I forgot about, etc. All within the past 10 years (and probably 20,000-30,000 miles - I've never had a long commute, fortunately) of having it. Then again, considering I didn't actually purchase the car, I guess that's not so bad. It just seems like a lot of money has been spent on the car in this time (of course, I wasn't very 'frugal' about car stuff until I got into MMM in the past year but I should tally it all up just for kicks). I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off just getting a used car with low mileage back then... hindsight is 20/20
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 11:32:16 AM by jplee3 »

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2015, 11:35:02 AM »
Well shit, it's practically a brand new car at this point!  :)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2015, 11:50:14 AM »
Well shit, it's practically a brand new car at this point!  :)

LOL until the next thing... oh yea, I had to replace the windshield recently too but that wasn't so bad; cept for the fact that the new windshield got hit with another friggin pebble literally the next day driving on the fwy (at least it didn't result in a long-crack like the previous one - I swear someone was playing with a slingshot and aiming at passing cars the day that happened).

I need to start riding my bike again - if I'm gonna sweat, I'd rather sweat on a bike than in my car hahaha!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 11:52:07 AM by jplee3 »

Tomacco

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2015, 11:59:03 AM »
Im def with Eric on this. i had a car for 10 years with no ac. i have ac in my car now, but ive never used it. i have ac in my house too- but ive never used it.  a little cool water on the wrists cools you right down. do the windows work? roll them down. put the baby in the rav4. the camry has a lot of life left.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2015, 12:43:27 PM »
Im def with Eric on this. i had a car for 10 years with no ac. i have ac in my car now, but ive never used it. i have ac in my house too- but ive never used it.  a little cool water on the wrists cools you right down. do the windows work? roll them down. put the baby in the rav4. the camry has a lot of life left.

Yea the windows are fine. There's even a sunroof LOL. Problem is the interior of the car is dark leather, so it heats up fast and heats up a lot (prob over 100 degrees) and doesn't cool down much even with the windows and vents open. It really sucks. If the parking lot here at work were covered, it would be no problem. Oh well... I guess I can continue to designate it as my commuting car and "emergency" car. I may get a quote on the AC stuff though first just to see. If it's only $300-$600, I'd probably be OK with it.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2015, 01:12:15 PM »
Yeah, this car isn't baby material.

To me, this is the bottom line.  You need to protect the baby, and a baby isn't always going to tell you when it's uncomfortable.  Nor will it mist itself with a spray bottle.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2015, 01:15:28 PM »
Yeah, this car isn't baby material.

To me, this is the bottom line.  You need to protect the baby, and a baby isn't always going to tell you when it's uncomfortable.  Nor will it mist itself with a spray bottle.

Isn't that what the crying is for?

jj20051

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2015, 01:23:08 PM »
Also, MMM would punch half of you in the face.  You should feel shame.  Maybe try www.alwaysgetanewcareverytimeanythingminorgoeswrong.com/forum for your dirty pleasure.

A car with 240k miles is on it's last leg as far as I'm concerned. If it hasn't had almost every part replaced yet it'll need to shortly. It's really about the amount of maintenance you're likely to put in on a vehicle. I didn't tell him to go buy a NEW car, just a less used one. From what I saw in the picture it looks like he'll need new tires soon... I'm sure the transmission is 3/4 of the way to dead.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2754
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2015, 02:03:15 PM »
I'm in the baby will be fine camp.  He/she is chilling at 98.6 degrees F as we speak.  Cooler weather can not be much more than 60 days away.  Stick it out and you will have at least until next spring to think about it.  Cover your black seats with old light colored sheets or towels. Bring along a bottle of ice water to both drink and hold against your skin for the hotter trips.  Even if you only get another 6-12 months out of the car, do that a few times in a lifetime and you save the entire purchase of a car or two.

 I went 3-4 years without AC in the humid SE, you can do it!     

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2015, 02:11:29 PM »
MMM had a pretty good article a while back where he tried out driving on a long road trip without a/c. He used a spray bottle full of water to periodically spray himself. He said it was surprisingly effective.

Came to say almost exactly this.

Get a wicking shirt, something you'd wear while playing sports or going to the gym.

Soak in water, wring it out so it's not dripping, wear it until dry, lather, rinse, repeat. Worked for me when I didn't have A/C.

As for the car: if there's any chance other stuff is starting to go (suspension, brakes, frame rot, engine, exhaust system etc) you gotta decide if the car is going to cost more over the next few years in repairs than a newer model would.

Something like a "mid-2000s" Elantra (2004-2006), Mazda 3, Ford Focus etc might have a longer life and reduced ongoing ownership costs.

There's a tipping point when keeping and fixing an older car gets as expensive as spending $3-5k on something newer.

A wicking shirt? So I should dress like I'm going to the gym for my commutes to work? That's hilarious! Can't wait to see my wife's reaction when I do that and she asks where I'm going :O

As far as the car, I'm not sure how much more money will be put into it versus if I were to just get a used car. It sure would be nice if we could anticipate and know exactly when and how much though right? I was sort of considering a [used] Mazda 5 at some point. At least to potentially replace the Rav4 if we have more than one kid. Or I could eventually dump the Camry, keep the Rav4, and get a Mazda 5.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2015, 02:20:53 PM »
Also, MMM would punch half of you in the face.  You should feel shame.  Maybe try www.alwaysgetanewcareverytimeanythingminorgoeswrong.com/forum for your dirty pleasure.

A car with 240k miles is on it's last leg as far as I'm concerned. If it hasn't had almost every part replaced yet it'll need to shortly. It's really about the amount of maintenance you're likely to put in on a vehicle. I didn't tell him to go buy a NEW car, just a less used one. From what I saw in the picture it looks like he'll need new tires soon... I'm sure the transmission is 3/4 of the way to dead.

It's actually 204k miles currently. Camrys (especially the older ones) run forever btw... older Camrys in the 200ks are quite a common occurrence. Probably one of the most reliable long-lasting cars ever as far as the engine is concerned. But yea, it is the maintenance and repair costs for *everything else* that seems like it can start adding up. It may not be worth holding onto for a super long time if more expensive repairs come up. But it's hard to tell the future too... after I destroyed the driver's side door and damaged the fender badly (per the tricolors in the picture above), I was *this* close to donating the car but was strongly encouraged to endure through DIY fixing it (pulled off damaged door and fender, went to a junkyard, pulled a decent door and fender, reinstalled... etc). But that took me at least a month's worth of time including removal, converting the interior card and all components over to the replacement door, installation, as well as lots of rest and recovery for wrist strain in between. Anyway, if another 'major' component fails I'm not sure if I want to deal with it. The tranny my mechanic put in was a used tranny so for all I know it could very well be on its last legs.

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2015, 02:26:15 PM »
Remember the sunk cost fallacy--money already spent on the car is gone.

Does this car meet your needs now? You don't want to put a car seat in it, so it won't meet your needs when the baby comes. You are tired of driving it, you're very uncomfortable in it right now. You're concerned about its reliability in the future, so it doesn't help with your peace of mind. If you replaced the entire AC system, the other issues would be there. With a baby on the way, peace of mind is going to get scarcer, as will time and money and your tolerance for irritation.

It's mustachian to keep the old car forever, but it's also mustachian to eliminate unnecessary sources of stress in your life. There is some other Mustachian out there with automotive skills who will appreciate the Camry. Maybe you should give yourself the gift of not worrying about your car by getting a newer one.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2015, 11:56:00 PM »
Remember the sunk cost fallacy--money already spent on the car is gone.

Does this car meet your needs now? You don't want to put a car seat in it, so it won't meet your needs when the baby comes. You are tired of driving it, you're very uncomfortable in it right now. You're concerned about its reliability in the future, so it doesn't help with your peace of mind. If you replaced the entire AC system, the other issues would be there. With a baby on the way, peace of mind is going to get scarcer, as will time and money and your tolerance for irritation.

It's mustachian to keep the old car forever, but it's also mustachian to eliminate unnecessary sources of stress in your life. There is some other Mustachian out there with automotive skills who will appreciate the Camry. Maybe you should give yourself the gift of not worrying about your car by getting a newer one.

Thanks for the perspective. Since we'll depend more on the Rav4 for baby, having the Camry around should be OK until the next *big* repair comes up. I'm going to take it into an mechanic who specializes in AC in a couple weeks (good Yelp reviews, reasonable pricing, and recommended by a coworker as well) to get a diagnosis and quote. Depending on the cost, I may decide to go ahead and fix it. Right now the main thing is the AC. But whatever issue comes up next, especially if it's a major component, that's when we'll probably decide to ditch the car and get something else. Or I could just resort to biking into work, driving the Rav4 around, or having my wife drop me off even once the baby is a little older.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2393
  • Location: NZ
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2015, 02:42:58 AM »
I didn't read the whoLe thread, but have you tried winding the windows down?

Even keep it parked with the windows down a bit to let the air circulate.

Davids

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 973
  • Location: Somewhere in the USA.
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2015, 04:27:42 AM »
Since you are having a baby then you need to get another car. I am sure you can find something good in the $3k-$5k range but since you are having a baby do not take chances.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2015, 05:31:23 AM »
Given the age of the car, I'd start saving for an eventual replacement.

Babies survived thousands of years without AC. My 3 have only had AC in the last year, and even then we only use it on long freeway trips to avoid the annoying noise from having the windows all open.

A shitty car like that? Unless rain was in the forecast (not likely in SoCal) I'd park it with the windows all open. Who's gonna steal it? The temp inside a parked car with the windows down is MUCH lower than when rolling the windows up.

I've driven in super hot weather without AC. As long as you're moving, the air through the windows is enough. Bumper to bumper traffic sucks, but you should be using the bike for that ;)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2015, 06:37:39 AM »
Yeah, this car isn't baby material.

To me, this is the bottom line.  You need to protect the baby, and a baby isn't always going to tell you when it's uncomfortable.  Nor will it mist itself with a spray bottle.

Isn't that what the crying is for?

The crying is for lots of things, unfortunately. It's amazing how much easier it is to solve my daughter's problems now that she can use sentences (sort of, "Kick Daddy ball!")...

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #45 on: August 06, 2015, 06:50:25 AM »
Plus, it will be fall weather soon...put it off until next year!

We don't where the OP is but fall weather doesn't start until late November in the south.
Yeah, we're setting record temperatures here lately, and it's not been fun.  I think we're averaging 99 in the afternoons.  We're not getting our typical summer late-day quick rainstorms -- they usually knock the temperature down 20 degrees in minutes. 

Anyone who says "tough it out" isn't a Southerner. 

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #46 on: August 06, 2015, 12:28:53 PM »
Since you are having a baby then you need to get another car. I am sure you can find something good in the $3k-$5k range but since you are having a baby do not take chances.

This made me LOL.  OMG, there's chance that your baby could experience the natural climate!  DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!!!!!!

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2955
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2015, 12:39:55 PM »
I didn't read the whoLe thread, but have you tried winding the windows down?

Even keep it parked with the windows down a bit to let the air circulate.

Ah good idea! Totally forgot about doing that lol. I think it helps a bit. Not much but every little bit helps I suppose.

KCM5

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 871
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2015, 01:28:39 PM »
This is the perfect opportunity to get down to one car. Actually, your situation is almost exactly how we got down to one car. We had one crappy car and a baby. Once the baby is old enough to be transported by bike, depending on your living circumstances, maybe you won't need two cars. I'd limp along with the car you have until then and then get rid of it. Bonus: it sucks so much to drive you'll get used to not having two cars!

Blonde Lawyer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 739
    • My Student Loan Refi Story
Re: I don't know what to do about my car... AC broken - unbearable to drive
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2015, 02:35:18 PM »
My brother and I grew up without AC in our house or cars.  I don't understand the concept that you need AC to protect the baby.  As long as you don't leave the baby in a parked car, the baby will be fine.

Keep in mind though that whatever is preventing your AC from working could need to be fixed if it is necessary for otherwise cooling your engine.  I had something with my AC go last year and I had no choice but to fix it to preserve the rest of the car.  I can't remember what the part was called though.