Author Topic: Should I fix this car?  (Read 1232 times)

Spiffy

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Should I fix this car?
« on: February 10, 2018, 11:16:46 AM »
My husband drives a Chevy Prizm 2002 with 90,000 miles. We have had it for 10 years and it has been cheap and reliable. Last week on the way to work the check engine light came on, then the oil light and then a terrible grinding noise and he stopped right away and had it towed to a repair place. Turns out the oil pump failed and caused so much damage that the only fix is to replace the engine. We got two estimates. One for $5500 and another for $4000. At first we thought, No way, it isn't worth it to fix it. But now we are looking around on Craigslist and at used lots in town and can't really find anything under $5000 that doesn't have 200,000 miles on it. Should we fix it? Is replacing the engine like having a whole new one and we could realistically expect it to keep chugging along for 5 more years? What say you, oh wise ones?

Dave1442397

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2018, 01:49:10 PM »
This is basically a rebadged Toyota Corolla. I see replacement engines out there for $900-$1100, including a new one listed here for $1100 with shipping - https://www.ebay.com/p/NOS-OEM-GM-Engine-Serv-Partial-94860022/656519172?iid=322831544373&rt=nc&opts=opick

If you can get a mechanic to replace the engine for you, it really shouldn't cost more than $2000 total. For that car, with only 90k miles, I think it would be worth fixing.


ChpBstrd

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 04:15:55 PM »
Strange. In my market, a search in CL reveals dozens of vehicles in your target price range, several with <100k miles. Your old car in running condition would be $2500. Maybe some geographic arbitrage is in order. Rent a car for a weekend and expand your range.

I would not invest a new engine into a 16 year old car.

Brother Esau

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 04:22:28 PM »
I would not invest a new engine into a 16 year old car.

I would move on to the next vehicle.

BlueMR2

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 06:19:50 AM »
If the rest of the car is still in really good shape, I'd drop the engine in it.  If it's not, then I'd shop...  The problem with buying another car is that you're rolling the dice on the service history and are unlikely to find one that's in really good shape.  So, if yours IS in really good shape it can be worth an engine.

I've done one engine replacement.  It was also due to an oil pump failure.  It was $4500 back about 16 years ago to drop a new engine into my then 12 year old Toyota.  I still have that car today and am closing in on 300,000 miles.  Everything else on the car was in top notch condition and looking at comparable "value" used cars was really disappointing.

chasesfish

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 06:51:09 AM »
Gosh that stinks...

How good of shape is everything else in after 90,000 miles?  Garage kept car?

I agree with the others, a Prizm is a rebranded Toyota Corolla and an incredible car underneath it.  I'd just figure out what you can get as a comparable car.  A 10yr old Scion Xd might not cost much more than the Prizm

specialkayme

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 07:14:26 AM »
Strange. In my market, a search in CL reveals dozens of vehicles in your target price range, several with <100k miles.

I've found car searches to be VERY location specific. I'm driving a 15 year old Ford Ranger for my side gig and the axels are about to rust off, so I'm keeping an eye open for a replacement truck. Hoping for a decent F150 with high, but manageable miles. I've been looking for something for over a year. Most trucks that fit the bill come in around $8-9k, while NADA, KBB and the like value them at $3,500-4,000. Nationally that might be true, but I'd have to drive 2,000 miles away to get a truck at that price. Not exactly worth it.


I would move on to the next vehicle.

A tough choice overall. I had a chevy malibu years ago that went through 4 head gaskets. Each time I'd be hit up for $1,500 to $1,800. You look at it and say "geeze, the car's worth $6k, I can't not spend $1,500 to fix it." But in the end, repair after repair after repair got old. When the last head gasket blew, a few of the windows, the heat, the ac, and a few other things stopped working, and I had enough.

I'd mimic what others say here. If the rest of the car seems reliable and well maintained, replace the engine. If not so much, I'd move onto the next vehicle.

Spiffy

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 09:28:06 AM »
Thanks for all this advice! The Chevy's paint isn't in great shape and the interior started out cheap and is OK, but not great. We are going to sell it to a pick and pull type auto parts place. We went down the road a bit to one of our little neighboring towns and bought a 2006 Toyota Camry XLE with 100,080 miles on it. It is in very good shape and the interior is nicer than we've had before! First leather seats! We paid $5500. And I am doing something I have never done before. We only gave them $2000 in cash and put the rest on a 0% interest credit card that I got last week. I actually ran it through a card with rewards first and will transfer the balance for free. This way I can keep more of my cash and pay off the car over the next year without incurring any interest charges. If you use a card the dealership has to charge 3% of the amount charged, but they took that amount off the purchase price. Maybe I should I put myself on the Antimustachian Wall of shame for buying a car with a credit card.

chasesfish

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 09:57:41 AM »
Congrats, you made a nice move.  A well cared for Camry should get 250,000 miles.

Don't forget to wax it twice a year.  Old car exteriors desperately need help, I use turtlewax ice for our 2002 and 2007 cars, only a few fading spots where I neglected to treat it and it spent years uncovered at work in the Georgia summers

Anon in Alaska

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Re: Should I fix this car?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 10:19:40 AM »
The value of a car is not what the Blue book lists, the value of a car is what it would cost you to replace it with something that isn't older and does not have more mileage.

I happily paid $4000 to put a new engine in a car "worth" $2500 because a lower mileage replacement would have been $8,000 to $10,000. I got another six or seven years out of my car (and the guy I then sold it to for $1,000 got two more years after that).