Worth Repairing?

nikchick04June 30, 2006

Hi there,

I have a 97 Chrysler Sebring, which I recently brought to the dealer because it was driving poorly, leaking coolant, and shaking vigorously at anything over 50 mph. Turns out that both head gaskets are bad, I need tie rods, and some brake work, totaling approximately $4,500. I'm a college student - I don't have anywhere near this amount of money just lying around, but I need something to drive. If I had to, I could use my credit card for the repairs (don't want to do that, but like I said I don't have the cash), but would it be worth it? The car has 113k miles - it isn't even worth the $4,500 that it would cost to fix it, and I am concerned that it wouldn't last much longer after putting so much money into it. My other option would be to get an inexpensive used car (I would put a small down payment and then would have to finance), but I imagine it would be difficult to find something newer and/or with fewer miles in the same price range. I just need something reliable, hopefully that would last at least a few years without any major problems. Any opions on what my best option would be?



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I wouldn't spend that kind of money to fix it. I'm hoping you got more than one estimate for all this work. Dealers are fairly expensive for this kind of service, and it's not like your car is so unusual that a good independent mechanic couldn't fix what's wrong. Go get estimates from local independent mechanics you or your friends and coworkers trust (e.g., not Sears or CarX). That technician also should be able to tell you what else you may be spending money on soon. Then you can decide.

If you have to, just fix the obvious safety issues (like the tie rods) and start car-shopping. Four grand can buy you a car like a Ford Contour or a Pontiac Grand Prix or a Plymouth Breeze or such with less than 100,000 miles on it; assuming it's been cared-for, it should be good for another 50,000. The car might be a little older than yours, but if it has much lower mileage and it has maintenance records, it could work.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:36AM
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No question about it. Not worth fixing by any stretch of the imagination. There maybe cheeper places to get it fixed but imo unless you could to the repairs yourself, no shop could do a good job at a price that would make it worth doing.

If you're not picky about make or model, spend $2500 or more on something that's not the most stylish thing on the road, but not falling appart. Do a little research on the car you want to buy to avoid great looking cars that have known serious defects. 1993-ish Ford Tauris for example has a junk box automatic transmission. You could find a perfect shape one of those with 80k miles on it real cheep. Down side is the tranny has about a 99% chance of failing before it gets to 90k miles. Then you get to spend more on the tranny than you paid for the whole car...and still have a junk box transmission that will quit early. You can still find something to get you by for $2500 or so imo.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:19PM
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