So my car is dying

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by Ayle, Jan 10, 2013.

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  1. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    Hello, my car decided to spring multiple unrelated problems in a short period of time and my mechanic is quoting me about $1k to fix everything :(. It's an 03 Focus wagon and according to kbb the value of the car is down to about $1.5k, so I'm having mixed feeling about spending 2/3 of the car current value getting it running ok again and I'm seriously thinking about ditching it and getting a new car. Am I wrong in my reasoning? Should stick with it? I've done some research about potential replacement and came up with a sx4, rx8, cooper s or a gti. Any opinions?
     
  2. Micaiah

    Micaiah Notebook Deity

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    Your thought process definitely isn't wrong; a car that begins developing issues that would cost as much as it is worth is usually what a lot of people would count as a sign to begin looking for a new vehicle. As you have mentioned a mechanic being involved, I'm assuming these issues are related to the engine or transmission, which in this case, IMO, means it's time for a new vehicle. It's a gamble unfortunately, you might fix these things and don't have issues with the car for a long time, or it may further worsen. Given the first generation Focus' reliability history though, I'm leaning toward the later.

    As for cars you listed for replacement, I'm going to be honest with you, the Suzuki seems to be the most appealing choice among the choices. What are you looking for in a car? I'm assuming something sporty with a stick shift or is there more?

    Here are my opinions on what you have:

    - 2007 Suzuki SX4 AWD: This is a bit of an oddball out of your group. It gets good gas mileage, it's simple and cheap. One thing to keep in mind though, is that Suzuki just filed bankruptcy in the U.S. and will no longer be selling cars here (Thankfully their motorcycles are not part of the pull-out). If things break on this one, you may be hurting on finding parts.

    - 2004 Mazda RX-8: I can give you a good direct feedback because I had one. The concept of how Rotary engines work and feel on the road is great, but this is not the car you should be looking at if you are not mechanically saavy or trying to avoid repair shops. Depending on how the car was treated in its past ownership, this engine could still be good for another 100K miles or it might be on its death bed. Fuel economy is not very good either, and these engines do not like starting up in cold weather. If it failed to fire the first two or three turnovers, stop and let it sit for ten minutes, otherwise you're going to flood the engine and have to do a DIY mod to spray alcohol-based windshield washer to dissolve the fuel in the engine chamber. Yep, you read that right, otherwise you're towing it to a Mazda dealer. The engine also goes through roughly a quart of oil a month, so keep a fresh quart in the trunk. Still want one?

    - 2003 Mini Cooper S: Cool track car but extremely punishing ride on a day to day basis. Being a BMW product, repair and maintenance costs can get up there real fast.

    - 2008 Volkswagen GTi: Non-TSI GTi's are an automatic pass for me. Like the Mini, these can get expensive to repair if something breaks. This particular one looks shady, given the ghetto spring chop drop and what appears to be a 'tuner' in progress with the euro taillights and stickers on the bumper.
     
  3. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    It's reasonable to replace the car if its becoming uneconomical to carry on. What's the mileage on the car and is it something you enjoy using? Looking at your potential replacements it seems that you want something a bit more sporty, not too sure about the SX4 but the others are fun driver's cars. My friend had a RX-8 before and it can be oil thirsty due to the Wankel engine, Cooper S is a fun hatch but check some models with clutch problems as can be expensive to fix (it is BMW owned after all).

    The VW GTI is a great hatch to drive and very practical, for a higher mileage car make sure it has a well documented history including services such as Cambelt and the Semi-Auto DSG box as it can be very costly if it goes wrong. The GTI is also quite fuel sensitive due to the FSI engine so its usually recommended to use Super Unleaded (Premium Gasolene) to run optimally.
     
  4. Qing Dao

    Qing Dao Notebook Deity

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    So $1k to fix your car, or $10k for a replacement? I think fixing it is the economical choice unless the car is completely falling apart. What exactly is wrong with it? And $1k from a mechanic to fix several problems sounds like $100-200 DIY.
     
  5. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    I looked at the SX4 because I like the idea of a cheap'ish awd hatchback :p. As far as the RX8, if the engine is really the only thing to pay attention is the engine, I think I can manage.

    Main problems at the moment are misfiring and the fact that it is having serious troubles going from 1st to 2nd gear. You have to literally floor it to get it to up shift(auto gearbox ftl). Exhaust is rusted over and one of the mount broke and can't be soldered back on (broke in another place last month) so the entire thing will need to be replaced. About the misfiring sparks, injectors and coils checked out fine so it might be a cracked gasket. oh and my key doesn't turn anymore without having to fight with the cylinder so I'll either need to get a new key cut and programmed. And the car also appears to have developed what I can only qualify as a wobble at low speed. If all that had happened over, say a year, I would be slightly irritated but wouldn't have a problem fixing everything but all those basically popped in the space of about 2 months so you'll understand that I'm annoyed by all of this and since it's about to reach 200k miles I don't feel particularly inclined to hold onto it... :-/
     
  6. Crimsoned

    Crimsoned Notebook Deity

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    200k miles? Dump it.

    May I recommend a Toyota Yaris? Fairly economical, and very reliable.
     
  7. Micaiah

    Micaiah Notebook Deity

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    I got bored and looked through other offerings in your area. Maybe you might be interested in these?

    2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5i: These cars were essentially a more luxurious Impreza. The Legacy is a pretty reliable car, and IMO, would be a cool car project given that it already has a 5 speed manual, to do a EJ257 swap with so you can build yourself a Legacy STi. Gnarly.

    2004 Mazda 6s: Yes, it's a four door sedan, but it's a good handling four door sedan with decent V6 and a 5 speed manual that offers good performance, low maintenance cost and good fuel economy. One of Mazda's better exterior designs for that decade too.

    2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type-S: These are cool, with the reliability of a Honda to boot. See comment for the Mazda 6, minus the sedan part.

    2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP: Okay, I really just put it in here because I LOVE these cars for the sleepers they are. It's fairly plain, unassuming sedan but underneath the hood lurks a 3800 series 3.8L V6 with a Roots supercharger sitting on top of it. $600 to $800 in modifications put these vehicles in the high 13 seconds quarter mile. :)

    2002 Acura RSX Type-S: Small coupe with a 6 speed manual, Honda reliability and a 8000 RPM redline along with a plethora of aftermarket parts available. Honda's last hardcore boy racer before they started taming the K20 engine and make ugly uninspiring cars that the average Joe can afford.

    There's tons of cool cars out there to be had, and you don't have to deal with a temperamental, high maintenance engine or worry about potentially devastating repair bills. Not everything here might be your taste, but these to me are cars that you can have fun with without having to sacrifice daily driving capabilities or added hidden costs.
     
  8. Qing Dao

    Qing Dao Notebook Deity

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    Lol, ok. Toss it!
     
  9. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    Which is totally my intention :p
     
  10. radji

    radji Farewell, Solenya...

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    Misfiring could have a whole host of causes, but usually a tune-up fixes them. But in your case, a faulty head gasket isn't too bad Just takes time to get the header off and put on a new gasket. Transmission having issues with 1st gear, very bad. Plus automatic transmissions are notoriously labor intensive to rebuild. The $1000 he's quoting you is mostly for getting you a replacement transmission I bet.

    I've replaced a muffler on a larger sized Chevy flatbed in 30 minutes. That includes cutting the old one off and welding the new one on. Total cost with labor was less than $100. Next.

    Agreed. Those lock cylinders and transponder keys are too damn expensive to justify the cost of having those little RF chips inside the keys.

    Not sure what you mean by a wobbly low speed. Only things that come to mind are either the alignment or your constant velocity joints. Or the clutch pack on the first gear is so bad that it's slipping in and out of engagement. 200k miles is quite a bit though. I guess what it all comes down to is what can you afford? Can you afford $1000 to fix these issues or is it financially easier to put down $500 (plus the trade in value of your Focus) to get a newer car, yet have a $250+ a month car payment. Only you can answer that question. But given what you've stated, your mechanic is not screwing you at all in the repair bill.
     
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