Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

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tela
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Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by tela » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:23 am

Good Morning to You All,

I am having a dilemma on whether to repair my 2001 Subaru Forester “S” with 199,300 miles on it, or to spare further expenses and move on to a newer car. I recently took it to a mechanic for a thorough “look-over” and the overall estimate came to approx. $1850.

Work needs to be done:
Replace front strut assemblies $910
Replace power steering rack boots $219
Install radiator mounting groumets $122
New battery $100
Sand/polish headlights $95
New tires $450
Replace windshield wiper blades $40

The reason I am hesitating on replacing the car is that $950 worth of work was put into it this past summer; which includes replacing rear brake pads and rotors, oil cooler gasket, new radiator and hoses, air filter, oil change and adding transmission fluid.

In the past few years other work done on this car:

Work done in 2015
Replaced driver side rear wheel bearing, headlight sockets

Work done in 2014
Replaced timing belt (not water pump), left and right side front axle, fuel filter, air conditioning cooling fan, spark plugs, and windshield

I bought this car in 2003 and live in the dry climate Southwest; and the driving will be mostly highway miles. I do love this car and am comfortable with its’ simplicity in operation. I would anticipate driving the car another 2-3 years to about 225,000 miles if all goes well.

With all this information in mind would it be worth it to make the repairs? As a side note, I also have most of the funds to purchase a new low-end Forester, and while I really do love my car and prefer to keep it, I must be realistic and practical as well.

Your thoughts on whether to go ahead with the repairs or just move on? Any comments and feedback will be immensely appreciated, so thank you for your time and considerations!

Tela

soboggled
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by soboggled » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:51 am

You can probably get prices a bit lower, for example change wipers and do headlights yourself. But what is the car worth in excellent condition? Check blue book, get on-line prices and/or get a quote on your car from a dealer. My guess is less than $2500.

psteinx
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by psteinx » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:55 am

~15-16 year old car, about to cross the 200K mile mark. Various recent repairs, and more contemplated in near future. If you can afford a new car or newer used car, replacement sounds like a reasonable path.

Rupert
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:56 am

You have gotten your money's worth out of that car. Let it go. You've now reached the point where it could leave you stranded on the side of the road most any day, which in the hot desert Southwest doesn't sound like something you want to happen.

barnaclebob
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:00 am

$910 seems really high for front struts. DIY would be sub $300 and isn't that hard of a job nor does it require many tools. You can do one side at a time using the spare tire jack. There are numerous youtube videos showing how to do it so you can determine if you would be comfortable with this or not.

soboggled
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by soboggled » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:04 am

barnaclebob wrote:$910 seems really high for front struts. DIY would be sub $300 and isn't that hard of a job nor does it require many tools. You can do one side at a time using the spare tire jack. There are numerous youtube videos showing how to do it so you can determine if you would be comfortable with this or not.

Repair Pal says national average about $400-$600 at a shop.

Jags4186
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:05 am

From a strictly financial perspective, if the cost of repairing and insuring your 16 year old car is less than the cost of owning and insuring a brand new or lightly used car, then keep the old car. If you are sick of driving around an old car and dealing with the hassle of frequent repairs, go ahead and get a new vehicle, just be aware of the different costs involved.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:19 am

If you have ANY desire at all, you really need to learn how to do this stuff yourself. Most of that work is extremely easy.

I don't know what to tell you - I wouldn't pay to have those items done, but I definitely wouldn't get rid of a car because of that small list.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:23 am

soboggled wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:$910 seems really high for front struts. DIY would be sub $300 and isn't that hard of a job nor does it require many tools. You can do one side at a time using the spare tire jack. There are numerous youtube videos showing how to do it so you can determine if you would be comfortable with this or not.

Repair Pal says national average about $400-$600 at a shop.


Front struts are $76 per corner on Rockauto.com for better than OEM quality. It takes about 10 minutes to jack up the car, 5 minutes to remove the wheels, 15 minutes to install the spring compressor and drop the ~4 bolts that hold the strut.

Of course the shop price is ridiculously high, they have a ton of overhead to pay.

TS, you should look into your local trade schools and see if this kind of work is something they could do in their classroom shop. That, or drive to me, and I'll do the work much cheaper 8-)

SteelCityMD
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by SteelCityMD » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:24 am

Time to replace. Can't take it with you.

tela
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by tela » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:01 pm

Hi All,
Wow, thank you all for your quick responses. I knew a good range of opinions would be offered, and it’s helpful to think from the different perspectives that you’re giving me.

Soboggled, j0nnyg1984, barnaclebob, jags4186:
Kelly Bluebook estimates the car to be valued at (very good condition): $964 trade-in / $2344 Private sale. So this year’s repairs will be somewhat higher than the private sale value. I forgot to mention earlier that the exterior and interior of the car is in very good to excellent condition---if it adds to, or means anything. it’s a nice-looking car!

I am basically not knowledgeable (nor comfortable) enough to work on a vehicle…..always taking it to a mechanic, even for oil changes. Also no desire, really. However, I was thinking of getting a kit to polish the headlights and to replace the windshield wipers myself….simple enough….it’s just that what’s under the hood/underneath that mystifies me.

It seems that the estimate for the struts is overpriced; and that I should get another estimate from another shop….just for comparison, as I am not going to do it myself.

BTW, J0nnyg1984---do you live in the Albuquerque area?

Psteinx, Rupert, SteelCityMD,
Thanks for your feedback to replace….it has been on my mind, as I HAVE gotten great use from this car. It’s hard to let it go from having it so long, but your comments are pushing me to test-drive some new cars---starting tomorrow.

So, what I gather from your comments is to either find ways to reduce repair costs/consider continued ownership issues and keep the car; or move on to a newer one. After I get some additional repair information together, and doing some test-drives on a new car, I hope that it will be clearer on which path to take…..

If there are any other comments, please send. But thank you all again for helping me to clarify....

Have a great day!
Tela

denovo
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by denovo » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:10 pm

tela wrote:
Work needs to be done:
Replace front strut assemblies $910
Replace power steering rack boots $219
Install radiator mounting groumets $122
New battery $100
Sand/polish headlights $95
New tires $450
Replace windshield wiper blades $40



Tela


Did you recently move? My concern is that some of these prices seem to be inflated. A mechanic that inflates prices probably is a bit too aggressive on recommending repairs and replacements. My problem with making a suggestion is I don't think you took it to a good mechanic to get the right information.
Stocks (80% of portfolio): 30% US Large, 4% Mid Cap, 6% Small Cap, 20% Emerg Market, 10% Asia Developed, 10% Europe, 5% Intl Small Cap, 10% US RE, 5 % INTL RE | Bonds (20%): US Interm Bond Index

lazydavid
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by lazydavid » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:26 pm

With the possible exception of the radiator grommets (which may be dried out/cracked due to your climate, but I'm curious why they weren't replaced with the radiator last year), that's all standard maintenance stuff. If it hasn't been done already, it's overdue. It sounds like your car is reliable, in good condition, and you enjoy driving it. I'd repair it, as it's likely to serve you well for a while longer in that context. If those things are untrue, move on to a new vehicle.

If you decide to proceed with the repairs, you can do these things yourself even if you're a disaster mechanically:

New battery
Polish headlights
Replace windshield wiper blades

Should be able to save at least $100 that way. Find a better rate on the front struts, and you can probably get the total bill under $1500. The only (financial) risk then is if it needs a major repair in the next year or so, you'll wind up losing these sunk costs. But if you can get much past that point, seems to be a worthy investment.

psteinx
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by psteinx » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:33 pm

For some of those advocating a DIY approach:

Keep in mind that a 60 minute repair for a shade tree mechanic with decent tools and experience is likely to take much longer for someone not used to working on cars.

There's

...diagnosing the issue (and whether a repair shop estimate is broadly right)

...determining which parts to buy, where to buy them, ordering them, and making sure they're right. Remember there are often subtle differences in parts, models, etc, and also, 3rd party discount parts may not correspond all that well to OEM parts, part numbers, etc.

...finding a trustworthy information source on how to do the repair (an internet video, text instructions, or whatnot), and consuming this material

...finally, actually DOING the repair in question, being confident it's done right and that some key piece of the car won't fall off at an inauspicious time, and all the little glitches that often seem to come up in any DIY project with complicated machinery.

Furthermore, an old, possibly unreliable car has other elevated hazards relative to something newer and more likely in good repair.

I understand that some folks know a lot about cars, enjoy some repairs, and can knock them out quickly and cheaply. I just encourage those folks to realize that many/most others are not like them. It may even be that encouraging a novice to DIY is reasonable, for certain easy repairs. But it seems that some folks consider most car repairs short of a transmission replacement to be easy repairs that even a newbie can/should do themselves...
Last edited by psteinx on Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dwickenh
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Location: Illinois

Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by dwickenh » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:38 pm

Questions I would ask the person that recommended replacement.





Work needs to be done:
Replace front strut assemblies $910

Are the struts leaking fluid and will this affect the handling of the vehicle for the next 25000 miles

Replace power steering rack boots $219

Is there cracking of the boots/tears or are they just dry to the touch.

Install radiator mounting groumets $122
Is this causing undue noise or vibration?

New battery $100
This is normal maintenance- not a sell decision type of repair

Sand/polish headlights $95
You can likely do this one yourself/kits are available or replace with a/m headlamps

New tires $450
This is normal maintenance

Replace windshield wiper blades $40
Normal maintenance

The reason I am hesitating on replacing the car is that $950 worth of work was put into it this past summer; which includes replacing rear brake pads and rotors, oil cooler gasket, new radiator and hoses, air filter, oil change and adding transmission fluid.

In the past few years other work done on this car:

Work done in 2015
Replaced driver side rear wheel bearing, headlight sockets

Work done in 2014
Replaced timing belt (not water pump), left and right side front axle, fuel filter, air conditioning cooling fan, spark plugs, and windshield

I don't see any blaring problems from your description and would not hesitate to keep this one and add miles.

Just my 2 cents worth,

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

delamer
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by delamer » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:40 pm

You should take into account that the safety features on a new or nearly-new vehicle are going to be much more extensive than on your 2001 model.

I can't imagine spending more to repair a vehicle than it is worth.

bjc3
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by bjc3 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:53 pm

psteinx wrote:~15-16 year old car, about to cross the 200K mile mark. Various recent repairs, and more contemplated in near future. If you can afford a new car or newer used car, replacement sounds like a reasonable path.


+1

mmmodem
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by mmmodem » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:07 pm

If (Value of car as-is) + (cost of repair) exceeds (cost of same car used), then you replace.

In other words:

(Used car) - (repairs) = $2344 - $1850 = $495

Can you sell or trade-in your vehicle in the condition it is in right now for more than $495? If you can, then you should sell and move on. The idea is you don't want to put more value into a car than it is worth. Otherwise, you can just buy another one for less money.

DSInvestor
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by DSInvestor » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:10 pm

I just bought a battery for my 2013 Subaru Outback from Costco for about $76 tax included. Costco does not install auto batteries but they lent me the tools to install myself. It was my first battery installation. It was easy. If you buy a battery and take it home to install, they will charge you $15 core fee which can be refunded if you bring in your old battery. They did not charge me a core fee since I was installing right there in the parking lot.

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Nicolas
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by Nicolas » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:21 pm

I just (yesterday, in fact) replaced the original battery in my 2006 Outback for $63, doing the work myself in my garage in about one hour. That price included the $10 core refund I got for turning in my old battery, and sales tax. All I used was an open end wrench, a deep socket wrench, a wire brush, and a flat-bladed screwdriver.
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mjf55
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by mjf55 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:51 pm

I would do some of the work, let some slide if it is not causing issues.
Let Slide: Struts, PS Rack Boots, Gromets.
Battery - Advanced Auto or Auto Zone, 100 dollars but they will install. Also 10% coupon
Wipers Battery - Advanced Auto or Auto Zone, 7 dollars each but they will install. Also 10% coupon
Headlights, I used meguiars plastx ( 7 dollars) works great, but will not fix if the headlight is not smooth
Tires - Discounttiredirect.com - about 60$ per tire, free shipping and possible coupon. Free shipping. Walmart will install and balance for about $10 per tire.


So 100( battery) +14 (wipers)+ 7 (plastix) + 280 ( tires ) = 400 dollars., not 685.

awval999
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by awval999 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:18 pm

$60/tires?

Not for anything I'd recommend the OP drive on.

I would personally get a new car. 200,000 is enough. I wouldn't want to keep throwing money into something like that.

joe3411
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by joe3411 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:59 pm

I ran into a similar dilemma recently with my 16 year old car. I had sunk $600 into repairs in the spring for general maintenance. This was a very cheap price as someone I know did the work for cost. Then, recently my fuel line started leaking. Cost to replace that, brake lines that were done, etc, was over $1200.

The car was only worth $500 so it was a very easy decision. Even if I repaired it, who's to say something else major would not go wrong in the next year? It's an ungaraged car in New England, so everything was deteriorating. Better to get a new, safer car since I can afford it.

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wander
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by wander » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:36 pm

I agree with other posts that the OP should better get a new car than hold onto the money leeching old car.

ScottW999
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by ScottW999 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:24 am

15-16 year old car, about to cross the 200K mile mark. Various recent repairs, and more contemplated in near future. If you can afford a new car or newer used car, replacement sounds like a reasonable path.

+1 +1 +1

barnaclebob
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:32 pm

tela wrote:I am basically not knowledgeable (nor comfortable) enough to work on a vehicle…..always taking it to a mechanic, even for oil changes. Also no desire, really.
Tela


If you can't or wont repair cars yourself then its time to sell it and don't plan on owning your cars into true high mileagehood. At some point over 100k in just about all cars lives a few routine maintenance items pile up and the cost for a mechanic exceeds what the car would be worth but would only be 1/3 of that DIY.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:56 pm

tela wrote:
I am basically not knowledgeable (nor comfortable) enough to work on a vehicle…..always taking it to a mechanic, even for oil changes. Also no desire, really. However, I was thinking of getting a kit to polish the headlights and to replace the windshield wipers myself….simple enough….it’s just that what’s under the hood/underneath that mystifies me.

It seems that the estimate for the struts is overpriced; and that I should get another estimate from another shop….just for comparison, as I am not going to do it myself.

BTW, J0nnyg1984---do you live in the Albuquerque area?


Tela


Unfortunately I do not - way too hot down there for me. Currently in the PacNW.

Since you are not comfortable doing any level of repairs, I would get a new(er) vehicle. It isn't worth continually dumping money into something that you aren't comfortable with.

surfstar
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by surfstar » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:06 pm

How long do you need it to last? You can defer most of this:


Replace front strut assemblies $910 - meh, not really needed most times that they're recommended. Unless you experience prolonging bouncing after bumps, keep your cash.
Replace power steering rack boots $219 - leak? Add Lucas Power Steering stop leak to the reservoir.
Install radiator mounting groumets $122 - any leaks? Or are they just worn and the mechanic is looking for more repari$?
New battery $100 - Sure. Batteries need routine replacement. But at Costco or AdvanceAuto w/ online coupon. Have friend/co-worker install, if needed.
Sand/polish headlights $95 - $15 kit off Amazon. White, non-gel toothpaste on a sock/rag will get you 60% of the way there, too.
New tires $450 - Justifiable. Wait for DiscountTire / DiscountTireDirect Black Friday sale - price will be closer to $250-300 installed, maybe less.
Replace windshield wiper blades $40 - DIY for $12 - RockAuto.com or Amazon


So, we're looking at:
$10 for PS stop leak
$80 battery
$15 headlights
$250 tires
$12 wipers


Or you could buy a new car...

BogleBoogie
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Re: Another Repair or Replace Car Thread

Post by BogleBoogie » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:17 pm

bjc3 wrote:
Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:53 pm
psteinx wrote:~15-16 year old car, about to cross the 200K mile mark. Various recent repairs, and more contemplated in near future. If you can afford a new car or newer used car, replacement sounds like a reasonable path.
+1
I hope you sold this car.

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