Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

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harrington
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Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by harrington » Wed May 23, 2018 2:20 pm

My Dad has stopped driving at age 91 and has offered me his 2003 Buick Century that has only 25,000 miles on it. For the most part it is in showroom condition except for the rocker panels and two front fenders. I found someone that will put two new fenders on and fix the rocker panels for around $1,500. Can't decide if I should get it repaired or just drive it as is. I just had the car gone through by a trusted mechanic and it needs nothing mechanically. Thoughts?

delamer
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by delamer » Wed May 23, 2018 2:21 pm

I’d bet that $1500 is more than the car is worth, even with the repairs.

Glockenspiel
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed May 23, 2018 2:26 pm

From a financial standpoint, it's not a good decision to make that repair. It just depends if you are willing to drive it with the rust on it.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 23, 2018 2:28 pm

I'll agree. We bought my father in law's 04 Outback with 45k miles on it. The body doesn't have a spec of rust. Under the car is a rusty disaster. All the things that would normally be found during the powertrain warranty come and rear their ugly heads. My philosophy with my car is to just drive it until it becomes scrap metal. It actually has a feature that the new Tesla model 3 has. We'll be driving along and all of a sudden the radio comes on full volume without anyone touching it. We got hit and the insurance gave me $1800 for the damage. A sledge hammer and some time and that door's pushed out enough to keep me happy. No way I'm spending money on body work. The car's only worth $2k. A Buick that age.....I'd be surprised if it's worth $1k.
Last edited by Jack FFR1846 on Wed May 23, 2018 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed May 23, 2018 2:28 pm

If you fix the car and drive it 5 years, yah, it's a good bet. Where else are you going to drive a car with 25K miles for $300 a year?
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NextMil
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by NextMil » Wed May 23, 2018 2:30 pm

Yup. Don't spend the cash. Park that cash in a future car account and drive that thing until its not worth repairing anything mechanical.

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Pajamas
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Pajamas » Wed May 23, 2018 2:33 pm

That's nice of him to give it to you rather than selling it. Any vehicle in good mechanical condition is probably worth $1,500. There's actually a pretty robust market for very cheap cars. Well-maintained cars owned by older people with less than 2,000 miles a year on them are often great deals. Bet the brakes are in great shape, etc.

Not worth putting money into it, though, just for aesthetics. If you are going to drive a 2003 Buick Century, accept it for what it is and don't worry about the way it looks. You don't need collision coverage, either. Maybe it will need new tires or some hoses or a belt soon. Probably will use a lot of gas, so spend the $1,500 on that.
Last edited by Pajamas on Wed May 23, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bklyn96
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by bklyn96 » Wed May 23, 2018 2:34 pm

Years ago I had a hand-me-down '63 Chevy that was 11 years old when it was stolen. A guy I worked with who had friends who did such things expressed surprise when I asked him why in the world someone would want an old car. He said it was simple, old car parts are quite valuable as they're hard to find. So my suggestion is either (1) be careful where you park it or (2) take a nice picture of it and sell it. Good luck whatever you decide to do!

123
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by 123 » Wed May 23, 2018 3:09 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 2:28 pm
If you fix the car and drive it 5 years, yah, it's a good bet. Where else are you going to drive a car with 25K miles for $300 a year?
+1 That low mileage is so attractive that I would have the rust repair done. With the work done it doesn't sound like you'd have any reason to replace the vehicle so you could end up driving it 10 years or more.
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harrington
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by harrington » Wed May 23, 2018 3:15 pm

123 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 3:09 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 2:28 pm
If you fix the car and drive it 5 years, yah, it's a good bet. Where else are you going to drive a car with 25K miles for $300 a year?
+1 That low mileage is so attractive that I would have the rust repair done. With the work done it doesn't sound like you'd have any reason to replace the vehicle so you could end up driving it 10 years or more.
This was my thinking and if I do decide to fix the rust I will drive the car for 10 years.

runner3081
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by runner3081 » Wed May 23, 2018 3:16 pm

Is it safe and drive-able as is?

If so, take it and just drive it until the first major repair comes and then get rid of it.

Of course, I know this won't work for some, but I personally don't care how my car looks.

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Alexa9
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Alexa9 » Wed May 23, 2018 3:20 pm

I would sell it and buy him a nice present.

wrongfunds
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by wrongfunds » Wed May 23, 2018 3:39 pm

Rust can NOT be fixed with *only* $1500. It will come back in a year or two. To fix rust properly, either you have to do it yourself and spend many many evenings and weekend and learn welding, body work, paint work along way and save money but otherwise you are talking *lot* more money to fix it right so that it will not come back.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Wed May 23, 2018 3:42 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 2:20 pm
My Dad has stopped driving at age 91 and has offered me his 2003 Buick Century that has only 25,000 miles on it. For the most part it is in showroom condition except for the rocker panels and two front fenders. I found someone that will put two new fenders on and fix the rocker panels for around $1,500. Can't decide if I should get it repaired or just drive it as is. I just had the car gone through by a trusted mechanic and it needs nothing mechanically. Thoughts?
don't fix it!!! just drive it till it falls apart... put that $1500 towards newer at that point.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by cheese_breath » Wed May 23, 2018 3:44 pm

2003 Century with only 25K miles and perfect condition other than a little rust? Yes, spend the $1500. Then put it in the garage for 40 years, and then show off your brand new 2003 Buick Century in the Detroit Dream Cruise.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

freebeer
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by freebeer » Wed May 23, 2018 5:40 pm

Rational decision: just drive it. This will never be a collectible so no point in investing $1500 in cosmetic repairs (and as noted that might not even permanently eradicate the rust).

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whodidntante
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by whodidntante » Wed May 23, 2018 5:46 pm

If it really bothers you, you can get some body panels for basically nothing and install them in your driveway. I recommend a sweet spray primer finish that says "I'm comfortable with my hooptie."

Also age is pretty horrible to cars, so it will rate to have more problems than a newer car of similar mileage.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Wed May 23, 2018 6:08 pm

I think it all comes down to how you will use the car and how important it is to you to have it not look rusted out. Financially the car probably isn't worth spending the money on but as someone pointed out, you will have a car for $1500 that should run a long time. If it was my primary driver and image was important or necessary, I would spend the money, assuming I had it. If this is going to be a beater second car that you don't care about so much, I'd drive it as is.

likegarden
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by likegarden » Wed May 23, 2018 6:15 pm

I had a 2004 Buick Century with 110,000 miles. That car was great, interior was still perfect after driving it all those miles, until some of the dash board instruments malfunctioned and the dealer's people did not know exactly how to put it back in. That car was too old for them. Finally I noticed the mirrors could no longer be moved. I had rust holes under the doors, fixed those with Bondo and 7 coats of paint on a weekend lying under the car. I traded it in last year for $500 and bought a new car.

But OP's Century has only 25,000 miles and a mechanic who would know how to fix it, and would be interested to fix it. So I would do that $1500 repair and drive it a few years until it shows a lot of rust.

donall
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by donall » Wed May 23, 2018 6:44 pm

DS inherited a 2002 Toyota with 70,000 miles. Good running condition but wheel rims kissed the curb many times and body had imprints of mailbox. Luckily no money was spent on the car, as neighbors backed into car leaving a cavity on the driver’s side. Still runs like a charm.

inbox788
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by inbox788 » Wed May 23, 2018 8:45 pm

I wouldn’t. If rust bothers you, get some masking tape and use closest match spray bottle of Rustoleum at Home Depot.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Spray ... 5yc1vZapz5

jalbert
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by jalbert » Thu May 24, 2018 12:51 am

If you are able to drive the car trouble-free for 1 year, $1,500 is less than the first year of depreciation on a new car. It doesn’t seem like it will be hard to get $1,500 worth of use out of the car.
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STINGRAY75
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by STINGRAY75 » Thu May 24, 2018 6:06 am

If that price is to replace the rocker panels then you’d have a pretty reasonable cash outlay for something that god last 10 years. If it’s a grind n fill job then no, drive it as is.

Spedward
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Spedward » Thu May 24, 2018 7:06 am

Okay - silly Buick story to add.

Have a very close friend discovered there was a market for Low mileage early 80s Buick’s overseas. This was In the very early 2000s. We were in college at the time. So my buddy came across a guy (outside of the DC area) that had a business whereby he simply acquired these older model cars (also think Chevy capris) and shipped them overseas for sale. He then starts to spend his free time find old Buicks all over the tri-state area, driving them to DC where he would then sell them. He generally doubled his money and it paid his way through college.

So the market dried up - not sure why - but got to the point we’re the margins did not make sense for him. But he still had 2 cars that he did not sell. Very early 80s Buick Regal and a Chevy Caprise. So he parked them at his grandmothers. Paid about 1K a pop.

Fast forward 15-20 years. He just sold each of them for 15K in early 2018.

MI_bogle
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by MI_bogle » Thu May 24, 2018 7:33 am

Don't spend 1500 on rust. You're driving a 15 year old Buick. Who cares if there's rust

Also, nobody has mentioned it... but 15 years and only 25,000 miles... that's in the territory where things could go bad fast. Old, super low mileage cars aren't always the best, because they sit idle for very long periods of time, and then typically are driven on very short trips. That's really hard on a lot of stuff in the engine, transmission, etc

So, it could be fine, but don't invest a bunch of money in it and expect to drive it forever just because it has really low miles

onourway
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by onourway » Thu May 24, 2018 7:40 am

The part of the financial picture that those telling you not to fix it are missing is that if you leave it rusty, you may decide not to drive it very long - and end up spending a whole lot more than $1500 buying something else. If the vehicle is otherwise in good shape and $1500 in body work will make it a lot more appealing for you to own for at least a few years, I'd do it. Money well spent.

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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by sschoe2 » Thu May 24, 2018 7:42 am

I'd just do what you can by yourself. It is a 15 year old car. There is more to car lifespan than miles. Parts still age sitting there, rubber and plastic deteriorates (body parts, seals, and gaskets), other parts rust, and most importantly safety feature are out of date.

My mother's 1997 Pontiac Grand AM only had 35k miles when we gave up on it last year as it had become a money pit of deteriorated, rusted, and defective parts.

rimfire
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by rimfire » Thu May 24, 2018 9:28 am

Probably never be worth any more than it is today. Best to drive it as a beater for as long as you aren't sick of it. Put the cash you save from not owning a "better" car a side and buy something you like later on. Cars are personal to lots of people so the financial part goes out the window. Doesn't have to be that way however you don't have to be anal about get the the absolute best dollar value out of a car. We only pass this way once so taking the time to have the things that gives you pleasure is part of life, both financial and emotional.

This from someone who has had a few beaters and free cars, in his time, and can afford just about anything I want to drive.Looking at a 911 now because always wanted one since seeing one for the first time in 1973.

Thanks jb

harrington
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by harrington » Thu May 24, 2018 3:30 pm

Thanks everyone I have decided to NOT to get the rust repaired. I'll save the money for future mechanical repairs instead.

Hanksmoney
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Hanksmoney » Thu May 24, 2018 3:40 pm

tesuzuki2002 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 3:42 pm
don't fix it!!! just drive it till it falls apart... put that $1500 towards newer at that point.
Everyone keeps saying this, but at 25k falling apart might take a really long time. If I think the rust will cause it to "fall apart" when the vehicle itself only has 65K, then I would consider fixing it. However, I'm not into cosmetics so i'd do what I could myself. I'd put some elbow grease into it with a grinder and good rust inhibitor topped off with some Krylon and call it a day.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Thu May 24, 2018 5:20 pm

Hanksmoney wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:40 pm
tesuzuki2002 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 3:42 pm
don't fix it!!! just drive it till it falls apart... put that $1500 towards newer at that point.
Everyone keeps saying this, but at 25k falling apart might take a really long time. If I think the rust will cause it to "fall apart" when the vehicle itself only has 65K, then I would consider fixing it. However, I'm not into cosmetics so i'd do what I could myself. I'd put some elbow grease into it with a grinder and good rust inhibitor topped off with some Krylon and call it a day.

^^THIS Along with that elbow grease and krylon! Budget a case of beer!

bubbadog
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by bubbadog » Thu May 24, 2018 5:36 pm

harrington wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 3:30 pm
Thanks everyone I have decided to NOT to get the rust repaired. I'll save the money for future mechanical repairs instead.
Smart idea!
:moneybag

mouses
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by mouses » Thu May 24, 2018 5:38 pm

I have a 1992 Buick with about 150,000 miles on it. There is an old car mechanics business where I live. They can fix anything. If they go out of business, I would be in trouble, because regular mechanics are useless with a car this old. finding parts, making parts etc.

I had rust in a rocker panel, and they assured me the car would be good for some time, so I had that replaced. I like the car to look nice.

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dwickenh
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by dwickenh » Thu May 24, 2018 5:44 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 2:20 pm
My Dad has stopped driving at age 91 and has offered me his 2003 Buick Century that has only 25,000 miles on it. For the most part it is in showroom condition except for the rocker panels and two front fenders. I found someone that will put two new fenders on and fix the rocker panels for around $1,500. Can't decide if I should get it repaired or just drive it as is. I just had the car gone through by a trusted mechanic and it needs nothing mechanically. Thoughts?
Don't fix it, just drive it. The rust you are seeing is the tip of the iceberg and there will be more rust in the doors and 1/4 panels within a year or two.
You will never be done fixing rust on that vehicle due to the age. Save up for your next car while enjoying the cheap ride in that great Buick.

Best to you from a former body shop manager,

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

scrunchy
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by scrunchy » Thu May 24, 2018 5:52 pm

About 12 years ago I was gifted a 1986 Pontiac 2+2. Low miles, mostly garaged, except it had some rust on the bottom. I took it to some who specializes in restoring cars. He took one look at the bottom of the car and said it was not worth restoring. Just a cautionary tale.

Plus low miles doesn't mean no repairs needed if the car has sat for awhile.

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Kenkat
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by Kenkat » Thu May 24, 2018 8:52 pm

likegarden wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 6:15 pm
I had a 2004 Buick Century with 110,000 miles. That car was great, interior was still perfect after driving it all those miles, until some of the dash board instruments malfunctioned and the dealer's people did not know exactly how to put it back in. That car was too old for them. Finally I noticed the mirrors could no longer be moved. I had rust holes under the doors, fixed those with Bondo and 7 coats of paint on a weekend lying under the car. I traded it in last year for $500 and bought a new car.

But OP's Century has only 25,000 miles and a mechanic who would know how to fix it, and would be interested to fix it. So I would do that $1500 repair and drive it a few years until it shows a lot of rust.
The instrument cluster malfunction was a common problem with GM cars in the early 2000s. I have a 2004 Monte Carlo that had the same problem; the gauges would point all kinds of crazy directions, get stuck, etc. The stepper motors which control the gauges were faulty. I fixed mine for $30 with a kit off of eBay. This involved ripping the instrument cluster out of the dash, disassembling it, soldering new stepper motors into place and reassembling the whole thing. Not for the faint of heart but it beat $600 for a new gauge cluster. My son who had just started driving and I fixed it and in that sense it was one of the more satisfying repairs as I think it made him appreciate how much cars can be to fix.

zkzkzk
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Re: Should I spend $1,500 on getting some rust repaired on a 15 year old Buick

Post by zkzkzk » Fri May 25, 2018 8:32 am

My parents have the exact same car. It is in perfect condition except for it is rusting in the same places your is. (typical of this model).
I just went through all the mechanical systems on the car and all is good. They decided to go ahead and spend $900 to have it fixed. I would say you could do a little better than $1500 to get the work completed. I would absolutely have it fixed and drive it to the wheels fall off. That's the cheapest transportation you will find with that low of miles and that car is comfortable to drive. Do be aware of an intake gasket issue that results in leaking coolant if it wasn't repaired under warranty years ago.
Z

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