High Mileage Car

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dragant
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High Mileage Car

Post by dragant » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:37 pm

Is it worth it to do major repairs on high mileage car? I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix with 205K miles. It's looking like I have to replace the battery and 3 tires. All do able. However, I also have to replace the front struts (leaking) and potentially control arms as well based on dealership report. I can maybe do it myself...but little intimidated on doing suspension work. I love my matrix but am struggling with doing the repairs or just buying a new car (maybe prius prime after reading about the tax credit). Thoughts?

barnaclebob
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:41 pm

That's all maintenance, not repairs, pretty minor maintenance at that. Don't be afraid of suspension work, its not that hard to compress the springs. The car could die the day after you put new rubber on it or it could make it to 250k. If the engine is good I'd do it. Worst case is you are out about a grand for you've listed.

I've made peace with my higher mileage vehicle that I'll do any maintenance myself but anything that requires the dealer will be new car time.

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BolderBoy
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:48 pm

For me, if the single-sitting repair costs are more than the value of the vehicle it is time to get a newer, lower mileage car. Otherwise I'd fix it.
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delamer
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by delamer » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:31 pm

You have a 15 year old car. Safety features, and other technology, have increased by leaps-and-bounds since 2004.

Trade it in.

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Watty
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Watty » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:38 pm

dragant wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:37 pm
However, I also have to replace the front struts (leaking) and potentially control arms as well based on dealership report.
I would be skeptical of anything a dealership says about a car with over 200k miles. You might want to get an independent mechanic to look at it.

Once you start doing work on it there is also a chance that more work will be found that also needs to be done so I would be cautions about that.

One huge advantage of replacing a car before it totally dies is that you can take your time to find a really good deal on your next car and you do not want to be under pressure to buy a car fast especially if you are looking for a good used car.

There have been a lot of safety advances since 2004 too. ESC became standard in 2012, airbags have improved a lot, designs have improved crash test results, and many cars built in the last few years have a lot of advanced safety features. 15 years and 200K miles is a good run for a car.

There is a tendency for everyone to be a cheerleader for whatever car they have but I bought a new 2018 Corolla last year for a reasonable price and Toyota has made a lot of the advanced safety feature standard equipment so you might consider something like that. It is clearly a lot safer than the Honda Fit it replaced and that is one of the reasons I went on and bought it. I plan on keeping it for a long time so the yearly cost should not be all that bad but it is of course not the cheapest way to own a car if you are on a tight budget.

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Sandtrap
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:44 pm

dragant wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it worth it to do major repairs on high mileage car? I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix with 205K miles. It's looking like I have to replace the battery and 3 tires. All do able. However, I also have to replace the front struts (leaking) and potentially control arms as well based on dealership report. I can maybe do it myself...but little intimidated on doing suspension work. I love my matrix but am struggling with doing the repairs or just buying a new car (maybe prius prime after reading about the tax credit). Thoughts?
Awesome car.
Had one. Ran forever. Did the repairs you are doing.
You love it.
Fix it.
Keep it.
Enjoy it until it dies.

Fix things when they break. Do not go by the dealer reports. If possible find a competent local mechanics shop over the high priced dealer. Dealerships can often make far more on the repair side than the retail car sales side.
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Trader Joe
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Trader Joe » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:47 pm

dragant wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it worth it to do major repairs on high mileage car? I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix with 205K miles. It's looking like I have to replace the battery and 3 tires. All do able. However, I also have to replace the front struts (leaking) and potentially control arms as well based on dealership report. I can maybe do it myself...but little intimidated on doing suspension work. I love my matrix but am struggling with doing the repairs or just buying a new car (maybe prius prime after reading about the tax credit). Thoughts?
I would repair your Matrix.

DiamondplateDave
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by DiamondplateDave » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:48 pm

I had an '88 Camry that somebody gave me in 2001. It was rather rusted out, had had the head gasket replaced, and a few quirks, but-hey, free car, right? However, it needed the CV joints replaced. OK, had the garage do it, $600 including alignment. However, every year when I took it in for inspection, another front end part was worn out. So, another $100-200 for the repair, and another $79 for a "4 wheel alignment". Now, I have used this garage for years, and there were plenty of times I took my other cars in and it just passed, so I don't think they were scamming me. I'm sure the "4-wheel alignment" is technically required, although the amount I drive I probably could have saved money just replacing the tires when they wore out prematurely. I did wind up feeling as if I personally bought that alignment machine for them...
Anyhow, I realized that given a similar situation, I would have done much better to have all the front end wear parts replaced at once, rather than piecemeal. Depending on what's been replaced, at 200K maybe just replace the struts, control arms, ball joints, tie rod ends, steering links, idler arms, and maybe the CV joints and be done with it. If you do it yourself, you'll save a bundle on the labor even if you have to buy some tools. Most likely the engine and transmission will be problem-free for quite some time, there's little in the rear end to fail. Paying for one alignment instead of five would save a lot of expense.

IPS&IPA
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by IPS&IPA » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:52 pm

I have a high mileage car that needed a catalytic converter and tires. A Toyota Highlander w/196k miles.
I did the work because it runs great but I also have reduced the use of it to a 'dogs to the beach' car and home depot material runner.
Our son used it for a couple of years and pretty much trashed it.
I would not depend on it as a daily runner as other things are starting to fail such as window operator, etc.
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FireSekr
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by FireSekr » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:04 am

Fix it.

And don’t listen to the posters above wondering about whether the shop is trying to scam you on the control arms. At 200k miles, your entire suspension needs to be refreshed. The car may not feel like anything is completely off but as the suspension degrades you don’t realize because it’s a slow progression. Once you get new shocks, control arms, bushings etc. the car will feel like new and it’ll be a night and day difference in handling and ride.

One of the posters suggested doing all the front end work at once. That is sound advice as it’s easy to replace all the parts in that area if you’re already doing some work on the control arms. At 200k miles it’s time.

Doing the work yourself isn’t too bad but you’ll need to get an alignment at a shop if you do all of the suspension work. If you skip the alignment, you handling could suffer and your tires could wear prematurely or unevenly

letsgobobby
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:27 am

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Goal33
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Goal33 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:28 am

I still regret getting rid of my Toyota Matrix. You’re going to pay a lot more for any other car that you’ll enjoy less. Seriously those things are the best.
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IMO
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by IMO » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:41 am

dragant wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it worth it to do major repairs on high mileage car? I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix with 205K miles. It's looking like I have to replace the battery and 3 tires. All do able. However, I also have to replace the front struts (leaking) and potentially control arms as well based on dealership report. I can maybe do it myself...but little intimidated on doing suspension work. I love my matrix but am struggling with doing the repairs or just buying a new car (maybe prius prime after reading about the tax credit). Thoughts?
It's all just a crap shoot with a high mileage car. You could put $1,000 into it and it could go another 100,000 miles or it could have major engine failure in 1 week. I think after about 150,000 miles, those miles are like dog years.

Even if you fix it, as someone else said, perhaps it's time to start the new car search process.

If it were me and I opted to fix the car and tried to milk every last mile out of the car:
a) I'd have just liability insurance on the old car
b) If there was a tax credit available, I'd go ahead and get the best deal on that car I could find and buy that car.
c) I'd save the miles on my brand new car whenever reasonable (especially short in town trips) and use the old car.
d) Next big repair expense came up on the old car, I'd junk the old car and move on.

daheld
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by daheld » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:07 am

For some folks, 205,000 miles is just getting broken in. :beer

These are all normal maintenance items that would be expected. As someone else said, I'd be wary of a dealership report. I always advise people to find a local, trusted mechanic. I think this is good advice in your situation and I would definitely get a second opinion.

How much will the required fixes cost you? $2000 at the very most, assuming you have someone else do the suspension work? $2000 is maybe 6 months of a new car payment. Fix the car and keep driving it.

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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:19 am

DiamondplateDave wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:48 pm
I had an '88 Camry that somebody gave me in 2001. It was rather rusted out, had had the head gasket replaced, and a few quirks, but-hey, free car, right? However, it needed the CV joints replaced. OK, had the garage do it, $600 including alignment. However, every year when I took it in for inspection, another front end part was worn out. So, another $100-200 for the repair, and another $79 for a "4 wheel alignment". Now, I have used this garage for years, and there were plenty of times I took my other cars in and it just passed, so I don't think they were scamming me. I'm sure the "4-wheel alignment" is technically required, although the amount I drive I probably could have saved money just replacing the tires when they wore out prematurely. I did wind up feeling as if I personally bought that alignment machine for them...
Anyhow, I realized that given a similar situation, I would have done much better to have all the front end wear parts replaced at once, rather than piecemeal. Depending on what's been replaced, at 200K maybe just replace the struts, control arms, ball joints, tie rod ends, steering links, idler arms, and maybe the CV joints and be done with it. If you do it yourself, you'll save a bundle on the labor even if you have to buy some tools. Most likely the engine and transmission will be problem-free for quite some time, there's little in the rear end to fail. Paying for one alignment instead of five would save a lot of expense.
So if your being "scammed" out of....let's say $1000 a year....you have a running car to get you around. So that's what? $80 a month. Is there some new car you can buy for an $80 per month payment?


For the OP.....why are you bringing this car to the dealer?

Easy to do what's really needed on the cheap. You can easily find a set of 4 wheels with good tires for that car on craigslist for $100. Once you know they're all good, sell your existing wheels/tires for $50 on craigslist.

Leaking shocks and suspension bushings? Do you notice that the car handles badly? If you push down on each corner of the car, does it continuously bounce for at least 30 seconds? If not, ignore them. So the entire bill comes out to $50.
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robphoto
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by robphoto » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:52 am

The answer depends on your financial situation; if the money doesn't make a lot of difference, it might be time to consider a new car.

If you are interested in the Prius Prime, there are still some 2018's around.

Toyota has a 4,500. rebate in my region, plus the 4,500 federal tax credit, plus a discount from the dealer; with all that the cost for a new, kind of interesting car got down to about 17,000. plus or minus.

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CokeSlurpee711
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by CokeSlurpee711 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:23 am

Without more financial information, I'd lean do the maintenance. I have a 2010 Mazda 3 approaching 80K & getting 200K is absolutely a goal. If you've plenty of money I might consider a modest upgrade for safety features sake.

letsgobobby
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:57 am

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alfaspider
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by alfaspider » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:22 am

delamer wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:31 pm
You have a 15 year old car. Safety features, and other technology, have increased by leaps-and-bounds since 2004.

Trade it in.
Better to sell a car that old on Craigslist or similar. Trading it in will effectively get you nothing. Especially now around tax time, cheap cars on Craigslist go quick.

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dragant
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by dragant » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:30 am

Thank you all for the feedback. Long time lurker...I love the advice on the site.
To answer a few questions:
1). I'm in California but driving back to Maryland in March as part of my military move. I am getting the car ready for the long journey. This is why I brought the car to the dealership for an inspection along with an oil change. It was cheap with a coupon. Also, I changed the brakes myself. I replaced the spark plugs. I plan on doing a coolant drain/refill and changing out my brake fluid.
2). The car starts well (don't need to do battery change). The car corners well....I do not feel any steering or control issues. However, the car will need new tires (current tires have 85,000 miles on them).
3). I love my matrix but when I get to Maryland I'm debating driving up to the NY or MA, trading in my matrix, and getting a Prius Prime. I see Prius Primes for $21-$22K and the $5K federal credit makes it too good of a deal to pass up.

robphoto
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by robphoto » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:07 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:57 am
robphoto wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:52 am
The answer depends on your financial situation; if the money doesn't make a lot of difference, it might be time to consider a new car.

If you are interested in the Prius Prime, there are still some 2018's around.

Toyota has a 4,500. rebate in my region, plus the 4,500 federal tax credit, plus a discount from the dealer; with all that the cost for a new, kind of interesting car got down to about 17,000. plus or minus.
what region is that?
In New England, it's now $5,000. "customer cash," or whatever they call a rebate

LiterallyIronic
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by LiterallyIronic » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:51 pm

Replacing the battery will be cheap. Replacing the tires will probably run about $30 each. And there's no way I'd believe the "dealership report" about the other stuff. Take it to a regular mechanic to find out if they really are broken and what the consequences are for not fixing them. In the world of old cars, many things that break just stay broken forever. Car goes when you want it to go? Car stops when you want it to stop? Car has seatbelts? Then keep running it into the ground by fixing the little things and let the big things stay broken until the whole thing ends up getting sold as scrap metal. Welcome to the world of clunkers.

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Mursili
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Mursili » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:25 pm

I would say that a car that handles reasonably well and has tires that have 85,000 miles on them has no issue with the suspension. Drive the car some more.
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finite_difference
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by finite_difference » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:31 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:51 pm
Replacing the battery will be cheap. Replacing the tires will probably run about $30 each. And there's no way I'd believe the "dealership report" about the other stuff. Take it to a regular mechanic to find out if they really are broken and what the consequences are for not fixing them. In the world of old cars, many things that break just stay broken forever. Car goes when you want it to go? Car stops when you want it to stop? Car has seatbelts? Then keep running it into the ground by fixing the little things and let the big things stay broken until the whole thing ends up getting sold as scrap metal. Welcome to the world of clunkers.
I am all for keeping and maintaining the car, but the recommendations for replacing the tires with $30 ones are very foolish in my opinion.

Don’t be cheap when it comes to tires. No matter how fancy your car is, the only part that touches the ground is the tires. Buy high quality tires, and replace them before they get too worn out or old. And use winter tires when appropriate.

I like Michelin but there are other good brands too. So I would replace all 4 tires with Michelin tires. It costs around $600-700 but for the money the safety value can’t be beat.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Reubin
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Re: High Mileage Car

Post by Reubin » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:18 am

I've had 3 Toyotas that each went over 300K miles. I'd fix it and stay away from the dealerships.

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