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Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

 
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 03:54 pm
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Default Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

I need your help making up my mind;

do I spend $1,800 fixing up my 2005 PT Cruiser with 105K miles on it - and which is at a mechanic some 350 miles away???

Or do I just take the $300 they are offering me for scrap value and send them the title?

Or a third option???

Right now, at the MINIMUM, it needs approximately $600 to get it running again (bad radiator, bad throttle [EDIT: I meant thermostat, not throttle], and they said bad fan).

But since I haven't had the timing belt replaced yet, it would probably make sense to have them replace the timing belt and water pump at the same time, which would bring it to about $1,800 total (I think they said it was 12 hours labor, although maybe it was only 10 hours labor)

I am not destitute, but I HATE wasting money. and the blue book value is only around $1,900 anyway)

So if I DON'T get it fixed, the minnimum I would be looking to spend on replacing my car would be approximately $10,000 for a certified pre-owned Toyota corolla with around 75,000 miles on it. (there are cheaper used cars out there, but I would be reluctant to buy anything used if it is not certified preowned, and I am looking for a car so dependable that it is boring).

My car isn't perfect; there is some sort of scrape sound that comes and goes near the driver's side front, and it seems to use up a bit more oil than it should. (When I go for an oil change at 3,000 miles, the oil is nearly empty.)

On the other hand, I have been the only owner and I don't think I have EVER revved it over 3,500 RPM. Ever! I drive like a little old lady.)

If I keep it, and let's say worst case scenario, how much does it cost to have transmission fixed or engine replaced or some other disaster fixed? (Just in case. Aside from the scrape, and using a bit too much oil, I am just trying to figure out how much money a wise person would put into it.)

Thanks in advance. if there is some other option I am not thinking of, just let me know. It is 350 miles away, so I can't really just slap it on craigslist and sell it as is. (and i will have to spend about $100 in rental car fees and $50 in gas to drive down there and pick it up).
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2005 P.T. Cruiser, Normally Aspirated, Automatic Trans
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Last edited by myjeephatesme; 19 Jun 2016 at 06:33 pm.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 04:28 pm
rckstein's Avatar
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

Quote:
Originally Posted by myjeephatesme View Post
I need your help making up my mind;

do I spend $1,800 fixing up my 2005 PT Cruiser with 105K miles on it - and which is at a mechanic some 350 miles away???

Or do I just take the $300 they are offering me for scrap value and send them the title?

Or a third option???

Right now, at the MINIMUM, it needs approximately $600 to get it running again (bad radiator, bad throttle, and they said bad fan).

But since I haven't had the timing belt replaced yet, it would probably make sense to have them replace the timing belt and water pump at the same time, which would bring it to about $1,800 total (I think they said it was 12 hours labor, although maybe it was only 10 hours labor)

I am not destitute, but I HATE wasting money. and the blue book value is only around $1,900 anyway)

So if I DON'T get it fixed, the minnimum I would be looking to spend on replacing my car would be approximately $10,000 for a certified pre-owned Toyota corolla with around 75,000 miles on it. (there are cheaper used cars out there, but I would be reluctant to buy anything used if it is not certified preowned, and I am looking for a car so dependable that it is boring).

My car isn't perfect; there is some sort of scrape sound that comes and goes near the driver's side front, and it seems to use up a bit more oil than it should. (When I go for an oil change at 3,000 miles, the oil is nearly empty.)

On the other hand, I have been the only owner and I don't think I have EVER revved it over 3,500 RPM. Ever! I drive like a little old lady.)

If I keep it, and let's say worst case scenario, how much does it cost to have transmission fixed or engine replaced or some other disaster fixed? (Just in case. Aside from the scrape, and using a bit too much oil, I am just trying to figure out how much money a wise person would put into it.)

Thanks in advance. if there is some other option I am not thinking of, just let me know. It is $350 miles away, so I can't really just slap it on craigslist and sell it as is.
The shop where your PT is currently at, how did your vehicle get there? Did it break down and that was the closest shop it was towed to? Or is this a shop that you have dealt with before? Is this shop locally-owned or part of a national chain of repair centers? Did they make the $300 offer first, or was that your idea?

If this is a shop that you don't know anything about, I would be skeptical of their initial estimate. Did they give you a written estimate listing all the parts that they intend to replace, with their prices listed along with the labor pricing, or was their estimate all verbal? They may be over-estimating the repairs and then make you the $300 offer to sell it to them. They in turn repair it for 1/4 of the estimate they gave you, and they make money on the side by sellng the vehicle. Just by chance, did you happen to notice if they had several other vehicles on their property with For Sale signs on them? If so, that may be a hint. IMO, no shop should be in the business of selling vehicles, it appears as a conflict of interest.

Also, IMO, you need to be checking your oil level more often, like after every 3-4 tanks of gas (or more often if you know the vehicle is using oil), pop the hood and check the level and not get it that low between oil changes.

On the other hand, if you have the timing belt work done, you should consider also replacing at the same time: timing belt, water pump, tensioner, idler pulley, 2 cam seals, crank seal, center motor mount. This work alone would be around $1200-$1500 at a dealership using MOPAR parts. The timing belt work is very labor intensive, and you want the shop to get it right the first time. If they are saying you also need a new radiator, fan and throttle body, $1800 is probably about right. I realize it's a lot of work to have done at one time and to try to justify the immediate expense.

One thing you have going for you is you are the original owner and you know the service history of your PT. So it's just a matter of if you repair the PT or get something else and have long-term car payments? Only you can answer that question

Last edited by rckstein; 19 Jun 2016 at 05:11 pm.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 05:13 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

You didn't say where 'here' is. Might be a taker on the forum, or at lease someone who might have another suggestion.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 05:26 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

Quote:
The shop where your PT is currently at, how did your vehicle get there? Did it break down and that was the closest shop it was towed to?
Yes, sort of.

It didn't actually BREAK down. But it was starting to run a bit hot.

Normally, the temperature gauge ALWAYS is at the midway point after it warms up. But I saw that it was starting to creep up slightly, and as I was just about to go though an area of Los Angeles called the Grapevine, which is high dessert hills, it gradually climbed up to nearly 3/4.

Since the temperature gauge had NEVER been over halfway before, I immediately pulled over and stopped the engine and called for a tow truck (it was still just barely shy of the 3/4 mark on the temperature gauge). When i stopped and opened the hood, i noticed that the antifreeze in the reservoir was "splashing around" and there was loud gurgling noises.

When i got to the shop and they took the air filter box off, you could see a bunch of white stuff on the back of the radiator. I don't know how to describe it but kind of like salt or something like that, but it was kind of fluffy.

Oh, and I don't know if this is related, but the air conditioning lines are ALWAYS covered in ice when I have been using this car lately, but I NEVER use the air conditioning. In fact, when I saw that the car was starting to run a bit hot, I turned on the HEATER in hopes of drawing the heat away a bit.

Since about a month ago, I have seen little puddles of water on the ground near the front passenger side tire, and couldn't figure it out. But I guess it was just water from ice forming on the a/c lines, even though as I said before, I NEVER use the A/C.

Quote:
is this a shop that you have dealt with before?
Nope. it is 350 miles away from my home. I was driving down to see my family and the tow truck driver suggested this place just because he knew they stayed open late (he picked me up after 6:30 and we got there around 6:50pm and they were still open) and he also knew that this place was cheaper than the dealership, and the dealership was closed.

Quote:
Is this shop locally-owned or part of a national chain of repair centers?
Locally owned. The whole family works there. Dad, his son, and his two daughters are all wrench monkeys.

This is good news: they have a Five Star rating on yelp:

FAS Automotive Repair - 31 Reviews - Smog Check Stations - 601 Lebec Rd - Lebec, CA - Photos - Phone Number - Yelp

Quote:
Did they make the $300 offer first, or was that your idea?
I made the offer after I found out how much it would cost. Initially they guesstimated that it would be $1,500, but the parts place was closed, so they said they needed to check on the prices the next morning. So when they said nearly $1,800 I may have become a little bit emotional.

Quote:
"Just by chance, did you happen to notice if they had several other vehicles on their property with For Sale signs on them?"
I saw lots of cars on the property, but none with for sale signs on them. When I was initially trying to figure out how long it might take, they said a couple of days because they had four cars they had to pull engines on. So it seems like they are pretty busy.

Quote:
Also, IMO, you need to be checking your oil level more often, like after every 3-4 tanks of gas (or more often if you know the vehicle is using oil), pop the hood and check the level and not get it that low between oil changes.
You are right and I should know better.

Quote:
One thing you have going for you is you are the original owner and you know the service history of your PT.
Yes; It is definitely a "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know," because I could easily end up buying someone else's problems.

Sure, I'd like to have a corolla instead, but I just don't know about paying $18K for a new one or $12K for a certified pre-owned with over 60K miles on it.

I guess in the end, if I had to, I would be willing to risk up to $4,000 on this car ($1,800 for the repairs / maintenance I need now, another $2,200 for future repairs I may or may not need). I don't think setting aside $2,200 for future repairs would cover me for a transmission or engine rebuild, but it might cover things like a bad wheel bearing or a/c or something(s) like that.

Quote:
"...or get something else and have long-term car payments?"
Yes, I could afford something else. But I inherited this gene from my mom and dad that makes me extremely frugal. They scrimped and saved and had a house that was literally falling apart around them. My mother just passed away last week (my father passed two years ago), which is the reason I have the money. And yes, I think they would WANT me to treat myself to a new car, but I just don't think I can do that. I would feel real guilty. I don't know. That just isn't me to abandon something.
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Last edited by myjeephatesme; 19 Jun 2016 at 05:33 pm.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 05:28 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

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Originally Posted by RCSnyder View Post
You didn't say where 'here' is. Might be a taker on the forum, or at lease someone who might have another suggestion.
sorry. The car is currently in Lebec, California.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 05:54 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

IMO: Spend the $600 to get it running, then start taking better care of it. There is a whole list of recommended maintenance intervals in the owner's manual, have you been keeping up with them?
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 06:00 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

At you mileage, you don't have to have them do the timing belt right now. It IS due but you could probably wait till you got it home to shop around for a price on the belt, water pump and tensioner. Having the radiator and fan plus the "throttle" (whatever they mean) for $600 IS high but you really have no choice if you want to get it home. $300 is way low for them to offer but as already said, it's up to you.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 06:11 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

I'm not going to voice an opinion here. It would probably piss a lot of people off.
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 06:34 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockandroller View Post
There is a whole list of recommended maintenance intervals in the owner's manual, have you been keeping up with them?
I may have been slacking off on some of them...
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Old 19 Jun 2016, 06:37 pm
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Default Re: Help Me Decide: Fix It Or Abandon It???

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Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
Having the radiator and fan plus the "throttle" (whatever they mean) for $600 IS high but you really have no choice if you want to get it home.
I actually meant thermostat, not throttle. My mistake.

I will call around the shops here, but I think that it will cost about $800 around here for timing belt and water pump. So it would bring the price down a bit (from nearly $1,800 to around $1,400 total).
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