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To Fix Up or Trade Up, That is the Question

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  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    My original post to lemko was that a MAF for a Lexus LS400 was $1500 and the Lexus dealer did have it in stock. Another poster had posted a link to Matty's Auto Parts in Jersey that had an aftermarket MAF for $86.

    The point I was trying to make was the fact that I have never ever seen a MAF sell for
    $1500.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,691
    Another thing you could do would bne to look for a good used engine out of a wrecking yard.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,834
    For an engine to seize it would have made some truly awful noises...did you actually drive through this racket and just press on the gas? If not.....

    Maybe the engine isn't seized. Who gave you this information, and based on what testing and/or demonstration to you?

    If the engine is truly ruined, then the car is worth whatever a nice clean one is selling for MINUS all the parts and labor to make your car like that nice clean one....so, from your numbers I'd say right now you're sitting on a few thousand dollars, tops, in its present condition.

    I doubt a dealer would take the car in trade unless he has a spare engine lying around...and even then, he will low-ball you mercilessly, since he is opening up a can of worms.

    MODERATOR

  • I was ready to do the brakes and rotors and struts this year for inspection....regular wear and tear but the body/frame and initial ABS/brake problems were kind of a surprise.
    And as to the last point about rust and rot attacking the rest of the car....thats exactly what i was thinking. Northwestern Pennsylvania winters being what they are.
    Thank you guys
  • mcrrtmcrrt Posts: 88
    edited September 2010
    I have a 2003 Chevrolet Venture AWD with 102K miles. It is currently on its second rear drive module (first one was replaced under warranty about 70K miles ago). The current RDM has been groaning off and on for about 20K miles, and we've performed the TSB "fix" of flushing and refilling the unit a few times over this period. The last time we performed the TSB, it only quieted things down for a few weeks, so I'm guessing the RDM is close to the end of its life. A replacement is $2K just for the part, and the van's trade in value is only about $4K. If I buy another van, my budget will limit me to a 5-6 year old domestic with about 50-60K miles. Is my money better spent repairing what I have, or towards the purchase of something else? :confuse:

    Thanks for your feedback!
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited September 2010
    other than this rdm, what is the mechanical condition of the vehicle, and what maintenance has been done on it already?

    For instance, tires, brakes, struts/shocks, waterpump/coolant repair/flush, tune up, transmission fluid, etc, etc.
  • mcrrtmcrrt Posts: 88
    Kiawah,

    Mechanically pretty decent. Just had the spark plugs and wires as well as the control arm bushings replaced, cooling system and transmission were both flushed and filled in the past year or so, tires still have about 75% of their life left. It needs pads and rotors front and rear (which I can do myself), and it's still on it's original struts/shocks, starter, alternator, etc, so I suppose those components are on borrowed time. It has the rocker panel rust that's typical of these vans, but it'll probably be another year or so before that looks too terrible.

    Your thoughts?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited September 2010
    Sounds like you are NOT mechanically challenged as some might be, so can handle the typical maintenance items without driving you into the ground on labor repair bills. Also seems like you've been keeping up with the maintenance. Rotors and pads are cheap, if you do it yourself. At that vehicle price point, you'll probably be hard pressed to replace it with equivalent.....so if it was me, I'd be fixing the RDM and keeping it alive.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    well, based on what I've read so far from you, it is striking me as a $2500-$3k trade-in .... if the appraiser is not aware of this possible problem on the horizon. I'm guessing its an LS. If its an LT with leather, its about $1k more.

    So ... would I put $2k into a $2500 car? Nope. Would I put it into a $3500 car? hmmm... tough one. Would really need to be confident that the rest is OK. And if that rust is starting.... forget it.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    edited September 2010
    I have a young co-worker in a real nasty situation. He has a 2002 Acura RSX which he claims has $23,000 worth of in modifications in it. He still owes $9,000 in payments on it at $285/month. The clutch is shot and the car can't pass state inspection. He claims the cost to replace the clutch is $2,500 because of some "dual stage" transmission or something in it. He also claims the last clutch only lasted 15,000 miles. Even then, he's not sure if the clutch or the transmission is shot. Perhaps it's both. He's thinking of buying a new Subaru Legacy at $350/month and trading in the RSX. I told him he's going to be so buried in that Subaru, he's going to have to dig upwards to see the devil. He's a hard-headed young lad who believes he's always right. How does one save this dude from such a reckless and self-destructive decision?
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    How does one save this dude from such a reckless and self-destructive decision?

    One can't ... one must simply wait for wisdom to appear, which, for young males, isn't until after age 30 or so.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,834
    edited September 2010
    "If a young lad does not hear the doorbell, nor the car horn, he will definitely hear the freight train"

    One would hope that some mentor would sit the young man down with pen, paper and a calculator and do the arithmetic. No plainer map of disaster could be shown to him.

    Obviously, he has beat the crap out of this car and now wants to pawn the shattered remains off on someone. With all the mods, trade-in value would be next to nothing.

    Too bad someone didn't steal it.

    Okay, now for the solution. Yes he has to put a clutch in it, then pay it down until his loan matches market value ($7500?) spiff it up mightily and put it on Craigslist---his natural marketplace for this type of car.

    Then he's out and next time, next loan, maybe he'll buy a car that he doesn't have to "recreate" with mods.

    MODERATOR

  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    Too bad someone didn't steal it.

    I've heard many cases where such things are prearranged so that you don't forget any important personal belongings in the vehicle before it gets stolen.

    I've also heard of restaurants catching fire under similar circumstances.

    No matter what anyone says, this RSX owner is going to do what he wants to do. Hopefully he trades for one of these:
    image
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 795
    "How does one save this dude from such a reckless and self-destructive decision? "

    Do not waste your breath. Anyone who would sink $23K into his only driver is not thinking straight.

    BTW, he will probably get nothing in trade-in for his Acura as it is soooooo heavily modified no dealer will touch it. He would be better off selling it on the open market.

    And may be that is where to start. Sell the Acura and buy a beater to fix up. Just as much fun. Loads cheaper!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    If he can't replace his own damned clutch, he sure as hell shouldn't be putting $23k of mods on a car!

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,691
    Chiming in late...

    If that has the ATTS system some Preludes had, that clutch is an absoulte B***H to replace! I'ld like to see you tackle one of these! I know I sure wouldn't!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    edited September 2010
    Think about what $23k of mods entails, though. Its not just a body kit we're talking about here. You aren't spending that kind of dough without major mechanical modifcations. What I should have said was, someone who can't pay $2500 for a clutch OR do it themselves sure as hell shouldn't be shelling out $23k for mods.

    I really do lean heavily on the latter, though. In my controversial opinion, folks who can't turn a wrench should be driving stock factory cars.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,691
    Anyone who can blow out a clutch in 15,000 miles should be driving a Kia Rio with an automatic.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    That too!

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,834
    It's about 7 hours labor on an RSX + maybe $300 for a clutch kit, so here in CALIF it would be about a $1300 job.

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,691
    Some Preludes used an ATTS system. It was on the SH models only from 1007-2002. I think it's possible some of the RSX's used that too. If so, it makes a hard job a very miserable one. A large unit the size of a big toaster oven has to come out and the guys in the shop just HATED them. I think that added 4 hours to the job. Still, far less than 2500.00!
  • mcrrtmcrrt Posts: 88
    A few months have passed, and the rear drive module isn't groaning any worse than it was. I plan on doing another fluid change on it in the coming weeks to see if it'll shut up again.

    Replaced pads and rotors front and rear myself a few weeks back for about $200 in parts. Last week the R front hub assembly gave out, and I was able to replace that with the help of my brother-in-law for just the cost ($110) of the part.

    While we working on the hub assembly, I took a moment to evaluate how bad the rockers were getting. Poked my finger at a spot to see if it was spongy, and my finger went right through. :surprise: Uh oh.

    Still need to get the rear bumper repaired after someone ran into it in a parking lot a couple weeks back; at least that's covered under insurance.

    Game plan is to get it through the winter (fingers crossed) and then trade it away on a 1-2 year old used van. Would love an Odyssey, but the budget will most likely dictate a Grand Caravan or Town & Country.

    Thanks to you both for your input.
  • I bought a 2003 Vibe last April with 140k on it. Two months afterwords I had the oil light come on. The place I took it too diagnosed the problem as a faulty PCV valve. They fixed it but now the rings are bad and it still burns oil. The catalytic converter is now shot and we have to either shell out 3-4000 dollars to replace or rebuild the engine or sell it for what we can and try to recuperate the money we still owe on it. We have a 1996 Toyota Avalon we can sell too and we are leaning to selling both so we can buy a used car with few miles on it.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    How did they determine the rings are bad? Do you notice smoke when driving? If so, does the smoke increase or decrease depending on the type of driving you are doing? In other words, if you cruising at steady speed on level ground, is the smoke less? And when you lift off the gas, does it increase? That type of thing.

    I ask all of this because I would always suspect valve seals before rings. Much cheaper and easier to fix AND much more likely to go bad before rings.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • own a 2001 honda accord LX V4 with 118K miles on it with new tires, new brakes (front and back including the rotors) all these recent repairs cost me $1,300. The transmission was replaced by honda at 97K. Right now I need to put an additional $800 in left control arm, new front sway bar links, coolant passage tube, distributor cap and rotor and couple other maintance items. The care has few rust spots and some minor hail damage. I leave in a Chicago suburb and the some lower parts of the doors start to get rusty.

    At the honda dealership I was offered $3,800 for my trade-in and I managed to negotiate the price of a honda accord 2011 SE to $20K.

    Should I trade in the car or repair it and try to save a big down payment in couple of years?

    Thanks for your advice.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,834
    edited February 2011
    Well I don't like to encourage people to do into debt if they don't have to. I guess my advice would be dependent on how much "image" means to you---the car will probably get rattier much more quickly now that the rust has taken hold, but if you are content with how it looks then it's probably worth putting a bit more into it right now. If you were at 150K I'd probably say ditch it but it seems like it has more life in it, for a couple years.

    If the 'control arm' problem does not manifest itself with unusual tire wear or steering issues (in other words, if you don't notice any problems), perhaps that could be deferred until you are ready to bail.

    While it is true that your car will continue to depreciate, probably being worth no more than $1500--$2000 in two years, this depreciation + the $800 repairs ($1800+800 = $2600) will still be considerably less than $300 a month X 24 = $7200.

    EDIT: I have to agree with gbrozen below, however, that you were offered a pretty good deal it seems.

    My New Opinion -- if the new car payments would be a burden and you feel desperate about it, then HOLD 'EM; if you can work the payments okay and you don't like driving a somewhat beat-up car, then FOLD 'EM.

    MODERATOR

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,317
    Sounds like a ridiculously fantastic deal. You should jump on it before someone realizes their mistake.

    That's HIGH trade-in value for your car WITHOUT all those problems. So its more like a $2500 car at best.

    And, according to Edmunds, there are no incentives on the Accord right now and invoice is over $21k.

    So it sounds to me like the dealer is losing on your deal. Again, I would jump on it.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • gocowboys13gocowboys13 Posts: 10
    edited February 2011
    Thanks for both responses, I also think it's a great deal and I think I will try to close it tonight.
    I just spent on the new tires and brakes $1,300 but spending additional $800 made me wonder if its worth it or I be better off with a trade in.

    I negotiate every day at my job and I think I got a fantastic deal with this one.

    I don't care about image or anything like that just from an economic perspective, what is better for my family's bottom line.

    Thanks again.

    BTW, Honda has now 1.9% financing on their 2011 honda accord for 36-60 months and $750 cash back on the 2011 accord.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 960
    Here's my dilemma: My daughter has a '99 Camry with 170,000 miles and it looks every inch of it. It has been mechanically ok although it will need new tires. She lent it to someone who parked it in a place where a ton of snow and ice fell on it, smashing the windshield and the hood. She will be starting grad school next fall and, needless to say, has no money. She does have a job until then that requires a car. I am quoted $1500 to replace the windshield and hood, or $400 to replace the windshield and hammer the existing hood a bit. Of course we only had liability insurance on this vehicle.

    I'm a little reluctant to sink more money into this car, which is probably worth $1000 tops. Should I repair it and pray nothing else goes wrong with it, or give her our used Pontiac Vibe (an '04 which is running just fine) and buy a newer car for ourselves? We could also pay the $400 repair and then try to sell it. What say you, wise ones?
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    That's a tough one. If the car was newer with fewer miles, than I would say go ahead and fix it up. If it was older and had closer to 200K miles on it, then I would recommend just walking away from it. We did that with my son's '94 Tracer when a rock through the rear window essentially totaled it.

    The most I would do, if you're sure that car still has another 30,000 miles left in it, is to replace the windshield, bang out the hood (or get a replacement from a junk yard), and put the tires on it. Then, just keep your fingers crossed.
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