How much should I spend on 1996 Town Car before giving it to Johnny Junkman?
I bought my 1996 TC in 2005. I paid $3500 for it. It had 156,000 miles on it. Since then, I have replaced everything under the hood except the engine. I've replaced the radiator; PS resevoir; PW motor (driver side); radio; transmission; air suspention bags and compressor motor; master cylinder; ALL front end driving and steering mechanics (tie rods, bushings, swaybar, and everything else that has to do with steering and driving). I need to repair the oil pan, and to put in a new headliner and front seat upholstery. The right front wheel has the loudest squeek when turning and entering/exiting a driveway I have ever heard (mechanics said parts are fine, they just squeek, even though I have replaced all the parts once already). I still have the same spark plugs and cat conv, Only recharged the AC. Now it is 2014 and the car has 209,100 miles. From November, 2005 to February, 2014, I have spent about $10,000 in repairs. It has never had the Lincoln ride my 1966 had (where I felt I was driving on a cloud). My question - am I the only one that has had to put this much money in repairs in this car? But at 70-80 mph, engine just purrs along and with cruise control, I get about 27 mpg. So there are +s and -s. Very safe car.
You might like to read our longstanding To Fix or Trade Up discussion.
We recently had to make the same decision. We had a 1998 Chevy pickup, and it started eating parts - nothing huge like the engine or transmission, but fuel pump, AC compressor, radiator, etc. For us, it was a matter of 1) safety - we couldn't afford to be stranded in the vehicle if the engine took a dump, and 2) timing - we wanted to trade in before something really expensive went out. We decided to bite the bullet.
It's really a personal decision, and also based on how much you love the car. I did the math, and including repairs + purchase price, you've driven this vehicle for almost 8.5 years, at a cost of less than $150/month. That's a pretty good deal. However, it's now a 19-year-old vehicle (we're entering the 2015 model year). It might be time to consider selling it - and I'd do private party on that one - to get some $ out of it and start over.
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If it is a NO rust body, perhaps R&R parts from time to time will be less cost than monthly payments on it's replacement. It is difficult to discern w/o seeing the car.
That works out to $92 a month during ownership, (I'm rounding off to 9 years) which fits into my formula as an acceptable monthly average to keep an out of warranty car reliable, safe and presentable. I've accumulated records about this from myself, friends and just about any other source I can get ahold of, and my opinion is that as long as you are in the $100--$150 a month range, you are not overspending on an old car. This presume maintenance and repairs, but not of course gas and insurance.
However, at 209K the picture changes, because I've also calculated that statistically speaking, the life of a modern car is 175K to 225K miles. After that time, in most cases, you will either suffer accident, structural failure or a major component catastrophe. (Again, a random individual may not, but this is where the heaviest odds lay against you---175K to 225K).
So I think you should at least be wrapping your fingers around the D ring on the parachute. You have a little time before you hit the ground
No, the 1995 will not give you the velvety smooth, full power (versus power assisted) ride like that of the 1966. There are a few other parts under the hood that might need to be replaced in the not too distant future like the water pump and the A/C compressor. And have you replaced the plastic intake manifold yet? You should get at least 20k more miles out of it before items like the power window motors and switches, dash panel lights, ignition modules, multifunction turn signal switch, windshield wiper motor, trunk pull down motor, oxygen sensors, and catalytic converters stop working properly. The headliner coming loose at the rear glass is a typical issue for these cars. Ford didn’t want to spend $2.50 per car to add an inch of material to the liner so that it could be folded at the rear. If the car has sentimental value, keep it fixed. At 209K miles you may be able to sell it off the yard for a few dollars more than the dealer will a give you as a trade in. On a per car basis, I have not spent $10,000 or even half that much for repairs on any of the Lincolns that I have owned. I get a least 225k miles out of them and then they are retired.
That car is close to the end of it's life. It's probably worth 500.00 to someone.
If you put 1500.00 into it and someone runs a red light and totals it, it's still worth 500.00 to an insurance company. Hard call....