To Repair or Not?

topekahawktopekahawk Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Ford
I have a 1993 Mustang with 84,000 miles. It is worth about $4500. I am told by the repair shop that I need a new compressor etc. This is going to cost me $500-$750 in parts and labor. Do I do this given the worth of my car?


  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    On a Dodge 88 Aires that was only worth about 1500 at the time. You could try to sell it, but it will reduce your sale value immediately without repairing.

    However the questions you really need to ask are: how long will I be using the car, Are the engine and transmission basically in good shape, Is the body in good condition, do I have enough other repairs that it is best to unload. How often air conditioning is used.

    I repaired mine when the compressor completely died. With this criteria that I found acceptable. Engine runs a little rough, but in good shape and always easily passes inspection. Interior and Exterior look good considering the age. No rust. Transmission still runs smooth. I want to be environmentally conscious. I planned on keeping it at least 5 years. (I want to pay at least 50% cash for my next vehicle). It is very hot in my climate (Intermountain West) for at least 4 months a year.

    I don't regret it at all. The new Freon and compressor work so much better than the older system that I now use this car on trips in the dog days of summer.

    I certainly would not repair it if the transmission was going, if there were major rust or motor damage.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    This sounds kind of high for an a/c compressor install....could you find a used (but warrantied) comppressor. Then all you need is R&R labor plus the refrigerant...seems like $350-400 should do it.

    I don't think I'd fix the a/c in a convertible if it's really going to cost that much, unless you live in some area of punishing year round heat....Arizona or some such.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    for repairs. I'd fix the air and the auto trans to boot if it came to that. Beats car payments by a long shot. I put 2500 bucks in an '82 pontiac that had 65000 miles on it (and that was 10 years ago, so that was like $3000) Most folks said I was crazy. sold it at 130,000 miles for $600.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think it depends on the particular car. If you're driving a death trap for instance, what does it matter if you are "saving" money as opposed to new car payments? Maybe you are only spending $150 a month to keep the old clunker going, as opposed to $250 a month for a new car, but the comparison isn't equal. You are getting, after all, a new car with a warranty.

    But if the a/c compressor was the only thing wrong with the Mustang, and it was otherwise in good condition, sure, that beats car payments.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Member Posts: 168
    Just had the clutch part of an a/c unit go out in a 1988 Olds Delta 88. Shops wanted $270-$320 to repair. As this car has 178,000 miles, I really did not want to put such money into repair. But, if the bearings locked up on the clutch, the one serpentine belt would stop moving and the car would halt. So I talked to a Olds Service person and he recommended a shorter belt to bypass the a/c unit. It just so happens that GM cars of this era could be had with no a/c. So for $15 and 10 minutes under the hood, I had a cheap fix and the old Olds keeps going!
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    You've got admirable moxy to stick with the old beast and spend the loot. You certainly won the bet, getting what, 55K more miles?
    There used to be an outfit in Richardson, Texas that sold every car ac item you could ever want. They are not impossible to home repair. I know.
  • dish2dish2 Member Posts: 1
    Anyone have problems with the 1995 chevy s10 such as lock-up solinoid? Purchased auto & went to gas station & had an oil & transmission change at which time the auto which is an automatic would not shift gears. Auto had to be towed to a transmission place. I had auto less that 24 hrs. Now the auto after being at a stop sounds like it shifting into another gear. WHen in park & shifted to Drive the auto jumps.
  • auntbeaauntbea Member Posts: 18
    Mom 70 years old, probaly will drive another 5 years or so because of vision. Has '89 Dodge Dynasty with 59,000 mostly grocery store and dr. appt. miles (trips all under 5 miles). Maintenance done infrequently. Loaned car to relative for a 10-mile trip. While on trip, smoke started coming from one wheel. Brakes went out. No previous indication she could see or feel that brakes were going bad, but had not been inspected for awhile. Had car towed to reputable mechanic.
  • auntbeaauntbea Member Posts: 18
    Mechanic says brakes must be completely rebuilt--replace everything from master cylinder, wheel cylinder, lines, etc. on all 4 wheels (safety factor) for a cost of $1200. Does this seem reasonable? If no major engine or tranny problems found, is it worth doing? Another used car would give her unknown problems. What would you do if money is very tight, income limited, and it was either have the $1200 job done or buy another $2000 car with unknown problems? Can't have car towed from place to place for several estimates.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,053
    If I were in your situation, I'd probably get the Dynasty fixed. Did he say why the entire brake system has to be replaced? Also, which wheel was it? If it was a back wheel (I'm guessing still drum brakes back there), then I'd imagine that a wheel cylinder leaked, got stuck, or did something else bad. Up front, I guess it would be a caliper.

    That's probably not a bad price, considering that it sounds like you're basically getting a whole new brake system, but I'm just wondering how much of it is really necessary? The last time I actually had smoke come from a wheel though, it was in the back of my '68 Dart. It was an axle bearing that went bad, and I think it cost about $150 to get it fixed.

    Considering the car only has 59,000 miles on it, I'd definitely get it fixed instead of taking my chances with another car. Especially if other stuff like the engine, transmission, and body are still in good shape.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    You really better get another opinion on that.
  • auntbeaauntbea Member Posts: 18
    I called another shop that specializes in brake work (national chain) and their ballpark estimate without actually inspecting the car was $1000.; (I am in Seattle where labor is not cheap!) It was front wheel and shop says because of safety/liability they will not do just one wheel. Sounds like caliper stuck (?) and caused a lot of damage. I had them run a computer/visual inspection/diagnosis of the whole car and they said other than a tune up, they found no other problems waiting to happen.Therefore, we will go ahead with the brake job with independent mechanic. He is a little higher, but has a good reputation and we have always been happy with his work in the past.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    Being happy with the solution you have chosen is "where it's at."
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    If you actually care about what you spend on cars and repairs (lots of people don't or don't have to care) is you either have to commit to keeping a car and do anything (short of replacing catastrophic things like engine or maybe transmission) to keep it running, OR you have to just say 'I don't like/want this car enough to put money into it' and either get a new one or just drive it into the ground. I've seen lots of people who put loads of money into a car, only to dump it at a huge loss when faced with the next repair, out of sheer frustration. They then buy another used car and do the same thing. These people would be better off with a new car. If I, like auntbea, had a ten year old car with only 59k and were the original owner, there's no way I'd sell it and buy someone else's $2000 car instead of getting a $1200 brake job. Cars need repairs, and sometimes they're a big hit at once, but usually it balances out somewhat in the end.
    All told, unless you're putting more than $4k a year in a car you already own free and clear, it's cheaper than any new car, especially if you factor in insurance costs.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    Run about $100 a month on the average. Some years will be light, others will be heavier. I have had a Mazda for 3 years. First year about $250.00 in maintenence. Second year $350.00. This year wife slid on ice and replaced many steering components. $1500.00 out of my own pocket. (can't repair only one side when steering is involved) But overall it was worth it because the vehile runs great.

    I have a 15 year old Dodge, and this car groans and creaks. Every repair I ask, It is worth it. I spent 800 on the AC compressor 3 years because I intended on keeping it for at least 5 years. Engine and tranny have always run reasonably well. Not falling apart yet. But if they go, the car will be junked.
  • bmaigebmaige Member Posts: 140
    I have a 1992 Tercel that I bought new that now has 174,000 miles on it, most highway miles from commuting to and from work 50 miles one way. It runs great, gets 40 mpg, and still has the original clutch in it, but the AC went out. I could fix it myself for about $500.00 (parts plus having an AC tech replace R-12 with R-134). I live in the deep south and it gets HOT here in the summer, but I have another vehicle with working AC, so I drive it in the summer, and the Tercel on cooler days in the spring, fall, and winter.

    I can't bring myself to put money in repairing part of the AC system when I know the evaporator and condensor are all the same age and may go once the current leak is fixed, which would be considerably more expensive to repair, so I take advantage of the mileage the Tercel gets when it is comfortable to drive it or if I need it for some reason.
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    You have a great point. Many many people plow thousands into a car, then dump it because "it's expensive!" Hey, you just fixed something! You might as well enjoy the money you spent.

    I thought i did a good job on my saturn though, i traded it for my current car, late on a saturday, the last day of the month. The just went out and looked at the car to make sure it wasn't wrecked, and offered me a good trade. It neeed a ton of non-obvious things fixed. I think the transmission was going, the airdam was gone, the right power window was badly broken, it burned a quart every thousand miles, the paint was chipped & scraped and it needed a new windshield soon, it had terrible wind noise on the highway.. etc.

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