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1995 Jetta - repair or retire?

kmsairamkmsairam Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
My power steering went out the other day. Took it to the dealer and they said it'll cost $1500 to fix -- the big items: replacing the power steering rack and the power steering pump. I'm sure I can get this done cheaper elsewhere...but I'm wondering if it's worth it. I've had the car since 1994 (coming up on 8 years), the A/C hasn't been working for a year now, and the paint on the roof and trunk has oxidized. It has 88,000 miles, so I'll probably hit 100K in about a year (i.e., no more powertrain warranty).

Should I suck it up and pay to fix it? I LOVE this car and got it brand new. But I'm thinking that with all the other expected repairs, it might not be worth it in the long run. Has anyone ever had trouble letting go of their VW? :) It's going to be a heart-wrenching experience if I have to do it!


  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I think there are several other factors involved in the ultimate decision. And I am wondering what you are considering as your means of "disposing" of the car. Would you trade it for another VW? Would you sell it privately, and go through all that with a broken car? I doubt that you meant you would junk yard it!
    Before you go much further, I suggest you get an estimate from an independent shop. It may be significantly lower.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    So the rack and the pump simultaneously died? Seems unlikely. Or is this the "shotgun" approach being suggested here? (Replace every component within 5 square feet of the actual defect just to be sure).

    But, if indeed both items are toast, I agree that you should shop an independent shop.

    If you try to sell this car with bad a/c, bad rack, bad pump and bad paint, you aren't going to get very much for it. So unless you are ready to bail out and buy another new car, you'd better at least patch it up before you sell it. Fix the steering, even with some used parts if you have to, get the paint buffed out, and then sell it. But as is, you'd be lucky to get $2,000 for it and even that won't be easy.

    Patched up and cleaned up, you might get $4,500. So would be spend say $1,000 to make $2,500? Sure, but no sense spending $2,200 to make $2,500, I agree.
  • kmsairamkmsairam Member Posts: 5
    My poor little Jetta. I hate to get rid of it. I would never just dump it though. My first choice is to trade it in for a new Jetta (I'm now hooked on them); or maybe I'll do something wild and get a little convertible (I'm thinking Miata). Who knows...

    I will get another estimate and attempt to at least partially fix it. Not sure about whether the rack and pump died simultaneously... You're about right on the value. The VW dealer "appraised" it at $2500. Maybe I should just work with them and do a trade-in.

    Thanks all!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Actually I was a bit low because I thought it was a Golf for some silly reason. Yeah, the dealer of course will be able to fix it up much more cheaply than you, so he'll come out fine on it. probably retail it all spiffed up for $6,995.
  • jv312jv312 Member Posts: 32
    It just sold a 95 jetta that had absolutely nothing wrong with for $4300. The car was like yours, owned since day 1. The miles were high (132k) but it had all the goodies including a cd changer & it was well taken care of. It was hard to see it go, but it was starting to nickel and dime me. I did get it detailed ($100) prior to advertising it. Had lots of calls, but there are tons of new cars out there. Its certainly a buyers market. Hope all works out for you.
  • kmsairamkmsairam Member Posts: 5
    jv312 - wow. That must have been tough. I made up my mind I am going to sell it. I did a "partial fix" last week - found a guy who installed a new rack and pinion plus various belts for $500 (not bad I think (hope)). I was hoping to get 3500 on a trade in, but now I'm not so sure. My car has 88,500 miles, which is great -- but needs a bit of work. The paint on the roof and trunk has oxidized (looks horrible); A/C need to be repaired; and cruise control works intermittently. I did get a nice 12 CD-changer installed, so maybe that'll make up for...something. :-)

    What kind of car did you end up getting??? I'm very curious. I test drove an Acura RSX, Mazda Miata, and Jetta GSL 1.8T over the weekend. All were great, but the Acura was by far the most fun to drive (in my opinion). Very cool interior too.
  • anonymous02anonymous02 Member Posts: 1,538
    Seems the Jettas don't hold their value very well.

    If it were me, I'd trade in at a VW dealer for a USED car. Let someone else take the hit on depreciation.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Do some careful research before you buy a turbocharged engine! They are great fun in the early miles, but around 50K and on up, you are rolling expensive dice. When a turbo needs work/replacement, the dollars roll out like the tide-- and leave you high and dry. If you aren't a home mechanic, I seriously advise getting a new car, not a used, and keep your life much happier.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you know what failed on the a/c, you could at least get an estimate... if it's a single bad hose that opened up, maybe replacing it and converting to R134a is worth doing. if it's a "dunno" and it's been broken a year or two, probably not.

    note this... your dealer is NOT going to put this car on his lot. he is going to wholesale it through auction, and it will end up on an independent corner used car lot. those guys will do what they can on the paint, nothing on the cruise, and maybe hink with the a/c, maybe not. what they're going to look for is whether the car is burning oil, a scummy pit inside, if the tires are worn evenly, if it runs well or has flaws.

    it it does that... drives, turns, and brakes, the tunes play, and it doesn't shed parts all over the road... they'll give you something. probably lower end of the "good" condition scale, "and we're doing it because it's the end of the month and we're a couple cars short of making quota for all the stock we want going into winter." you know the score.

    the a/c probably will cost $200 to fix with junkyard pulls if the corner lot tries it, and they'll use colored wax if they have to over the iffy paint. to "fix it right" before you trade costs a lot more, potentially most of what you will get in trade.

    that's my two cents... probably better to get it running and safe, and let the rest of the cash assist in your down payment, etc.

    now, if you were to keep the car, it might be worth fixing for your comfort and prestige, but not as an investment. as the old saw goes, it's always cheaper to repair than buy a new car. as long as it can stil be described as a "car", not a "planter" or "security roadblock."
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Some of us are VERY tired of vehicle hassle. We don't keep 'em when they start the nickel-dime death march. >;oÞ
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    when a really big piece breaks and I'm tired of lots of little ones. could still be driving my '90 ranger, but decided at 120,000+ and a really bad rear oil seal it was time to make some tinkerer happy.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Your fine sense of charity matches my own! |:o)
  • kmsairamkmsairam Member Posts: 5
    appreciate all the comments...but I bought a new car over the weekend! Some of you will yell at me; others will applaud (hee hee). I bought a '99 Saab convertible that's still under warranty w/low mileage. Oh yeah. I said a tearful (well almost) goodbye to the Jetta as I hopped in my new("pre-owned") car, complete with working A/C, leather interior, and power everything. Goodbye 115 hp -- helloooo 185 hp! I've had the car for 3 days and I can't stop grinning. :)
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I'll bet you DO like that power. I hope you got a good allowance for the Jetta, and rest assured some car peddler will fix it up a bit and find it a new home.
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