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Help! Repairs cost more than the car is worth!!



  • nornenorne Posts: 136

    you can always get a Kia Rio and keep the payment at $250/mo. Heck Kia approves anyone if they have a beating heart.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,370
    I agree that we need more details about what the 4K consists of. Sometimes there are options (a used engine/tranny vs. a new one, etc.). It's also important to consider what the car is worth (or should be worth) post-repair. If it will be worth at least 4K, you are better off fixing it, especially if you can get it done cheaper.

    maybe you can get some help from the local Votech auto shop? try a different mechanic?

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    But if you can't come up with the $4K, it doesn't matter HOW much better off you'd be fixing it - it's not an option. If poor credit is an issue, the last thing tweety3 wants to do is to put an additional $4K on a credit card. That's a poor long-term solution. Getting a new loan and making on-time payments could improve the credit score rather than do further damage.


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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,370
    gonna finance something somehow. If the car is scrap w/o the repairs, you are still paying on the 5K note, plus whatever you are paying for the new car.

    the best hope is a cheaper fix for the old car. Otherwise, you are looking at payments stretching way out on a cheap car, if you have to hide most of the 5K negative, plus whatever you buy.

    Maybe a cheap used car, but then you have repair worries again.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • Thank-you for all your responses.... I forgot to mention that we live about 20 minutes out of town in the foothills. Our home is basically on a mountain, with a mile long bumpy dirt road all the way back. This car (95 oldsmobile cutlass) was not made for driving up and down this road everyday... Thus making another reason why what we really need is a car with better susp. I hope I don't sound really dumb, but what is a kia? Might it be good for my situation? (the road) Also, where would I begin? Just show up at a dealership? I must say that this is my fear... Explaining our situation to someone at the dealership and being laughed at or told they could do it but our payments would be triple..

    p.s. as for the repairs on our car, it is a very trusted mech. and friend who gave us the bad news. He is shopping around for some used parts but ultimately, even he agrees that its probably not worth it... And the car would fetch $4000 at absolute best.... More than likely around $2500-$3500. Although a dealership probably wouldn't even offer a $500 credit since its currently not running.... (well it is, but not enough to be driving it anywhere far as it would burn up..)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A Kia is a brand of automobile. Many people on these forums who own them really like them.

    And if you decide to explore the possibility of getting a different vehicle, no salesperson worth his salt is going to LAUGH at you. A reputable salesperson would prefer to actually sell you a vehicle, and laughing at you won't help. Most salespeople will work hard to find a good way to put you into another vehicle, if it can be done. If you decide to go look at Kias, we can point you to areas of this website where other members are recommending good dealerships, hopefully some in your area.


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  • Hi Kirstie,
    I knew it was an auto, but what kind? Is it a car or is it that small jeep looking thing that I am thinking of.... I'll do a search...

    I would LOVE to get some info on a good dealership in the Fresno/Clovis area... If you could point me where to get this info I would greatly appreciate it....
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Don't buy a Kia! Those cars values drop precipitously as soon as you drive them off the lot and their reliability is spotty. You will find yourself buried in the car loan. They will roll the negative equity of your Olds into the new loan which is pretty much the entire $5K since the car isn't running. If something happens the the Kia, (likely) you will be in much worse shape.

    For now, I'd check out places like auto auctions and see what kind of car you can purchase outright. Forget being in the "book of the month club." Do this until you can either raise the funds to repair your Olds or your overall finacial situation improves.

    What is it that happened to your car that it needs $4K in repairs? I would go to another mechanic for a second opinion. Avoid dealers for they are the most costly. Avoid places like Pep Boys for they are often third-string mechanics who flunked out of Vo-Tech. A reputable independent mechanic is the best choice.
  • morehpmorehp Posts: 30
    I would second lemko's opinion on the Kia. It sounds like you might be better off in a second hand truck or small SUV of some sort, given your driving conditions.

    Before going down that road, I would have another look at the Cutlass. It's hard to think of what single problem could cost $4K to fix on a 10 year old midsize domestic. Correct me if I'm wrong but I would think even a new engine or trans should be less than that.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    OK, maybe I'm incorrect about the Kia - BUT, if you're looking at keeping it for many years to come, resale value doesn't matter much, if any.

    There are tons of Kia automobiles in different styles, so you'll want to click on the "new cars" tab at the top of the page to find a list of all Kia vehicles if that's what interests you.

    If you don't decide to repair your Cutlass, then talk to EVERYBODY - call dealerships, talk to your bank or credit union - be honest about your situation, and see what options are available. The best advice we can give you is that, whatever you purchase, purchase with the intent to keep it til it's paid off. That's the only way you'll avoid a situation like this again, and it will improve your credit score.

    Once you work with a bank/credit union/dealership to figure out what you can afford, we can help you better to decide what vehicle is right for you.

    If you look at the search tools at the left, you see a "browse by message board" feature. If you select the Prices Paid board, you'll get a list of topics in which people are reporting their good & bad experiences with different dealerships, listed by make/model.

    I did a quick search on the keyword "Fresno," and found only a few references - mostly for Mazda dealerships.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    It's pretty amazing what it can cost to repair a car with todays labor rates and the price of parts. I show my age sometimes when I think a job should cost around 300.00 and it's 1200.00.

    The poster is in a tough spot with no clear solution I'm afraid.
  • As for the repairs on our car.... My hubby could explain better, but basically its the entire engine... plus the brakes. By the time you add labor to all that, we land between $3500-$4000. Oh and we did get a second opinion which was pretty much the same....

    Even though I totally see what some of you are saying about the Kia, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment, so unfortunatly, the here and now is what matters most. Later re-sale is definately a concern, but if a car with not the greatest re-sale ends up being our only option, we will take it....

    So if I call a dealership, do I just ask for the financing department?

    Again, thanks for all the responses. Its helping alot! I am so thankful for the internet!
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    First the good news, this isn't the worst I've ever heard. Now the rest...
    If your credit score is as low as you think, then your interest rate will be high. So you have to figure that you'll pay about $25 per thousand that you borrow. In order to get a $250 payment, you need to borrow $10,000. Your car may be worth a few hundred dollars, so you'll be burying 4800, so now you need a car that you can buy for 5200 after tax and plates, not impossible but you also need to finance twice its value. That is where it will get sticky for you.
    Look for a 2004 domestic car with a large rebate and you may be able to get approved, but you won't have a $250 payment. If you do go this route, do yourself a favor and buy the gap insurance.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,585
    ... but our new friend doesn't sound like he's got much to lose. So first up, why not stop paying on the '95? Let them repo it and wreck your credit some more; at 500 you'll hardly notice the difference.
    $5k on a '95??? Can you spell "predatory lending"?

    Next, tweety needs to scrounge together some cash. Home equity line of credit, maybe? Lots of cars to be had in the $5k range; Chevy Prizm being the all-star here.
    No 4x4 "jeep-looking" thing for you, too expensive.
    Or do it right and declare BK. It doesn't sound like you have a way to crawl out of this hole.

    Question for the professionals: A friend from work, smart guy but -zero- life skills, owes an undisclosed amount of $$ on a '99 Ranger. The truck has a stuck rear drum brake and hasn't moved in 11 months, he's behind on the payments and is considering "surrendering" the car. They will screw up his credit, naturally, but once they take the car, does he still owe the difference between payoff and whatever the auction will bring? Or can he "walk away" from it with wrecked credit?

    I get to feeling queasy just thinking about it. The guy makes decent money, has low expenses, but doesn't have money for food by the 25th...

  • Just to be clear... what happened on this car loan is.... After a year in our new home that we built on some property we purchased.... our well went dry. Left with no running water for months, we finally had to drill a new well which ended up costing $13,000. Since we were very low on options, we ended up rolling that into our car loan. (Its with a credit union.) The credit Union allowed us to refinance that loan and roll in the well costs.... So this car would be paid off if it weren't for that.... Sounds crazy, I know but any other place that we tried to finance 13,000 , the payments were too high. The CU stretched out our loan a bit and our car payments only went up $100.

    Are you serious about letting them repo our car? Wouldn't that have a huge impact on our score? I think that would have to be an absolute last resort. But who knows.... Thanks for the input.
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    You do walk away with wrecked credit, and you still owe the difference for the repo. Voluntary or not, it won't help the situation any.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,585
    I guess that shouldn't surprise me... so better to keep paying.
    In tweety's case, the car is gone, but the well is still there... so that's not as bad as it sounds. And the CU helped out, so they should not be stiffed. But $4k of repairs on a 10-year-old Olds? No way. The car has to go, and the insurance, registration costs etc. with it.

    Tweety, since you guys own your house, why not get a home equity line of credit? Even the "up-to-100%" loans have semi-decent rates. First & foremost, you guys need $$ to stop the bleeding. They say you can't borrow your way out of debt, but don't forget Steiner's Law of Credit: It's expensive to be poor. You have to get some maneuvering room first to avoid justifying bad decisions [new Kia, for instance :-)] by previous bad decisions.

    Good luck!
  • Well I am currently looking into a Home Equity loan.... Even though our credit is shot, like I said, we have about $70,000.00 of equity in our home. Do you think we would be able to be approved? (even though I know the rates wouldn't be ideal...)

    Thanks for all the help....
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,585
    "Well I am currently looking into a Home Equity loan.... Even though our credit is shot, like I said, we have about $70,000.00 of equity in our home."

    You have HOW MUCH equity??? Didja make any mortgage payments lately??? How bad can your credit be with that kind of equity in your house??? Why are you messing around with a car loan on a 10-year-old sled?

    I think you need to have a sit-down at your credit union; they appear to have some faith in you, and it looks like you got something to work with here. This should be no problem at all. Pay off the Olds, ditch it, get an '01 Prizm with 40k miles for $5-6, and start paying off your debt.

    Good luck,
  • How bad? Real bad.... 509.

    We refinanced last year and even though we had alot of equity, we had a real hard time finding a lender willing to help us.... We went through about 6 or 7. I thought Geez, even if we totally flaked they would make money off us.... Alas, we were turned down over and over....

    I'll look into that Prizm....

    Hope you all have a nice holiday!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,370
    you may not get a 110% HELOC, but if the CU already is on the hook for the car note, and if they do credit lines, a 10K line leaves lots of equity to cover their nut. Pay off the Olds, and sell it for parts. Take the 5-6K left over, and get a decent used car for cash. The 10K would run about 250/month for 4 years, and give some flexibility on payback.

    If you have other high interest debt (ie CCs), you can fold them in too. Same payment, lowere interest rate, means you pay them off faster. Just don't run them up again.

    Mathias is right. It is expensive (and hard) to be poor. You also need to get a HELOC before you need it, since when you do finally need it, you may not get it. One of the little quirks of personal finance.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    Tweety - regarding the home equity loan. We just finished taking out a 30K 2nd mortgage to consolidate our CC's & car payment into one low monthly payment. Despite my low credit score (518) I was able to secure a 2nd mtg. I am paying a higher interest rate than I would like but I plan to refinance in a few years to a lower rate when my credit score improves. By consolidating our unsecured debt I was able to lower the payments to a more manageable payment and freed up about $450 a month. My point is it can be done. If you're credit union won't do it I can refer you to the financial institution that helped me. Another advantage is I can deduct the interest on the 2nd mortgage.

    By taking a 2nd mtg or line of credit you can make use of the $$$ in your home and pull yourself by your bootstraps. If I were in your shoes I would borrow enough to buy a more suitable vehicle and get enough cash out to pay off any unsecured debt (any outstanding car loans and credit card debt).
  • dougd7,

    Thank you for your info.... I really appreciate it. It helps to know someone has actually been through this. Still waiting to hear from my bank. We submitted our application last week. They are supposed to be sending me more paper work as we were not automatically approved via their website. (Big Surprise!) If you'd be willing to let me know the financial institution that you got your home eq. loan with, that would be helpful as it would be nice to have someone to call if this doesn't go through.

    If I'm not being too invasive could I ask a few questions?
    *What is your interest rate?
    *How long did the process take?
    *What are your mo./payments on a 30k loan?
    *Do you recommend a Lne of credit or a regular home eq. loan? (I'm unclear on the difference.)

    Sorry for the 20 questions. If you don't want to post it here you can e-mail me at .

    Thanks so much for your time!! :-)
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,370
    a home equity loan is just that, a loan where you get the procedes. A credit line is basically a pre-approved home equity loan, but you don't have to take the money right away, if ever.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    Tweety - check you e-mail. I sent you some information.
  • Hey dougd7,

    I checked my e-mail and didn't receieve an e-mail from you. Could you maybe try to send it again? (

    thanks. :)
  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    Look again, I resent it.
  • tlcmantlcman Posts: 220
    Well i guess im in at the wrong time, but im sure you guys can give good advice on cars as you can on credit. Well I am in the market again for a good family car and Im tired of Toyota and Hondas midsized offerings, I am not interested in any domestic make, So i stumbled over the 929 and the 626, both of with were very apealing to me on the outside, and the 929 was the same for the inside where as the 626 i was less enthusiastic but still interested about it. The setup I would accept would be a 626 with only the V-6 and preferably the 5speed manual, and the 929 only comes with the 6 and the 4 speed to my knoledge. The 929 is seriously drawing me to it because I love the interior design and the exterior as well, plus it has RWD vs. the 626 FWD (in my opinion a + for handling) and the V6 is more powerfull. I have herd thousands of stories of auto tranys going south in the 626 and was wondering if this was true for the 5 speed as well, and the 929 since it was a RWD i thought it would have a different tranny and not have the same problems is this wrong? I dont want to spend money on fixing the car but rather making it better. The cars that i am looking at are around the 100k miles fairly good condition considering years and milage, and also im working with a 6.5k budget. It sadens me that the Mazdas were plauged with transmision problems as I really like the style of the 929 and the 626 would be the alternative, but if they are a problem I want to know so that I do not get my self in a sinking hole of money spent on a car. And which ever one i might decide on, I will most likely take it over 100mph (unsure of what speed it was governed) to venture to see how this car is, as long as i determine it is safe. The 626 in a Manual would seriously tempt me to buy it. Info PLZ! (These are the first Mazdas I have ever been interested in)
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    Good news....According to our Mazda techs the V6 626 Tranny is a good one, very good one actually. The problem child is the 626 4cyl with auto trans. We don't see very many 929's but we didnt sell many either. The rwd hurt its sales here in New England....but what few we have on the road have not been trouble.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 403
    My problem with Mazdas in general (very nice cars, the last gen 929 was a classy RWD sedan) is that repairs, parts and maintenance, and often insurance, are higher than on many comparable Toyotas, Hondas and domestics.
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