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How much to spend on used car repair

We bought our 16 year old daughter a 1999 VW Passat sedan with 132,000 for blue book value. Car is manual transmission. We replaced the battery and had work done on the timing. The mechanic says we need a $120k service, front and rear brakes, replace timing belt and may need a new thermostat. Total bill for everything is about $2,500. Is it worth it?
<br/> Also, should we let our daughter take her road test on a manual transmission. She's doing pretty well but may have to stop and start on a hill during the test.


  • edited March 2011
    Thats the trouble with buying a used car and not being a mechanic. The repairs that the previous owner is running away from makes it not worth it to the normal car buyer. I buy cars like this all the time and make a very good profit repairing them. I sell them after I perform ALL of the things the car needs and even some it doesnt actually "need"

    You said that you had work done on the Timing...WHat was done to the timing? You have no adjustment for traditional I am thinking something to do with the Timing belt? If this is tru why the need for the timing belt service? YOu really need to ask about this....

    The bill estimate you are getting sounds high to me, so make sure you arent re-doing anything that has already been done. Many x if a mechanic actually does the timing belt they put a sticker on the engine with the date and mileage for the T-belt service. Look for this.

    Front and rear brakes cost about $60 for parts alone... The T belt kit is about $225 for the t belt, front main seal, water pump and idler bearings etc....everything that you SHOULD replace. SO be careful of these high estimates....sounds like you should go to another shop for a re-assess... If you can keep the bill under 1200 it would be well worth it....but over 2x that amount....not so much..... then again it will prep your car for the next 75K miles or so I guess its value is in your eyes, not mine.
  • edited March 2011
    You didn't say what engine you have. As it turns out, both the turbo 4 a nd the 6-cyl have timing belts. Timing belt replacement is extremely important, and you need to do that. If you have an itemized list of the recommended repairs, take it to at lest 2 moe shops and get their estimates. Brake work is not a mileage ting. Ask the mechanic how muc is left on the pads. Replace them is 1/16" or less remains. Also, brake work and engine work are completely different. You don't save anything by doing them all at once. Your daughter will lose the use of her car for a day, but that is probably not a big issue.
  • edited March 2011
    Your daughter should take her test in a car with an automatic transmission.
    As to the first question, sell the VW and buy her a Toyota. The VW is less reliable and much more expensive to repair.
  • edited March 2011
    It's really worth getting an estimate some where else. Always take test on car student is most comfortable driving. If you fear starting on a hill, she isn't ready to drive a manual, let alone take a test on it. Go with the auto.
  • edited March 2011
    I wouldn't have bought her a 12 year old VW anything, personally. You're only at the tip of the Repair Iceberg now, my friend.

    Is the car a manual transmission? If so, she should be able to drive it with enough confidence during her driving test. If not, why did you get it for her?

    Good luck.
  • edited March 2011
    The price seems rather high. I'd get another estimate, but replacing the timing belt is absolutely essential. If the belt breaks the engine will suffer significant internal damage.

    Whether it's "worth it" or not is debatable. This is not the most reliable car on the planet, and maintenance/repair costs can be high. You'll have to decide.

    I'm a believer in teaching young drivers to operate a manual transmission. When she's fully confident in her ability to start out on a hill she should take the test. If she can't start out on a hill she can't drive the car.
  • edited March 2011
  • edited March 2011
    Thanks for the good reply.
  • edited March 2011
    Its a 6 cylinder. Thanks for the great information. Much appreciated
  • edited March 2011
    Thanks for the advice. She's doing well with the stick. As to the rest, we have some deciding to do:)
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