This is an '04 Chrysler Pacifica AWD, I bought it 4.5 years ago at 50K miles for $10,000 and now it has 80K miles. This past winter, the right front shock popped through the hood and the mechanic said the strut broke, probably from running a pothole. After repair, it happened again shortly after and the mechanic replaced the strut and shock again at no charge. Otherwise, the car has never had any other mechanical issues and runs nicely. The interior is still in beautiful shape and the mechanic said it has no leaks and everything looks good.
When doing some research as to why this happened twice, I saw Pacifica owners were complaining about rust in the subframe (engine cradle, or suspension cross-member K-frame). I took my car to the shop and voila, the subframe in the car is rusted. It is still safe to drive, but there are already sizable corroded holes in the cradle and it will not survive another high-salt NY winter. Chrysler had issued a warranty for 10 years or 150,000 miles but this being an '04 they refused to honor it anymore, so I am looking at footing the bill myself.
I can get a salvage cradle at about $900, and labor costs to replace the cradle plus replacing the motor mounts and inner tie rods (routine maintenance, nothing broken but needs replacing) come out to about $1800. In addition, I want to put in a backup camera/MP3 radio unit in the console, this will run another $600 for parts and labor, total = $2500.
My husband thinks it doesn’t make sense to invest that much money in a 10-year old car, we should trade it in or sell it and buy a new car or lease. He believes that at 100K miles the car is likely to develop major issues like engine or transmission problems. The car’s trade-in value is at best $3000-4000, not accounting for the rusted subframe.
Is this repair a worthwhile investment or should we sell for whatever we can get and good riddance?