He just called me back. The mechanic told him he checked and the a/c compressor was not available within 50 miles, and so he might have to order one shipped in for some extra money.
But, he said he looked the car over and concluded maybe it should not be fixed. He said suspension and other problems would run as high as $3500, more than the car is worth. The motor and transmission are in perfect condition.
My son said maybe he should look for a Crown Vic around $5000.
This all is made more complex by extended unemployment for him and his wife. She got a short term job in a school last semester, and turned the worst class in the school to the best in less than 6 weeks. The principal expected her to get a permanent job, but the people who make decisions but never teach eliminated 4 slots. So, no job no matter how good a teacher she is.
She found a job in Webster, Florida. And, has to sign on July 28. Perfect community exactly suited to their personalities, with only one major flaw. NO RENTALS. Only houses for sale. They found one old mobile home, a very small one, appliances bad and rusted, and too small even to lay down. One room big enough for a twin mattress. Covered with spiders. $450 a month. And, the owners demand a 12 month lease. Unbelievable.
The realtors all said no one wants to rent, and recommended they drive around looking for rental signs. All afternoon and that is all they found.
The principal said, well, yes, teachers were having to drive a distance to work. It looks to me like if a community wants teachers they might want to have places to live for those teachers, when they can’t come up with a down payment for a house, especially when without warning they can lose a job no matter how well they perform.
The local motels won’t even discount weekly rentals, so nearly $500 a week for a motel.
Anyway, he thinks it might involve at least 500 mile a week commuting. That would be like 25,000 miles a year on a car that is already long in the teeth.
My wife and I talked and I called him back. He and his wife are thinking the cheapest way to have a functional car is the $3500.
My wife and I had agreed we would break this Catch-22 by shipping them money for a new car, minimal to commute with. Corolla a/t a/c, or whatever.
I realize that common advice on this board is to buy a good, used car. Um, yes. I have no doubt that professional mechanics can do things like that. But every time we have looked for used cars, there is virtually nothing at any reasonable price except pure junk no better than what he has now with the $3500 of repairs added. Or Craigslist scams
I am going to ask him for the list of repairs needed for the $3500 and ask your help in prioritizing it. I do not believe all repairs are critical and can be done by priority.
But, at this point in time, it looks like a new car is the best idea. If one could really find good used cars at a substantial discount, that would be the way to go, but we are not seeing that.