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2002 Pontiac Aztec

My beloved Aztec has about 122T miles on it, and I have only had minor issues, all covered under warrenty. No problems since it got into the “big girl” miles. Usually I drive at least 100 miles a day (commuter) but due to injury have been off work and not hardly driving for about 5 months. Last week after a long enough to be nice and warm drive it started choking, stalled a couple of times at a stop, and choked a few times on the highway but made it the 30 miles back home. Into the dealership- just had a call saying the antifreeze is leaking into the manifold and mixing with the oil, has possibly ruined the engine. I ok’d the take apart and pray cost of $900, and will replace the engine if I have to and can- I do love the car very much. Any idea on what a new engine would cost- installation included?Any advice? Can’t afford to replace the car even if I wanted to, negative equity, dontcha know.

This car has been awesome, and the best I have ever owned. It has criss-crossed the country, and if they still made them I would buy another in a heartbeat.

Geez, $900 to INVESTIGATE the problem? I’d be praying too. In all probability it has a leaking intake maniflod or lower manifold gasket. $900 should fix it completley. If not, good low mileage engines are available. Try for one near you. A NEW one will boggle your mind, not to mention checkbook.

Also, find a good independent mechanic near you right here on the Car Talk website. Go to

The $900 will fix it completely, if it is just the gasket and flushing systems out, sorry I wasn’t clearer about that.
Thank you for your help. The indie mech site will help a lot- I had a really good mechanic for more than 20 years, but he moved on to better things. The guy he refered us to was good, he does more restorations, mech stuff just lets him pay for his toys and shop I think (always seemed like ours were the only non-classic cars there anyway). We spent a couple of thousand over time fixing up an older Honda. When it was time to rebuild the tranny, we couldn’t get him to return a call, even left a note at the shop in case the machine wasn’t working. Shame…I would so much rather trust the little guys, you know? Always a better bang for the buck.

If there is more than a trace amount of coolant in the oil and you’ve driven it for more than a few minutes that way, the engine is probably junk. It could be rebuilt, but a warrantied salvage yard engine would probably be cheaper. Probably on the order of $2500 installed, depending on the area of the country in which you live. These engines are pretty common.

We brought it home Friday. Was told they road tested and ran a computer diagnostic, all ok, no warnings came on (the warning lights never did come on. As it would choke, the battery light would come on, but that’s it.) The fiance drove it Saturday to help my stepdad move a piece of furniture. After driving 2+ miles to the store then about 15 miles to stepdad’s home, all was fine. One the way back home it started choking (about 15 miles later) And it stalled once. The service engine light came on. Tonight we are having it towed back to the dealership.
If it was an oil issue, wouldn’t the oil light have come on? I am wondering if there is an intake problem- or generator belt, something other than the gasket they replaced.