Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2005 Ford Freestyle - misfire / fix it or buy a new car?

I have a 2005 SEL Freestyle with 114K miles. Cyl #3 missing. Has all the symptoms of a “lean misfire” - reading the code said #3. The indy mechanic already replaced the spark plug and the coil. Misfire still a problem. Tried to put some cleaner in there which did not help. He thinks the head needs to be replaced … cost over $2500.

The a/c is also busted. Needs a compressor. $900 to fix. So I’m staring down $4000 to fix a car that’s 9 yrs old. Not to mention I’m probably looking at brakes before much longer.

If I buy a different car - new I’m looking at $30000 plus to get the same type of vehicle. Used I get someone else’s problems and even then I’m looking at $20000 for something 2 or 3 yrs old. This car at best will get me $500 on trade in… if they are merciful. Chance I could lose my job any month now… the business i work for is not doing well. So a car loan is a really risky thing to get into as well.

I love my car - a lot. Tempted to just fix it and move on but no idea what else can go wrong moving forward. Surely there will be expensive scheduled maintenance coming up. … not to mention the surprises.

I am not a car person. I take really good care of what I have but don’t know enough about cars to make a good decision on this one.


Some thoughts . . .

Has the mechanic checked compression on #3 cylinder

Has he performed an injector balance test. Perhaps #3 is partially restricted. Might even have an open circuit

Why are you so sure it’s a lean misfire?

If that’s where you’re headed, have the mechanic use his evap/smoke machine to find those intake leaks

If I were in your shoes, I’d keep this van

The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t . . . isn’t that how the saying goes?

My priorities would be the misfire and the brakes

Why does the mechanic think your head is a goner?

If it just has a burnt valve, a machine shop can take care of that. Cheaper than $2500

There are so many other things , other than spark plug andf coil that could be causing the misfire. 02 sensor… injector???

What tests has he performed that he thinks the head is shot.


Mechanic said he would not put that money into this car but I don’t know why. Sounds like I really need to go ask more questions.

If the mechanic is unwilling to do more tests, or at least explain why he thinks the head is shot . . . find another mechanic

or, has the mechanic made you a low ball offer on the car? He might have ulterior motives. A 2005 with 114K should have a lot of life left in it.

Get a second opinion from a mechanic you find by clicking on the MECHANICS FILES at the top of this page. Let us know what s/he finds out. I’m betting it doesn’t need a cylinder head.