$5,000 in Repairs and Maintenance

I guess my concerns are really two-fold to begin with, in approximately 2 1/2 years, I have spent $5,000 for maintenance and repairs on my 1997 Nissan Altima GXE. The engine sounds great, and there’s 156,000 miles on the car. However, I am concerned about how much more $ I may have to pour into it. My mechanic’s advice is that I hang on to it. Should I take his adviceor get rid of the car? I guess I also have concerns about whether or not I am being charged excessively and/or for unnecessary repairs. How does one protect oneself from being ripped off?

How long have you had the car? If little or no maintenance was done prior to that time, the $5000 is quite understandable.

The car is 13 years old. US car owners spend an average of $1200 per year on repairs and maintenance. For 2 1/2 years that would amunt to $3000 under “normal” use if the car was maintained from the day it was purchased.

If you give us a detailed account of the repairs, the mileage at which it occurred, and the cost, we could comment more intelligently.

A 1997 Altima is not a lemon or a particularly bad car.

You have to maintain any car. I have no idea how many miles you have driven the Altima in the last 2 1/2 years and what maintenance you have done or what big repairs you have done. Every car needs brake pads, oil changes, transmission fluid changes, air and fuel filters, and tires at a certain point. You may have also had to replace the struts. A breakdown of your %5000 cost would be useful.

The best way to avoid being ripped off is to 1) read the owner’s manual and 2) if a big repair is needed, seek out a good shop that specializes in this repair. For example, if you need transmission work, find a good independent transmission shop. The cost may not be lower, but I have always figured that if I pay more for a good job, I’m ahead n the long run.

If the undercarriage of your car isn’t rusted, you probably have quite a bit of useful service left in the car.

Tomorrow I will give a detailed account of the repairs and the mileage when the repairs have taken place. I have had the car for 7 years and at that point it had 77,000 miles on it. I have driven it about average–12,000 miles a year. I have been pretty good about maintaining it, but I did work with a mechanic for awhile that I thought might not be keepin up with things so I changed mechanics. Undercarriage is not rusted.

Have you rebuilt / replaced the transmission (yet)…

No, I have not rebuilt or replaced the transmission.