I’ve been listening to Car Talk on NPR since I was a little girl (probably as long as they’ve been on!), and I think this would be a good place to get some opinions
In February of '03, I purchased my first car, a '97 Ford Taurus GL, from a used car dealer. It had 114K miles, and appeared to be in good condition for the mileage. According to the dealer, it had been primarily a ‘showroom’ vehicle before being purchased by an elderly couple. Bought it for just under $4,000. We had it checked out before hand by a trusted mechanic, and he said it was in good shape for the mileage and price.
For the first few months, it ran well. Come summer, it started having issues. I had to have the A/C cleaned out due to a noxious mold build up from sitting for so long, but that wasn’t surprising. Nor was it surprising when the transmission showed some issues. An inaccurate local transmission shop took it apart and said it just needed some solenoids replaced. I wanted a second opinion, so I took it down to a major Ford dealership. They discovered the transmission was inundated by metal debris from wear and tear, and gave me the option of a transmission repair or rebuild. Opted for the rebuild, which was about $2800. Though quite painful, I knew with a car of this age and price would probably need it. I figured if I did the rebuild, it would last longer and I could keep the car going for many more years. And since then, the transmission has given me no issues. I also had a brake job done (shims replaced and relined).
The problems I’m concerned with are the electrical issues. I’ve had 3-4 batteries during the whole time I’ve owned it. I’ve had the air bag sensor replaced, various switches and relays fixed, and have had an alternator replaced as well. The door sensors have been nothing but trouble, and sometimes never go off. Nobody has been able to repair this. Interior lights stay on, and power drains quickly from batteries, even after the ‘new’ alternator (re-manufactured). I have heard many times that this make and model has history of electrical issues, and I’m wondering if I should sink any more money into this car or just move on. It’s gotten to the point where it’s been sitting on the property for quite some time, occasionally being started and moved.
Spend more or send her out to pasture? Note, I’m on quite a budget, so expensive repairs that may not extend its life long enough aren’t exactly my cup of tea.