I bought this car for $1,900 in July because I could afford it and was sick of walking and busing everywhere. As soon as I bought it, I had the fluids replaced and saw it wasn’t terribly well-maintained… needed new transmission fluid and the spark plugs were factory and falling apart. I knew buying it that the timing belt (and associated things) hadn’t been replaced, so I got that done, too. It’s been a great little car like everyone assured me it could be. No issues at all.
Well, last week it wouldn’t start one day out of the blue, so I got it towed and found out the engine dropped a valve seat (as, I found out, this engine is known for doing). Wow, great. That’s expensive. I authorized the repair a couple of days ago. It costs about as much as the car did, which may or may not have been the right choice, but well, I made it.
The mechanic called me this morning telling me the piston skirt shattered and he found it in the oil pan. A new piston and connecting rod was quoted for an additional $300. That makes this venture, plus towing and diag, $2,640. That’s… a lot more than this car is worth. I criticized him for not finding the piston issue earlier, as I understand you can check it with a borescope, but he said from above it looked okay. No idea how legit this is as I’m no expert.
I have some questions I was hoping someone more familiar with cars and their engines than me could answer. (That isn’t difficult, trust me.)
- In this instance, should only one piston really be replaced? I thought they were like tires… replace 'em all or don’t.
- This car is at 119,000 miles. It’s an automatic. That tranny is going to go out someday. If it was your car, would you put the money in? I know no one has a magical answer but thought I’d try.
- What other options do I have? It sounds like if I pull out now, I could get away with paying for the tow, diagnostic, and a little bit of labor.
Thank you sincerely from a girl with no one to seek advice from but the internet. All input is appreciated and I can provide more information if needed.