I’m back about my car. A little backstory. A long backstory, but I think relevant.
Attached is the receipt from the last time the dealer had my car to replace gaskets for an oil leak. Don’t see any way to attach a picture of the receipt, so It’s not here. Sorry.
Oct. 6 - had some gaskets replaced on my engine due to dealer saying there was an oil leak. (I talked about that previously. Thought my car was on its last legs) I ordered the gaskets needed because the dealer said they couldn’t get them from Mazda anymore. Someone here recommended me to an online store where I could get them. So those gaskets got installed and dealer said that fixed the problem.
Was told during their work replacing those gaskets that the plastic coolant hose snapped because it was so old and brittle and they replaced it. About a week later I went to check my windshield fluid and found my engine coolant non-existent. Tank was bone dry. I’d driven it a couple days in that week not knowing that. The rest of the week it sat in the driveway. Did NOT see any fluid on my driveway so there was no evidence of a leak. I took it back to the dealer to get it filled. I didn’t actually look to see that they filled it, I just took the car. Drove it maybe 3-4 times between Oct. 6 and the beginning of Nov. It sat in the driveway the rest of the time.
Nov. 6 - drove the car for a few hours, then it sat in the driveway.
Nov. 8 - went to start the car - nothing. Wouldn’t start. Thought I needed a new battery (just because I knew it was really old). Called AAA to do that. Guy said he couldn’t get the strap off that was holding the battery and I had to take it in to the AAA shop (another story). He jumped it and told me I had to let it idle for an hour to charge the battery. An hour later I come out and the car’s not running. Talked to AAA shop guy and he said AAA guy that came out is an idiot and idling doesn’t charge a battery, you have to drive it. Found cables, jumped it and decided to drive it for a little while to charge it.
After driving about 10 minutes, while doing about 30-35 mph, car just dies. All lights came on, no real steering ability but was able to pull over to the side. Called home to have someone come with jumper cables to restart it, hoping it would. Popped the hood and noticed, again! coolant tank was bone dry! Still nothing on the driveway to indicate any kind of leak. Figured that’s the reason the car died. While still waiting about 3-5 mins, tried to start the car and it started! Had family member follow me to the dealer since I couldn’t get into the AAA shop. Car stalled 4x in the 5 miles to get to the dealer and had to jump each time to start. Engine light is the only one on during this time.
Nov. 9 - Haven’t yet talked to the mechanic who worked on the car, but this is the cursory dealer recommendation: head gasket replacement and timing components for $5k+ or getting a used motor from LKQ(?) for $6k+. They said they would have to find a car like mine and get the motor from that.
My first question is: Do you think the coolant hose that broke and the dealer replacing it but then all the coolant leaking out and going somewhere (since it didn’t end up on my driveway) has anything to do with the fact I basically need a new engine now?
I want to talk to the mechanic who worked on it to see where the coolant went, etc., but I also feel it’s their fault the coolant leaked out due to them breaking and replacing the hose a month before and me not knowing it leaked out and I was driving around with a bone dry coolant tank. I know some of you will say I should have checked the coolant but from what I’m told it’s not like you have to check that fluid a lot as it’s not something that gets used up like gas does or windshield washer fluid would. Plus, since I only drive maybe 5k miles a year, I wouldn’t use fluids like someone who drives their car daily would.
My 2nd question is really at the end here. But: My car has 89k+ miles on it. Never been in an accident of any kind. Some rust on the back quarter panel. Headliner is held up with thumbtacks. Radio has some issues. Spent a lot of $$ (at least $5k+) the past year getting things fixed on it. Was just about to get the rust fixed.
The exact same car (well, other than the seat material) is for sale a couple hours away from me in another state. It has 118K miles on it. Price is the same the dealer quoted for a new motor for my car - little over $6k. Pictures show no rust on the outside. Inside looks in nice condition. Carfax shows one accident. Thinking of going to look at it.
Would it be better to get a used motor, rebuild what the dealer says mine needs, or look at the car for sale with about 25k miles more than mine, since they’re all about the same price? I love my car and have always said I’ll do anything to keep it, even if it needs a new engine, but the thing is now that it needs a new engine, should I just get the whole car (that’s for sale) that at least the body is in better shape than mine, or just repair mine?
Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who knows cars that I could take to go look at the car for sale, and everyone I ask doesn’t seem to know anyone they could recommend me to. And it being out of state, I wouldn’t know who/where to take it there to get it checked out. I’ve looked at cars over the years and I don’t like any, nor do I want to spend $30K+ for a new one. All the cars I see on the road that I actually do like (by sight only) are basically 10 or more years old wagons, like Fords and Subarus.
Anyway, my main 2 questions are the ones I need help with: Is the dealer at fault with the coolant and should I get my car repaired for $5 - 6k+ or get the car for sale for about the same price (assuming it’s one I’d buy)?
Thanks very much for the help/advice.