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Another Replace Engine or Replace Car question

I have a 2007 Aveo with about 88,000 miles on it. It has been driven hard, and not maintained very scrupulously. The oil light came on, and in a couple of minutes, the engine was loud and losing power. Dipstick was dry. More oil cleared it up for about 50 miles…

The end result is a “sludged engine,” which runs very poorly–it probably will be completely dead soon. The question is: do I replace the engine, or do I just get a new car? (Assuming that I spend about the same on either, because I have limited funds and don’t want another car payment.)

The car isn’t even paid off yet. One door is bashed in from a hit-and-run, windshield is cracked, and the interior has a lot of wear. In short, the car is worth almost nothing.

Replace the car. Replacing just the engine, and you’ll still have a car that has been run rough and put up wet too many times. A very bad way to treat $12,000 of your hard-earned money. This one has become a money pit, and it is best to start over.

An Aveo is like a disposable lighter. When it no longer works, you throw it away.


If you can’t afford to get a better car you might be able to salvage the one you have at least until it is paid for. It sounds like you won’t get much for it as it is if you try to sell it.

There is a product on the market called Auto-RX which is used to clean dirty engines. I suggest you try it out and see if that helps make the engine perform better. Some folks say the product is snake oil but I think it is a good product and worth a try. I haven’t needed the product so I haven’t used it myself but if I needed it, I would use it. You can check out their website if you like. Hopefully it will help keep you running until finances get better and you can move on to something better.

Very impressive. I don’t think I could destroy a car in three years if I tried. If you have driven it hard and not maintained it, the best thing for you to do will be to get rid of it, buy something else, and drive and maintain it in a manner that will be conducive to the vehicle lasting more than three years past the date of manufacture. You will now be paying off the balance of a loan on a lawn ornament, so it may not be financially feasible to replace the car or get it fixed. It may be time for a bus pass.

Another alternative will be for you to buy a used engine and install it yourself. That’s the way things have always been with me since I was a teenager. “If you break it, you fix it on your own”. Perhaps having to do that will give you an appreciation for very expensive, nice things like cars and give you a willingness to treat them better and take care of them. You have a newer and more expensive car than I have ever owned, and you have torn it up and destroyed the engine. I have never abused a car badly enough to cause that level of damage to it, but I have always appreciated what I had and wanted to keep my things nice. You may, hopefully, have taught yourself a lesson in appreciating what you have. My vote goes to you buying a used engine and installing it yourself. The experience may prevent you from doing things that will result in repeat experiences.

If you are upside down in your Aveo, you may have no choice but to fix the car. I’d suggest looking for a good used engine. There are some near me at Take a look for one near you.

Lets see, the oil light came on in a 3 year old car and you kept driving it until the engine got loud before you checked the oil. You shouldn’t own a car. Rent one if you need it or take a bus.

I’ve been told more than once on this forum my statement that most engine/transmission problems are owner inflicted is a load of crap.

Well that one sure was. Apparently no one ever explained that the oil light coming on means you shut off the car and wait, right there, for help. Same is true of a pegged out temperature gage.

I replaced a Taurus engine today because the customer HAD to get back to town, and ruined by running hot for three miles. Turned out it had an external crack in the block. I have no idea how that got there, but suspect that it had been doctored with stop leak of some sort for a long time. When the stop leak gave way, it dumped its coolant in a hurry.

I have a bunch of friends who wouldn’t know what a car’s warning lights mean. Almost any of them would continue to drive with the oil light or brake light on. It was just by chance that I was at my grandmother’s house when she wanted to go to the store last week and her car’s brake light was on. I was was there, so I drove her, and saw the light, and so we went in my car. She wouldn’t have cared about(probably wouldn’t even have noticed) the brake light and would probably have caused a collision. I found, and replaced, a split brake hose. The car would have had almost no brake response (I know this from experience with a split hose).

I’m not defending the OP’s lack of proper response to a warning light, but this seems to be the world we live in. I try to teach my friends that warning lights mean “stop driving, now!” but most of them don’t retain the information.

I suspect that most problems are owner-inflicted. People seem to ignore warning lights, and noises, and other obvious problems until the car is disabled. I try to tell people not to ignore such things, and that I’ll help them diagnose problems, but the general attitude is that if the car still goes there must not be any problems.

You may be able to find a used/junkyard engine and keep going for under $2000.

Also have you checked the dipstick??? It is possibly leaking oil?

Alternatively if engine is expensive buying a used car for the amount to replace or a bit more.

OP said “Dipstick was dry”

Why wasn’t the door fixed if it was hit & run?? It must be insured if there is a loan on it??

I commend you sincerely on your honesty. We get numerous posts here from people who neglect and abuse their cars and then blame the car itself when it dies.

My answer would depend on how much you owe on the car. If you owe a lot more than a replacement engine and a new windshield would cost, then fix it. If the amount of what you owe is close to the cost to repair, I’d suggest dumping it, taking the “hit” and getting a used beater that won’t be a great loss when it dies. Clearly maintaining cars is not your forte, and it would be a shame to get a new (or high-priced late model) vehicle and destroy it too.

The cheapest way out on this would be to find a salvage yard that will install what they sell. Most do not but there are some around who will do the labor for a nominal fee and guarantee what they install.

I asked for an opinion on whether to replace the engine or the whole car, not a lecture. Being faced with payments on a vehicle that is, as you put it, no better than a lawn ornament, is quite frustrating, especially when some better maintenance could have helped. I take most of the blame for this, I haven’t tried to say it’s anyone else’s fault.

If I had the mechanical know-how and proper resources, I would look into replacing the engine myself, as that would be the cheapest option to get me moving again. This is a learning experience (a very expensive one), and a lesson learned–better maintenance on a car is cheaper in the long-run. I bought this car myself, it was not a gift from mommy and daddy to go with my silver spoon. I hope you are able to appreciate the fact that, based on what you say, you’re clearly an all-knowing sage of some sort. That’s a bigger gift than a new, “expensive” car any day.

You shouldn’t use the internet, since you didn’t read clearly, or just assumed what you wanted to. Oil light came on, and with in a couple of minutes (the time to find a safe place to stop) it got loud. The 50 miles was AFTER I put in more oil and the light went out.

That’s exactly the case. I had been told it meant very low oil, go to the nearest place with oil, and fill up. Come to find out that it could be any problem with oil.

I knew the oil light was “serious,” but not “emergency” level. But, as the cops say, “ignorance is not an excuse.”

At least I already knew (from common sense) not to drive when the brake light is on!

But the light, the noise, it was all very sudden. I didn’t think a couple of miles to the store for more oil would be so disastrous.

The door is unrelated to the engine problem, but anyway when it happened, it didn’t cross my mind that insurance would cover it. It was months later when someone pointed it out to me, but I don’t care much about the cosmetics, and so it hasn’t been a priority to go through the hassle of making the claim, paying the deductible, etc. on something that is only cosmetic.