Buick LeSabre 1998... Should I consider letting it go?


I have a great looking 1998 Buick LeSabre 100k+ miles, that my Grandmother bought new. She sold it to me for a down payment on a brand new Lucerne over a year ago. Its been on a steady decline ever since… I replaced the master cylinder and the rear break assembly, now the front breaks need to be replaced (completely… roters, disks…)The transmission slips at the slightest provocation, its burned out 3 turn-signal relays, A/C blower is going out, and finally the most annoying of all… it has started setting off the parking break alarm which lasts until I actually engage the parking break. Should I get this thing fixed of go buy a new/used car? My husband wants to fix it… I think if we fix it we will only be prolonging the inevitable: financing a new car.

Thank you

– Labuiacs


Brake pads and rotors (discs) are normal wear items.

The tranny fluid level should be checked, and it may be overdue for servicing…check the owner’s manual. As a minimum that should be checked out before making any decisions.

Turn signal relays are cheap. Although I’m wondering why it burned three out.

The AC blower (I assume you mean the fan) is either the fan motor, the resistor block, or the relay. None is a major part. Tell us the symptoms and perhaps we can help.

I’m unfamiliar with a parking brake alarm. Perhaps just setting the parking brake would help? Perhaps it’s doing what it should?

In short, unless the tranny servicing discloses some major problem, nothing on your list would cause me any concern. You are always prolonging the inevitable. That’s the goal. Based on this list perhaps you can prolong it for many more years at minimal cost.


Well if the trans is slipping, that will be a $2-3000 repair right there. If that’s the case, unless you really like it and are willing to drive it for 5 years to get your money out of it I would reconsider repair. The rest of it is pretty minor stuff unless you’ve got some electrical unresolved issues going on.


None of these items are unusual for a 10 year old 100,000K plus car. If the body is good, and the engine has good compression I would go for repairs. At 7% financing, a new Buick would consume $1750 per year in interest charges plus the depreciation. Businesses always compare the cost of money and depreciation of a new machine with the repair costs of the old, assuming the equipment can be made reliable. Some pieces of industrial equipment are rebuilt many times for this reason. Old Volvos had very good bodies and were well made, so many are still running today. If the car is basically sound, you would not be throwing good money after bad. Spares availability is an important factor, and this car is easy to service with aftermarket spares at a reasonable price.


Thank you for the quick response. I understand that the point is to prolong the decline of a vehicle, but in the past I have repaired a vehicle only to have something else break on it… so on and so forth. ( My last car blew up 2 radiators! and a number of other expensive and vital parts)

The Relay is a minor annoyance and I replace them myself on occasion… but I fear that it is a part of a larger electrical issue. The relays for the AC are fine, and the parking break is really not engaged (which is I think another symptom of the electrical issue… although they may be wholly disconnected)

Oh and the tranny has great looking fluid, which is full. The Transmission has been replaced before, while my grandmother had it.

From what I understand electrical issues can become an elusive and expensive mess… mostly in paying for the labor involved in diagnosing the exact issue. I could just treat the symptoms and hope thats what does it… and wait for another funny thing to appear. That Buick sure is a nice car though, I hate to see its decline.

– Labuiacs


It’s possible that it’s putting out too high a voltage. That can be checked pretty easily. Parts stores like Autozone will check the charging system for free.

The tranny would make me nervous. But, heck, it can’t have a very good tradein value on the market now anyway. Why not fix the minor stiff and drive it 'til it dies? It could be years.


You are probably right. I’ll get the electrical tested and get the transmission looked at… I might get another 100k miles out of it. High voltage makes since, since it ate through a good battery not too long ago (the battery was old… but not THAT old).

Thank you for the advice…