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Buy or keep

I have a 2001 VW Jetta GLS 1.8T manual, it was bought new . It has 94000 miles on it and most are from highway driving. I take about 250 miles roundtrip per week. The car is running well and in good condition. But will need timing belt replaced soon, which would cost about $1000. I am looking at new Focus and Hyundai Touring (price range of this class). Dealer only offer $3000 to trade-in my VW. Wonder if I should get a new car or just keep the VW and give it a good maintenance treat .

$1,000 for a timing belt job seems high, are there other items in this estimate. You should be able to get a timing belt job, with a new water pump for around $600.

Dealer trade ins are usually low, so you can likely sell the car yourself for $1,000 to $2,000 more than the trade in quote. Usually keeping the current car with the known problems is cheaper than buying another car. Making repairs should costs less than the monthly payments on a newer car if you have to borrow money to make the purchase.

It’s a toss-up. Your VW is entering a time when you will have more serious and expensive repairs, but you will not have monthly payments that a new car would require.

The timing belt should have been done a lot earlier; you should do this right away. We have many posters who get very high mileage out of their VWs, but all are dedicated maintainers. Budget a further $3000 in the next year and a half, so you won’t have nasty financial surprises.

If you are going to keep the car, read the owner’s manual carefully and bring all the maintenance up to date. Not doing so will result in very expensive repairs down the road.

$1000 includes water pump and valves, etc. Some garages estimated for $1300. I think VW generally costs more for parts. After having the timing belt, water pump replaced I worry additional needs may occur and don’t want to be stucked on the highway.

The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with the car. The timing belt/water pump is just routine maintenance. Even if you trade it in, the dealer is going to know that the car needs maintenance done to it and will just reduce his offer to accommodate how much he’s going to have to spend to get the work done. Even a private buyer will likely want to know why the work hasn’t been done and will likely reduce his/her offer accordingly.