I am new to this forum and to car repair/maintenance in general but I tried to do my research before posting here so I don’t sound completely clueless. A couple days ago, desperately in need of a car, we purchased a 2001 Cadillac Seville STS with just under 160,000 miles on it for $ 1800. The previous owner had it for 10 years and seemed to do most of the repair/maintenance himself (he left detailed notes on what he replaced). Today we took it to a mechanic and were quoted over $ 3000 in repairs after a full inspection. Some of the items, like replacing rear struts (which I can’t even feel!) or a wheel bearing I am not too concerned about right now. However, there are two main issues that worry me. The first one is the car jerking to the left (and the steering wheel automatically turning right until centered) every time I brake, especially at higher speeds. That is unsettling, to say the least. The mechanics said that the left outer tie rod ends need replacement, which sounds quite plausible, especially since the brakes and tires are pretty new (and in good condition). They also noted that the right front control arm and bushing need to be replaced as well. My first question is, does that sound about right, because there’s no other drift or wobble when driving?
The second serious issue is the serpentine belt slipping off the power steering pulley specifically. After readjustment, it stayed on for a few miles and slipped off again, but the funny thing is, it does not seem to slip off completely, just two ridges off, and it wants to stay that way. It keeps making the chirping sound too (regardless of whether completely on or slipped). From just a visual inspection I noticed a vibration/wobble in the power steering pulley as well as the crankshaft (the crankshaft less noticeably so). Other pulleys seem to be just fine, and there’s no other slipping or wobble, although the mechanic notes state that the serpentine is “glazed”. They suggested that the harmonics balancer is disintegrating, which makes sense, but why would the power steering pulley be more affected than the crankshaft by that? Also, if the rubber part of the harmonics balancer is coming off, does it mean that the whole thing needs to be replaced, just the rubber part, or could it be fixed with a sleeve? I also noticed some very low barely noticeable rumble when I turn the wheel sharply at low speeds (i.e. when parking). I assume that’s related to power steering pulley issues?
The car has some other issues, like something funky going with the ABS and computer system in general, but other than that, nothing else serious. Now, main question: what should we do with it? Go to a different mechanic, just go ahead and fix it at this one, try to sell it? I don’t know, I just want a safe and reliable ride. Is it worth investing money in it since the body is mostly in good shape, rust-free, no dings? Or should we just get rid of it and get something else. And if we were to sell it as is, what would be the appropriate price? Right now I am thinking of just taking it step by step and taking care of the tie rod ends first, then either the belt issues or the arm/bushings, and then the rest. Does that sound like a decent plan?
Like I said, I don’t know much about cars but I am trying to learn as quickly as possible (and learning from my own mistakes, too.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!