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Car advice

I found out I was pregnant in December, since then I have been working 60 hour weeks to get the loan paid off on my car. But the overtime has since evaporated. I’ve tried to find a 2nd job but no one wants to hire someone who is knocked up. I have a 1999 Ford Escort that needs a lot of work. ZX2 2.0 engine. I’ve had this car for two years but recently discovered it needs 1400 in body work (rust damage from New England winters), wiring harness in the driver’s side headlight is gone, and the Catalytic converter is also on it’s way out. Also, the transmission just started to act up the past month and the engine ticks loudly when not warmed up. I’m having a baby in 4 months and really can’t afford a car payment, plus my credit is shot. I was going to inherit a car from a family friend but she felt that the car needed just as much in work as mine did. I don’t feel at this juncture it’d be in my benefit to put all this work into the car.

Has anyone been in the same spot before? and if so what did you do? What should I do? I already put about 800 into it with suspension and steering work. Should I just keep going and fix or somehow find a new car? I have to find a way to save money for a new apartment for when the little guy comes and go to work too…

Noone can tell the condition of your car without a visual inspection. The rust issues sound significant. It is hard to put money into fixing a car that might soon get to the point of being unsafe.

Still if you buy another used car, you don’t have much money to spend and you could buy a car that needs as much or more work. You know the issues with the Escort. Any used car is a big unknown.

Have a good body shop examine the frame, front end, and basic structure of the car. If they find it is sound and likely to last another 5 years you are likely better off fixing the Escort. If the inspection shows it is rusted too much to save, then don’t put another dime in it, you’ll need to buy another car.

Well I took the car to a reputable professional body shop and their estimate was 1326$ They said the floor has holes, both rocker panels are on their way out as well and that the holes they would basicly kill the rusted parts, and to do that they’d rip out the carpeting, and cut out the rusted parts and schlack over the stuff with some special glaze. He said about 5 years was right for the repairs. The only thing stopping the car from passing is the rocker panels, the holes, and the headlight wiring harness.

Great answer, Uncle. If that rust is cosmetic, not to worry. But, if it is down in the frame and body parts and will soon make the car unsafe, fixing it is a bad choice.

OP, I am not going to moralize at all, I am neither a Nobel Prize Winner nor a saint. But, at this time it is urgent you get a life plan, whatever is right for you, not for your neighbors. You are, I think it is accurate to say, in a bit of a pickle and know it, which is a real good sign, speaking as a father of daughters.

You need to make plans, yes, on the car, but also in general as many of us had to do in our younger years, so you are ready to handle things that come at you in the future.

People who develop such plans tend to work their way out of the hole, and are much less likely to get in the hole again. Those who don’t make such life plans tend to go from disaster to disaster their whole life.

The problem is, no one really can give you useful advice on things in general, because their advice will be based on their views, not yours.

Rust is very difficult to stop. A ZX2 is very difficult(2dr) with infant.

The transmission if automatic is a $1500+ repair, far more than the car is worth.

Don’t put a dime into this car. Its like throwing money into a bonfire. Set it aside for another vehicle. Keep asking around, there are older less expensive cars that people took care of. Maybe even put a ploy on craigslist.

But is craigslist reliable? We have Buy Here Pay Here, but really so far my experience with them is I have a better shot getting a reliable car from Sleezy Sam’s down the street. How do you trust who you go through? Ugh. So I guess it really does make sense to get rid of the car and start fresh.