Do I sell my 2007 Kia Sportage or Pay for the Repairs on it?

So, I still owe about 16 months of car payments on my 2007 Kia Sportage. Today, I learned that to get all the repairs done that need to happen, it would be the equivalent cost of 16 months of car payments.

I’m in graduate school so I’d have to use 1/3 of my fall refund to pay for ALL of the repairs at once, which are:

-all 4 tires are bare and need to be replaced
-needs new brake pads
–needs new belt
-needs both rear quarter panels replaced b/c the rust has reached the gas tank
-needs new front and rear ball bearings

What is the most practical solution? I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, especially since I’m in grad school and rely on my tuition refund money for living expenses. If I just pay off my Kia Sportage, I can buy a used car from someone online (not from a dealership b/c I have a low credit score, am not employed full-time so I wouldn’t qualify for financing since I also have student loans). Or, I can pay for the repairs and continue to pay off the Kia Sportage knowing it may not last that much longer.

What should I do?

Can you provide an image of this rust?


All I can do is take a photo of each side that shows the rust. I don’t know where the rust is on the inside.

Should I sell my SUV or should I keep it and pay it off and ignore the rust issue? Thank you for responding to my post.

Not sure what you mean by that . Even on line unless paying cash your credit score will influence a vehicle loan . Used dealers also sell cash type transactions.
You must have tires that are safe and brakes . How have you determined that rust has reached the fuel tank ? If belt is the accessary drive belt you might be able to do that yourself .

I have asked this question many times here . Do you not have a family member who might help or at least make you a low payment loan. We have helped family members that we did not like just so they could get to work and feed their kids.

I meant that I would pay someone cash for their used car from my fall grad school tuition refund versus applying for more car financing. No one in my family will loan me the money.

The mechanic said the rust is close to the gas tank on one side.

No one online is going to sell you a vehicle and wait until fall for the money if that is what you mean. And probably the amount of money you will get won’t put you in that good of a vehicle .
Rust close to fuel tank and rust on or in a fuel tank are two different things . Fixing the rust is a waste of money on this vehicle .

Oh no. I meant, I’d wait until I got my fall refund to buy a used car to pay cash for. But, I feel like I’m stuck b/c I’d still have to payoff the balance of my car loan too. So, financially, what makes more sense? Keep my SUV, pay for all of the repairs (I will get clarification about the rust location from the mechanic) or some of them (tires, brake pads, belt) and just continue to pay off the SUV over the next 16 months? Or, payoff the car, sell it for its Kelley BlueBook value and provide the CarFax report and tell the buyer about the rust issue etc and other repairs (or just sell it for parts), and buy someone’s used car and pay cash for it?

If you buy another used car it may have a lot of maintenance items required and you will be in the same predicament.
When you can post pictures of the rust we could then provide opinions whether they require replacement.
RE: “needs new belt” timing belt or serpentine belt? If a timing belt breaks it can destroy your engine.
Tires and brakes are must have items.


The mechanic said timing belt.

Ok. I will try to figure out how to take photos of the rust on each side and you can tell me what you think.

The gas tank is under the back seat, how do the quarter panels affect the fuel tank? Perhaps it was something other than quarter panels. How much was the estimate for the body work?

I doubt very seriously that you will sell this for anywhere near the Kelley Blue Book value. There is always a lot of optimism in that pricing and also in the subjective opinions of condition.

If your driving is mostly local you could do the tires and brakes. Forget the rust and bearings and while not a perfect option; ignoring the timing belt and saying a silent prayer is an option.

Sorry I can’t offer any alternatives. Timing belts must be changed on time. I don’t know what Kia specifies, but many are 60,000 miles or 6 years, which ever comes first.

Maybe it was something else and I misunderstood the mechanic. I didn’t realize rust could reach the gas tank. Does it?

I took a photo of each side of the rust but can’t upload it. I don’t know how to do that here.

The Kelley Blue Book value for it is only $500.

The amount I owe on my car loan for 16 months total is $3025.

I have 177,000 miles on my 2007 Kia Sportage. The tires are bare/bald and I can feel it go sideways sometimes which is scary.

First question: Do you need a car? Is there public transportation available? Is it possible to live on campus?

Second question: What kind of driving do you do? If it is around town driving, maybe just tires and brakes will help you get by for a while. Check to see if your Kia has an interference engine. If so, the timing belt is in order.
How soon do you anticipate completing your degree?
If you really need a vehicle, my vote would be to repair what you have.

As @Purebred said it would not be unusual to buy a used car that needed brakes, tires, a timing belt, throw in other routine maintenance, trans service, would second guess front and wheel bearings and rust.


Well, I live in the Midwest where there isn’t any public transportation except buses. I do a lot of commuting to class and to different temp jobs. How do I find out what kind of engine my Kia has? Why didn’t the mechanic tell me what kind of engine it has?

I will be finished in 2 years. I just started my program last semester.

How long do cars last? Is 177,000 miles mean I have less than 2-3 years left of usage on my Kia Sportage?

True. I could buy a used car and risk buying a total lemon that will cost me just as much money. There is definitely that risk I guess?

Second guess front wheel bearings and rust? I’m confused.

OK . this vehicle is almost only worth salvage price now. Just put the cheapest tires you can find and brake pads . Don’t drive anymore than you have to . If the timing belt breaks it still has salvage value .

So, I should just replace the tires and brake pads, and timing belt, do minimal driving for the next 16 months while I continue to pay it off? I feel like this is just a bad situation for me financially no matter what I do.

Tires brakes, and belt sounds good, it should get you through, then hopefully you will be traveling to job interviews and will need a dependable car to get to the interview, then get to work. You cannot buy a decent used car for lees than your maintenance costs are going to be. I would hope it makes it another couple of years, but then again a 3 year $200 a month lease if you keep below the 12k mileage or whatever the term might be another consideration

Thanks everyone for your input about my situation. I think I’ll take everyone’s advice and just buy:

-cheapest tires I can find
-new brakes
-timing belt

And I’ll leave the rusted rear quarter panels alone and ask the mechanic to tell me exactly where the rust is, with regard to the gas tank on my 2007 Kia Sportage. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a full-time job sooner than later so that I can set aside money to pay off the Sportage fast and be able to buy another used car that is in better condition than my Sportage. I won’t be able to do a lease b/c my credit score is low, and because I don’t have a full-time job.

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