Dump Our 2000 Focus Or Not?

We have a 2000 Ford Focus wagon. The check engine light is on and it basically does not accelerate very quickly and if you press on the gas pedal too hard, it bucks.

Two mechanics (honest and reliable) have checked out the check engine light to see what the codes are. Cat. converter is one possible code, and there are other “codes” that they are not sure about because they might be errors. They just can’t determine anything else without charging us…and if they start to dig it might automatically be more money than its worth right off the bat.

We do not have enough money to buy another good car without getting a loan. We have enough to buy another clunker, but that’s a crap shoot. Basically, we must decide whether or not to put in whatever it takes to get it running or just dump it.

I know there is no perfect solution, but we own the car outright and I’m looking to avoid another car loan.



I’d spend the money to find the actual problem and the price of the repairs before making any other decisions.

I was thinking that too, but my husband is against that because in the past couple months we put in about $300 for a couple things. The general consensus with the mechanics is that at minimum we’d be facing over $500 and probably a lot more (if it’s the cat.conv., etc)

You will get better help here if you provide us with the exact codes that are present, not what someone thinks they might mean. These will be in the form of Pnnnn, where the "n"s are numbers, and it sounds like you have a few different ones.

A new clunker may have hundreds in repairs lurking on top of a monthly payment.

You will be far better off getting a real estimate on repair and likely moving forward.

Hmmm, I have no idea what the codes were. Not even sure they told my husband exactly what they were…

I forgot to mention that the A/C is out on this car too and that it will need new rear brakes to pass inspection next year.

Such a dilemma!

rear brakes are not all that expensive, usually. A/C can be considered optional and fixed later.

Get the diagnosis done and price out the items. Sometimes you can phase your planned repairs over a few months so the economic hurt isn’t so great at one time.

How many miles on the car and what condition otherwise is it in? These answers may have impact on what you do.

Call the mechanic & see if you can get the codes. If not & if their good will has run out many chain auto parts stores (such as Autozone) will read codes for free. As tardis said, get them and post them.

A parts store like Auto zone/advance auto should read your codes for free(or you may have to put down a deposit to get a code reader and get it back when you return it). When you get the codes, post them back on here, will be in a format like “P1234”.
also, I’d look for new mechanics if they aren’t sure about the codes

Thanks everyone. We both work F/T, not sure when we can back to the post with the codes, but really, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

click the little magnifying glass up towards the top of the thread and post back whenever you can

Don’t dump that car, yet. A bad o2 sensor could be about 60 bucks. Replacing both maybe close to two hundred. A bad cat is due to the down stream o2 sensor or a bad cat. You did not mention the miles or whether these had already replaced please post the miles. Many o2 sensors go bad after ten years and 100k miles, this is normal. The bucking could be a bad fuel mix due to sensor problems. Yes it could be other stuff too. You really need to think about getting the codes from autozone and posting them here. It could also be bad fuel injection. It all depends on which codes are set in the computer and where the most likely cause of failure follows from that. The more money than its worth is a poor argument these days. It always costs a bit more to maintain the car if you have let it slip and the bills pile up. The cost of new or even used has also gone up. If the car is otherwise sound and does not need 800 bucks to fix some other thing as well then the cost of a running car for the next year could be 300- 600 bucks on a good day when you just maintain it.

It has 130,000 and we have always maintained it very, very well. We bought it used five years ago and it had scratches on the body, but we don’t care about how it looks. My husband could explain what these two mechanics have said–they both kind of generally agreed that what it would cost to fix is not worth what the car is worth. However, I hear what you’re saying about the fact that used cars cost more than they ever have, etc., etc. It’s just looking like it’s not worth putting in any more money, especially with the A/C, which was determined by mechanics would cost major money to fix; plus the usual things that go wrong with older cars (like the rear brakes we already know about), PLUS this new problem that will cost at least $600 yet the mechanics hinted that might just be the start, but they won’t know until they get in there. In all this rain, I drove into work this morning and had almost no defrost. Disregarding the A/C not working is stupid. Of course we need it, if not for comfort in hot weather, at least for defrosting. Without it is just dangerous. It sucks…

I know we won’t escape repairs costs with another used car. I’m thinking that we need to get another car, one that is a little newer and more reliable and just suck it up and have another car payment. With a 5 and 7 year old, we cannot drive around with anything less than a safe and solidly reliable car…


As long as the engine and transmission are in good shape, fix it. $300 in repairs in the past couple of months is nothing. A new car payment will be at least that a month.

Be sure it’s the cat that actually needs replacing and not sensor(s). If it is the cat, go aftermarket. I had one replaced on a 01 Focus for $500, the dealer wanted $1,200.