I heard on Car Talk that a car can always be repaired cheaper than replaced. Is this still true? My 1989 GMC Jimmy is still going, sort of, but when I went to my local mechanic because the defroster stopped working which pretty much left me blind in a snow storm driving down I-70, he said (and I quote) “Have you ever thought about end of life issues?” The car has a lot of problems. Pretty much nothing on the dash works: no gas gauge, or any gauges actually, no speedometer (TomTom tells me how fast I’m going), no heater. I don’t remember if the AC ever worked. In the past 4 years I’ve replace the brakes 4 times and the alternator ($400!!!) I’ve spent about $2000 on body work for the underside of the car. The back door rattles (loudly) and the rear windshield wiper hasn’t worked for the last 10 years. It is also pretty rusty.
So should I try to fix all of the electrical problems and related things like the heater, defroster, AC (after 16 days of 100 temps it seems like a “nice to have” feature) or is it time to try to find a new old car? If so, what? I really do need 4 wheel drive (which does work btw) because I do drive through that foot of snow on dirt roads which turns into 6" of really slippery much in the spring. Advice appreciated.