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Explorer vs Sebring JXI

I have a '98 Ford Explorer which my husband and I bought new. After 14 years, 175,000 miles, two kids and countless dogs, it still runs fairly well but I’m tired of it. It also needs a new clutch, the heater doesn’t always work and the driver side window motor is dying. My brother, who wants the Explorer for his tree service, has offered to swap for a '99 Chrysler Sebring JXI a customer gave to him. It has 90,000 miles, needs a new transmission and computer ($3,000 is the estimate) but is otherwise in great shape. However, it’s been sitting for a total of five years, although my brother does run the engine every week. My husband thinks I’m being impractical; I say it’s my midlife crisis, I’ve earned it and I’m going to have it. But is he right? Is this a bad idea?

I don’t think I would put $3000 into a 13 year old car that has been sitting around for 5 years. The problems with the Explorer would be easier to handle–you may be able to have the clutch replaced, and the other problems taken care of for less than $1000. You’ve owned the Explorer since it was new–better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

If you want a midlife crisis car sell the Explorer for what cash you can get. Then go and buy a running car. That car is a money pit. As is it’s worth maybe $500. Your Explorer is worth$2500 or more. Sill want to trade? I see mid 80’s Corvettes for $4000 and up all the time. I just looked at one for $4500. It had 80,000 miles and ran fine.

I’ve never really liked 'vettes. Why is the Sebring a money pit? Just because it’s been sitting? What does that do to a car?

When a car sits, the rubber seals dry out. The tires rot away and will need to be replaced. The gasoline in the tank becomes gummy. Did your brother keep fresh gas in the tank?
If your brother is willing to have the Sebring repaired before you swap with him, that is one thing. However, if you are swapping a running vehicle for a non-running vehicle, you are getting the short end of the deal.

Yes a car that sits will likely have problems. Brakes,brake rotors and fuel system just to start. This car clean retails for $4312 according to NADA. You think $3000. will fix it? I sill cant understand why you would trade $2500 for $500 (Explorer=$2500–Sebring=$500)? Then spend $3000 just to start. Makes no sense to me. If you really want a Sebring go buy one thats runs,but have it check before you buy it.

First, I neglected to mention the Sebring has been checked by a mechanic, who ran a series of computer diagnostics on it and came up with only the transmission and computer as a problem - “so far as I can tell” - he said. My own mechanic has waffled back and forth on this, hence my posting to Car Talk. Thank you Triedaq for your helpful answer. My brother had talked about having it repaired before we traded, until he found out how much it will cost. So yes, I may be getting the short end of the stick. Oldbodyman, if you think a 14 year old Explorer in which two kids were essentially raised, has seen vomit, milkshake spills and petrified french fries, not to mention countless dogs and nearly 200,000 miles of road trips and family vacations and which is in need of a clutch and has a wonky heater that requires pulling the dashboard to repair will bring $2500, then I happily sell it to you.

A running truck is worth that all day long now days. Even if you can only get $1500,its sill worth more than this Sebring. A car thats worth $4000 running is only worth $500 if it needs $3000 or more in repairs. A clutch is not a big $$$ repair. I bet the heater repair is not big deal. Pulling the dash in an Explorer is easy. It comes out as one unit. I have done this more than once.
On top of this you say the mechanic said “so far as I can tell”. In my book that always means $$$$$

If the computer in the Sebring has a problem to the point where you need a new computer then it may not tell you if there are other problems. Add to it that you also need a trans, and you dont have a very good combo…
I dont think its worth it and i think there are probably better options.
Thats only my opinion only but I would not do it.

Thanks friedo82. The consensus is not what I wanted to hear, but you’re probably all correct. No Sebring. Hubby offered last night to spring for a new car, so I guess that’s what we’ll do, tho I hate car payments! Again, thank you all.


I’m glad hubby cares enough about you to get a new car. Maybe your brother would still like to Explorer. You could sell it to him. If you buy from a dealer, get the best price on your new car without mentioning a trade-in, then ask the dealer to evaluate the Explorer as a trade-in. As an alternative, you could just get estimates from car dealers to buy the Explorer from you. Then sell it to your brother for the trade-in value.

Late to the game, but wanted to add the Sebring was free for a reason.

I think both vehicles are losers that will nickel and dime you to death. The Ford is old and tired. The Sebring apparently needs a transmission from the get go. As far as the ‘computer problem’, I’d get more info. Most people rarely understand these kinds of problems, and the ECU is usually a pretty reliable device.

You’d be better off selling the Ford outright for what you can get, then adding some money and getting something in good running condition.