So the time has arrived for my '95 Galant for go for CA smog test. Now last time it barely passed the NOx part. It had some valve clatter then which I fixed with retarding the distributor a bit (no timing light). No CELs. Now here is the dilemma. I am due for a filter and spark plug/wire change. I have been assigned to a test only station, and that means if I fail I get $500 assistance for repairs at a designated (?Expensive) repair station. If I decide to retire the car I get $1000 if I am lucky.

Now the car also needs rear and front suspension work and a steering rack. Also some of the suspension parts are dealer only. The tranny has started to slip a bit too. So the repair bill to get the car in decent shape for another two years is high.

So should I even bother with the minor tune-up?

Is the car worth repair if it failed the emissions or should I get the $1K and invest in another used car that could go for 5 years?

First, ignore mmsamma, you’re question is perfectly ‘real.’

I guess you need to consider how much of a car you can buy for $1000, chances are, not a very good one. Plus, any new to you car could have the same or similar problems anyway. With your Galant, you know what’s fixed already, so you know what won’t break anytime soon, plus any repairs you get done in the near future likely won’t need to be done again anytime soon. As well, suspension components are wear items - they may ned replaced on your next car anyway. And if you get $500 to fix your emissions system, assuming it fails, then that’s another thing that’ll be fixed, but it won’t cost you anything.

So, financially, you’re much better off keeping your Galant and repairing it, than purchasing a new vehicle. You have to figure on around $800/year in repairs and maintenance for any car - you’re better off with the devil you know than the one you don’t. Good luck.

i am sure you have thought about this. i find it helps to put it down on paper (as it is here the screen)

you are getting the idea that you may have to do some repairs on old bessy. find out how much the repairs are going to cost. take it to your local mechanic (not the dealer) and get an honest, throrough estimate of how much it’s going to cost.

if the total costs of repair are going to exceed the cost of a “new” car, then get a newer “new car.” at some point you cross the dividing line between “investing” in your car repairs, and throwing $$ away foolishly. this “line” is different for everybody.

i think your idea of waiting until the emissions check gives the go/no go is going to put you under pressure right then. get some answers now. yes… it WILL cost you something for the estimate, but at least that way you will have an intelligent idea of costs.

how much is a “new” car going to cost? $5,000 or so, for a relatively reliable car?

how much are repairs going to cost? (i can’t believe they GIVE you money to retire old cars!)

then add up the figures. if they come close to half the cost of a “newer” car (at least for my opinion) it’s time to get a “new” car.

i guess it really depends on how much you (want) to spend on a “new” car.

good luck

I assume you would not try to replace your car for only that $1000 but you would apply that bonus toward the purchase of something decent. Sadly, I feel this would be your better option.

I have the feeling this Galant is not going to last much longer. We try to encourage people to keep their cars as long as possible, even if it means costly repairs, but this approach assumes there is something worth saving. In your case there may just be one thing after another. My suggestion is to review the newspaper’s “for sale by owner” ads.

Thanks for the replies. I really feel I have gotten to talk this over with my buddies! I know I have to spend at least $5-6K in a newer car and I have that much to spend, but then I would rather not!! The tranny on this one is a major suspect. I guess the fact that we feel it is no longer reliable for long trips is another issue. We need two running cars at any given point. I have done a lot of repairs myself, lots of leaks and motor mounts etc. and hate to see that go to waste but at some point any car has to go.

I am not very optimistic on the $1K but reading all the fine print it seems to be true, I will keep you guys posted.

Step one. Get the emissions test. It might pass. All your problems go away. If it fAILS, deal with THAT problem…

First off, ignore any responses from the first poster on this thread.

You’re going to have a problem by retarding the distributor. This in effect will richen the mixture and probably run the CO and HCs up.
Any rattling on acceleration is probably caused by a fault in the EGR system.

If you’re going to keep the car my suggestion at this point is replace the plugs, wires, set the ignition timing properly (maybe even add a degree), and repair the EGR system. It’s possible the EGR fault could be caused by age/soot, which will clog the passages. A 6 dollar can of SeaFoam fed slowly through a small intake manifold vacuum line could possibly clear this up if soot/clogs are the problem.
(Yes, the car will smoke for a bit after doing this.)

If the front suspension problem is faulty ball joints/control arms you might check with the dealer on this. The '95 Galants were under a recall for this but the criteria for replacement is pretty slim (go figure).
Lower control arms w/ball joints are available in the aftermarket.

If the rear suspension problem is the steering knuckle (kind of a misnomer) these are NOT available aftermarket and it’s dealer only. If the upper bushing is beat out there is a fix for this that will work, although not a by the book repair.
On my daughter’s 95 Galant (God, I hate that car) I removed the knuckles, wrestled what was left of the old bushings out, and made a pair of solid bushings out of round aluminum stock. Pretty easy to do and has worked like gangbusters with nary a problem ever since.

Hard to say on the steering rack. If the problem is only a loose tie rod these can be replaced separately without replacing the entire rack.

Kind of a tough call anyway and hope some of this stuff helps you out in some small way.