CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Finding replacement vehicle

First let me say I don’t know which heading to put this under, so I chose this one. I may choose another also in case this isn’t the right place.

I HATE that my car is apparently on its last legs. I LOVE my 2005 Mazda 6 wagon w/88k miles. Just had it looked at and there’s an oil leak somewhere in the engine that they can’t get the gasket for because Mazda doesn’t make it anymore, and I’m told even if they could find one at a salvage/junk yard there’s no guarantee that it’s not dried out and would also leak, seeing as it’s also been sitting in a 16 yr old car. I’m told it will last a while longer (no estimate on that though) but I should start looking for something else now. I was even willing to have the engine rebuilt (that’s how much I love this thing) but again, there’s the same problem of parts (gaskets) that can’t be found new, and the cost to get an engine with 16 yr old parts plus the install would cost a lot. So I need to find something else.

Problem is I absolutely hate the new(er) cars with all the technology and crummy air vents (one of the best things about my wagon - they’re round and can hit ANY part of your body, not like the terrible rectangle vents in every car that can only go up/down/left/right). Everything is an SUV. I’m short - 5’2. They don’t make cars for us. I pretty much need a step to get into any SUV. On top of which I have a chronic foot injury and stepping on something, like a running board, to get myself into the seat hurts. The technology drives me crazy with the nav screen and beeping because of SOMEthing, backup camera, etc. Plus, not ONE has the cargo space that mine has. (I was once told by a number of dealers that in order to get the cargo space that I have, they’d have to sell me a van. I don’t want a van. Or even a minivan).

I like plain and simple. Don’t need all the doodads. Would prefer a wagon, used would be better - don’t really want to spend $30k+ (or even $20k+) for new - but would consider looking at new despite the doodads and price if I have to. Since I’ve been driving a 16 yr old car I have no clue what to look at, which is what I need help with. Don’t know anyone who’s car savvy that I can ask.

So…after all that, can anyone help by directing me to what I can/should look at as far as used or new cars that are reliable? I’ve looked online but there’s so many that I need to narrow it down because I have to actually physically go look at them and try them to see if I like them and they work for me (and my issues) and with chronic pain that will take a good amount of time.

I have 2 basic needs: something relatively close to the ground because of my foot injury (nothing I have to climb into) and preferably with good cargo space even if I have to fold seats down. I don’t need nor want big 5-7 passenger vehicles (no kids) just to get the cargo space.

Thanks to anyone/everyone who can help. Really appreciate it.

Honda Fit. Very flexible on the storage space. But get one now, they’re quitting making it. Also take a look at the Kia Soul.

Are you working with a dealer? I’m surprised there aren’t aftermarket gaskets for your engine. If not that, there should be gasket material that can be cut to match the gasket you need, or maybe the mechanic can use silicone for that gasket. I’m not one of the pro mechanics that hang out here. They can provide better guidance for this car, especially if you tell us which parts are involved with this leak.

4 Likes

You were asking about a vehicle to haul building materials in 2007 . Is that no longer needed ? For crying out loud you are making a big deal out of heating and cooling vents . I have both kinds and can’t see what your problem is . What do you need to haul now ? As for the features that come on vehicles now I imagine after you have some of them you will change your mind .

I would like to know exactly what allegedly non-existent gasket it is that would cause someone to throw in the towel on a car with only 88k miles on it. Scrap a car over a lousy gasket? Come on.

Can’t say much for the people who told you this. If for some oddball reason a gasket did not exist then have they not heard of gasket material? Auto parts stores sell this by the roll in both cork and fiber. Cut your own.

Full engine gasket sets on eBay for 80 some odd dollars surely there is something in that package that will work.

9 Likes

+1
Instead of replacing the car, the OP needs to replace his/her mechanic.

8 Likes

Agreed. This mechanic is not the one for you! Look elsewhere.

In the mean time, be sure to keep the oil level within its safe zone, so the oil leak does not lead to major engine damage. Do you know how to check the oil level and add oil? It’s not hard to do and is empowering!

5 Likes

I think it would be more accurate to state that this mechanic is not the one for anyone who expects both honesty and competency.

4 Likes

The OP needs to have those mechanics tell him exactly which gasket is no longer available. The OP has paid for the info. Then he can bring that info to us for further comment. Maybe something has been lost in translation.
I certainly would not give up on a Mazda with 80,000 miles. My three have 175000, 165000 and 150000. I wish Mazda still made that wagon.

6 Likes

It took me a long time to give up my Riviera and wasn’t really happy with what was out there. But when push came to shove I had stopped at a couple dealers, looked on line, narrowed it down, and was driving a new car in four days. I’m quite happy with what I got and everything worked and a warranty besides. Problem is it looks like the same issue repeating itself.

I guess things don’t stay the same but you get used to the new features.

I am guessing the OP is dealing with a Mazda dealer and to them, if they can.t get it from Mazda it doesn’t exist. Mechanics repair cars all the time that need gaskets not available from the maker. A set of hole punches, gasket material and a sharp knife are usually all that are needed. I used to do it myself rather than wait for a parts store to open up.

Thank you all for your replies. Yes, it was a guy in the service dept of the dealer who told me that. I always thought him to be honest so I believed him. I know that 88k miles isn’t technically a lot of miles considering I read/hear about cars with well over 100k and up to 250k miles on them. Which is also a reason I’m hoping to keep this car. His other comment was that along with this leak, “who knows what else will go wrong? It’s a 16 yr old car.” He also knows I take good care of it and anything that goes wrong is not due to neglect on my part.

So the guy at the dealer said he tried Mazda for the part(s) and Ford, since, he said, Ford and Mazda were partners(?) back then, and Ford doesn’t have the gasket(s) either. Obviously knowing nothing about cars I don’t know to ask about after market stuff. Or maybe I did but didn’t think of it. And like I said, I don’t know anyone who’s car savvy enough that can help me with this. Had no idea you could actually cut your own gaskets out of cork! Seems like that’s the remedy right there?

To make matters worse for me (financially) in the past few years I’ve replaced the whole center console that houses the radio and that displays the time/temp/radio/heat/air options (to the feet/head/window) to the tune of $500+ (because being digital, only parts of the display was showing up (so I had no idea what time it was, what radio station was on, where the heat/defrost was going without playing with it, etc.) I got 2 brand new headlights 2 years ago because they were so yellow that you could hardly see the lights and they couldn’t be refurbished, which cost like $2k, and 2 days ago one of them broke the seal and condensation and a milky white film are now there, and the warranty was for one year, (of course!) so that’s another $1000 to replace that, which would be $3 grand in 2 years for headlights alone. Also got a new rim because the tire wasn’t seating on the old one due to wear of the rim and I constantly had a slow leak, plus misc. other stuff. For what I’ve put into it $$ wise in the past 3-4 years I could get another whole car, used. Saw one advertized with 177k miles on it for under $2k.

Another poster asked if I was still hauling wood, etc. Yes, and plants and soil and stone for landscaping and groceries and animals and furniture, etc. As for making a big deal over vents, yes, maybe I am. But that’s me. You’d think they’d improve those things by now, but they’ve been the same for like 40 years. So when I happen on a vent that I can aim anywhere, that’s great. If you can’t tell the difference (in where you can aim the air on your body) between the round vent (which has pinpoint accuracy) and the left/right/up/down vent (which doesn’t), then all I can say is I’m obviously more sensitive than you are to these things and it DOES make a difference to me. You can make fun of me for it, that’s ok. I’m obviously not basing my wanting to keep the car on the vents, they’re just an added bonus.

I’ll go back and ask the guy just which gaskets are the problem and where the leaks are and what else he can tell me to justify not keeping it, so I can tell you guys here and maybe, as one poster said, more specific information will help your recommendations. I think he mentioned oil running down along the outside of the valve stem and not getting to the engine? That sound right? Probably not. I don’t know the nomenclature, and he said a bunch of things.

I don’t know of any car places/mechanics that does work like this on cars. (working on engines replacing gaskets, etc.) or I would have contacted them. Can’t find anything on this site that refers them, either, at least not in my area, and I don’t know who to ask to refer or find a reputable place. Which is why I came to you pros, hoping to get help.

Again, thanks, and I’ll find out more specifics.

1 Like

If they’re not making this car anymore wouldn’t I have the same problem getting parts down the line?

If You’re on a site like NextDoor you could ask for recommendations for a Mazda or general Japanese mechanic in your area, we’ve been using the same shop since 1993 that Mom pulled out of the yellow pages.
The Mechanic’s files leaves something to be desired, I’ve found more recent reviews on Yelp among other sources.

Regarding parts fo a Fit, Honda will stock them as long as they would for any model, and parts stores will too.

But like the others have said, any decent independent shop will be able to fix a bad gasket. Whether it’s worth it will be up to you.

And it’ll be cheaper to deal with an independent shop, no need to use a dealer on a car this old. It should be cheaper than $1000 to get the headlight fixed, the part is available for around $200, which might get marked up by a shop to $400. I’d be surprised if the labor was $600.

Hi remodeler:
Can you tell us:

  1. What engine is in your 2005 Mazda 6? (e.g. the 2.3 I4 or the 3.0 V6)
  2. Which gasket the dealer says is no longer available?

I got 2 brand new headlights 2 years ago because they were so yellow that you could hardly see the lights and they couldn’t be refurbished, which cost like $2k, and 2 days ago one of them broke the seal and condensation and a milky white film are now there, and the warranty was for one year, (of course!) so that’s another $1000 to replace that, which would be $3 grand in 2 years for headlights alone.

That $1000 sounds reasonable if they were replaced by the dealer. But given that those headlamp assemblies are available in the aftermarket for between $132 (w/o fog lamp) to $288 (w/fog lamp), it shouldn’t be hard to find someone who will replace your bad headlamp assembly for far less than $1000.

Then why are you not looking at a service van , pickup truck with camper shell or even the Ford transit connect. You are concentrating on the wrong things since there is no such thing as a vehicle that matches all of a persons wants. Round vents , Good Grief !

Mock all you want, Volvo. I don’t have to explain or justify my wants or needs to you. And why are you getting upset at what I want or need ? As the saying goes, if you can’t say anything nice (or hepful) don’t say anything at all. LOVE those round vents!

2 Likes

You can do that for education purposes, but keep it to yourself. If you tell mechanics what to do and it’s wrong, you pay for that work and the real problem. Take it to two or three mechanics for evaluation and ask them what to do. Include estimates for repairs. As for where to go, ask everyone you know what shops do good work. Eventually, you will get two or three that are mentioned frequently. Try them. There are two shops within 5 miles of my house that do outstanding work. I use one, and my daughter and her in-laws use the other. If you live in Central Maryland, I’ll tell you who they are.

1 Like

Joe Mario and others: here’s the info according to my VIN. Does it give you the engine type?
2005 Mazda Mazda6 6 Cylinders D 3.0L FI DOHC 181 CID

Talked to the dealer guy again and I’m quoting what he said about the gaskets and oil leak: valve cover gasket is leaking along with the oil control valves. Oil control valves gaskets are part of the valve cover itself. The valve cover is no longer available from Mazda or Ford and there’s no aftermarket for it. It’s the valve cover at the very top of the engine. So we’d have to replace the valve cover gasket and the valve cover itself. Getting one out of the junkyard, the concern is you’re buying a component that you don’t know if it’s any good. How long has it been sitting in the junkyard - with no oil going through that gasket? So chances are that gasket is dried out. They’re not made of cork, they’re made of some type of rubber material. They got away from cork. It’s more of a rubber material. Then he started talking about the coolant that has a lubricating effect and the coolant inner seals that dry out and leak, although he didn’t say that’s what’s leaking also. When I asked how often I should be checking the oil he said once a week. I asked if it’s leaking that bad and he said “well, you got oil going down the whole back side of the engine. If you start seeing oil on the driveway then maybe you should look at this thing more closely.” He thinks I “have some time with the car, but eventually it’ll die, though it could last another year? Who knows? Just do your normal maintenance on it and keep an eye on it.”

Hope that gives you the additional information you need.

As far as the headlight assembly, even if I were able to get one aftermarket, I don’t know anyone who could put it in for less than the $1000 the dealer wants. I’d probably have to advertize on craigslist or something asking if anyone could do it.