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Ford Ranger - To repair or trade in?

thanks so much for your time. i know nothing about cars, so please forgive my ignorance!

i have a 2004 ford ranger, extended cab with 4WD and 139K miles. blue book trade-in value is about 42-4700. the truck died on the way to work last week, and the diagnosis was a bad alternator. during the diagnostic process, multiple other items were revealed to be in need of service in the near future. this was at a dealership, so i realize their prices are likely inflated.

items still in need of repair:
rear brakes drums and hardware - 469.00
a/c compressor evac recharge - 903.00
rear pinion seal - 202.00
fuel filter 89.95

i paid to have the alternator fixed, and i’m having trouble deciding if i should just trade the car in and buy a new one now, or if it makes sense to sink money into this one for another year or so? i live in phoenix, arizona so the a/c is not optional.

i use the pick-up truck to haul trailers every other month or so, cross-country (typically 12-20 foot trailer with approx. 500-800 pounds of cargo). if the vote is for a new truck, any recommendations on a smaller pickup? the ranger is ok, but the cab is a bit cramped. i was leaning towards a tacoma?

thanks for any ideas/opinions!

Except for tha AC, it is all maintenance. If there is no rust and the truck has been otherwise good to you, you should consider keeping it. If you are tired of the cramped cab, consider moving up to a full size pickup. The Tacoma and Frontier aren’t not small trucks anymore. Consider a Ford F150. A small V8 or the EcoBoost V6 are attractive possibilities in the F150.

The V8 gets slightly worse gas mileage that the 6-cyl Ranger and the V6 gets the same mileage; a little better on the highway.

I would shop around and see if you can get a better price. those all seem very high to me, and I would get a second opinion on whether or not the drums need replacing or if you just need a regular brake shoe replacement.

it sounds like they did a full inspection of your car. take it to an independent shop and verify all this. spending a 100 bucks or so may save you a thousand

p.s. - if you want a new truck I don t think you ll have any trouble selling this one. I would like it myself

Wes, Hit the nail on the head. Usually it’s his finger :slight_smile: !!!

Sounds like those are dealer prices to me. Real high…the guy I work with charges
$500 for brakes all around…with new rotors and drums.
And he just sold his house and is moving down near you. He needs the tan!!!
Everything there looks like it at least 40% more than I’d expect.

You don’t have that many miles and this truck should go another 80,000 + miles if it’s maintained well.
You might want to fix these things at an independent shop and you will get a better price as a trade-in, for a bigger cab.
As far as the pinion seal, do you ever see even a little puddle under the rear end where you usually park it. If not then I wonder if it even leaks.


yes, I would get every thing verified, it should not cost too much since they just have to re check known items and not search for problems

Good point to make Wes

For comparison I had the fuel filter replaced on a 2003 Ford Taurus a few month back by my trusted local mechanic. It was around $40 parts and labor. I think the dealer is on a fishing expedition. I vote for an independent mechanic also.

Ed B.

My vote is for getting another estimate from an independent on these repairs and offhand, I’d say the truck is worth fixing. Then again, the thought of car payments makes me cringe so my opinion is pretty subjective.

The dealership rates will be higher out of necessity. The business model they work under is far different as compared to an independent or chain shop.

The Tacoma with the V6 gets only slightly better mileage than the Hemi in a Ram 1500 Tradesman, and at least right now you could possibly get a new Ram in the lower $20’s as opposed to $27k Roughly for a new Tacoma. If you want to wait for awhile then get a second quote on the repairs and have it done.

Let’s not forget that factory parts are far more expensive than aftermarket

And dealer labor rates are significantly higher than independent shops

They have high overhead

That does not mean that the labor and parts are a rip off

You can choose to use aftermarket parts and get the car serviced at an independent

But don’t automatically call everything that seems expensive to be a rip off

No @db4690 not everything that’s expensive is necessarily a ripoff but 100% of overpriced components are. I know exactly where most components are overpriced when you take a vehicle in for service. A markup is necessary for business but some businesses gouge instead of marking up.

If you like the truck, I would do the necessary repairs and just keep driving. At 200,000 miles you may re-evaluate your situation again.

Please note that by ‘independent shop’ we are not speaking of ANY kind of franchised business. NOT Midas, Meineke, Firestone, or Iffy Lube. You need to find an good honest shop where the owner works on the vehicles and may or may not have a couple of good ol’ grease covered guys working for him. If you look at the top of this page you will see a header in the grey bar that says MECHANICS FILES. Click on that to find a reputable indy shop near you. Once you have established a working relationship with a good shop, use it for everything, including routine maintenance like oil changes. No, a dealership is not necessarily a ripoff, but it probably won’t give you the best bang for your bucks either.

One of my friends took a Taurus to a franchise oil change outfit a while back. He was given a $900 laundry list of things his car needed. NONE of it was necessary. They charged him for the oil change, and conveniently forgot to change the oil. Both the oil and filter were still dirty.

Get the 2nd opinion that everyone is recommending, and let us know what happens.