Frame rusted through

My daughter was given a 97 Pontiac Sunfire, we live in Michigan. She complained about the brakes not working and it felt also like the rear end of the car was floating. My husband took the tire off to take a look at the brakes, with the intention of replacing/fixing the problem and he found that the frame is completely rusted through on the right, rear. Is he correct in saying that there is no repair and it is not safe to be driven? I do have pictures but am unsure how to load them here. Please help!
Signed, concerned mom of a 19 year old

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As it stands the car is unsafe and should not be driven. Frames can be welded. Call around, ask friends etc for the names of local welding shops. They could take a look and see if it is a simple fix or - for a 20 year old car in the rust belt - a candidate for the scrap heap. If you got the car for free and the welding and brakes can be fixed for less than $1,000 you have a good deal. There may be a lot of other problems with it and the cost to make it safe might be too high. Only you can determine the $ point that the car is worth to you.

PS see if you can edit out your last name, better to avoid putting out too much personal info on the interweb

Rust is like icebergs . You only see part of it. I think a body shop will tell you that this vehicle is a the no repair point.

Pictures really won’t help because some of the rust might not show.

Agree with Steve that rust work on a 20 year old econo-car is often wasted.

Your car does NOT HAVE A FRAME! What your husband saw was part of the uni-body which is a reinforced body so you don’t need a frame.

When that starts rusting through it’s usually the end of the line.

I would under no circumstances let a child of mine that age drive such a car!

You can have a body shop verify what I just told you.


You live in Michigan which is part of the Rust Belt; so called because of the heavy use of road salt in the winter.
Cars rusted to oblivion are quite common and I’m sure that this 20+ year old car really needs to go to the scrapyard.

Odds are the person who gave your daughter this car already knew this and found an easy way to make the car gone.

I agree it’s bad to knowingly give away even a free car that is unsafe. Maybe you can sell it as a good motor/ trans/tires rig for $500?

Yes, I hope the giver didn’t realize the car had this serious a problem. It’s scrap heap time for this car. Thankfully, the OP didn’t put much other than hope in this vehicle.

Um, you don’t sell a car like that, you call the junk yard and they haul it away and maybe give you $100. Don’t even think about driving it or selling it, and no thanks to the people that gave it to her.

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Agree! We disposed of several cars that way. Our 13 year old Dodge Dart was thoroughly rusted through and we got $30 for it, 2 cents a pound!

The next car we scrapped that way was a 1976 Dodge Colt which had numerous problems and was unsafe to drive! Got $60 for that one due to rising scrap prices.

If OP drove this car and was stopped at safety check, the vehicle would be sent directly to the scrap yard and the owner fined.