Girlfirend has 2006 Suzuki Reno which is Daewoo - ditch car now or not?

I have a girlfriend with a 2006 Suzuki Reno. Until now, I had never seen one of these cars. I figured it was a Suzuki but it is really a rebadged Daewoo. She now has 75,000 miles and has never had an issue. She doubts the timing belt has been done which is my biggest concern. I cannot find a consistent change interval for this car but I think it is 60k so overdue. I have also seen reports of the belt breaking before the called for intervals and it is an interference engine.

I also looked up the value of the car. She might get $2000 on a good day and she owes $4000 over two more years on this car. I suspect the dealer really took her as she was single and newly broken up and just needed a car fast. She paid like $9000 a couple years ago which I suspect was too much for this car.

I am trying to advise her on what to do. I know Daewoo doesn’t have a good reputation. I couldn’t find a lot of complaints or problems about this car but there aren’t very many of them out there either for owners to love or hate. Should she pay the car off and then sell/trade it for whatever she can get out of it at that time or just keep it until it becomes a problem for her? Either way, I would say a timing belt change and whatever else is suggested at that time like water pump and tensioner is in order.

The car is a Daewoo Lacetti in case you wanted to look up comparable models. I has been rebadged and sold all over under various names.

GM bought up Daewoo. I’d say do the timing belt and pay it off as soon as possible. At least at that point, whatever you decide to do won’t involve a bank.

Dealers love people like you. That is people in financial distress upside down on a car loan. They’ll offer to pay off your loan of $4K, sell you a new car at full list plus an extended warranty, 'magical extra" fees never explained and “paint sealant” at “drug dealer” prices and indenture you for 7 more years. She’s already walked partially down this road as you suspect. Try to convince her not to go there again.

If the car hasn’t been troublesome yet, then I’d do the maintenance required to try to keep it running for a while, while she tries to climb out of this financial hole.

I was thinking the same thing. It is running OK but the timing belt needs to be done. It wasn’t me that made this decision as I didn’t know her back then. I really do think they took advantage though and got her into debt and charged her WAY more than the value of the car at the time. They gave her $200-300 in trade on her old car and that one is still driving around now owned by an employee of the dealership.

I don’t think she will make the same mistake again, especially if she is financially ahead. She had just ended a long relationship and was having some minor problems with her car and decided to get a new one. I think it was just a basic wiring or tune-up issue but she was single and scared of getting stranded. She is a very practical person and will probably not do this with me talking sense into her if I am still with her in the future when a new car is needed.

I think I will make sure the timing belt gets done ASAP whether by me or someone else. Then I will tell her to keep the car and do all the maintenance until something else goes. Hopefully she will be money ahead by the time the car dies and won’t get into the same situation.

+1 for @Mustangman because that’s exactly what I was thinking. I’ve never owned a Daewoo vehicle before but I have owned a couple of Daewoo M-16 copies. They actually functioned better than the Colt models and are highly prized for their accuracy and reliability. If they build their vehicles the way they do their rifles…you might have a very good car on your hands.

The Yugo SKS is also a pretty good rifle from the eastern bloc. The Yugo car wasn’t so nice. The Chevy Aveo is also a Daewoo and it seems plagued with problems. I have the Geo Metro which is a Suzuki Swift rebadged. The newer model for this segment is the Chevy Aveo. I see discussions about it on the Geo Metro forum and it is not nearly as good of a car as the older Metro series. People there say to avoid it at all costs. I have been reading some about this car elsewhere and it seems to be a much better car than the Aveo but isn’t perfect either. It sounds like the best option is for her to just keep the car and do the maintenance so she can keep it until something major happens.

I think you are on the right track. It only has 75k on it, and could well go for 175 k before developing any serious issues provided the routine maintenance is kept up to date. If the car was in good condition and had fairly low miles, I don’t think $9,000 was significantly overpriced at the time she purchased it two years ago. It might have been a little too much, but still within reason. If you/she are living in the USA, the main problem going forward will likely be parts and service availability. If some good deal on another newer car presents itself in the future, that might be the time to trade it in.

Its a Daewoo, rebadged to a car company that has abandoned the US market. Don’t try to sell it–you’ll barely beat scrap metal prices for it. Do the belt, keep AAA, and drive it until it fails and/or is paid off.

And YES she got ripped off! Roughly the time she bought it was when Suzuki started abandoning the US market. At the lowest, some of their NEW models were going for barely $12k, after all dealer incentives…$9k for a 6y.o. orphaned car was robbery…

The timing belt interval is undoubtedly documented somewhere. But doing it now wouldn’t hurt anything, and if the car is basically reliable, well worth doing. Who knows? Maybe she has the best Daewoo ever made and it will keep running for years. When it finally does start developing expensive problems you can consider whether the repairs are worth doing, but there is no reason to dispose of it before then. It may not be a masterpiece, but there are worse cars to be stuck with.

Agreed! The 60k timing belt intervals is overdue and needs doing ASAP. This looks like our weekend project as most of the catastrophes with these cars is related to the timing belt failing at 60k or before. There are some you can exceed the interval on but this isn’t one of them. The Chevy Aveo, another Daewoo, is known for the same issue with timing belts.

I am getting the belt, tensioner, idlers, and a water pump kit for this job.

Agreed that the car may not be the best but not the worst either. With the economics, it seems like it is one to drive into the ground and hope money can be saved for a new car while this one still runs. The dealer definitely ripped her off as I suspected.

Should I do the cam and crank seals at the same time, even if not leaking? The car has 75,000 miles on it now.

I didn’t on my Corolla and have had no problem. 200 K now. If you were paying for the work by the hour at current hourly shop rates it would probably make sense to replace those seals. But since you are doing it yourself, it’s probably worth a gamble to not replace them. Will save you some time on the job. The worse case is they’ll start to leak, and if the leak gets bad enough you can replace them then. Most likely though they won’t leak and will last at least through the next 60K. This is all based on an inspection you do that shows they are not leaking now.

I replaced the belt and water pump, as well as the tensioner and idlers, on the Reno this weekend. The belt was weather cracked so it didn’t have too long left on it. The serpentine belt was the worst one I had ever seen that wasn’t actually broken. IT was so cracked p and you could see light though the holes in it so that got replaced too.

She is good to go for another 60k. I looked in the manual and they specify 4 years or 60k. Do you think the 4 year interval is too conservative or not?

From what you’ve described, 4 yr/60k sounds right.

Sounds about right. Your chances of still having this car around next time it needs doing is slim. By then it will be an old car and likely not very reliable. At least it should be paid for by then. But for now you have a car that provides inexpensive basic transport. Keep on top of the maintenance and you may get several more relatively trouble free miles from it (or not - you never know).

If it’s not having any problems then keep it until it starts having problems.

That is what I told her. If I am still with her, I will make sure to be there for the car shopping as she really got taken on this one. Besides way overpaying, they let her buy the car with dry rotted and bald tires that needed to be replaced pretty much ASAP.