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How much to repair if only want car for another year?

Hi all. A recent trip to my mechanic reveals that my 2001 Volvo s40 needs the cracked engine mounts replaced, along with a new ECT sensor. I have “nixed” the ECT sensor idea as it would be the third one I have put into this car since 2001. However, I am debating the engine mount work.

The car has been good to me, but I do not plan on keeping it for longer than a year. I have also made a vow not to spend more than $300 on any one repair, and this is quoted at 3 times that amount.

So, my question is three fold: a.) what is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t repair the mounts,

b.) how long can you go without making this repair (the mounts creak when accelerating too fast, braking, and when going up and down hills too fast), and

c.) would you do this repair if it were your car and were only planning on keeping it a year?

thanks for your insight

also to add to the information provided, my mechanic said there were both rubber mounts and hydraulic mounts, and told me they all had to be replaced… I am thinking of looking at a second opinion and asking if only some of the mounts be changed. What do you think?

How many miles will you put on the car in a year? How big a deal is a breakdown on the road? Are the mounts just creaky? Or, are they allowing the motor and transaxle to move beyond the design limits?

If the mounts are just noisey and not allowing excess movement, I’d live with the noise. When you get a second opinion ask specifically if the mounts are torn, misshaped, and if the motor and transaxle are being held securely in place? If there is any issue with excess movement, replace at least some of them. I’m not sure why all would need replacing?

You might consider replacing the car now. If you don’t put any money into it for a year it might need a lot of repairs just so you can sell it. Why fix it for someone else? A $300 repair limit on an old Volvo is just not reasonable. A trip to a Volvo mechanic, even an independant, with any kind of problem means a bill of $1,000 and up in my experience. I doubt very much that you can go a year without more big repair bills.

I’d advise you to put it on the market now, or trade it in now. Car deals are pretty good at the moment with lots of incentives. In a year the car companies might not be as generous with incentives.

Now is the best time to sell. Motor mounts today…what else tomorrow?

Uncle Turbo, you are a very kind person- your questions (including those to ask) are incredibly helpful, and you’ve helped me to properly consider many angles I could not have come up with on my own. Thank you!

I put less than 10k a year on this car (usually around 8k) As for a breakdown on the road, I have AAA, so the only issue would be the extent of the repair after such a break down.

With respect to the noise, it started about a month ago and its a clunking noise that sometimes happens on each acceleration/braking or hills(driving in LA city traffic) some days it doesn’t happen more than once or twice.

I will ask my mechanic all of your questions, and maybe ask if he can do a couple mounts now and some later.

LOL on the reasonable price of volvo repairs- very true!.. I do expect a certain amount of repair a year, and basically as long as yearly costs don;t exceed a “down payment” on a new car, I feel like its worth it to keep the volvo. Even though I’d love to replace the car now, but I just can’t afford a car payment at this point (insert your favorite hard luck American reason- adjustable mortgage, unemployment, health care etc…) . I decided about a year ago that I would make repairs amounting to under $300 a month, and if higher I would consider junking the car.

I have come to those cross roads and its a tough place to be.

thanks again!

I would get ris of it ASAP. Clean it up and go for something more relaible and cost-effective.

A “clunking” and a “creaking” noise are very different. Clunking means it is very likely something is moving more than it should. You will likely have to replace at least one motor mount and perhaps more.

sometimes I have to sigh when I read what some folks would advise. I would never sell a car with serious faults just to get out from under it. If you are going to sell it, fix what you know is wrong with it, unless you are selling it to a junker. Second, loose or broken motor mounts can send your fan through your radiator durring a hard brake incident. I would get this fixed now. And sell it later, it will be worth more when you sell it if you dont have to tell the next owner that the motor mounts are shot. sigh.