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Is it worthwhile to fix?

Hey CarTalk! Love your show!!!

I have a '93 Nissan Altima that overheats after a mile or so. The leak seems to be in the tubes that the coolant and oil flow through.
My question is this: should I fix it or ditch it?
Thanks, Lani

Do you mean tubes or hoses? The coolant flows through different hoses than oil, because mixing the two would wreck the engine. If it is a leaky hose, replacing all the hoses is worthwhile, and not terribly expensive, especially when combined with a coolant flush and fill.

“The leak seems to be in the tubes that the coolant and oil flow through.”

I initially agreed with BustedKnuckles, but then I thought that perhaps the OP is referring to the head gasket. If that is the case, I personally doubt if it is worthwhile to replace the head gasket and plane the cylinder head on a 20 year old car–especially if the engine overheated badly or repeatedly.

However, we are all just guessing blindly unless the OP can use standard terminology.
What “tubes” are you referring to?
Is there an oil leak, as well as a coolant leak?
How often has the engine overheated?

Overheating a motor is bad. Overheating the motor repeatedly is very - very bad. Fixing the hoses and leaks could be a fairly minor repair - but the overheating of the motor could have caused severe damage to said motor. I think I’d dump it. The only way to evaluate the motor is for a mechanic to run some tests to determine whether it is sound or not. Compression tests and leak down tests, for instance.

After a mile or so is more serious than you might think. Junk it would be my first thought.

What Uncle T said.

Your comment about it “seems to be” in the tubes that that the coolant and oil run through; is this because you see evidence of the coolant and oil mixing? If so, you have a blown headgasket. And if that’s true, than everything else fits.

Add to that repeated overheating and in all likelihood this engine is finished. Time to go shopping.

How many miles on it? Is coolant leaking out onto the ground or is there coolant in you motor oil or transmission fluid?