Is this "Preventative Maintenance", or at this point unnecessary?

Hey all,

I have a 2001 Ford Focus with nearly 144,000 on the odometer. The car is still in good shape, and aside from some minor work needed on the suspension (normal wear and tear) still runs good. I recently learned (and maybe some of you have come across this yourself) that the 2.0L SPI engine in my car is known to (what those “in-the-know” say) “drop a valve seat”: that is, the factory installed valve seats on the cylinder head are known to come loose at random times and essentially end the life of the engine by smashing into the piston heads and breaking things real nice. A review of consumer complaint websites suggests this is not an isolated case, and apparently a fairly common problem. In fact, my 1999 Escort (which had the same engine) met an untimely end when its engine blew at 120,000 miles for this very reason.

Now, I don’t want my car to leave me anytime soon. I honestly don’t know how prevalent this problem is (I can’t find any statistics) but I’m considering getting the valve seats redone as a method of “preventative maintenance.” A call to a local shop said it would cost roughly $900-1000 to do this. My question: is it worth trying to circumvent this problem on a twelve-year-old high mileage engine, or should I just run it until it finally dies and hope for the best?

I’d say $1000 for a reliable used car is an excellent deal. You may want to have a mechanic inspect the car for rust or other potential car-killers first though.

Cole, thanks, I did think of sending the car to my local mechanic and, like Click and Clack always say, have them inspect it as if I was going to buy it used. I know for certain that much of the front suspension is worn and in need of replacement, which I plan on doing myself soon.

I wouldn’t say 144k is a high mileage engine. If it had 244k, different story. $1,000 to fix this issue vs. $$$ to fix the engine if it fails vs. $$$$$$$$ to replace the vehicle.


Oh and is there a recall on your car for this issue? If so, you may ask Ford if they’d do a “goodwill” repair for you even though it’s 11 years old. All they can say is NO.

In college I took a 20 year old Honda to the dealer to have a seat belt repaired and my cost was $0.00. I didn’t even have to ask them for a freebie, they just took care of it. You never know.


IMHO I would not waste the money on a 11+ year old car on an repair that may not happen . This cars value is between $1000-$2000.

i agree with raj. the car is low in value, and may pop up other issues due to age, like electronic buttons, power windows, heater, ect. if there is no problem now, ride it like you stole it.