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?