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Keep or not?

Would like some opinions, please. Having a hard time deciding if I should keep this thing or not:

2005 Mazda6 WAGON (with the posted headliner problem). Bought new for 25k. Now 12 years old. About 84k miles. Always dealer repaired (yeah, I know). Have all the repair receipts. Just inspected. Except for one year about 7 years ago when my son used it for work and put almost 30k miles on it in one year! :scream: it’s only driven about 5k miles a year.

Problems now:

  1. headliner falling down - repair $300-350. Tacks holding it up fine now (but for how long? and can I live with no headliner??)
  2. gasket leak in part of engine (dealer said "just starting, not bad, keep an eye on it’) @ $700 repair
  3. only noticeable rust is some small spots on hood and around driver’s whole rear wheel well (small spots were sanded, primed and painted close to original color, wheel well area just painted) $$ - not considering repainting whole car. Leaving as-is.
  4. LED dashboard readout messed up (numbers/icons don’t show, half show, etc.) needs replacing. @ $450. Can live without, but really irritating not knowing which radio station it’s on, where the fan’s blowing, if the defroster’s on, etc.
  5. whole unit of rear window wiper needs replacing ($35) This needs to be done.
  6. headlights - the plastic lens is ridiculously scratched, almost frosted-looking, on the INSIDE, not outside. Dealer (and other places) said it’s not a matter of cleaning the outside as it’s the inside that’s the problem and only remedy is whole new units, as the lens alone can’t be changed. Don’t remember what they quoted to fix, but whole unit purchase price online that I find runs about $250 per headlight, plus labor. I guess they light the street well enough, but if they were actually CLEAR they’d light a whole lot better. Need to repair or not??

That’s it as far as what’s wrong with it. I like the car, gets decent gas mileage, has front wheel drive, sunroof (which I like), cloth seats (sorry, hate leather) I know how it handles, has GREAT cargo space, and no fancy electronic doodads (navigation display, heated seats, auto braking, etc.) which, although nice, I’d rather NOT have, or have to pay for in a new car. AND the BEST thing about it is it has ROUND vents that can be positioned to hit you ANYWHERE! Not one rectangular vent in it. You might think it’s silly and irrelevant, but they really are the best. Can virtually position them to hit any spot I want - face, fingers, shoulder - can get very specific. Turn 360 degrees. Can’t do that with rectangular ones - those can only go in the 4 directions. Every car should have these things. Absolutely love them! Anyway…

Having all the repair receipts, is adding up the cost of all the repairs over 12 years and the repairs I know are needed (or I can live with) something that comes into play in deciding? Also, I know major things COULD go wrong with it, or maybe not, who knows? Is that a chance to take? What’s the rationale?

I know I can be spending more than it’s worth just because I like it so much, and I’d rather avoid that emotional equation, but I really don’t want all the stuff they have in new cars nowadays (just more expensive things to go wrong, and I find them distracting) plus the fact that I can’t get cloth seats in most of the ones I looked at unless it’s the base model, and even then sometimes not. And no round vents!. And yes, you can “build” your own car, but cloth seats are not an option on the upper models, which have some features I’d want (like a sunroof). Also, not car handy, so can’t do my own repairs, which would be a big factor in deciding due to saving money.

So realistically, should I keep my WAGON or change? And I emphasize WAGON because people tend to miss that and think sedan, and a wagon is a whole other breed. And just to be clear, I DO NOT want an SUV.

Do I keep it and do piecemeal repairs? Or have a big car payment? Which I’d rather not have. Plus, a new car could have things go wrong with it where some things might be under warranty, but other big ticket items are not unless you buy an extended warranty, which is another $1k plus. And even then there are restrictions. Do they balance each other out?

What about a newer used wagon, like a 2015 or 2016? Although they don’t have the same warranties.

Thanks to all for their input. Really appreciate it.

PS - so far I’ve only looked online - at the Volkswagons, as they’re really the only ones in my price range. Subarus are a little too out of my range and Volvos or anything else are WAY out of range.

PPS - should my Q be posted in the General Discussion forum also? Or is that considered redunant, unnecessary, or frowned upon, putting the same Q in more than one place?

Oh, yeah, read the topic When to Get Rid of Your Car, but want more specific opinions on mine in particular, not just generally.

Thanks again.

Seems to me you already answered your own question. Keep the car if you like it. The problems you are describing are not serious or need immediate attention, but probably would be a good idea to start taking care of some of them.

Headliner? If the current liner is in decent shape, I would go to an upholstery place and see what you can negotiate with them.

Headlights? You said you can live with them as is and as long as they pass inspection.

Gasket leak? Well, I don’t know what gasket, but since the shop told you to just keep an eye on it for now, it can’t be too bad (yet).

Dashboard lights? Seems to be more annoying than a real problem, as long as the crucial icons work. However, it sucks if for example your engine check light does not work. Have you tried to get into the “hidden menu options” to test each individual icon? If nothing else it shows you which icons are not working. I guess turning the key in the start position would do the same.

All in all the repairs don’t sound too outrageous. Don’t know how much you spent in the past, but if it is not too unexpected you might be better off keeping this wagon instead of getting stuck with payments. Just my thought, 84K miles is not all that much (is it almost time for a new timing belt?).

  1. Sure, you don’t need the headliner. It’ll be noisier and uglier but will still work. If it’s just a fabric headliner, try a steam iron on low setting. Sometimes the glue cracks, and the iron will re-liquify the glue and make it stick again. Otherwise an upholstery shop can put it back up permanently.

  2. Depends on the gasket. If it’s a head gasket it will eventually kill the car. If it’s an exhaust gasket it will just make farting noises and embarrass you. :wink:

  3. The wheel well area will re-rust soon, at which point you should sand/prime/paint. Until it’s really advanced, rust is purely a cosmetic defect.

  4. See if you can find one at a junk yard. It’s often a lot cheaper than buying new.

  5. Cheap. Do it.

  6. See #4. If you can’t find one there, try

Unless that gasket is the head gasket, nothing else you described would really spell the end of a car for me.

To a point, yes, but it would be a mistake to, say, decide that because you’ve already spent $X repairing it you should get rid of it before more breaks. That needs to factor in the average reliability of the model - after all, you might have just gotten everything that’s going to break fixed, which would be like the people who fix everything on their house and then decide to sell because they don’t want to fix more stuff.

There’s always a risk factor no matter what you decide. You might be done with major repairs after this and won’t need to put a dime into it for the next 10 years. Or the engine could grenade next month. This is a risk everyone takes when keeping a car that’s no longer under warranty, and the fact that the risk is there is not on its face a reason to automatically ditch the car.

I will say this: If you’re concerned about reliability on your Mazda, looking at Volkswagen is not the direction you want to be looking, because it will most likely be a good deal more unreliable than the Mazda.

Ummmmmmmm, to the reply from VOLVO_V70 - not sure if that’s to someone else or not, but as the OP, I want to be clear that I am NOT in Australia! I’m in NY State. Don’t know how Australia even entered the discussion…

Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to read the whole thing but it sounds to me like you want a new car. If you liked this car, you would be keeping up on the repairs but it looks like you have let things slide a little. This is a sure sign you are ready to move on.

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I think he was thinking of another topic that got started about the same time as yours where the OP was from Australia :slight_smile:

$$-wise you’d be better to just repair this one. But you know what? I can see you are a very knowledgeable and sensitive car owner, what with the comment about the vent system – so I think you should trade this one in on whatever they call the Mazda Miata now. MX 5 or something like that. I can tell from your post that you need to do this. A little more excitement will do the trick. A student or someone will be getting a good car for themselves in the deal too. Miata for you, reliable car for a student. win win.

MX-5 wagon? The PT Cruiser is a wagon with round vents that can be directed to blow in your eyes or out the window, wherever directed. I don’t think round vents is a good reason to select a vehicle but with the PT Cruiser there will be a supply of cheap wagons for a long time.

This is from the other thread on upholstery repair;

Twin Turbo - although I used different wording before, I just tried again and used the exact wording you said you did - put in “car headliner repair shops” - even added “near me” after getting Sydney, Australia (the mobile one that comes to you that you mentioned)

It is easy to believe someone is in Sydney, Australia if the mobile upholstery service company comes up in a search for a selected area, provided the location is entered correctly.

Ok, have to respond…Bing: First, sorry if this is too long for you to read. You can just read this first paragraph, as it’s the main thing that pertains to your comment. Your statement “If you liked this car you would be keeping up on the repairs…” is absolutely not true. I love this car and I’ve kept up on all major repairs on this thing since the day I got it new. Any (mostly) little thing that was wrong with it, it got fixed. Being that it’s a 12 year old car, if it’s a little thing (to me) that I can live with (like the headliner) then I live with it. Bigger than a little thing it gets fixed, and that’s anything that affects the safety or running of the car (brakes, oil changes, tires, etc.) It’s in the shop now for that “keep an eye on it” leak, something else that may or may not be leaking (I think it’s a windshield wiper fluid thing since it’s in that area, shop thinks it’s AC condensation (even though haven’t used the AC yet) and the rear wiper arm. Nothing else wrong with it.

And, no, I’m not looking for a newer car - just yet anyway - so I do not “need to do this” as you say. So far what I’ve looked at doesn’t have what I’m looking for - mainly comfort and space. And windows. What’s with windows nowadays? They make them so you can hardly see out of them. Safety hazard to me. Don’t care how “cool” or “sporty” they look, I want to SEE what’s out there!! Make the windows bigger!!

Anyway, my rear bed with the front seat(s) pulled as far forward as it can go measures 87" from inside the tailgate (able to close it) to the seat. Between the wheel wells it measures 49" and outside the wheel wells it’s more. All salespeople are amazed at the space I have. Nothing compares to that. The most rear cargo space I’ve found is 73" deep and 35" wide. Even measuring outside the wheel wells on newer things don’t come close to mine. That’s a WHOLE lot of downsizing for me. They keep trying to sell me a minivan, which is the only thing they can come up with that comes close to (and beats by a mile) my space. I don’t want nor need that much space or that big of a vehicle. And those round vents (sigh) that no one makes…

As for the Mazdas, don’t like ANY of them. They’re all SUVs, which I DO NOT want. Their cargo space is ridiculously small - ALL of them. Mazda doesn’t make a wagon anymore. And the Miata is basically a 2 person little thing. Could fit me and my dog, that’s about it.

GeorgeSanJose: Someone else mentioned the PT Cruiser. Tried it when it first came out. Nice and low for getting in/out (a problem with SUVs for me) but boy, was it cramped in those driver’s and passenger’s seats! Felt like I was squished in a box. Don’t remember the cargo space though. Unless they’ve radically changed it, I wouldn’t even think to look at it Might take a look to see if they have changed.

So I guess as of right now I’m keeping my 2005 Mazda 6 Wagon. Maybe until either it or I fall apart. In thinking further about it, it just makes more sense to keep something I really like and put a couple grand into it if I have to, than to have a $30K payment. If I happen to come across something at least as good as mine I may give in. Will let you know if that ever happens.

Oh, yeah, just an aside: Don’t remember the year, but the first year Mazda ever made a wagon I bought one. Absolutely loved it, but after 15 years it blew a head gasket. Everyone told me it’s dead, nothing you can do. Some guy bought it, put a new engine in for $3k and had it another 10 years. If I had known that I’d have done the same thing. So I’m thinking of that option also if I can’t find something to take it’s place if it really dies.

Thanks to everyone for their help and opinions. At least I have food for thought. Nice thing about this site - you get facts and opinions and experiences and even debates in answer to questions, and not berated or ignored because a question’s similar to another, but maybe not quite the same, so no one answers. Appreciate them all.

I was thinking more along these lines …

George, the guy is complaining about not finding a wagon that he likes for Pete’s sake.

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Gee, sorry to offend. A headliner flopping in he breeze though to me is no minor thing when it comes to appreciating a car. At any rate, we have all been frustrated with the products on the market that have changed so we can’t get anymore exactly what we want. Problem is you have to trade sometime. If space is a major issue, I’ve always had a small trailer to use when I needed the cargo space. A lot cheaper and more convenient than a humongous vehicle when the space isn’t needed most of the time.

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