Greetings Car Talk Community!
Hope you can help me make a decision.
Currently drive a 2001 Mercury Villager with 77K miles on it. The car runs well for being 19 years old, and I’m pretty good at making sure it gets an oil change+ inspection. The van has a good reputation- especially as a joint venture between Ford+Nissan. (Quest Rebadge)
Mechanically I can look forward to:
- No record of timing belt change, should probably do that (est. $600)
- Mechanic says a motor mount is showing some wear (Est. 300-$400?)
- Recharge AC
Recently, my sister offered to sell me her 2004 Pontiac Vibe with 70K miles for a steal at $1800 (well below KBB value). A fairly well praised NUMMi venture between GM+ Toyota (Matrix Redbadge)
She recently had a mechanic inspect the vehicle thoroughly and had some work done including:
- Front struts replaced
- Battery replaced
- Resonator replaced
- Vacuum switching valve replaced
Living in Brooklyn, most of my driving are short commutes, with the occasional long holiday drive upstate. On average I’m putting on less than 5000-6000 miles per year.
I’m hoping to drive one of these low miles Asian-American collaborations for the next 2 years while saving up money for a new ride.
From a cost savings perspective, do I put more money into the Merc’ so it keeps on rolling, or do I drop $1800 on the Vibe, which I perceive to be a more reliable car (based on its surprisingly large online fandom who claim 250K miles with nothing but oil changes and tires)
My Mechanics advice “19 years old vs. 16 years old- what’s the difference?”