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My husband wants a new car

I don’t like car payments and we are on a very tight budget. So I’m trying to give him an idea of what this will cost to repair.

The 2003 Ford Taurus he drives is doing a herky-jerky thing when he accelerates quickly. It’s like he’s pumping the gas pedal but his foot stays down.

What’s wrong and how much will it cost?

First, you need to give us some additional information:

Odometer mileage
Maintenance history (in detail, rather than a statement such as “well-maintained”)
Conditions under which the car exhibits these symptoms–Engine cold or hot, accelerating from a standstill or accelerating when already at highway speed, only in the winter or in other seasons as well
Any noise that is associated with the symptoms
And, perhaps most important of all–Is the Check Engine Light illuminated?

Unfortunately that kind of description and problem will only yield wild guesses from this board. I would take it to a trusty mechanic(ask) and get an estimate and go from there on how to fix it.

Sorry not more helpful.

So we bought it brand new. It has around 150K miles, regular oil changes,new starter about 3 months ago.Brakes checked and maintained on a regular basis.At least 2 batteries due to salty winter roads, I can’t recall any major problems with this car, besides the starter.
check engine light doesn’t go on
I drove it to work once about 35 miles on the highway going between 60-80mph,I didn’t have any problems. I got off the highway slowing down to about 30 to a secondary road, accelerate to go about 50 mph. then it starts to jerk. Ok I was giving it a lot of gas with steady pressure to the pedal but it did a stutter. No noise really, other than the normal sound of a car accelerating. My husband said it did it on the highway too. We just noticed this about a month ago. Not sure if it was happening in warmer months. Hope that is enough detail…

In that 150k, have the spark plugs ever been changed?
Has the fuel filter ever been changed?

Those would be two things to put on the “to-do” list if they have not been replaced in the last 30k miles. If maintenance of those items does not help, then a trip to a mechanic with good diagnostic skills/equipment is in order. As but one possibility, he may find that your fuel pump is failing. This is frequently the result of not changing the fuel filter every 3 yrs/30k miles.

Also, even if it is not related to the current problem, I would strongly suggest that you have the transmission fluid changed a.s.a.p. When fluid and filter are not changed every 3 yrs/30k miles, transmission failure can take place anytime after around 100k miles.

As some others have hinted, not doing the regular maintenance, is the most expensive way to own a car.

Consider this. If any repair (not maintenance) comes along, think of it not as so many dollars, but consider it how many monthly payments it will be. I think you will find that keeping your car and keeping it maintained properly is by far the cheapest form of owning a car.

Just the taxes, plates and insurance on a new car will pay for most major repairs on your OLD car…

It’s kind of a toss-up at 150,000 miles. Your old style Taurus with that many miles is in the “breakdown lane” of its life. At about 22,000 miles a year, the new car should be a priority soon, if not now.

You still have to find out what parts of the car require the fixing. If you don’t need a Powertrain Control Module, you might get away with a price under $500. Then you might be able to get something for the car without just junking it.

Just because the car runs good after repairing it does not mean that the transmission won’t stop working tomorrow or the head gasket won’t blow away. The reason for the tight budget may be the determining factor, as well as what the problem is. Your husband may be right this time, although it may be a rare event.

I like the suggestions VDCdriver made. I would start by changing the fuel filter as it is the most logical and simple thing to do. This kind of trouble is commonly due to a clogged filter. If that doesn’t help some new plugs and plugwires may fix the trouble if they haven’t been changed out in a long time. There are other things the trouble could be tied to but those two mentioned are the shot to fix the trouble.