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My old clunker - fix or dump? or keep as backup for the new one?

I have a 2002 Hyundai Accent with 157K miles. (I know…not meant to go that long). The car ran fine til about 18 months ago, and then everything started to break. I have since replaced the clutch (at 135K), the A/C system and compressor, the front axle, and several other major repairs. My independent mechanic told me a year ago that my rear struts were leaking, but that could go on indefinitely…well…not really. The car is bouncing all over the place on even the smallest bumps, and if you press down on the back of the car, it bounces up and down SEVERAL times before stopping. The dealer told me last week that the rear struts need replacement and quoted me $600 for the repair. The told me however, that it is not unsafe to drive it like this (but I don’t feel comfortable going over 55 anymore, and usually feel better at 25 or 30mph). I do not believe in replacing a car before it has truly gulped its last breath (my last car went to 171K over 11 years and the previous has 211K). BUT I don’t feel very safe in the car anymore. I also had several accidents with this car (because it’s the color of pavement and no one sees me!) and had a SEVERE neck injury that has just never gone away.

I am thinking of just biting the bullet and buying a Subaru Legacy or Forester (VERY SAFE CARS!), but keeping the old accent as the around-town beater car. Should I bother? Or should I just have it taken away? Or should I repair those rear struts and see if it can go another two months before another major repair!? (sarcasm intended)


kitty kat

PS I drive 35,000 miles a year now, so really spend my life in my car. I would prefer to have a new one, but don’t really want car payments again.

You’ve replaced a lot of major parts already. Replace the rear struts ($600 sounds too high to me) and keep on driving.

Maybe a MAACO paint job, in school bus yellow, will make you feel more secure. In what condition is the body?

The body is in good shape… no rust…but some damage in front if you look close enough (the hood doesn’t exactly line up) from an accident in 2002. No one can really see it. My friends are all yelling at me to replace the car, and that Forester is enticing, but 500-600 car payments are NOT.

And obviously, I drive stick well enough to have made the first clutch last 135K, so the car has done better than average, except for the damage to MY neck.

Get rid of the clunker. You know it’s just gonna cost you more and more. Money you could be putting toward a new car.

With the price of gas, as well as the price of a new car and its insurance, I would keep the Accent if it otherwise meets your needs.

Unless your friends are willing to help pay for a new car, they should just zip their lips!

I heartily disagree. Major repair costs on the Accent are by no means a sure thing, whereas monthly car payments ARE. And new cars require maintenance also.

The Accent still gets 36mpg. The Forester gets 27 (according to sticker). The insurance on the Accent is MUCH higher than the Forester, even though I have dropped collision on it. (The insurance companies realize it’s unsafe, too)

My friends will not be chipping in for the car. :frowning:

If you buy the Forester with a loan, the lender will require you to carry collision. That should make the Forester more expensive, insurance-wise, than the Accent.

how much should rear struts REALLY cost!? And what, exactly, do they do?

Actually, not really. I currently pay $480 every 6 months for basic (no collision) insurnace on the Accent. The 2009 Forester Limited with Navi and bluetooth and every other perk is $500 every 6 months to insure for full coverage. So it’s really the same, but with greater coverage.

I would think you could get them done for no more than around $400 at an independent shop, possibly less.

The struts combine springs and shock absorbers. They support the rear of the vehicle (springs) and dampen the up-and-down motions (shocks). Despite what the dealer told you, this IS a safety issue. It’s more difficult to maintain control of a bouncing car, and the rear tires can lose traction.

Agree; make the necessary repairs and keep driving. If a body inspection reveals rust has weakened the body, that would be my only reason to get rid of it. MAACO has cheap paint jobs for cars your size, so you can keep looking good as well.

That’s what I kept asking the dealer, but they said repeatedly that it was NOT a safety issue, despite the horrible movement of the back end of the car when I hit a major bump.

My original plan was to drive this car until Christmas time, which should put it at about 170 or 180K miles. Then I should have a sizable amount saved for the car. (My CPA recommends only buying cars with cash and not financing at all.) I would rather use the $$$ now to pump up my SEP IRA or to pay down my mortgage. I came from a family that drove ALL cars to over 200K, even if it meant a few repairs here and there. It saved my parents a LOT of money. I am just worried about what else could go wrong on this car. It is, after all, a Hyundai and not a Toyota or Honda!

Late model Hyundais are pretty reliable. They have come a LONG way since they were first introduced in this country.

I would respectfully disagree with the dealer.

As to price, this is one of the few times I would recommend talking to Sears for getting the work done. Generally there is a sale for the lifetime struts and you get a good discount or free labor, depending on the special of the week. Around here they are using Monroe replacement struts. All of my strut installations have been done correctly and in a timely manner by Sears. In this case, if you can wait for a good sale, you should be able to keep the price down.

Sears or Midas would carry economical aftermarket struts for your car. Midas also has a long warranty on their shocks and struts.

Good luck!

Economically it makes more sense to change the struts, but I drive 35,000 miles a year and I have to tell there’s no way I’d want to do it in an old beater.

On the other hand, realize that driving 35,000 miles a year in a new car makes it become high mileage very quickly. The real cost per mile is high.

The things you haven’t mentioned are what you’d LIKE to do, how much you do or do not like the Accent, and what your budget is. If your budget is tight, I’d go with the struts. If the budget has breathing room you may want to consider rewarding yourself.

Oh, and a nice wide shite stripe and always having your lights on might make the car more visable.

I get it. The car drives well except for the recent bounciness. My ipod hookups and everything else work perfectly. I certainly have gotten my money’s worth out of this car that I paid 8K cash for! I called my own independent mechanic and he’s going to call me with a price, but said it will be about $400 and reminded me that we have already replaced EVERYTHING ELSE in the past 18 months, so I should be ‘good to go’ for a while with this one repair. He also reiterated that it IS a safety issue and I have to be very careful about driving habits until it’s repaired.

I think I will go back to Plan A, which is buying a new car in Dec 2008 or Jan 2009.

Thanks for all of the advice! (Oh, and I ALWAYS drive with lights on!!!)


You might not be too happy with the fuel mileage of the Subaru since it has AWD, a very picky AWD system. Why not buy another Accent if you want a new car?
New car business aside, since your car blends in with the pavement, why not turn your headlights on, even when it’s bright and sunny outside.