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Old car vs buying new one

Question: I have a 2002 4WD Sante Fe Hyundai with 143,000. We have ‘invested’ over $3000 in the last year (new AC, new tires, new canisters/O2 sensors, spark plugs) and just yesterday it was diagnosed with needing new catalytic converter bank 1 (which means both O2 sensors will also need replacing).
Do we sink another 2 grand into this or start thinking about trading it in and purchasing another vehicle???

The $3000 is sunk cost. You can’t really consider it in deciding if $2000 additional is worth spending. If well maintained, the car still has life left in it. Consider it as 4 to 5 car payments, if you get another year, its probably worth it. If the car is in good condition, you should get over 200,000 miles before it is too troublesome to continue.

Why did they tell you that they need to replace the O2 sensors again when you replace the cat? You shouldn’t have to do this. $2000 seems a bit high unless you need to replace all 3 (V6) or 2 (4cyl). Each cat is about $300-350. If just bank 1 failed, it shouldn’t cost more than about $700.

@Each cat is about $300-350

You’re obviously talking about an aftermarket cat, correct?

First of all, who says it needs a new cat, and how do they know? The error code for “cat low efficiency” means either the cat OR the sensor(s) aren’t working right. Most of the time it’s the sensors, not the cat, that needs replacing.

Replace the sensors first, before buying a new cat. Chances are good that the error code will go away and you do not need a new cat.