Remember me? 2001 Blazer...this time with an $1800 doc bill



This site was SO helpful before in aiding my decision to keep my blazer once it’ paid off this oct. HOWEVER, new info has arrived:

1. exhaust valve (sounds like a logging truck). $474

2. intake manifold gasket (it has been leaking coolant at a snails pace and i have been afraid this was the problem. it has already been told to me by another mechanic a month ago. im afraid if i wait any longer it would do more damage. must act on it this week.) $660

3. front brakes (it’s time. they are 90% worn) $166

4.transmission service (i hit 100k miles and this needs to be done sometime. not urgent but def necessary) $125

5.tune up (necessary but can wait a few months) $350

Total: roughly $1800


What should I do??!!

Pay these in segments this year and keep on trucking or trade it in and get a car to save on gas/taxes/insurance?



Ask yourself, “Do I really need a Blazer?”

Would you be just as happy, or more so, in a cool-looking economical sedan or a sporty coupe? If you have no powerful sentimental attachment to the Blazer, now is the time to replace it. Not later when it refuses to run at all. Sure you will take a hit in the pocketbook. But you must satisfy yourself.

If you really can’t bear to part with the good ol’ Blazer, remind yourself that the $1800 repair bill is about equivalent to 4-5 months of new car payments. Pay up and drive happy.

You do what you want.  If you are going to keep it, it needs the maintenance.  

The cheapest thing you can do is likely keep it.  Other people like you are going to discount the value of it due to the poor mileage.  It is almost always cheaper to maintain a car than to sell it and get another.  Consider the cost of how many years of car payments (assuming you are not paying cash) against that $1800.  My guess is the car payments will top that in a very short time.  Don't make the mistake of saying I am already paying $500 a month so making $700 payments is only $200.  It IS $700. a month! 

I would sell it as soon as possible.  I much prefer small cars.


cut your losses,its snowball time.


I think you are still saving money. Save even more, don’t listen to me. If you pay me now, or pay me later, it’s only a guess, which will be greater? You always lose money when you drive or buy or insure. It’s a miracle, if you endure. You can save, you can pay, gonna happen, anyway. Seriously, you might want to consider alternatives like car pooling. Didn’t you have the dogs that needed their space? You might always be driving vehicles that will send your finances to the dogs. I think you can keep it, pay it off and then start saving. Remember your family. Threaten to move back in with them. They might help you pay off a lot of things. You just have to twist some arms.


^^ pleasedodgevan- props on your little rhymes there! …later/greater …insure/endure …pay/anyway. or maybe it’s just me being tired and silly.

Anyway, Jesscio, sorry to hear the truck’s turning into a money pit. Still have the dented fender too?
The brakes, Xmission service, and tuneup are just normal maintenance- that’d have to be done to any vehicle.
As for the exh valve and intake manifold… that puts you in a tough place, since your idea of trading it in really isn’t gonna get you much when it has those problems. Plus, you’ve almost got it paid off! (less than 2g’s now, right?)

If I were you, I’d keep it and have it worked on as finances allow- starting with the big stuff first of course (except in my book, BRAKES come first). 6 months from now, even if the truck has some problems, you’ll have more money to take care of it because the vehicle’s paid for (plus you’ll be able to drop the full coverage insurance and just have liability if you want). And if the truck goes some time w/o any major issues, then hey, that’s money in your pocket! That’s way better than entering into a new(er) car payment. …especially in this precarious economy.

If worse comes to worse, you can always lash your huge dogs to the bumper and have them pull you around.


I’d hold on to it if it was my truck. Like everyone else said; it is usually cheaper to keep the car you have and maintain it than to buy another. I had a 98 Blazer and put 180k on it before I let it go. Yeah, it drank gas but unless you get a smaller car you won’t be gaining all that much in gas savings and probably be losing in the end with another payment. You know what shape the truck is in and that is a big bonus to you. The only thing I would add is to keep your eyes on are the ball joints; mine ate them about every 50-60k miles.


Are these dealer prices, have you got any second opinions?

Do you have an exhaust leak or a bad EGR valve? I paid about $200 for the intake gasket replacement (the dealer split the cost 50/50 as a good will gesture) for my 200 Blazer. Coolant in the oil will wreck the engine quickly. I paid about $120 to have the front brake replaced (pads only). The parts cost was around $70 - 80. I paid about $120 for a fluid/filter change on the transmission recently. What is involved in the tune up? I paid about $200 to have the plugs replaced at 70k (too soon). The plugs are $12 apiece and are a challenge to replace.

Most of the above items are maintenance and would need to be done on any vehicle. Unfortunately, the Blazer is an expensive vehicle to maintain . I have 92k on mine, it’s paid for, the engine and trans are solid, and I plan on keeping it for a while. The occasional repair and middling gas mileage is still less expensive than a car payment.

I suggest getting the intake gasket repaired first. If you have a leaky exhaust, get some prices from the local muffler shops also.

Good luck,

Ed B.


I must admit I felt both shock/dismay and relief/possiblities when I got the laundry list of repairs. All but one of my friends said to make the repairs in order of need and keep it. Only one said, “I think this is the perfect time to get a new car.” So…to answer your question, no I dont “need a Blazer.” In the coming year I will be starting my own buisness. So yeah, I would like to show up to meetings in something more appealing (without a dent like the Blazer already has). My eco-friendly friends are always shocked that I have an SUV. I conserve water, recycle (even encouraged co-workers to do the same at the office) as well as use my own shopping bags instead of plastic/paper.

Long story long…I wont make a decision until I have all financial scenarios on one spreadsheet. It’s how I make any large purchase. For peace of mind, Im throwing in pricing on a used Prius or Camry Hybrid. Will have all my info together by Friday! Thanks for your input!


Do what I want…well, that would be to buy a hybrid or something economical in which I can haul my dogs and artwork around.
Do what I need…well, that would be wrestle with a spreadsheet to determine the best financial decision. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this thought: The repairs will cost more than it’s worth.

$1800 would be a down payment along with the Blazer as a trade in. I could also get a nice tax deduction this yr if I make the purchase before 04/15 (or apply to next yrs). :slight_smile:

Thansks for your input!!!


My closest friend said the very same (well almost): “My feeling is, $1800 is a lot of money, but you won’t be able to buy another car for $1800. And, if other people think you can get another 100K out of it, you’ll be keeping it way long enough to make the repair investment worthwhile. Plus, paid off in Oct is huge–after Oct, the only $ you’ll be investing in it is gas (a lot, I know, but still less than a new car payment–ex:$250/mo for a year is $3000, and good luck getting a $250/mo car payment on a hybrid) and repairs. I’d suck it up and make the repairs, even if you have to get a credit card with a $2000 limit and just throw money at it as quickly as possible to pay off. I think it’s more important that you build up savings than get involved in another multiple-year car payment.”

I DO have another friend that will sell me a new vespa at cost. That would get me to work but wont take the dogs to the park! Hmmmm…
My head has gone to the dogs over this one pleasedodgevan! Thanks for your input!!!


A used hybrid also will have scheduled maintenance due, so make sure you account for that in your calculations. I would keep the Blazer. Doing these repairs should get you another 30K or more in trouble free miles. Putting $1800 down on a used car gets you monthly car payments, for much longer than a few months.

I would (1) do the intake manifold and if possible brakes now. (2) Save up and do the exhaust/valve?? issue–not clear what is needed, (muffler shop if it is exhaust system related, not mechanic; sounds high for an EGR replacement); and (3) do trans service & tune up. These are roughly one third increments, to get stuff done when you save up the $600 or so each time. I would also do some pricing around, unless you absolutely trust your mechanic, to get an idea of how much lower you can get the estimates. On the tune up, that price sounds high, but is dependent on what parts the mechanic is replacing, in addition to plugs. You can do some of the work yourself (air filter change, PCV change, plug wire change, plug change), to lower the costs. Just tell the mechanic what you have done and what remains to be done by him.

Some banks and credit unions will provide you either a collateral or signature loan for $1800 and do a one year note, to get it all done ASAP. I would check with my banking friends to see if that can happen.


Fix the exhaust valve & brakes and ignore the rest of maintenance till you pay this rolling junk pile off in 7 months and see how far this chariot takes you.

Once your payments end to this start saving them hopefully for a while towards a better vehicle.


Yes, still has the dent (and lots of dog hair!). Im so torn on this one. I just feel like Im wasting money by making expensive repairs only to have to buy another car around a year and a half from now. Im not one to shy away from making challenging decisions so oddly enough, I welcome all of this. Thanks for your input VelocityBoy! Everyones thoughts are really helping me weigh in on this. I will compile all the financial scenarios to make the best decision by this weekend.

If only my dalmatian didnt have her heart set on a Prius…I hate to disappoint her!


Interesting. I have not had any ball joint issues and I just hit 115K. Duly noted tho. Thanks!


Haha. A friend of mine said skip the exhaust valve and just slap a “haulin’ a**” bumber sticker and ride it into the ground. we shall see. Thanks for your input!


I actually work for a bank so I do have options. Im mostly leaning toward your advice but need to see it all on paper first to decide. Thanks for your input!


These prices are a local mechanic and have be cross-compared. I know most of it’s maintenance…I just wish it hadnt all happened at the same time AND so close to pay off. Ugh. The coolant is leaking and the gasket is showing some cracks. As for the tune up: plugs, wires and hmm cant recall off hand. The Blazer is expensive to maintain. I need something to haul dogs and artwork around in. Would love a hatch back of some sort. Thanks for your input!


EEEeesh. Be careful w/ that Vespa if you get it. I was perusing myspace vids a while back, and stumbled across a rather graphic traffic-cam vid of a guy on a vespa-type scooter getting run down- run over- and very obviously killed by a truck. Turned my stomach and kept me from eating chicken for a week; and DEFINITELY turned me off of scooters and motorbikes for good. …not that I ever had much of an affinity for them anyway.

Be sure to take into account the safety/traffic conditions in your area before a purchase like that.


Yeah that is SO true. I think that would be more hassle than a help.Thx!