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Repair Cost is quoted $4,000.00: repair or trade it?

My father’s 2004 Mitsubishi Galant LS with infinity audio… quoted repair cost is around $4,000.00.

Needs Repair/Issue: Engine issue, dash lights are always on, timing belt replacement, 6-disc audio unit is broken.
2004 Galant Mileage: est 180,000

So… we are contemplating whether long term benefits/savings on buying a new vehicle with better MPG, trade 2004 Galant LS, or fixing the current car is better. He is a high mileage driver; he is currently getting like 16-18MPG on the 2004 Galant LS.

If trade up, should we fix the 2004 Galant LS before trading it? My father is hesitant on fixing it since $4,000.00 is too much for him.

Any suggestions?

Um, why, exactly, is the engine warning light always on?

Are you saying that this engine issue is related to a broken timing belt?

This could go several different ways along with any recommendations based on details.

If by 16-18 MPG you mean mileage on the highway then there’s a problem because the car should be doing far better than that.

“Um, why, exactly, is the engine warning light always on?”

I read that to mean that the instrument lights are on, even if key is removed. This, along with “6-disc audio unit is broken,” leads me to wonder about how, exactly, it was wired into the extant wiring. I’d start by disconnecting any and all non-stock wiring and re-evaluate.

As to the rest: “engine issue” could be ANYTHING; impossibly vague to make a recommendation. Is the timing belt currently broken, or is it due for replacement?

Hopefully the OP will come back and fill in some blanks.

One thing that should NOT be done is spend 4 grand and then trade it off. An 11 year old Galant with 180k miles is a wholesale or back lot unit even without an engine problem.

Good point Joe.
I too hope the OP comes back. I’d like to try to help, but there’s next to zero information in his/her post. And even less about the car they’d hope to trade it for.

A new radio could be had for $50.

Now, the gas mileage he is getting and the lights being on indicates some issues. The timing belt is a maintenance item on this car, if it already broken, since this is an interference engine, you will need a new engine. So as you see, we need more info.

Well not knowing anything else, he did say the “quoted repair” was $4000. Don’t think a $50 radio is going to do it. If that’s the case on an 04, I would just trade and don’t fix it before trading.

Something tells me the OP has moved on. Can’t help somebody who doesn’t want help!

Thank you for the responses. That quote is from the dealer. My father was told by the dealer the following…

-something about an oxygen sensor
-timing belt, I think 2nd time replacement
-something about replacing some parts within the engine

Before the dash lights started to be always on…
-Rear passenger side window shattered with no indication of being hit by someone or some thing
-6disc changer audio unit broke down, the followed by
-the air conditioner unit broke down, then followed by
-loud grinding fan noise in the front when the air conditioner is running, then followed by
-a grinding metal noise somewhere in the engine, then followed by
-the ‘service engine’ light was always on even though it just got serviced, and right now
-all indicators in the dash are lit

I have read somewhere about the plague on the Galant LS engines. something about a hole that is too small so a smudge builds up making the noise. I think it was called a lifter of some sort.

This observation that I will be stating is before the air conditioner grinding fan noise. There was something that I observed while driving it one time. It seems to be losing RPM after it reaches a certain speed. Pressing and holding the accelerator pedal revs the engine and at certain point even if it is still pressed, the revving stops. So I had to let it go and press/hold again to hear and feel the revving of the engine. Like something is being cut off. And I was driving at that time at 25-30MPH on a residential area.

My 05 Galant ES does not do that type of revving behavior though.

The radio is just a minor issue; i have a spare audio unit stored somewhere. So replacing it will be easy. The broken 6disc changer is an oem part and we are not aware of any wiring/rewiring done on the audio system.

He is thinking of getting the new 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT; better mileage and the fear the piling cost of maintenance down the road.

That car sounds like it’s on its last legs. I don’t blame dad for not wanting to fix it!

The description of its ailments is still vague.

-something about an oxygen sensor -timing belt, I think 2nd time replacement -something about replacing some parts within the engine
I sounds like it needs a lot, but I'd consider getting a second opinion from an independent shop that doesn't want to sell a new 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT.

It sounds like there was little or none preventative maintenance.

The description is still vague, but there are way too many red flags for my taste.
A good look-see by an independent is a definite must of you’re even considering any repairs. Be sure to give him all the details you can up front.

This probably is the best time to get rid of it. When I make this kind of decision, I base it on cost per mile. I would expect to get at least 40k miles out of a vehicle after making a $4k repair, and that is with no other repairs needed during that period. I don’t think he will get that in this case.

Use that $4k plus what ever he can get out of selling/trading and get the new vehicle. So many good reasons for going this route, its almost a no brainer.

I have to agree. Just trade it and move on. Who needs the hassle of sorting this out? Try to maintain a good maintenance schedule on the new one.

You’re lucky those things didn’t fail over a long enough time you would have repaired them. Time for the bone yard.

Probably time to sell it if you want all the extra features. A teenager might be happy to have it, they’d just replace the radio/cd player with an inexpensive $50 am/fm/usb-mp3 player, and remove all the AC equipment and do without AC. A DIY’er mechanically inclined teenager could change the timing belt themselves for less than $250 I expect, perhaps less than $100. The O2 sensor problem can likely be deferred.

I’d be reluctant you put $4000 into that car. The problems you cite look like a car that’s wearing out rapidly. You might repair those, only to find another dozen items need repairing in a few months. If this were a more desirable car I’d feel better about repairing it, as you can always get a decent price for a Camry or Accord, even in poor condition. Enough to possibly cover the cost of the repairs. Mitsubishi doesn’t have a very good reputation and you might have trouble getting a decent price. If you do sell it, sell it as is. Then buy something simple, reliable, and efficient. The most reliable small car in the latest Consumer Reports is the Scion xB. The first generation xB is hard to recommend, and you may not be able to afford the current one. The xD and older xA are very closely related and should also be very reliable, and are close relatives of the Toyota Yaris. Scion resale prices are usually lower than Toyota’s, so you can often save a bit buying a Scion. Just one possibility among many. If you buy another older car condition matters far more than specific model. You don’t want to end up with another car needing thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance.

This sounds like a classic case of sending good money after bad, it’s time to say goodbye.