Repair old car or buy new

I am the original owner of a 2001 passat, 95K miles. It needs the following: timing belt/water pump with cam sensor and cooling system flush $1312; PCV hoses $286; O2 sensor $266; mass air flow sensor $375; both outer tie rods $526; new tire $100; sun roof leak $1080. I just spent $135 on a new battery. The body and interior are in very good shape. Should I fix all this or buy a new car?

If you want a new car and don’t mine the payments, go ahead and trade it in. On the other hand if money means something to you, do the maintenance.

[i] PCV hoses $286; O2 sensor $266; mass air flow sensor $375; [/i]   How was it determined that they needed replacement?  

 [i] both outer tie rods $526; new tire $100[/i]   Do you trust whoever recommended this?  Why did you have the tie rods checked?  How worn are the tyres?    Do you know that you should have tyres closely matched for wear in pairs.  That means the two best matching tyres need to be on the BACK of your car and two closely matched tyres on the front of your car (yea, the best tyres go on the back.  It is safer that way,

[i] O2 sensor $266; mass air flow sensor $375[/i]   How was it determined they needed to be replaced?  It sounds to me someone had a CEL report an issue with them.  The CEL error code does not say replace this or that.  It just says that it has seen something unusual, but it may not call for a replacement unless there are other indicators.  

 [i] sun roof leak $1080[/i]  That sounds might high for the typical sun roof leak (usually a blocked drain.)  15 minute no parts repair. 

 The water pump timing belt and cooling system all sound like good ideas, but I can't confirm if the cost is reasonable for your car and location.

The sun roof leak will cost $1,800 on a 2001 Passat?
You need to find a new mechanic. I’d love to hear from the mechanic homers how this estimate and most of the others are justified.

Get another estimate from someone other than a VW dealer. You might be surprised at the difference.

If you intend to keep the car the timing belt job is essential.

If some of the other things are really necessary the Check Engine Light should be on.

Is it?

Get a 2nd estimate at an independent shop.

If you have any least bit of desire to move on, now is the time.

Don’t do a thing until you get that second opinion.

Try to get your present one in working condition. It would cost much lesser than buying a new one. Repair is what I say. Invest in a good workshop/ mechanic

Its easy to sharp shoot mechanics and repairs from a key board. Do you still like the car? Keep in mind that vehicle is 10 years old and the amount you are speaking of is closing in on its value. I would suggest getting another vehicle, drop it at VW, they are running 0% and grab another, not a Passat though because those are going to stop being imported. So you have a wore out car that is no longer current, not even in name. Get another.

"sun roof leak $1080."
That’s Still Too High, But $720 Less Than $1800.

Correct Diagnosis ?
Maybe mebsport can comment on the leak. Was the water seen leaking from the sun roof or is it a circumstantial evidence diagnosis ? A VW TSB on water on floor of 01 - 04 Passats explains how to inspect for and diagnose a common leak involving the pollen filter housing
and it looks like no big deal to fix it.


I would repair it. Everything except the roof leak is maintenance. Get at least 2 or 3 quotes for the work. If you don’t know who else to get quotes from, ask people you know where they get their cars fixed. Eventually, a short list of garages will show up wth the best ratings. The car may not be worth the required repairs mentioned in your post. To me, this means you might as well give it away if you don’t fix it. If you do decide to trade it on a newer car, negotiate the price of the new car first. Just tell the sales associate that you haven’t decided when asked about a trade-in. That way you will get a true estimate of the Passat’s worth when you do ask what it is worth as a trade.

The sunroof leak occurred only after several days of torrential rain last summer. (It never leaked during the past 10 years that I have owned it.) Unknowingly about a week after the rain, I put my backpack on the floor behind the driver seat, and when I arrived at my destination and retrieved it, it was soaked. The leak had funneled into the backseat floor and literally had created a small lake. No other place in the car was wet. It has not leaked since then after routine rainy days. The VW dealer said they would need hours (can’t remember how many) to dissemble the sunroof and replace the drain. Thus the $1080 price tag.

All the quotes above except for the sunroof are from an independent shop. I took it in to have them do a computer check because the check-engine light is on. The result was PCV hoses, O2 sensor and mass air flow sensor need to be replaced. They said to replace the tie rods because they noticed the steering wheel has a lot of play in it when they test drove it. Another shop said the same thing about 5 years ago, but I ignored them. Now my brand new battery is dead (bought in Dec2010) as though it is not even in the car. I will return it since it is under warranty, as soon as I can get my car jumped.

I am definitely not an expert as some here are. But, everything I have read in recent years seems to indicate the VW models, once they start needing repairs, are sinkholes of despair. Get Consumer’s Report issue and look for cars that hold well with high mileage and old age.

A lot of people buy only by looks or style, or some such, and have no idea there is a big difference between makes. I had a son that way. He is not the proud owner of two Hondas, and virtually no repairs. A mini-van and an Accord.

So, while I agree to talk to another repair shop and see if that estimate is necessary, in the long run the list will be back soon enough.