Should my daughter spend $1400 to repair the tie rods, front wheel bearing and front control arms or should she put the $ ($1400!) towards a newer car?
Depending on the condition of the rest of the car, I would say yes. These repairs are generally one time repairs that will last the rest of the lifetime of the car. If these estimates came from a dealer, you may be able to lower the costs by getting estimates from a trusted independent mechanic or suspension specialist.
$1400 is much less than $300 or more car payments over time.
What is the year of the Grand Prix? These items are simply wear and tear replacements of parts you’d expect to be worn on an older car. If the car is circa 2000, these are expected types of repairs.
If the car is older she can expect some more repair bills in the future. Older cars simply need more repairs as they show the affects of years and miles driven. Generally repair costs are less than monthly payments.
Cars can last 20+ years and be dependable if they are maintained and repaired as needed. What kills most old cars is the owners stop maintaining them properly and just drive them into the ground. Big items like the blown transmission, a seized motor, or major rust finally send the car to the crusher.
Can’t really answer your question about your daughter’s car. If she has been letting it go, then it maybe time for a new car. If she has maintained it these repairs will keep it going for another 5 to 10 years without needed these same parts again.
If it only last five months, you will be ahead with the repairs. And that is not counting the fact that with those repairs, it will be worth more if you sell it.
As long as it has been well care for, I’d replace the suspension items. I have a similar car (1998 Bick Regal LS) and it runs quite well as a commuter car.
the reason these components are worn out is that they were made on the cheap in the first place. I have seen so many 1980s toyotas where all these parts are still in perfect shape, (and toyotas dont even come with zert fittings to lube the ball joints) that it is obviously a quality problem not a problem with wear and tear. 1400 bucks for these parts is also high, and just another part of that good old phased obsolecence philosophy so common in American made cars.
What year is the car? How many miles does it have? Is it in good shape otherwise? Does she still enjoy driving it? We really can’t help you without knowing the details.
“and just another part of that good old phased obsolecence philosophy so common in American made cars.”
You clearly have no understanding what planned obsolescence actually means. No car company ever went out and designed a car to need repairs at x years or y mileage. They aren’t smart enough to figure out how to get a part to fail predictably, and they aren’t stupid enough to purposely try to peeve their customers like that.
Planned obsolescence is all about making an older product undesirable to keep customers wanting more and wanting newer products in an attempt to stimulate sales. Sometimes that means holding out on options.
Take the Ford Fusion, for example - it came out as a 2006 model and since then we’ve seen the following changes:
2007: AWD introduced, Sirius optional. Front passenger seat became fold-flat design. More airbags standard. Aux input shows up and navigation becomes an option.
2008: ABS and TPMS become standard. Rear parking assist, Sync, and ambient interior lighting become options. Higher end stereos available on the lower trim lines
2009: ESC optional and new appearance packages
2010: New design, larger I4, new 6 speed automatic, 3.0L V6 now flex-fuel, 3.5L option. Hybrid bows, and numerous other changes are made.
THAT is what planned obsolescence is about - give consumers some reason to want the new model more than the old one - trade in for something fancier and keep the model line “hot”.