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Repair or not

my daughter has a 94 tercel with 158,000 miles on it. She was in a fender bender that was just body damage. Mechanically it is in fine condition aside from just starting to use oil. To repair we have an estimate of $1100.00. We just had it inspected, aligned and new tires put on. Is is worth repairing or should we invest in another vehicle.

Get some more quotes on body work.

If the vehicle is good condition besides slight oil consumption $1100 is not terrible money to spend.

However how much do you have to spend on your next vehicle? If less than $6000 I would say in an instant fix your current car.

A 94 Tercel that is “just starting to use oil” and has been in a fender bender is the ideal candidate for the scrap yard!!!

Fixing the oil consumption later will cost several times what the car is worth undamaged!

I would say that this is the exact right time to get a better vehicle, and take the insurance money.

My son had a similar car (but it did not use oil), and after his fender-bender, we added up all the costs and taking the insurance money was the best thing to do. You probably like the car, but I think you are starting to throw good money after bad.

A well-maintained 94 Tercel with 158,000 miles is not supposed to use oil, so I assume that previous owners did not keep up with the maintenance, thereby shortening the potential life of the car.

If the car is still drivable…just take the insurance money and DON’T get it fixed. Then drive it til it dies.

Thanks for your advice. I didn’t mention that we do not have collision coverage on this vehicle.

How much oil use are we talking about? What body damage do you have? Can you get parts from a salvage yard and replace them, like a fender or hood or deck lid? Bolt-on stuff is easy and usually cheap. A car which is fine mechanically, with minimal body damage, new tires and recent alignment, just inspected, is a daily driver in my book, until something major comes up. What damage and how much oil? Rocketman

If your daughter is a teen, or college student, just get repairs to make all the doors, trunk, and hood to operate, then make sure all the lights work and are aimed properly for safety. Don’t worry about what it looks like.

When she has a good job then she can get a nicer car. If she is a new driver then she needs to learn the value of not hitting stuff.

the hood is buckled, broken light, broken grill. I am not sure if the plastic around the light is broken or not. The frame that holds the radiator was bent in but the body shop guy said he bent it back and the radiator was ok. It isn’t using that much oil only adding some occasionally -She need oil a month and a half ago but we just had an oil change and hasn’t needed any since. It was maybe the beginning of summer when she needed it last.

My position on this is somewhat different from many. If the vehicle is basically in good shape and meets your daughter’s needs, then it’s worth more to her than is reflected by the marketplace. For $1100 she’ll have a known good vehicle that meets her needs with a known recent history. You cannot buy that for $1100.

The one caveat here is that the vehicle is still safe. Keeping a vehicle with known safety problems is never worth it.

ALL cars use some oil. It is normal. The amount varies. Manufacturers consider 1 qt/1000 miles acceptable under warranty although a serious pain for the owner.

If the car is using oil every 1000 miles it is hardly worth going to the scrap yard. A case of low budget oil is not big money from a place like Walmart.

Yep, me too. Fix it if you like it. Hood, fender, grill, etc. is the easiest bolt ons to do. If you scrounge the junk yards a little, you might even get the same color. I would be very careful with a damaged hood not latching properly and flying up while driving. I am also one that doesn’t believe in driving a damaged car around. Either fix it and make it look good or put it out of its misery. Just a pride thing.