I have a well-maintained 1999 Volkswagen Passat with 79,000 miles on it. I drive maybe 5,000-7,000 miles a year, nearly all city driving. The tires are almost three years old, I have the oil changed regularly.
Recently, I began having two problems. One involves shaking and squeaking in the front end, the other is that it runs rough, with nearly-constant hesitation/hiccuping. I took it to my mechanic, who was an Audi mechanic for years. He examined it and told me that the hesitation is likely due to a failing ignition coil, and thought that there was a problem with one of the strut mounts that was causing the squeaking in the front end. He said he didn’t have the setup to fix this, and suggested I go to the Volkswagen dealer nearby. (By the way, I checked, and there are no recalls on my model - I know that Passats of this generation had common problems with the ignition coils.)
I took it in today. After $150 to diagnose, they told me that the car needs a new ignition coil and spark plugs (and something else I don’t remember) to the tune of a little over $1,000. They didn’t find a problem with the strut mount, and said that the squeaking is coming from the steering. They said that they will try to find the problem on Monday.
So, let’s say that they find the problem and that it costs another 1,000 to fix, just as a hypothetical. Is it worth it?
The car is paid for, and I carry only liability insurance. My husband recently lost his job, and my income has gone down 20% in the past couple years. We can’t afford to buy a new or late-model used car. We could probably afford a used car for $4,000-$5,000.
I am thinking that I should get the Volkswagen fixed, because I know its history and I know that I have maintained it well. What do you think?