Own a 1999 Mercury Villager in relatively good shape – no rust. Last year I had major engine work done that started with new engine mounts and the replacement of a leaking oil pan gasket. At that time when I had about 152,000 mile on the vehicle, they also replaced the head gaskets, the head bolts, the thermostat, the water pump the belts, and general tune up. They assured me that the engine would be good for another 150,000 miles. A year later almost to the day, the car is dying and bucking in slow traffic during the two miles between the interstate exit and the mechanic’s shop, so I pull in. He calls this morning to inform me that I have a cracked head and the tab will be $2,600 to repair (Heads $1,200). The car has never overheated and I have checked the antifreeze regularly.
I have been told by other Villager drivers that they have driven the vans over 200,000 mile, one said over 300,000. I’m a senior with limited income. Not certain what I might find for $3,000 and know that I would probably have to buy tires for a new used vehicle plus other unknown repairs since something in my price range would come as is. Should I repair it? If not, what price range am I looking at for a reliable replacement? I really like the Villager because I have a lower back problem and the seats of most sedans are too low. Thanks.