Replace the engine or the whole car?

I have a 2000 VW Jetta GLS 2.0 liter with 132K miles on it. I made the mistake of never replacing the timing belt, and it just broke, which screwed my engine I’m told. I’m told I need to replace the engine now, which is going to cost almost if not more than the car is worth. Should I replace the engine or dump it?

If it has an automatic trans, did you have the fluid and filter changed every 30k, or was it given the “no maintenance treatment” like the timing belt? If it has an automatic transmission and it has never been serviced, then that will be the next thing to go, to the tune of…probably ~$3,000.

If it has a manual trans, has the clutch ever been replaced? If not, then you have to assume that this will need to be done in the next year or so.

Is the electrical/electronic system “quirky”, as VWs tend to be? As VWs age, they tend to develop a large number of weird (and difficult to repair) electrical problems.

Essentially, your decision should be based on the condition of the rest of the car. Personally, I would buy a new car, but this is one situation that only you can decide, because only you know the overall condition of the car, how well the rest of the car has been maintained, and your financial resources.

Whatever you do, please learn to follow the car mfr’s maintenance schedule faithfully, and bear in mind that most maintenance procedures have an elapsed time factor as well as an odometer mileage factor, with the proviso, “whichever comes first”. The maintenance schedule should be in your glove compartment.

This 10 year old Jetta may be worth $4,000 if in very good shape, meaning no dents, extremely minor scratches, and everything in it still works, like A/C and other creature comforts. A salvaged engine installed will cost probably more than $2,000. A rebuilt, which will be more reliable will be more than $4,000. Only if this car were in perfect shape, and I can’t bear to part with it would I consider trying to keep it.

Personally I would dump it. However what is your budget for replacement vehicle?

VW’s interestingly have lifetime trans fluids.

A close friends 2000 VW Golf is still on original fluid and no shifting issues/problems at 200k.

Like VDC said - its all about the “whole.”

I drive a '97 Escort Wagon. The OD has 246K on it. The thing has next to no market value. Its engine went a little over a year ago. But I actually bought another Escort that had a strong motor & trans but whose body was in bad shape. I had both the motor & trans swapped to my wagon. Even after that the market value was nearly nil.

BUT…I fix and maintain things as I go. So my wagon had good tires, suspension, body, interior, good AC & cooling system, good brakes, etc. etc. I also had a service manual and then ended up with a parts car - and even a spare transmission. I spent about $1500 all told ($700 for the car / $800 labor for the swap). Even at that cheap I’m sure its more than I could sell it for, but a little over a year and about 25K miles later its still my car. And I still love it for its relative simplicity, familiarity, ease of care, mpg, etc. There is that pesky thing about the motor going & everything, but other than that its been one of the most reliable vehicles I’ve ever owned. And I can stick 8 ft of lumber inside the dumb thing with all the doors & windows closed. Its always about the whole.

So your question just isn’t a simple one. My gut feeling in your case - if you didn’t deal with the timing belt then there are probably lots of other things ready to let go. I just don’t let things go. If you tend to do that then I’d go for another car. Put this one on Craigslist - maybe some dope like me needs a transmission.

“Just park it back by the fence next to the other ones and bring the keys and plates back to the office…”

Look, You are not that good with cars. If you allowed the TB to die what else did you miss in the maintaining the car department? Get the best car you can for the money and don’t look back.

In E-Bays search window, type “P71 Crown Victoria”. You want one with less than 110K miles. About $4 Grand should do it, less than repairing your heap. These cars will run forever even with YOUR maintenance habits…The best part is, there is no rubber timing belt and the transmissions are almost indestructible…If you lose your job, you can LIVE in it! AND, no fooling, it gets 22-26 MPG! (if you keep your foot out of it)…