Sell, Trade, Repair Mazda 3

My mazda 3 has 133,000 miles. My mechanic pal told me the AC compressor is going. It needs aligned (shakes badly when I brake). The windshield just cracked (16"). One tire has a slow leak. And there is rust. And it’s up for inspection September. The KBB value is fair condition is $5K. My car is in poor condition without the problems.

We’ll most likely sell/trade-in and buy a mini-van; which opens me to all sorts of abuse! Should I repair parts of the car then sell. Should I sell as is. Should I trade-in. I could take the blue book value, itemize the repairs, and try to trade-in. I’m open to thoughts and recommendations.

I don’t think the shaking is due to alignment but most likely the brake pads and rotors. Kelly Blue Book is always on the high side of values . Air condition repair could be 1200.00 - windshield 300.00 - the tire needs fixed anyway. You will get next to nothing the way it is and might not even break even if you repair it. I would just find what I wanted and let them have it and go on my merry way.

And thanks for spelling the word brake correctly.

I second Volvo V70.

I agree. Time to say bye bye. First off, the $5000 is likely to be more like $3000 in trade but who wants the hassle or liability of selling a car with brake, windshield, and AC issues? But the rust is the decider. If rust has started, time to let it go.

I’d trade it in, or sell it. I wouldn’t worry about the AC compressor. Fixing that will be quite expensive, and maybe the person buying it doesn’t even want AC. Disclose and offer a discount. Likewise with the leaky tire, disclose the problem, and let the new owner decide how they want to deal with it. Contact your insurance agent about the windshield. Maybe you have some coverage for that, as a broken windshield could be due to an accident. In any event, whoever pays for the repair, I’d probably fix the windshield before selling or trading the car.

The A/C compressor is going? How does your friend KNOW, or is it already totally gone? Does that mean it’s not blowing cold? There are a variety of reasons for that to happen. The compressor is the expensive possibility.

If you’ve neglected a leaky tire, I have to wonder what else you might have neglected. Unless the leak is in the sidewall, THAT’S a cheap fix. I agree that the shaking upon braking is not an alignment issue, but a warped brake rotor. It’s a fairly cheap fix if you can do it yourself.

Shop some independent class shops for a cheap windshield. Tell them it’s “out of pocket”, not an insurance deal. There are several here that will replace almost any common windshield for $110 to $125. I have not paid $300 for a windshield, EVER.

If you want to sell the car yourself, you may want to fix some of these items on the cheap. If you want to trade it in, don’t bother. The dealer won’t pay extra. They’ll just look it up and give you wholesale, or a perhaps a bit more to make you think you got a great deal.

Get the cheapest possible windshield installed, if your insurance doesn’t cover it

Get new front rotors and pads installed . . . if you’re not going to keep it, anyways, may as well buy cheap. Better yet, have your mechanic pal install them. Maybe he’ll work for beer, instead of cash . . .

Forget the AC . . . if you sell private party, tell the buyer. If you trade in, don’t mention it

Look at it like this . . . if you do those 2 things, at least the brakes will be okay while you shop for the next vehicle. And if you replace the windshield, at least you’ll see what you’re about to run into

Hmmm Lets see… You need Brakes and Rotors up front… A new windshield… a couple tires and inspection… and THIS makes you want to get rid of the vehicle?

The brakes, rotors and tires should be considered regular maintenance items… Windshields crack all the time…

I dont see the problem… Fix it and drive it… Will your new vehicle be immune to Tire and Brake wear? Does it have a new fangled unbreakable windshield?

ALL of your items needed add up to about 500 bucks in repair costs… At least thats what it would cost me anyway… In fact Im betting it would cost me a bit LESS to repair.

These are just normal costs of Pay to Play to me… I dont see the issue


A year or two ago, the a/c on my 2002 Sienna stopped cooling, intermittently. When I got back to the States, I asked my brilliant SIL. He told me about a truck compressor shop west of McAllen. (Go west to the end of Pecan and turn right one mile…)

I took it to them. They checked it with a ‘black light’ and said the seals were bad. They had them on the shelf, and replaced them, and pumped down the system then added the coolant. Total cost: $170. I waited and read a book while they worked on it. Less than 2 hours.

The seals, nothing else, very explicitly stated, were guaranteed for one year. Since they only worked on the seals, they CANNOT guarantee anything else in the system. I do not know if they can do other work on the compressor. But, I would sure look for such a place before spending the usual $1000 for a new compressor.

Just be aware they cannot guarantee the rest of the cooling system. If something else breaks, it’s your dime. In my case, I had around $800 left over to play with, and so far it works perfectly.

Based on the compressor shop’s rather large parking lot, filled with gigantic truck tractors of every make and style, trucks have a lot of compressors that fail, and can be fixed by a good shop. And, those compressor shops are going to be, my guess, in most significant communities?

The car had around 200,000 miles on it. Once before it ran out of coolant, so Toyota added a green die, and topped it off, but were unable to find the cause. About an equal distance on the car when it failed again, this time the cause was found and repaired.

I think the thing tipping the scale after AC, windshield, brakes, and tires was RUST. Rust is the beginning of the end and cannot be easily repaired.

“My mechanic pal told me the AC compressor is going”

When I see a a green and glowing ac compressor, I say it’s leaking

When I encounter an ac compressor making an awful knocking noise when it’s engaged, I say it’s going, and is not long for this world

Thanks for all of the sound advice! This is very helpful. We have decided it’s time for a minivan with more kids on the way. My plan is to see what I can get as a trade-in and if I feel like it’s not fair based on the advice above I’ll try to sell it.

Heads up . . .

If you try to sell it to a private buyer in its current condition, you SHOULD expect only lowball offers

At least replace the windshield, if you’re going that route

The broken windshield will be the first thing somebody sees, and that’s literally a very big and bad first impression. Quite possibly somebody will think “Good grief, this guy hasn’t even replaced the broken windshield. I wonder what condition the rest of the car is in . . .”

I seriously doubt if any dealer is going to give you anything on a trade. I’ve seen dealers simply refuse to accept vehicles like this in trade. I also doubt if anybody is going to give you much in a private sale. You’re smart to move on. This tired old '84 is IMHO no longer a safe vehicle to be toting your kids around in.

Sincere best.

Many dealers will take a trade in this condition but if the smoke is cleared from around the numbers one would find that the actual amount being allowed is likely 3 figures.
Once the deal is done the trade goes to the back lot to await a wholesaler who will buy it, and others, at near scrap prices and haul them off to the auctions.

I agree with db4690 about replacing the windshield. A cracked one draws too much attention right from the start and ignites that initial impression about “what else…” even if the rest of the car was actually sound.