Should I fix my old car?


#1

I have a 1992 Nissan Sentra with 205,000 miles. I am only owner. The engine runs great. I had it checked at a dealership and was told I need a passenger CV boot, new rotors and pads for the front, and the valve cover gasket is leaking. Their cost for that was $680. It also needs a new exhaust system, and the body isn’t great, rust around the wheel wells, although not rusted through. Am looking for some thoughts about putting the money into it, or donating it, or something. I do have a new car, but it is nice to have an around town car, etc. Thank you for any advice.


#2

Your choice. Can you replace this car for the cost of the repairs? And don’t forget, unless you buy new, the replacement car will probably need work too. I personally will drive a car until the wheels fall off. As long as you keep up with the maintenance, it should last you much longer.


#3

If you donate it, the donee will give you a receipt when they sell it. That is your one and only tax deduction. Still, donating is a way to get rid of it easily.

Consider what it costs to insure it, too. If you have a car already, you may want to just downsize the fleet. If you have the $680 and think your other car is in danger on some of your trips, the repairs might be worth it.


#4

Very good point. I think I’m emotionally attached to the car, and am leaning towards fixing. I doubt I could get another 2nd car for that price, and I wouldn’t know what I am getting.


#5

You might be able to get it done a little cheaper than that. To be truthful, I think I would try just a split boot on that car if you don’t use it much. No point in replacing the whole axle. Otherwise I would be concerned about the rust. Once rust developes, cars seem to loose their attractiveness and utility.


#6

If you don’t need a second car, dump it.


#7

If you have lost the love dump it. Financially you will likely do ok fixing it however there is an emotional component too. 205k and 15 years old is well done IMHO especially for a small car.


#8

If you like your car and have some spare time, I would suggest buying a Haynes repair manual for the car and do some of the repairs yourself. Brakes and head cover gasket should be fairly easy, and exhaust system is not too bad if you are able to work comfortably under your car.

If you’re not up to it, I agree with the others in here. If you need a second car it is absolutely worth it if it will keep the car on the road for a while. If you don’t really need it, I would might consider getting rid of it


#9

Not only would I fix it, I’d also have a body shop fix up the rust spots. Might cost $500 or $1000 more, but then you have a car that’s good for another 5 years or more.

On the other hand, if you don’t need it, or want to get rid of it I’d still fix the mechanical stuff and then sell it to someone who needs cheap transportation. Or, give it to a relative who needs a college car.


#10

Thank you all for your comments. It has helped me!