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Should I hang on to my used car (after a spate of expensive repairs)?

I own a 1995 toyota camry wagon. Until now, I have not had to spend much on repairs. In the past week, I’ve already spent $2200, and now face an additional $1700 in repairs. Is it worth it to keep this car? How does one make this kind of decision? The car has 159000 miles on it. The repairs that have already been made are: new master cylinder for the brakes, new timing belt, water pump leak fixed, new speedometer assembly and sensor. Now, the dealership has told me the car needs a new alternator and a/c compressor.

First problem: ‘the dealership’ - you should find an independent mechanic to do your work cheaper. Why does it need the alternator and a/c compressor?

Yes, you need a second opinion. That is a lot of money to put in a car that old.

I’m always one to keep repairing a vehicle because buying a new/used car is always more expensive than you initially expect.

I agree about the dealership…find a good, independent mechanic…one that has been in business for a while. They are usually more “honest” and give you good work. With all that you have had done, I’m surprised that it now needs and alternator and an a/c compressor. But Toyotas are very good, reliable cars and you have fixed up most of the big problems, so the car should last for another 50-100K miles.

Given the age and miles on the car there is nothing unusual about these repairs. You should find an alternative mechanic so you aren’t faced with dealer high priced repairs. Camry wagons are now a rare breed and I see no reason to get rid of this car for these kinds of repairs. Your car is a '95 and now is more than 15 years old and you can expect some hefty repairs bills in the future. If that isn’t OK with you I think you could find some eager buyer on craigslist.

I would definitely take the car for a second opinion and have it fully inspected, including for structural integrity (rust). Due to my experiences, I will respectfully disagree with navcad82’s remarks about fixing it and getting another 50-100k miles out of it. This is possible, but could end up being very expensive. From what I have seen, Camrys of this era at this mileage do not age well, and you may have hit the tip of the iceberg. Another repair you may have to face as this car starts pushing the 200k mile mark is the power steering system. I have had to replace a lot of power steering systems on a lot of Camrys of this era. The rack starts to leak and crud gets into the pump, tearing it up, then you might as well replace the hoses while it’s apart to avoid future repairs to the system. That will probably run you a little over a thousand bucks.