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Should I repair my 1997 Lincoln Continental with 48,000 miles on it or replace it?

Should I repair my 1997 Lincoln Continental with 48,000 miles on it or replace it?
We bought this car 2.5 years ago with 27,000 miles on it for $3,500. I put 21K on it in 2.5 years. I only drive it back and forth to work (10 miles a day) with my 2 year old. I love this car. I love that I have no car payments. I put about$1.5 K into it for new tires, a battery issue, tune up,etc about 18 months ago. Otherwise it’s been good to us. I recently got into a fender bender and the auto repair shop says the car is not safe to drive-they have to replace the hood. The estimated costs to repair is $2,500-$3,200. Ugh. Should we replace the car instead? We would have to get a loan and then have car payments. And the cars/suvs’ we are looking at have the same mileage on them. Whereas I could probably pay this $3,200 in two months , which is equal to a year of car payments. My feeling is get the car fixed and if it lasts another year then we made the right decision. I also wanted to mention I am expecting a second child in June so we need to be very safe with all these babies in tow.

I would repair the car because of the low miles. The age is a factor but since you know the vehicle…I would opt for a 2 month payment plan over a 5 (?) year payment plan any day of the week.

Get it fixed and it will last a lot longer than “another year.”

I would repair the car but get a second estimate on the repair. That seems like a lot of money for a front end collision repair, all the parts bolt-on. Call the local used car dealers and ask where they get their body work done.

I would get it fixed. Also, with a loan you need full insurance coverage. That’s even more money out of your pocket monthly.

If all they have to replace is the hood, I think that’s about $50.00 at an auto recycling center around here. Used bumpers and fenders would be cheap as well.

I would guess that if you were to replace the hood, the front bumper, and both front fenders, you could do so for $250.00 or less in used parts. If you are not comfortable doing the work yourself, I would find a shop that will install parts that you bring in.

I can’t see how they could come up with $2,500-$3,200 for just replacing the hood. Even if you buy a brand new hood from the dealer and have it painted to match, that estimate seems quite high.

Economically it makes all sorts of sense to repair it. Where else are you going to get a known good car that you love for $3200 or less?

But I noticed that you always have your 2 year old with you. If your driving environment is relatively inert (remote roads in the Midwest, for example) repairing the car is a great idea. But if your commute is a lot more challenging, like on the Garden State Parkway, for example, you may want to consider the added reliability and modern safety features of a new car. Assuming, of course, that a new car is an option.

They only have to replace the hood, and it’s $3200? Yeah, I agree with others - either they have to do a lot more than that, or they’re seriously overcharging you.

I have to say that I interpreted the total cost as being for the entire repair including the hood rather than for the hood alone. But I also know that $3200 doesn’t buy the amount of body repair that it used to.

Look for a junkyard hood and a body shop that isn’t trying to jack up the repair costs.


A few years ago I had to buy a hood for an older Toyota at a pick a part junkyard

It was $60 . . . on 1/2 price weekend

Sheet metal at the bone yards has gotten quite pricey, even if the labor is free


I must be lucky then - I just looked it up and a hood in my area at a pull your own part junkyard is $45.00 regular price. The fenders are $32.00 each, and the front bumper is $48.00.


I live in southern california

Perhaps the prices are high in my area . . . ?