Time for a New Car

I have a 2002 Ford Taurus and I am wondering if it is time for a new car. The car has about 140,000 miles on it, and I have about $1400 left to pay on it. Right now I am starting to think that I like the idea of not having to make payments for a couple of years. The car currently has one major problem and a couple of small ones. The major problem is I need to replace all four struts and the front springs. The quote I have for replacing those parts and an alignment is around $2000. I have already replaced a right front ball joint. The minor problems I am having are with the electrical system. First, the automatic are not automatic. When on automatic the headlights do not turn on, all the other lights do. When I turn the lights to manual the headlights and all the rest of the lights turn on. The last electrical problem is that the open door light is on and the doors do not automatically look when I start to drive.

My Dad tells me it is time for a new car. He says that once I fix the struts something else will go wrong, and that the car will start to cost me more and more.

The car has been averaging about 26.5 miles per gallon.

Is it time for a new car?

First off, struts wear out on all cars. This is an 8 year old car with 140K miles. Replacing the struts at this time is not unexpected. Why does the mechanic think you need new springs?

You can live without the automatic headlight function as long as the manual switch position still works. And the auto door locking function can be handled as easily with you simply remembering to manually lock the doors yourself.

Have you had other problems with the car? Is the body in good shape?

$2000 is steep for 4 shocks/struts + front springs. Have you checked around? Here’s one place to find a mechanic: http://www.cartalk.com/content/mechx/find.html

Monroe ‘quick struts’ (strut + spring already assembled) are about $120 each for your car from rockauto.com. Check with nearby auto parts stores, see what they cost. Should be able to do all this way under $2000.

And this is maintenance, I’d do it if you’re still paying, try and get as many miles as you can out of it. Is your dad willing to toss in $1400?

Your car is at the age where it will start costing you more in repairs, but these bills are still less than a monthly payment.

Needing all four struts and springs seems a bit unusual, but at 140K miles certainly the struts have given decent service. Not sure why you’d need new springs, perhaps you could get some second opinions on that.

The door ajar light means that one of the door switches isn’t working properly. With 4 doors and a trunk to check you should be able to track down the bad switch and replace it. Then the doors will lock properly, that is related to the door ajar light.

The auto headlight switch is most likely culprit, but as long as the switch works the lights manually not a big deal and I’d live with it.

New struts is like new tires, and new brakes, these are parts that you expect to wear with use and needing to replace them doesn’t mean the car is over the hill. If you want a new car start making a new car payment to yourself now. Let the money grow in a savings account and you won’t have to borrow as much when you buy the car. You still owe $1,400 on a 9 year old car. That doesn’t give you many options as the trade in value is about what you still owe.


$2000 !!!

That is highway robbery, no matter where you live.
Shop around…You should be able to get that service done for no more than $1k.