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To fix or to buy?

Hi, I have a bit of a dilemma. I need a new head gasket and a new clutch for my car. Total cost for all will be about 2800. I have 110,500 miles on the car. So wondering whether to fix and try to get a few more years out of it or to just dump the car and get a new one. I have a 2002 Nissan Altima SL, 2.5 Manual.

The other option my mechanic suggested is just getting a new engine which is guaranteed for 3 yrs, 100,000 miles. But that would cost me about 5K along w/ the clutch.

Forget the new engine you’ll never recoup the costs.

If you can stomach the $2800(I know) that equates to about $200/month. Usually a car this age has about $1200/year in maintenance/repair. I think ownership cost will drop of course after this major hit.

how are other things? Tires, brakes, exhaust etc? If these also need replacing in the next year, it is worth some extra thought.

If the rest of the car is OK I’d say fix it. You can’t replace it for $2,800.

Might need front tires this year. Brakes are fine, just got new rotors too. got new spark plugs last year and had a few other updates. Not sure about the exhaust, seems fine, but my car has been burning coolant for some time, took this long to figure out the problem, hence the new head gasket. So not sure how this affects the exhaust or any other part of the engine. I can stomach the 2800 if I can at least get another year, preferably two out of the car w/out any other major expendures. I know I’ll spend money on the normal wear and tear, I just don’t want to have any more issues crop up.

Does this car have a sideways engine in it? I am not familier with this model. If so I can understand the cost, because the engine and transmission will have to come out to do the clutch. If not, then I think the cost is high, but then I am a tight wad. anyway, with this many miles, the timing belt/chain ought to be replaced when doing these repairs. and you can expect the coolant pump, the starter, the alternator, the battery, and the vacume advance all to fail in the next year, but those are minor issues, at least to me. If you get all that done now, and the brakes are all good, then you should get another 100,000 out of it before you need to do any more repairs. good luck.

Actually, the timing chain is part of the 2800 estimate too, so that’s getting taken care of.

The timing chain is a unnecessary item and should not be touched. Ask for quote without this additional item. They usually last the lifetime of car if regular oil changes performed.

Your chances of getting another two years out of the car without major repairs is excellent. You have a timing chain, so timing belt replacement is not an issue.

Kelly blue book lists your car in good condition at $3650 for private party sale.In the condition it is in now it is not sell-able except for scrap.If you keep it you don’t have the costs associated with buying a newer car, sales tax,registration,collision insurance etc. If you like it, keep it. If you are itching to buy something else, now is the perfect time, you will lose far less than most people do when selling a car.

This is NOT true. The timing chain must come off because of the overhead cams. The chain may go 200,000, but with the removal necessary to remove the head, may as well replace with a new one and not worry about it.