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To repair or not?

I bought a 1999 Ford Escort this spring, automatic with 94,000 miles. I paid $2,000 for the car. I had it checked out and fixed rear struts and tie rod end. All else looked good I was told. After a few months, I noticed it would lose power occasionally and make a rattling sound. Mechanic couldn’t replicate it. He did a transmission service and said the fluid looked good, if a little brown. My mother was driving it and it made a very loud rattle and died. Mechanic diagnosed dead engine and found lots of coolant in the oil.
The question now is should I put in a used engine for about $2,000 more or look for another used. I found a company that will warranty the engine (part and labor to replace) and the engine has 58,000 miles on it. My car now has $104,000 miles on it. My hope would be that it would last another year, or two at most, but if that seems like a long shot, perhaps I should come up with Plan B.
I would really appreciate input. Thank you.

There’s always a risk when dealing with a older car and adding a significant expense like a used engine to it. However, a $2000 different used vehicle is an even higher risk to me. I would go for the used engine and go from there.

Thank you very much. One option is a 1996 Dodge Dakota truck with 96,000 miles. Does this strike you as potentially more reliable than an Escort?

Sounds like a blown head gasket in your Escort…you shouldn’t need a new engine and the repair should be about half that of the engine replacement if not less money.

As to repair or not… I always like the repair option of as you know what you have and the problems with it whereas purchasing someone else’s problems is always an unknown.

As for the truck option, with rising gas prices, this sounds like a less than desirable option…

Good luck!

$2000 for a used Escort engine is ridiculous. Search for a used engine near you. Then search the mechanics files by clicking at the top of this page for a reputable shop to put it in. You’ll have to know which engine your car has, and the build date (from the decal on the door or door frame) to get the right one. Shop around for the shop. Insist on a new timing belt at the time of installation. It’s really easy to put one on with the engine out of the car.

The Dodge Dakota may or may not be any more reliable than an Escort. The V-6s and V-8s do not get very good MPG. The I-4s are under powered. I guess you get what you pay for.