Used car disaster

Five months ago, I bought 1999 VW Pasat for my son to drive to take to school across the country.The car has been beset by problems. The two front windows have fallen into their slots,the engine has lost compression, there were brake problems. The diagnosis, if we I

proceed will exceed $600. with repairs projected to be between 1 and $4,000. This is

the second troublesome car I’ve bought for

this son. Do I throw in the towel and move

on to another car or do I get the full diagnosis for this car I paid under $4,000. for. Please Help!!!

Right now this loss of compression needs to be determined. If this was preceded by the engine dying suddenly then the timing belt may have snapped.

I don’t know how this is being diagnosed but it should not cost anywhere near 600 dollars.
Just off the cuff, it sounds like the timing belt broke and they’re telling you it will cost 6 bills to install a new belt to find out if there is any engine damage. Correct?

If that is the case these people are going about it all wrong. You do NOT have to replace a belt to determine engine damage.

If your are going to buy your kid a 12 year old car, stay away from VW’s, BMW’s, Volvos and Saab’s…If you have a $4k budget, stick with models that say “Crown Vic”, “Corolla”, “Tacoma” on the back…

Move on. A better car for $4000 is a Honda, Toyota, Buick, Chevy. Don’t buy anything European that old unless you have a strong tolerance for repairs or live there.

I wouldn’t put another dime into this Passat. The reliability of these cars is dismal at best. Walk away, and choose a more reliable brand next time.

Consult “Consumer Reports Magazine” for reliability ratings and recommendations for reliable used cars.

They also have a list of Used Cars to Avoid. You should read that list, too.

My own experience would say that it is time to move on. Back in 1962, I bought a 1955 Pontiac. The dealer had overhauled the engine and the car seemed right. Right away, I began having problems. The biggest problem was that the studs holding the rocker arms would plug up and then the rocker arms would chirp. The car was a manual transmission that I thought would be reliable. I had to have a bearing replaced in the transmission. I never was able to completely cure the problem with the rocker arms.

There were some warning signs: 1) The odometer read a little over 50,000. Even then, the engine should not have required an overhaul. One of the problems was that an oil filter was an option for the engine. This was a bottom of the line car with no options (not even a radio) and the lack of oil filtration caused sludge to form in the oil passages in the engine. The dealer’s overhaul didn’t cure this problem. 2) the manual transmission was a “step child” on the Pontiac by 1955. Most of the Pontiacs were equipped with the GM Hydramatic transmission. The transmission was designed in the 1930’s when engines had lower torque and horsepower. The automatic was much more reliable in the Pontiac line.
Had I done my homework, I would have sniffed out the problems before I bought the car. A mechanic that I knew at that time said “stick with the Fords and Chevrolets. Parts are more readily available and most mechanics have seen the problems these cars have and know how to take care of them”.

Others posts have given you good advice on what to purchase. Ask mechanics about what has been reliable and be sure to pay to have your potential purchase inspected by a good mechanic.

You should throw in the towel. I think you know that. It’s one thing to spend money on maintenance and even basic, timely repairs. It’s another thing when non-essential parts fail much earlier than they should. Do not waste any more money on this car.

It is not worth pursuing. Go for a cheap reliable car and have a mechanic really look it over. The problem you likely are chasing is not going to end well. On the other hand do you trust the info this person is giving you about the car? Without the real details I would say at this point run away.

I see nothing by the OP that denotes this car is unreliable. A 12 year old car with 2 shaky windows and two problems (brakes and potentially a broken timing belt) which are related to basic maintenance is hardly the sign of a heap.

The OP could be posting about leaking Subaru head gaskets, or a Honda Accord transmission going bellyup, or Mitsubishi control arms giving up their life, or as just announced, yet another Toyota Recall and this time it’s about fuel tanks.

This is the second troublesome car. What was the first troublesome car and what was wrong with it?

Cut your losses.

I have a 2001 Jetta which has been nothing but trouble. My take is these fine German cars are over-engineered and poorly designed. If my wife didn’t pout about having it, I would have never considered buying it.

The falling windows have been a problem for a very long time in these vehicles; use of cheap plastic clips and fasteners.

I understand if the timing belt breaks, the head is toast. Fixing these cars costs a lot of money in parts/labor. I’ve read after market parts don’t cut it, they should be genuine VW parts or it won’t run correctly.

Brakes shouldn’t be too bad if you can do them yourself, they look pretty straight forward.

I Googled a Jetta review board on the internet and was horrified at the complaints.