When to send the car to the great graveyard in the sky


With all the good advice on the previous question, here’s another. When do you decide that a car is not worth putting more money into? Here’s the situation:

1995 Buick Skylark, V-6, no rust on the body, has seen 12 Ohio winters, oxygen sensor replaced, serpt belt, well maintained, no other major repairs except now needs a new gas tank, rust on the undercarriage is the issue, tried to change the fuel filter and had to replace the filter and fuel line front to back due to rust, only real structural concern is that two of the steel supports for the rear bumper are rusted through, runs great, can match most other cars on pickup from a dead start, no oil burning, tranny is fine…


Whew… rust is the devil. You know, you can replace a motor, you can replace a transmission, you can replace the hubs and brakes and wheels, and you can replace the interior. But once the structure of the car has rotted away… you can’t really replace that.

The rear bumper supports… that doesn’t seem all that crucial, I think this car has the fuel tank under the rear seat, so I think the rear bumper is more or less there to prevent cosmetic damage. But if you’re looking at rusty brake lines, that’s a biggie. Same with the floor pan and structural parts of the unit body. And like you have experienced, it’s mighty difficult to work on rusty stuff, too. Ultimately it’s up to you when you scrap it, but if you are lamenting having to throw away a perfectly good motor, you might consider looking on ebay and craigslist for rust-free Skylarks and Centuries (and some Olds cars) to plop that motor in to.


I am usually the last one to suggest this, but it really sounds like this one is ready for that parking spot in the sky. Most anything other than system wide rust can be fixed cheaper than replacing. Sorry, but it sounds like that rust is terminal.

You would not be in the steel mill areas would you? Man they can eat up cars so fast. They replaced the trucks there once a year. They were totaled after a year.


It does not sound that bad to me for a 12 year old northern rust belt car, especially if you’re doing the work yourself.

I’d replace the tank with a used one, along with a new fuel pump at the same time, and motor on until it does die.
The rear bumper (bad terminology actually) is not a concern unless you get rammed from behind. If the ramming is light, no problem anyway. If the ramming is severe it’s doubtful that even good, non-rusted supports are going to make much difference.

We had a local guy here many years ago who got drunk and some speed shop allowed this guy to test drive an early 50s MG TD. (They did not know he was tanked; blood tests determined this later.)
Two blocks later he put an actual real steel rear bumper clean into the back seat of a Ford police cruiser that was sitting at the traffic light.
Both cops went to the hospital with neck injuries and the drunk - not a scratch.

If an old MG can do this to a full size Ford cruiser then it’s not likely that flimsy fascia and 2 supports are going to stop much either.


Twelve Ohio winters are enough for any metal object. If you know how to drive in Cleveland, bury that old heap. The car, not Cleveland. Or the other way around, I forget.