Worth repairing or should I scrap it?

I have an old Ford Focus which has done 145k. It has been doing nothing on my drive for the past 6 years, so was planning to sell it. But, upon looking at it, it has the following issues:

  1. Fuel gauge does not go up when adding fuel
  2. Needs new brake discs/pads
  3. Gear selector indicator is wrong(shows neutral, when in fact it is reverse etc.)
  4. Engine light is constantly on

Should, I just scrap the car or get it repaired?


It’s hard to answer this question, as we don’t know your circumstances. Or much about the vehicle.

Brakes are maintenance items. The other items/concerns could be cheap to fix, or not.

Do you still need this car? Does it otherwise meet your needs in terms of getting around, etc.

I’d suggest getting some estimates for repairing all the items you mentioned. That will give you an idea of what it will cost, vs the value of the car. If you decide to sell, you may want to “discount” the sale price by the cost of the repairs.

Good luck.

What do you mean by “old” the year is important to determine its worth. If I guess it as a 2006, in the worst condition it is worth $975 as a trade-in on a newer car or worth between $1170 and $3000 as a private sale.

Since you haven’t gotten an estimate as to the cost of repair nor have you gotten the error codes that keep that check engine light turned on and posted them for us, we can’t even guess what might be required to fix this car. So bottom line… no one can make an intelligent decision on what might be the best course of action for you.

Considering that you haven’t taken any steps to determine an answer short of posting here, I’d say try and trade it in on a new-to-you car from whatever dealer you find the car you want. They’ll likely throw you a thousand for it and they’ll auction this neglected Focus off in a heartbeat.


It seems your car is an appliance you use to get around. Most of the people responding here (including me) consider cars more as a hobby item and source of entertainment, so our responses will be skewed some.

If you would rather keep it for the time being, get the brakes done for your own safety as well as ours. The check engine light can be on for many reasons and you can get the codes read to you free at several chain car parts stores, but their advice to you about the codes is not really useful. Get the codes and then Google them at home, or report them here. If it’s a small issue, fix it. Even if you decide to get rid of this car, it will be easier to sell with good brakes and an explanation about the light.

There really is no good answer. Our Olds sat for 5 years taking up garage space. Finally I moved it out. I was going to sell it but when I went to start it, no fuel pump worky anymore. Plus I was going to check the brakes but when I went to jack it up, there was rust on the pinch welds. So called the junk yard. They picked up and got $100 for it. Never looked back.

On the other hand there are some desperate people out there for a car that reasonably works at a low cost. Brakes are no big deal, and the gear shift could just be an adjustment. The engine light needs to be investigated though.

Ask your DMV if they have a buy-back plan for old cars like this. They might pony up a good chunk of cash, maybe as much as $1000+. States will do that sometimes in order to remove older cars from the road, the idea is that newer cars are safer and produce less air pollution. (And do you think state legislators might be influenced by donations from car manufacturers and dealerships? Who’d have thunk such a thing? … lol … ) I get a letter fro Calif most every year, usually just before it is due for emissions testing saying they’ll pay me anywhere from $1000 to $1500 for my Corolla.

There are many options. a. Sell it or do whatever gets it out of the driveway. 2. Somebody will buy it. d. Donate it to a trade school. 5. You can read the codes. g. If the codes have anything to do with oxygen sensors, MAF sensor or cat, forget fixing it.

The answer comes down to a few simple questions

  1. Do you still enjoy driving this car?
  2. Does this car still fit your needs?
  3. Does the cost of repairs make economic sense?

One one hand. I owned a european sport sedan that the answer to all of the above became a resounding NO !. so I unloaded it ASAP.
On the other hand I currently have a 2004 sport sedan with 130,000 miles that my wife loves driving and recently cost $2,000 in maintenance/repairs. Keeps her happy and cost 1/10th the amount of a new replacement vehicle so if it lasts another year, what the heck?

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My SIL has a 07 focus. Piece of tin. Terrible driving feel. Dependable as heck though. Never an issue. It’s not a 2003 European sports sedan. No way, no how.

Yeah, always consider the Happy Wife Factor.

It may not make sense financially, but it makes sense to her. Which is all that matters.

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Amen to that but however illogical I don’t feel so bad because I’ve got a friend who’s been pleading with his wife for over a year to trade in her older HR-V on a new one, which she absolutely refuses to do.
The reason why? Hers is the last year that Honda offered a plastic upper hatch shelf and she’s not going to do without come hell or high water. :slightly_smiling_face: