Should I replace the engine in a 2007?

Asked by Jul 26, 2012 at 08:43 AM about the Pontiac Grand Prix

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

About 6 months ago (winter) the car alarmed overheating. I put some coolant in the reservoir (which was low but not empty) and after that the problem did not return. The heater broke around then too. Winter was almost over so I toughed it out.

Once it got hot, I discovered the AC was no longer working and trying to add gas myself did not work, it leaked right out.  So I scheduled an appt to get it and a rattling in the front suspension fixed.

Before my appt on the way home from work, it started overheating badly. Alarms going off about turning off AC and bells. It cycled between %75 thermometer and %100.. I limped to a station and filled the reservoir with water but had no visible affect. I got it the rest of the way home, total trip about 30miles.

The mechanic said they tried pressure tests to find a leak in the cooling system but could not find a leak, therefore concluding it must be leaking into the engine, which they say means a cracked piston or engine or something else. They are recommending dumping it as a trade-in or it will need a replaced engine.

I'm not a gear head but I was content with this car that has no monthly payment. I'm hearing horror stories of people that tried replacing an engine with something from a junk yard, which is what this mechanic is proposing. The dealer (aka rapist) is saying they could do the same thing and citing costs of $1,500 - $2,000 spiced with the word "probably" whenever there is a dollar sign involved.

I need advice from someone who knows cars. If I get a an engine for this thing, is there a high probability it's just going to be a money pit for the next 2 years and fail anyway? Am I better off dumping it and trading it in for a car I'm going to hate and can barely afford monthly payments for? I've looked, everything I can afford is a 4cyl emasculating defeat.

3 Answers

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What you found out by driving it while it was overheating is that you can crack a head and or blow a headgasket to complete engine failure. It's possible your issue might only be a headgasket issue which by the price the dealer quoted you is around that cost, plus maybe a new head. You are right in saying the junkyard motors are hit and miss and not warrantied. Your engine can be rebuilt, but would cost you. Another option is just purchasing a remanufactured one with a warranty. You'd be up in the $3-5K range if you did. Your mechanic is right in that you have some major expenses coming up, plus getting the leaks in your A/C repaired. I'd get some more estimates from other mechanics before you make a decision. Good Luck.

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