98K miles, overheated & had to be towed. Husband wants me to dump it but I still love this car. Is it time to say goodbye?
The car still looks new. It's time for new high performance tires; we do frequent maintenance on it. The dealership said there's an internal leak in the radiator and one of the hoses goes between the block and the turbo. They recommended a patch job and dump it, but I hate the idea of taking on a payment again. This little PT Turbo is a gas pig and has the turning ratio of a Peterbilt, but it's a plush little car and it's paid for. Repairs would be cheaper than a new car loan but I've heard these cars, once they start to crap out, will get you a long-term relationship with the tow-truck driver. I'm afraid I know the answer here...
Most shops I talked to about replacing with a jasper since it's under warranty too will charge anywhere form $3-$5K to remove and replace. If your doing it yourself, then much cheaper. Maybe $1500 for the engine. So not worth it for a 2003 PT, there are so many others out there for cheap.
Since you love the car, trade it in for a 2010 model.
My answer is a bit different. It is paid for. You love it. Those are two BIG things in its favour. Are you sure it needs a new engine? Not every car that over heats blows the head gasket, and not every car that blows the head gasket needs a rebuild. I suspect that the engine may well be just fine if the dealership is suggesting a patch to get it fit to sell. If the head gasket were gone, it would need that, and that is not cheap. It sounds like you need a radiator for sure, and they are not difficult. I would think a good rad, new, would be no more than about $300. I would change all the hoses as a matter of routine while the system is apart. At the outside, I would think this is less than $1,000 at a good shop, but not necessarily the dealer. That is less than the tax on a $10,000 car, so is essentially a free repair. Certainly less than the tax on a new car, no doubt of that. Tires are out of the equation, since even a 2010 is going to need them soon, anyway. I would not worry about it. You love the car, so are not planning to sell, anyway, so the retail value of the car really does not matter. Just drive it and enjoy.
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