When do you stop putting money into a car?
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    When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Alright car experts, I need a little advice. My 1997 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme is at Drake garage originally for an oil change. Here's the problems:

    Quoted:
    Ball Joints - $517.66
    Outer Tie Rod - $142.02
    Allignment - $79.05
    Rotors (rusted and groves in them) - price unknown until they get in there
    Licence plate light out - $14

    Other problems w/ the car:
    ABS light has been on for a year
    Drivers side window doesn't work
    No A/C
    A few rust spots
    Leaking a little oil

    I'm in grad school and my wife works for an after school program. So, buy a new car isn't a choice. Our only option for buying would be working extra and saving up some money to buy a $3000-$4000 car. We can live off one car for the summer, but when my internship starts in October, we are going to need 2 cars.

    Any advice? Fix it or don't? Where to buy a used car around Des Moines? What type of car to buy?


    Last edited by MattforState; 06-10-2011 at 11:07 AM.

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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    If you buy a $3k-$4k used car you're just as likely to have something major happen. I would fix and enjoy the fact that I'm not making car payments.


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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    General rule of thumb is when your monthly maintenance expenses exceed projected monthly payments and higher insurance premiums on a newer car of similar class and style, it's time to go newer. But you can't go by just one month where a bunch of repairs hit. You have to look at the average over some period of months.

    If you do buy, by all means, buy used. Look for something with 50-60 thousand miles on it, 4-5 years old. Those are the best values out there, along with "program" cars (usually former rental cars) that are a year or two old and priced quite a bit off new sticker.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Alright car experts, I need a little advice. My 1997 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme is at Drake garage originally for an oil change. Here's the problems:

    Quoted:
    Bolt Jts - $258.83
    Outer Tie Rod - $142.02
    Allignment - $79.05
    Rotors (rusted and groves in them) - price unknown until they get in there
    Licence plate light out - $14

    Other problems w/ the car:
    ABS light has been on for a year
    Drivers side window doesn't work
    No A/C
    A few rust spots
    Leaking a little oil

    I'm in grad school and my wife works for an after school program. So, buy a new car isn't a choice. Our only option for buying would be working extra and saving up some money to buy a $3000-$4000 car. We can live off one car for the summer, but when my internship starts in October, we are going to need 2 cars.

    Any advice? Fix it or don't? Where to buy a used car around Des Moines? What type of car to buy?
    If you can currently afford the repairs you've listed, I say fix it. 3 or 4 grand won't get you a much better used car these days anyway. I know, I just spent a few weeks looking myself. The only thing I would caution you on is the oil leak. Depeding on what it is, it could be several hundred dollars to fix, or it could be relatively minor. While it's there, they should be able to diagnose that for you and give you an estimate though.

    When you start getting into replacing head gaskets and intake manifold gaskets, I think that's when you say enough is enough. Those aren't cheap fixes and, since you're driving a GM, will be inevitable (unless you have a 3800 motor, might be less likely on that).



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Alright car experts, I need a little advice. My 1997 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme is at Drake garage originally for an oil change. Here's the problems:

    Quoted:
    Bolt Jts - $258.83
    Outer Tie Rod - $142.02
    Allignment - $79.05
    Rotors (rusted and groves in them) - price unknown until they get in there
    Licence plate light out - $14

    Other problems w/ the car:
    ABS light has been on for a year
    Drivers side window doesn't work
    No A/C
    A few rust spots
    Leaking a little oil

    I'm in grad school and my wife works for an after school program. So, buy a new car isn't a choice. Our only option for buying would be working extra and saving up some money to buy a $3000-$4000 car. We can live off one car for the summer, but when my internship starts in October, we are going to need 2 cars.

    Any advice? Fix it or don't? Where to buy a used car around Des Moines? What type of car to buy?
    I have no idea about this particular business, but there are some shops out there that will list absolutely everything that could use some attention. I'd ask to what degree the damage is in each case. Is the repair absolutely necessary (about to go out), or are they just worn to the point where you should be concerned? I'd get that information, and maybe get a second opinion if something is questionable in your mind.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Replace the licence plate light yourself. Bulb is probably $2-3. If you have never turned the rotors you could do that rather than replace to save some coin. Just some ideas.

    As stated above, 3-4K will buy you an old used car that you know nothing about. You won't need to do these repairs often so I'd hold on to what you got and run it into the ground.

    Is the repair absolutely necessary (about to go out), or are they just worn to the point where you should be concerned? I'd get that information, and maybe get a second opinion if something is questionable in your mind.
    ^^^This too.




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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Alright car experts, I need a little advice. My 1997 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme is at Drake garage originally for an oil change. Here's the problems:

    Quoted:
    Bolt Jts - $258.83 ?????? What is this?
    Outer Tie Rod - $142.02 Replace
    Allignment - $79.05 Do it, tires are more expensive
    Rotors (rusted and groves in them) - price unknown until they get in there ? I would need to see them. If you can take a tire off, and have a ratchet and socket to get the caliper off, you can do it yourself pretty easy. Only 2 extra bolts after the tire is off.
    Licence plate light out - $14 $3 if you do it yourself

    Other problems w/ the car:
    ABS light has been on for a year Just means ABS doesn't work. Brakes still do, don't fix it unless its cheap.
    Drivers side window doesn't work If AC works who cares
    No A/C If window works, who cares
    A few rust spots character
    Leaking a little oil park on the street, not in your driveway, check oil when you get gas.

    I'm in grad school and my wife works for an after school program. So, buy a new car isn't a choice. Our only option for buying would be working extra and saving up some money to buy a $3000-$4000 car. We can live off one car for the summer, but when my internship starts in October, we are going to need 2 cars.

    Any advice? Fix it or don't? Where to buy a used car around Des Moines? What type of car to buy?



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Thanks for the advice so far!

    Is there a certain price that actually will get me a good used car?

    The oil leak can't be bad. I haven't had to add any oil to it in the last 6 months. I will try to edit (never done that before), but I just realized that I forgot that it was 2 Bolt Joints - so 517.66 not just 258.83.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Alright car experts, I need a little advice. My 1997 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme is at Drake garage originally for an oil change. Here's the problems:

    Quoted:
    Bolt Jts - $258.83
    Outer Tie Rod - $142.02
    Allignment - $79.05
    Rotors (rusted and groves in them) - price unknown until they get in there
    Licence plate light out - $14

    Other problems w/ the car:
    ABS light has been on for a year
    Drivers side window doesn't work
    No A/C
    A few rust spots
    Leaking a little oil

    I'm in grad school and my wife works for an after school program. So, buy a new car isn't a choice. Our only option for buying would be working extra and saving up some money to buy a $3000-$4000 car. We can live off one car for the summer, but when my internship starts in October, we are going to need 2 cars.

    Any advice? Fix it or don't? Where to buy a used car around Des Moines? What type of car to buy?
    With your situation, As long as your engine is running ok, you might just fix these issues. The ABS light is probably a result of your rotor problem(brakes will most likely have to be replaced with rotor resurface). Keep an eye on the oil leak, and make sure all fluid levels are maintained.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far!

    Is there a certain price that actually will get me a good used car?

    The oil leak can't be bad. I haven't had to add any oil to it in the last 6 months. I will try to edit (never done that before), but I just realized that I forgot that it was 2 Bolt Joints - so 517.66 not just 258.83.
    Ball Joints, yes you need to fix those.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far!

    Is there a certain price that actually will get me a good used car?

    The oil leak can't be bad. I haven't had to add any oil to it in the last 6 months. I will try to edit (never done that before), but I just realized that I forgot that it was 2 Bolt Joints - so 517.66 not just 258.83.
    Price is less relevant that manufacuter/model and the amount of miles.

    I would just keep saving until you absolutely have to buy and then just spend whatever you have saved.


    “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Maybe he said Ball Joints. I will ask when I pick up the car. I just talked to him on the phone and only know the very basics about cars (fluids, tires, and things that have gone wrong with my car before).

    "Drivers side window doesn't work If AC works who cares
    No A/C If window works, who cares"

    Thanks for that.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    You should also get a second oppinion if your unsure of this mechanic. I do all my own work on my vehicles because I think shops charge way too much. Plus its a good way to convince my wife to let me buy more tools.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far!

    Is there a certain price that actually will get me a good used car?

    The oil leak can't be bad. I haven't had to add any oil to it in the last 6 months. I will try to edit (never done that before), but I just realized that I forgot that it was 2 Bolt Joints - so 517.66 not just 258.83.
    I don't know what a Bolt Joint is, but I wonder if you mean Ball Joint. If that's the case, you better get those fixed. Do not get the Alignment before, because they have to take apart your suspension to get to the ball joint so you would be wasting money on the alignment.

    All of the other stuff is minor, as stated above.



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    Re: When do you stop putting money into a car?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattforState View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far!

    Is there a certain price that actually will get me a good used car?

    The oil leak can't be bad. I haven't had to add any oil to it in the last 6 months. I will try to edit (never done that before), but I just realized that I forgot that it was 2 Bolt Joints - so 517.66 not just 258.83.
    If you don't know the previous owner (the little old lady that only drove it to church on Sunday), then I'd say not necessarily. If the engine and transmission are good, I'd say fix it. Lots of the repairs you listed are maintenance. Bolt joints might be U joints, rotors, tie rods, etc.

    Nothing mentioned of engine or transmission (except small oil leak)

    You know what you have! You don't necessarily know what you're buying.



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