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Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 10:31 AM   #1
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Car Repairs

What would you think about paying $600 to repair the air conditioning on a car worth approximately $2,400? The heat here in D.C. is unbearable, so I'm militating towards repairing it. On the other hand, I've been considering a new(er) car purchase for a while, so I'm not sure that I want to put any more money into a car I'm going to get rid of in the not too distant future.

I would assume that if I'm considering keeping the car for at least 2 more months before purchasing a new car, then the $600 "investment" in repairs is worth it (at least to avoid the oppressive summer heat/humidity, which should extend through October). That $600 is worth two monthly car payments on a new(er) model.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 10:36 AM   #2
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Re: Car Repairs

Make the repair. Then put off a new car purchase for another year.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 11:19 AM   #3
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Make the repair.* Then put off a new car purchase for another year.*
Yep. That was my thinking as well. I may not put the purchase of a new(er) car off for another year (I've probably put it off for 3-4 years too long as it is), but the $600 outlay will buy me time. Even if I sold the car tomorrow, I'd have to discount it based on a non-working air conditioner (and a dealer certainly would demand a discount of $1,000+ if I offered it as a trade in on a new(er) car).

Perhaps this is the subject for another thread, but when you've owned a vehicle past the 7 or 8 year mark, you've probably depreciated the resale value to such a degree that it doesn't pay to get rid of the vehicle if it still serves your purposes.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 11:34 AM   #4
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
What would you think about paying $600 to repair the air conditioning on a car worth approximately $2,400?* The heat here in D.C. is unbearable, so I'm militating towards repairing it.* On the other hand, I've been considering a new(er) car purchase for a while, so I'm not sure that I want to put any more money into a car I'm going to get rid of in the not too distant future.

I would assume that if I'm considering keeping the car for at least 2 more months before purchasing a new car, then the $600 "investment" in repairs is worth it (at least to avoid the oppressive summer heat/humidity, which should extend through October).* That $600 is worth two monthly car payments on a new(er) model.
If I'm not mistaken, you were wanting to trade cars so you could gain a bit of image. Sounded like you were leaning towards a used Lexus. If you think a $600 repair bill is a lot, you don't want a used lexus, benz, bmw, or any of those image cars. As I stated before buy American. Say a new (I say again new) Ford 500 in black with a limo tint on the glass. Write a short speech about why why you brought what you did for the first clown who questions your image. You probably won't need the speech.
Ref the AC, check around, you'll be surprised how much the price can vary especially if you are willing to accept a patch job which might be a good idea consider the cars future.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
What would you think about paying $600 to repair the air conditioning on a car worth approximately $2,400?*
I wouldn't :P. After driving my (used) car around D.C. for 13 y, gave it to my brother with AC still functioning. Didn't use it ( unless there were passengers) in order to save gas. :P
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
If I'm not mistaken, you were wanting to trade cars so you could gain a bit of image.* Sounded like you were leaning towards a used Lexus.* If you think a $600 repair bill is a lot, you don't want a used lexus, benz, bmw, or any of those image cars.* As* I stated before buy American. Say a new (I say again new) Ford 500 in black with a limo tint on the glass.* Write a short speech about why why you brought what you did for the first clown who questions your image. You probably won't need the speech.
Ref the AC, check around, you'll be surprised how much the price can vary especially if you are willing to accept a patch job which might be a good idea consider the cars future.
Good advice. *Image is important to me -- to a degree. *Having some peace of mind regarding the expenses associated with a particular vehicle is more important. *I'd rather expend my energy on things that will make me money or further my career. *Dealing with expensive repairs to a near-luxury car isn't one of those things.

As for shopping around, I made a few calls after getting the $600 price quote. *I even went so far as to price out the parts on the Advance Auto Parts website. *At the end of the day, I might have saved myself $100-150.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.S.
I wouldn't :P.* After driving my (used) car around D.C. for 13 y, gave it to my brother with AC still functioning.* Didn't use it ( unless there were passengers) in order to save gas. :P
Unfortunately, I have to wear a suit and tie every day to the office, and do carry passengers quite frequently. Arriving at a meeting all sweaty and smelly is not my idea of projecting a good image. Likewise, sweating and smelling up my office attire will cost me more in dry cleaning and replacement value.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 02:02 PM   #8
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
Unfortunately, I have to wear a suit and tie every day to the office, and do carry passengers quite frequently.* Arriving at a meeting all sweaty and smelly is not my idea of projecting a good image.* Likewise, sweating and smelling up my office attire will cost me more in dry cleaning and replacement value.
For God's sake man, go buy the new car. If you are any good at being a lawyer, it will come back quickly enough. There are plenty public defenders driving around with broken AC- but it doesn't sound like this is your goal.*
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 02:14 PM   #9
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
For God's sake man, go buy the new car. If you are any good at being a lawyer, it will come back quickly enough. There are plenty public defenders driving around with broken AC- but it doesn't sound like this is your goal.*
Funny. Clearly you measure up to your name.

Seriously though, I'm still in the new(er) car researching mode, and I'd like to see a bit more improvement on the salary front before I take on a car note. Being in-house, as opposed to being in a firm, is pretty flat when it comes to compensation. Likewise, I just paid off the last of my law school loans, and the feeling has been great not having that monthly payment hanging over my head.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: Car Repairs

Hey, I've been doing research on the Lincoln LS, good reliability, and you can get one just a couple years old for the high teens. Luxury at Civic prices!

It may not be for you, but the point is if you are not stuck on a particular make/model, you can find a car that doesn't ding the image and still get a steal.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 03:36 PM   #11
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Hey, I've been doing research on the Lincoln LS, good reliability, and you can get one just a couple years old for the high teens.* Luxury at Civic prices!*

It may not be for you, but the point is if you are not stuck on a particular make/model, you can find a car that doesn't ding the image and still get a steal.
Don't like driving land yachts. :P
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 03:43 PM   #12
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
Don't like driving land yachts. :P
Lincoln LS overall length 193.89 in

Lexus GS 300 overall length 190.0

You might be thinking of the Town Car? 215.4
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 04:36 PM   #13
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Hey, I've been doing research on the Lincoln LS, good reliability, and you can get one just a couple years old for the high teens.
Lawrence, the April 2005 issue of Consumer Reports shows reliability for the Lincoln LS as "average" for '01, '02, and '04; "worse than average" for '00 and '03. Where are you getting information on good reliability for this vehicle?

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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 05:57 PM   #14
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Re: Car Repairs

autos.msn.com had it's realiabitly rating green across the board. Their bar may be set low. I'll keep shopping, though.
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 06:27 PM   #15
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
autos.msn.com had it's realiabitly rating green across the board. Their bar may be set low. I'll keep shopping, though.
I question the impartiality of MSN. It's a shame the LS doesn't have better reliablity ratings since it is a really nice ride. Looked at it myself a while back since the "previously owned" models are priced reasonably as you pointed out.

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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 07:33 PM   #16
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Re: Car Repairs

Wasn't the "Town Car" Jimmy Swaggart's vehicle of choice?

"Oh Lord, I've sinned again!"

" Please help me get this thing to the carwash. It needs a deluxe shampoo in the back seat." :P
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-18-2005, 08:38 PM   #17
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
As for shopping around, I made a few calls after getting the $600 price quote. *I even went so far as to price out the parts on the Advance Auto Parts website. *At the end of the day, I might have saved myself $100-150.
I wouldn't drive anything in DC without A/C. We paid $800 to fix an evaporator coil leak on a '90 Honda Civic's A/C system, so $600 sounds like a deal.

Over the subsequent year we ended up sinking another $1000 into that car (half-axles, CV boot work, starter motor, brakes, and eventually the microprocessor). When I found myself standing in a shade-tree mechanic's front yard picking through old computer parts we decided that we'd had enough and sold it in Feb '03 for $2495. (Bought in '93 for $6795.) I think we had 130K on it and we saw it being driven last weekend.

So it might be worth considering what else is about to blow up on you and decide what's worth fixing now. You'll get a much better blue-book price for your beater if you can show receipts for the things that are "like new" for the new owner's peace of mind. It might even be worth a $75 detailing.

Then you could drive it until the end of the quarter (or the end of the year) and buy when sales people are desperate to make quotas.

Or you could buy used next Feb when private sellers are trying to pay their Christmas bills...
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-19-2005, 01:35 AM   #18
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Re: Car Repairs

I'd question the need to spend $600 on the car. What's wrong that costs $600 to fix? A new compressor for my car is around $300. You can probably find one at a junk yard for a lot less than that. Definitely consider inexpensive used parts for a car your not going to keep. Also, what Nords said, anything else wrong?
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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-19-2005, 05:44 AM   #19
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Re: Car Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
I'd question the need to spend $600 on the car.* What's wrong that costs $600 to fix?* A new compressor for my car is around $300.* You can probably find one at a junk yard for a lot less than that.* Definitely consider inexpensive used parts for a car your not going to keep.* Also, what Nords said, anything else wrong?
Yeah that $600 caught my eye also. I told this one before. My Dodge Ram pickup was acting funky. Took it to the local dealer. He quoted me $1500+.
I said "No thanks!" Took it to a shade tree mechanic down the road.
He fixed everything for $150 (Yep, 10%). Difference is he actually fixes
stuff instead of putting in new parts. If he gets stuck, he swaps used parts or even makes his own. New parts are a last resort. I now take him about all my work on anything with a motor.

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Re: Car Repairs
Old 07-19-2005, 07:45 AM   #20
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Re: Car Repairs

Thanks for the additional responses.* I went ahead and had the work done, more for the heat and convenience factors than for anything else.* I agree that $600 is a lot of money to repair a car air conditioning system, which is why I was hesitant to spend it on a car worth give or take $2,400.* In regards to JG's suggestion, there are very few "shade tree mechanics" in the D.C. area, but I tried one last year just to see if I could save myself some money on a fan motor.* I found myself going back to him over a period of a month until he got the repair right, wasting Saturday after Saturday, plus time waiting for him when he didn't show up a couple of times.* Likewise, I tried a friend of a friend who actually works at a Honda dealership repair shop, who offered to do the work on the side for the cost of after-market parts plus $100 for the labor.* He also failed to show up twice.* After that, I swore off shade tree mechanics for more reputable individuals.

I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open for the new(er) car in the next 6 months or so.* Car sales slow down in the November-February timeframe, so I can probably get a decent deal from either a private owner or a used car dealer that needs to move some cars.
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