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Old 05-06-2011, 12:28 PM   #21
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My SO had a Toyota Camry with many miles on it. At around 150k miles, the automatic transmission went and he spent upwards of $2k to a dealer to put in a new one along with fixing some associated problems. In hindsight, we both say that was the time he should have bought a new car. Although he continued to drive it for several more years, that was the point at which frequent, expensive repairs started.
Clearly your mileage may vary here...

However, you have to baseline repairs (and their costs) against what a new car costs to own. yes you may be spending a couple thousand each year to repair an old car, but a new car might cost double that when you factor in all of the costs.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:25 PM   #22
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96 Dodge Neon is worth between $1000 - $1500 is my guess.
One with a functional transmission, that is.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:35 PM   #23
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I would vote for a new or newer car.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:52 PM   #24
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My kid just went through a transmission issue with an 03 Mitsu Gallant automatic that has 3 areas of body damage that also reduces the value. We were trying to decide the same "fix or dump" question. Took it to a transmission place to see what the cost of a rebuilt one would be, and he said he thought it was a bad sensor causing the very rough shifting. I hadn't heard of this, but the guy had a good rep. Upon closer inspection, he found some chewed up wires next to a pile of acorns. Seems a squirrel got in there at some point. He said those wires could cause the bad sensor reading (I only came in on the end of this) and he fixed the wires, and now the car runs great again! $115 instead of whatever a rebuilt one was going to cost. A new tranny was never considered.

Unless you have some easy fix like this, I'd vote new car. Be glad you got a lot of trouble-free miles in that Neon. I think you'd be pushing your luck to get a lot more miles on it, and a more recent model is probably going to have a lot more safety features.
Excellent, honest mechanic.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:14 PM   #25
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Been rationalizing and going over the pros/cons of a replacement car or not. Haven't been home to take my Neon in. Nevertheless, I bet all signs say what makes the most sense is to say goodbye to old yeller.

Yet, at the same time...it's difficult I guess because for over 15 years, for the most part, the car (yeah, I know a '96 Neon) has served me well. And it's like saying goodbye to the memories, the places I've traveled in it.

I remember my previous car (a 1986 Nissan Sentra). That wasn't a good car. Talk about zero acceleration. Yet, when it was time to trade it in, the day before I took it out for one last spin around the block. Silly? Perhaps.

Guess I'm not alone though...

OPINION: Saying goodbye to a car a difficult process : Gardner News
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:25 PM   #26
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Ah yes, cars we love.

The car I loved most, in my entire life, was my Aggie maroon 1987 Dodge Daytona. I would still be driving it if my ex hadn't persuaded me to give it to our daughter for her first car in 1995. Can you imagine what a piece of junk that would be if I was still driving it? It may be hard, but sometimes logic just has to prevail over emotions.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:57 PM   #27
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Yes. Logic over emotion.

Two big reasons to look for a replacement for old yeller.

1) I like the idea of a hatchback over a sedan. I can finally buy stuff that fits using a hatch instead of trying to cram stuff in the backseat.

2) the Neon is a deathtrap. One accident away from...splat! If I collided with a Smart Fortwo, I bet bet Smart Fortwo would win handsdown
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #28
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..............Yet, at the same time...it's difficult I guess because for over 15 years, for the most part, the car (yeah, I know a '96 Neon) has served me well. And it's like saying goodbye to the memories, the places I've traveled in it..........
In my neighborhood we solve that problem by putting the car on cinder blocks in the front yard and chaining the dog to it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:03 AM   #29
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In my neighborhood we solve that problem by putting the car on cinder blocks in the front yard and chaining the dog to it.
Eh..good idea. I don't have a front yard, but maybe could keep a memory too. The hubcaps don't detach..so maybe a cigarette lighter as a paperweight or something?
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:05 PM   #30
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Eh..good idea. I don't have a front yard, but maybe could keep a memory too. The hubcaps don't detach..so maybe a cigarette lighter as a paperweight or something?
Newer cars have lost all the good keepsakes. The best were the old brick colored bakelite distributor caps. A Holley 4 bbl. is good too.

Hunt around your car and see if you can find a lost earring from some long gone girlfriend. This should give you some memories worth savoring.

Ha
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:21 PM   #31
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My friend had a Chevette a few yrs back that was a lot like your Neon. Worth virtually nil, failing in health but still moving. Not sure who got the idea but we ended up spending about 10 hrs and a box of beer prepping it for a demolition derby (4 cyl. class). He finished 3rd, so won $150, then donated the remains to the Kidney Foundation (which they hauled away for scrap) and got a tax receipt. It was an absolute blast. Highly recommended!
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:29 AM   #32
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Ah yes, cars we love.
Dad reconciled that by taking the hood ornament off the '49 Hudson and nailing it to the peak of the roof in the front of the house.

I have a photo of it somewhere, will post if I can find it.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:38 AM   #33
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I would replace the car.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:59 PM   #34
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Well...maybe there is a little life left (just like cockroaches ) on my Neon. I had expected to hear that the tranny is shot, and then time for me to go car looking.

I brought it in the a transmission place today. But instead they don't think it's the transmission. He showed that on the Neon there's a cable that connects from the gas pedal to the transmission. The cable and connecting metal to the cable is all worn out. I guess with a bad cable the signal to automatically shift gears has problems. He thinks all I need is a new cable and cleaning of the connecting metal. Said if that's the case, after new cable, and labor, it would be about $300. So, I said go away and "Make it so". He's going to run a free diagnostic on the transmission to see if the problem is only what he thinks.

So, it may be a matter of spending only $300 versus paying for a newer used car.

I asked, if it is a transmission issue how much would that cost. He said, about $1400. I did tell him that if the transmission is bad. I may just buy a car as I don't want to go spending much money on that as the car is an old crappy car (He seemed in agreement with this ).

I should know more tomorrow.
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:33 PM   #35
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I'm rooting for the car, so I'm hoping it's only a $300 fix!
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:53 PM   #36
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I was thinking of this a bit more. I suppose my approach to buying a new car is like paying taxes on a retirement account. I try to defer as long as possible until I really have to.

Also, the fact that I just replaced the A/C compressor about a month ago makes me want to keep the car, if I can, for at least one summer.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:18 AM   #37
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I'm rooting for the car, so I'm hoping it's only a $300 fix!
Got a call back from the transmission place. Yes, there is a problem with the transmission. I couldn't pull the trigger on "Old Yeller". Decided to go ahead and get it fixed at about $1000.

Time will tell if this was a good or bad move. The thought of plunking down $20K or so for a used car versus $1000 lost out to buying more time for Old Yeller.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:35 AM   #38
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Even $1000 doesn't seem bad. Nowadays, that's probably around 3-4 months of car payments, on even a fairly modest car.

How much was the a/c compressor? I had a 2000 Intrepid, which blew its compressor about two years ago, and contaminated the whole a/c system. That was about a $1000 repair. And interestingly enough, the compressor was a Japanese part...same unit that a Honda Accord would've used. Ironic take on domestic car quality, eh? Although I dunno if a Canadian-built car from a (then) German-owned company should really qualify as "domestic"!
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:47 AM   #39
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Even $1000 doesn't seem bad. Nowadays, that's probably around 3-4 months of car payments, on even a fairly modest car.

How much was the a/c compressor? I had a 2000 Intrepid, which blew its compressor about two years ago, and contaminated the whole a/c system. That was about a $1000 repair. And interestingly enough, the compressor was a Japanese part...same unit that a Honda Accord would've used. Ironic take on domestic car quality, eh? Although I dunno if a Canadian-built car from a (then) German-owned company should really qualify as "domestic"!
The A/C compressor was about $700. This works fine as I had it cranking for about 700 miles over the past few days.

The last tranny rebuild costed about $2700. Hopefully this time around (different place), they'll do a better job of it.

Thanks to everyone for their comments in the thread. I just wasn't ready to part with Old Yeller or about $20K or so just now.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:57 AM   #40
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It's a crapshoot, but I'd probably have done the same thing. The transmissions and (especially) the AC compressors seem to be the two expensive things that crump out on cars--motors can run forever these days. You'll probably get 5 more years out of the beastie. BTW--rebuilt transmissions are one of the few products on which I'd consider buying an extended warranty. In my experience, sometimes they don't last as long as a new one, and I think the price on these warranties assume the owner will probably sell the car before the warranty expires. I usually don't.

As a look at my little 24 YO rice burner can attest: Driving can be cheap once you jettison your pride.
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