Transmission $1600
Brakes $400
Rear shocks, front bearings $600
Idle Motor + other stuff $600
Alarm system $200
Stereo/CD $200
Plugs, wires, distributor cap $200
New battery: $60

Grand total: $3860

Still needs:

Fuel pump $400
Front struts $300

2nd Grand Total: $4560

In less than a year—if we get the fuel pump replaced and the struts replaced—car repairs (and the $400 for the alarm and stereo) on my pretty little red toy will almost total the purchase price (and yeah, we plaid over Blue Book. Yeah, we’re maroons.)

Now, the car is 10 years old. But it came with less that 70,000 miles. One could argue that other than the transmission, those things were bound to happen on a car that old.

But a car with so few relative miles?

And in such a short span of time?

Especially transmission problems with a car with so few miles?

We checked the car out on Carfax; it’s never been in a major accident, something I was starting to be concerned about because the windows don’t align correctly and the roof leaks. So unless the guy we bought it from totaled it, never reported it, and fixed it himself, it’s structurally sound…just leaky. It was never reported as a Lemon. If we sell it and someone buys it, runs their own Carfax, and then find major damage, Carfax will pay them back.

But at what point do we throw in the towel and give up on it? How do we know that if we fix the fuel pump, that’ll be it? It could run smoothly for the next half decade…or a month from now something else will go wrong.

We have to decide fairly soon whether to keep it, or take it with us to CA—which could cost us $1500 to ship.

I want my pretty little red toy, dammit.
But I don’t want to keep throwing money at it.
I don’t want to be in CA without a car.
But I don’t want to drag a clunker along.

This morning I went out to put the top down, and it was dead. Not just dead, but dead. I turned the key and nothing. We replaced the battery and it started up, but I could very well go out tomorrow to start it and have it dead again, if there’s a short somewhere and it wasn’t just the battery (there was no date on the battery the car came with, making me wonder if the guy we brought it from took the tag off.)

When I come to a stop at stoplights, if I don’t ride the gas, it dies half the time. This could be the fuel pump. Or the new idle motor may not be working correctly.

The last mechanic to work on it ran diagnostics, and the electrical system checked out fine then.

OK, everyone gets a vote. Keep it, or ditch it?

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