Is it worth replacing or fixing

Tiny
RUDO JACKIE MUTESWA
  • MEMBER
  • 2009 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 176,000 MILES
I have been told by the dealership that my car (listed above) needs a timing chain and it will cost me $2,500.00 (parts and labor). Considering the year is it worth replacing or just cut my loss. Also, can I trade it in as it is?
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 AT 5:57 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Get a second opinion from an independent shop that does not have an interest in selling new cars. The amount you were quoted seems rather high.
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 AT 6:21 PM
Tiny
RUDO JACKIE MUTESWA
  • MEMBER
This is after months or trying to figure out what the issue was. Parts put in and taken out. I took it to private and commercial mechanics, but no one seemed to know the problem. This is after contacting Nissan Canada. They did wiring diagnostics for seven hours and that was the identified problem.
So is it worth fixing or not?
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 AT 6:27 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If the body is in good shape and you like the car take it to an independent shop and have the work done for a lot less.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 10:37 AM
Tiny
RUDO JACKIE MUTESWA
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the suggestion. Independent mechanics are much better. Got two quotes for $1,900.00 and $1,200.00. I just want to fix and sell.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 1:57 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
As a suggestion, you are usually better off not repairing a car you want to sell. If you stick $1200.00 into it, you are not likely to get $1200.00 more for it, plus you will have to deal with the shop if there are more problems, or with a crabby buyer. Let the buyer be responsible for any additional problems.

I used to run into this all the time when fixing TV's. The old, broken TV might have been worth fifty bucks on trade for a new one, but if you stuck the $75.00 into it for the needed repairs, you would not be likely to even get $100.00 toward the trade. This is even more true with cars when you are trading at a new or used-car dealership. They expect every car to need some repairs, whether you tell them what is needed or not, and they factor that into what they offer you for it. The difference between what they offer for a repaired car vs. A car that needs a $1,200.00 repair might be only $400.00. You are way better off not doing the repair, and they are better off because they can do the repair less expensively in their shop, when they have the free time.

The exception to this generalization is if you plan on selling the car to a friend or relative. Dollars are less of an issue when the goal is to hand off a reliable car.

Steve's comment referring to "if you like it" is valid too. Believe it or not, up to eight years ago, many of my students thought an $800.00 repair twice a year on their GM front-wheel-drive cars was "normal". How often has your car needed an expensive repair? The majority of cars today need a cylinder head gasket or timing belt, and expensive repair bills are common. I would look at a $1,200.00 repair bill as the equivalent to three or four monthly car payments. And if you buy a used car, what is to say it also will not need an expensive repair in a few months? If you like the car and want to keep it, do the repair. If you are happy to have the chance to get rid of it in favor of something you like better, this is the time to do it. Sell it without doing the repair.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 3:37 PM
Tiny
RUDO JACKIE MUTESWA
  • MEMBER
The car will not start at all. Dealership said they will give me $500.00 for it, if I trade it in as it is. From their wiring diagnostic the car does not have any other problems expect the timing chain. Fixing and keeping can be an option for a few months then sell. I cannot sell it to anyone privately if it is not moving hence my predicament or desire wanting to fix it.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 5:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do not be too sure that you cannot sell it outright. Cars can be found all the time with signs in the window that say, "For Sale As Is", especially those that are wrecked by do-it-yourselfers trying to modify things, and they get in over their heads. Your car is not very old, especially compared to my daily drivers, and the mileage is not excessive. If you were only offered $500.00 at a Nissan dealership, that tells me they do not put much value on their products. It does depend though on what you would have been trading it on. They have to look at how much they can resell yours for, then at how much profit there is to work with on the one you're looking at.

To put this in perspective, I'm bidding on a 2015 Grand Caravan right now. It was smashed in the front, and it does not run. I am going as high as $5,000.00, but I am doubtful I will even be close to getting it. Plus it will be a two-day drive each way to go and get it. Your car needs very little work by comparison. I find it hard to believe you cannot get more than $500.00 for it.

Something else you might consider, if you have the time, is to ask at a nearby community college with an Automotive program, if they would like to do the repairs. We were always looking for live work at my school to give the kids real-world experience. We charged ten dollars per hour for what the job was supposed to take, and we got parts at real good discounts, then marked them up ten percent to form a "breakage" fund in case we damaged something. The trade-off to the very low cost is it will take a few weeks to get your car back. We were only in the shop four hours per day, and some of that time was spent in the classroom. The students were very responsible, and they still were well-supervised.

The other concern is they will only take your car in during the times Engine Repair is being taught. For us that was once per year for eight weeks. To do an engine repair during Brakes class, for example, would take work away from the shops that hire our graduates. Some schools offer their classes two to four times per year. They also look for a variety of jobs. They will have plenty of cylinder head gasket jobs and total engine rebuilds. They typically do not get enough timing chain and timing belt jobs because they get handled too quickly at repair shops.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 5:29 PM
Tiny
RUDO JACKIE MUTESWA
  • MEMBER
Nissan just sucks in general. Dealership selling the same car with more mileage for $10,990. But they are offering me $500.00 to trade it in hence why I eager to fix. At least I will get my repair cost because the car is moving and person can drive it as it is considering private mark-up. Selling as it is will take more time and I do not have the time. I just want this car off my hands.
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 AT 6:22 PM

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