Yup. I should have qualified my answer and added that when looking at the cost of repair compared to the value of the car, the value of the car is only relevant if you're planning to fix it so you can sell it. I know this doesn't seem to make sense at first, but a $1000.00 repair on a one-year-old car costs the same as a $1000.00 repair on a 20-year-old car. Neither car will be worth $1000.00 more after the repairs are completed. A better gauge would be to look at what can be expected to break down in the near future, or how much longer you hope to keep this car on the road. Personally, I like the neat toys in the newer cars, but I know what the typical repair costs are for all the computer-related stuff. For that reason, my 2014 truck sits at home and I drive a rusty '94 Grand Caravan.
An older car is obviously going to have more things go wrong with it, but sudden breakdowns are just as unlikely as with a newer car. It's parts slowly wearing out that are much more common on the old car, but there's also a lot more non-working stuff we are willing to ignore. Think of the glove box light, for example. On a new car, that has to be fixed, darn it! ($$$). On the older car, you can still get to where you need to go without that light.
Hope you don't get whiplash from me changing direction suddenly, but here's another thought from HMAC300's reply.
"The car is fifteen years old I would only keep it if I were doing the work myself".
There's a lot of stuff competent do-it-yourselfers can do, especially when you have such intelligent and good-looking people like us looking over your shoulder, but head gaskets are pretty involved and require more experience than we can share in this forum. One possible alternative is to look for a local community college with an Automotive program and ask if they can do the repairs. We were always looking for live work during the second half of each course, and we had about a dozen people who would sit on a broken car until we could get to it. You have to understand that we taught each of eight subject areas only once per year. Each course was eight weeks long. We needed to be very strict that we only did brake work in Brakes class, for example. To do electrical work in Brakes class took work away from the local shops that hired our graduates. Besides that drawback of such a small window of opportunity, you also have to be aware you wouldn't see your car for weeks. My kids were only with me four hours per day, and some of that time was spent in the classroom.
The advantage to having students work on your car were that we charged $10.00 per hour labor for what the job was supposed to take, (not what it actually took us to do it), and we got parts from the local parts stores at a real good discount, then marked them up only ten percent to form a "Breakage" fund. That covered repairs to anything we might damage. The students were well-supervised, and all were very responsible, but sometimes accidents happen, just like in real shops.
Inspecting and machining the cylinder heads is a specialty service performed at an engine machine shop, regardless of whether the repairs are done by students or a regular shop, so that cost will still be included in your bill. Reassembling everything can potentially be done better by students because they aren't being rushed by the clock. In exchange for the much lower total cost for the repairs, there won't be any warranty on the work, and if followup repairs are needed, it still has to be while Engine Repair class is still in session. That was rarely a problem, and we did take care of people afterward when necessary. The policies will vary at every college. The instructors are looking for jobs that provide valid learning experiences. They might sympathize with your problem, but they can't take in every car.
Sunday, November 13th, 2016 AT 7:58 PM