Should I keep my car or junk it

Tiny
LORABEE
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 CHRYSLER CONCORDE
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 190,000 MILES
My car overheated two days ago. It was towed to a repair shop. They tested it and said the thermostat and water pump were okay. I replaced the water pump four years ago. They said the heads were cracked. $2500.00 and three or four days of work. Is my car worth it to repair? Plus, I do not have all of the money they want. Please advise.
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 AT 6:47 AM

11 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
The car is fifteen years old I would only keep it if I were doing the work myself. The cost is probably more than the car is worth.
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 AT 6:52 AM
Tiny
JOHNNY G.JR
  • MEMBER
I concur too much$$$
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Thursday, November 10th, 2016 AT 6:36 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
In this case I have a different opinion. A cracked cylinder head on any brand of car is extremely rare, and to have two is even more unlikely. There is no way any mechanic can know a head is cracked until it is removed and inspected. Leaking cylinder head gaskets is much more common, and that can occur on a two-year-old car just as easily as on a 15-year-old car. It is indeed a rather involved repair, but would you prefer to pay for the repair to a car you already own, or to a car you're also making monthly payments on?

Also look at the condition of the body. If you live where I do, where they throw a pound of salt on an ounce of snow, we get rid of cars because they rust away underneath us, but they still run fine after 420,000 miles.

You didn't list any symptoms or test results, so you might consider having a different shop perform a chemical test at the radiator to verify a head gasket is leaking. That test just takes a couple of minutes. The cause of the overheating could be as simple as an inoperative radiator fan.
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Saturday, November 12th, 2016 AT 9:13 AM
Tiny
LORABEE
  • MEMBER
Dear Caradiodoc, the mechanic said that he tested the thermostat and that was OK and he tested the water pump which they replaced 4 years ago and that was Ok. He said he had to order a kit to test the heads and the head gasket. He used it and called me to give me the news about the cracked cylinder heads and leaky gaskets. I picked up my car and drove it about 2 miles and the temp gauge was starting to climb. And the radiator fan came on and I could smell like a burning smell. My father-in-law said to buy some liquid glass and that would seal it up. He said to put it in the radiator. What do you think?
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Sunday, November 13th, 2016 AT 6:42 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Don't waste your money like cardiodoc says it's rare to have a cracked head although not impossible. It is more than likely head gaskets so if there is another place that repairs cars try them and believe what cardiodoc says about how the body is. But I went with the cost and you said you didn't have the money to fix it. Even if head is cracked you can get rebuilt ones that are not as expensive as new
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Sunday, November 13th, 2016 AT 7:45 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
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.
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Sunday, November 13th, 2016 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
LORABEE
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your advice. Have a great week!
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Sunday, November 13th, 2016 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Please use 2CarPros anytime, we are here to help and tell a friend.

Best, Ken
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Monday, November 14th, 2016 AT 9:39 AM
Tiny
LORABEE
  • MEMBER
Dear Cardardiodoc I took the car Chrysler Concorde to another mechanic repair shop and he told me that he tested the water pump and it tested bad. He said that he put a stethoscope on the water pump and it was clanging all over the place. He told me to call the first repair shop that I took it too since they repaired the water pump 4 years ago. This is the same repair shop that told me it was the head gaskets. Is there a lifetime warranty on the water pump and serpentine belt? Please advise.
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Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 AT 6:30 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Not that I know of especially no warranty on belts. The pump could be warranty but you need the receipt and they would give you another pump.
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Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 AT 7:52 AM
Tiny
LORABEE
  • MEMBER
Thank you very much! ?
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 AT 4:23 AM

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