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  1. #1
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    Default Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    I thought I'd start this thread because I've seen quite a few posts on here where people are debating spending the money on, say, a new transmission when it might cost more than the car is "worth." A lot of these old GP's may only bring a thousand or two at a dealer, auction, or craigslist.

    My advice is to not just look at the so-called book value of a vehicle when considering repairs, unless you're going to sell it. If you're just fixing it to use, the "book value" is actually meaningless.

    What got me thinking about it was reading a thread about replacing a transmission on an old GP, and the owner was deciding not to because it cost more than the $1500 he determined the car could sell for, so he was going to junk it, but it seemed to be a worthwhile car.

    As an example... I have a 1996 Chevy Tahoe 4x4. It's got 430,000 miles on it. According to Edmunds (who can't even calculate a car with over 400,000, so that's what I put in) it's worth between $800 and $2000. So what? Ten years ago I took that same Tahoe to a dealer to trade for a new Suburban. It had 130,000 on it then. They offered me $1500 for it, telling me it was very old, at end of life, and basically worthless. I said no, bought the Suburban anyway, and took the Tahoe home. 300,000 miles later (and $7,000 total in repairs, maintenance and upkeep) the Tahoe is still worth that same $1500. Somehow, it carried me for 300,000 miles as an effectively worthless truck, and is still worthless today, even though I just spend $3000 rebuilding the suspension and brakes, and it drives like a new truck. For what I just put into it, it'll go for a few hundred thousand more miles, still a "worthless" old truck that I could never sell for what I just spent upgrading and repairing it. That doesn't matter at all, as I intend to keep using it, not sell it.

    My point is, utility value and cash value in older cars are often very disconnected. Just because the cash value of your car may be $1500, if it's solid and in good shape overall, don't hesitate to put a few thousand into repairing/rebuilding it if you intend to keep it and use it to get the value out of what you just spent.

    2005 GTP

  2. #2
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    i look at it like this, you likely own the old car out right already, and 1500 is far less then the cost of another used car, unless your old car is rusting to hell, then its time to just give up.

    my 98 regal just got a new tranny, 1400 ish. 2 years before i replaced the engine, * cheap 400 ish) every single front end parts and rear suspension has been replaced, new struts, i got two boxes with new brake and fuel lines to install yet. i paid 800 for it 7 years ago now, so no payments ever on it. just fixing crap as needed. only shop time is for alignments. i do all my own work. so free labor.

    funny but the only things ive not fixed is the ac, knocking hard on wood! and the rear hubs. theres not much ive not touched over the last 7 years.

    we wont go into what the mods all cost. far exceeds the cost of the car lol or its resale worth.......

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  3. #3
    GT Level Member Hpiracr28's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    If I have to do a major repair and it costs less than 6 months worth of car payments, I'm going to fix it. The biggest repairs (of a shop anyway) are going to be engine and transmission. That's roughly 6 months worth of car payments at $200 a month for a newer car, and that's not getting you into something spic and span. If I can keep my car going for another year or more off of a $1200 repair, I'm still in the green 6 months down the road with no car payment still. That's just my two cents. Ive never looked at value over cost. It all comes down to if you want to fork over $300 a month for the next 3 years or so.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Exactly my line of thinking, and $200/month isn't going to get you much at all these days. Realistically, $300-$400 is more like the normal payment if you want something decent. If you're used to the torque of a GTP, go drive the Corolla that you could get for $200 a month and you'll be shocked at how disappointed you are. That's what has kept the Tahoe going all these years. The new Suburban I had bought to replace it was stupid expensive, and while it had nicer electronics and all, it was not as well made, didn't drive enough better to matter, and was actually the worse of the two trucks by the time I got rid of that in favor of keeping the old Tahoe and piling more miles on it.

    By the way, I noticed you're from Elmira. I grew up in Big Flats, near the airport. Went to Horseheads High (many years ago, before moving to Buffalo). My family is from Elmira Heights going back several generations. My grandfather worked at USSteel and built quite a few houses that are still standing around that area.

    2005 GTP

  5. #5
    GT Level Member Hpiracr28's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Quote Originally Posted by jmiska View Post
    Exactly my line of thinking, and $200/month isn't going to get you much at all these days. Realistically, $300-$400 is more like the normal payment if you want something decent. If you're used to the torque of a GTP, go drive the Corolla that you could get for $200 a month and you'll be shocked at how disappointed you are. That's what has kept the Tahoe going all these years. The new Suburban I had bought to replace it was stupid expensive, and while it had nicer electronics and all, it was not as well made, didn't drive enough better to matter, and was actually the worse of the two trucks by the time I got rid of that in favor of keeping the old Tahoe and piling more miles on it.

    By the way, I noticed you're from Elmira. I grew up in Big Flats, near the airport. Went to Horseheads High (many years ago, before moving to Buffalo). My family is from Elmira Heights going back several generations. My grandfather worked at USSteel and built quite a few houses that are still standing around that area.
    We had purchased my wife a 2012 Chrysler 200 LX (base model) to have a newer safer car for her and the kids. It's far from anything to brag about. I fancy my 2003 Base Gtand Prix before i praise that turd. Gutless, seems to be cheaply made, and over priced at $280 a month. Although she thinks she will be getting a newer car when this is paid off, wrong. I prefer to drive my cars into the ground. Dad has a 2007 base GP that has 260k on it. Won get rid of it until it costs too much. They make plenty anyway lol.

    Not many people know about the little towns...horseheads, elmira, big flats, etc. My family moved to big flats on sing sing road in 2005, so I guess you could say I grew up there as well. Got married and had kids, but the housing market sucks and big flats and horseheads is pricey, so west elmira had a home in my budget. Loving life!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Well my grandma has a 02 montana with a bad engine, the notorious LA1 3.4L. Has 138k on it. Cost would be maybe 1500 or so maybe more. The value of the thing is only around 1500. The car has no rust and a great interior. What to do with it? I would really love to take it and put a new engine in the thing but I have no use for it if I were to fix it. Grandma has no money to fix, and I would lose money to try and sell it.

  7. #7
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    if grandma just wants out of it, and gifts it to you, then a used 500 dollar engine could be had easy enough, then sell or use it.

    hell cough up 500 clams for grandma fix her car for her and make it a x mass gift.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottydoggs View Post
    if grandma just wants out of it, and gifts it to you, then a used 500 dollar engine could be had easy enough, then sell or use it.

    hell cough up 500 clams for grandma fix her car for her and make it a x mass gift.
    I've never done anything that complicated before. I guess I could try

  9. #9
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    ive been yanking engines for over 30 years now. its just nuts and bolts.

    them vans it seems unbolting the front sub frame and lifting the car up is the only way to get it out. and thats not really horrible if you have a engine hoist.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Which I do not

  11. #11
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    good thing they are cheap, got mine for 145 on sale at harbor freight, or can be rented. sadly for about the same as one costs sometimes.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottydoggs View Post
    good thing they are cheap, got mine for 145 on sale at harbor freight, or can be rented. sadly for about the same as one costs sometimes.
    We'll see what happens, I wish my parents would go get the thing fixed and use it. They have a 05 volvo with 210k on it and I don't know how long it will be here. Then again, it's a volvo and not a newer piece o **** one either.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    I agree, I have no issue putting money into my cars to keep them going. All of my cars usually live until they get to the point where the rust eats them and I can't afford to fix it or it becomes a safety issue. I give zero fvcks about what any "book value" they may have. I really don't want a $350-$400/month car payment right now. Honestly, if I plan on dropping that much it will be on a 1970 muscle car that I've always wanted.

    I do all my own work except trans rebuilds, tires, and front end alignments. I like the fact that I know exactly what has been done to them and what parts have been installed, etc. I don't want to buy someone else's basketcase and hope for the best, warranty or not.

    Like Scotty mentioned, I added up the cost of mods to my current GP and I'd never see that amount back selling it outright. It's a solid DD with a few mods and runs great with some extra potential in the future when funds allow. Either way I like the way it has turned out and that's all that matters.

    My current DD's:
    95 Bonneville SE- 287K (stock)
    03 LX Sport Crown Vic- 188K (stock-ish)
    00 GPGT- 406K (356k on the motor)

    So yea, don't care about the resale. I'd likely get about $1K in scrap for the Bonne and the GP at this point, lol... Drive it 'till the wheels fall off and them put 'em back on!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    agreed, damn 406k on a 00 GP. Guess i have a lot of driving to do with mine 00 GT with 45k

  15. #15
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    im over 240,000 on the body. 115 ish on the engine, trannys got like 3000 ish maybe now.

    side note im looking for a tahoe so i can further mod the regal and not drive it daily no more. keep it as a toy.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  16. #16
    I live here. stealthee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    My Lancer may not have the power my GP had but it is still way more fun to drive and gets about 10 mpg better too. It also has 130k less miles (currently, was about 145k less when i bought it)and a warranty.

    I only wish I had gotten rid of the GP when I said I was going to and not waited and had the trans go out on me for no reason.
    2011 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS - Stock DD mode
    1994 Dodge Stealth - Currently being revived. Modded

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Scotty, maybe you can find someone who really believes his old Tahoe is only worth $1500 LOL. I love my old Hoe and plan on keeping it a forever. They're great trucks. I like the older ones from when they shared almost everything with the Silverado and had traditional tailgates or the old Suburban barn door rear ends. They're all good trucks, though, and the newer ones are better on gas.

  18. #18
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    its sicking how well they hold value. 7 grand for a 05 with almost 200 on it, come on man lol been looking for months. i ended up setting my goals higher. looking for a 07 or newer LT or LTZ type loaded with leather, with 140 or less on it. thats like 13k or more for a really nice one. hoping i can get it much cheaper with a cash sale.

    98 Buick Regal GS, F body brakes, Caddy STS wheels, tinted tails L36 bottom end, lightly ported heads, 1.95 roller rockers, headers, 2.8, FSIC, 42 lb injectors, a BrandonHall rebuilt trans, DHP tuned and AEM water/Meth injection https://goo.gl/gpV5kW

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    When the Motor lost the Roller off a lifter at 330K miles on my 00 GTP everybody told me to get rid of it and just buy a new car. I told them I'm not paying $20-30K for some **** box that I'll drive 62 miles a day and in about 4 years won't be worth $8K. Everything that I really liked was $40K + up to over $100K and most weren't good in all season weather. I opted for a 57K mile motor that looked like it was new when I got it. 21K later it's still rolling great and everything is still paid for.

    I get MSRP shock every time I look at something new and even if you financed for 84 months, a lot are close to $600 a month payment if not more.

  20. #20
    SE Level Member davids06gp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repair costs vs. vehicle value...

    Kudos to you! I could not have said it better. When my job moved me to a location that was 90 miles away from my home we had to move. My 06 grand prix started having engine problems so I couldn't drive it to work but it was ok for short trips near the house. I wanted to sell it so I took it to an auto auction but they wanted too much money to auction it off. The Chevy dealership wanted to tear into it because they thought there was an issue with the block (rods); I said no. Firestone wouldn't do a tune up and suggested a new or engine swap (so did Chevy). I decided not to sell it and flat bedded it to the new house. One day I saw a YouTube video of a guy doing a full tune up on a 3800 like mine so I decided to do the same after all what did I have to lose. When I changed the coil packs the knock went away it sounded good but I still had a miss-fire on the 5 cylinder. I changed all the wires, spark plugs and ignition module and it got better but I still have miss fire. The car still has good power and it's not burning oil. I am not a mechanic but I am going to change the fuel injector to see if that helps. The car has 202k miles and the transmission is ok. Everything works on the car and the body is in good condition. The car is worth more to me in it's present condition when compared to it blue book value. I will keep it until it can no longer be used the way I need to use it...

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