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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car in question is my daughter's 1993 Ford Escort with 110K miles. Used for high school & college transportation by two kids, and badly treated by both. Dented body work, rust in wheel arches, but still basically functional. During the past two years I have spent a lot on it: alternator, brakes, battery, ignition switch, timing belt. The latest thing is broken rear trailing arm, spindle and axle ($580). Considering what I have already spent, I decided to go ahead and have it fixed. Every time something goes kaput, I think "Well, I have already spent $x in the past year, I should spend a bit more and it should be reliable for another few years".... and then a few months later, something else goes bad. But at some point I am going to have to make a decison to junk it.
Any good rules of thumb, or more complicated algorithms with which to make a decision?
 

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Personally I would give the "two kids" in question a good "ear-bashing."

Mine's a '92 Escort with just under 90,000 on the clock and apart from the usual signs of daily use, it's in fine condition inside and out, because I (and my son before me) have always taken great care of it.

To date I've had no major problems mechanically and will keep it until it's no longer economically viable to maintain in a roadworthy condition. The mechanics at the garage I use will be the people to tell me when that is.
 

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i agree because it would have to be the kids...
over the last few years.. probably about 4 years or so... ever since i even started drivin... ive had a 91 lx and now i have a 93 gt... in those years ive had a total of like maybe 2-3 break downs and thats it.. once the timing belt.. and once with fuel filter.. and other than that thats about it..besides little things...thats why i still keep buying escorts cuz in my opinion their very reliable.. my car has like 150 thousand on it and still goes strong
 

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spooki said:
keep the car, but make the kids pay for the parts. maybee they will take better care of it, if theyre paying.
Yup, I know I'm paying for mine :banghead:

It's amazing how things can change when responsibilities change hands :wink:

Matt 8)
 

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Jeffescortlx said:
Just remember, a newer "better" car can break down to.
I wasn't thinking so much about reliability as misuse, say, of the bodywork/interior - there is absolutely no excuse for that.

When I passed my test, I was allowed to borrow my mother's car from time to time (never my father's) provided I cleaned it and replaced any petrol I used. I had to save up to buy my own first car and as Spooki says, perhaps the aforementioned 'kids' would take better car if it cost them money.
 

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alright, dont junk the car, like everyone else says make them pay for any parts they may break. Im 17, ive HAD to change a few things on my car. like, My axle shafts, my fuel pump, and also redid the brakes on my own. So since the car has been mine ive taken car of it. btw, i have an 89 LX with body damage, (check out my site and youll see my "minor" damage.) So my car is taken care of, and if i do this as i am itll last me through college, with the ocassional parts breaking needing to be replaced due to age. When is it a time to junk, when it will cost more to maintain then the car is worth. Like it burns a quart of oil a day, loses compression, blown motor, cracked head, the big problems, not the little ones.
 

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Hey Decolliber,
I really know what you are talking about because i've had that choice to make in the past. Here is my situation: I bought my 1991 escort gt with 130 000 km for 1500$ (Canadian) 1.5 year ago. During the first 6 months I had to put 3500$ in repairs (Full brakes, Suspension, exhaust, alternator... etc) I was telling myself when will it stop, when do I say i'll junk it. Btw the engine was the only thing in mint condition. Anyway, ever since I did my last repair over 1 year ago I never put 1$ in it. I told myself i will keep it but i won't fix anything unless it's really dangerous or the car can't move.

So anyway, I say keep the car, do only the repairs that are major. In my mind if you pay less than 6000$ (Canadian) a year (including: Assurance, repairs, maintenance) well you are ahead over owning a new car.

btw, my car is over 175 000 km and running perfect. Sure it has a lot of little noise here and there but hey it's a 13 year old car, you can't fix everything.

I hope I was any help. Sorry for my bad typing im french...
 

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The last Escort I junked was my 84GT. It had 158,000 miles on it (or was it 168,000?). It needed a new engine and would need a new transmission soon (original transmission only lasted 80,000 miles so at about double that I had to make certain assumptions). And it needed some new engine sensors (MAF) which on these was expensive not like today. It also used those Michelin TRX tires which were very expensive. If I had your Escort I would not junk it. If you do the repairs yourself and know where to buy parts (Not Pep Boys) then it should be pretty reasonable to maintin your car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the great advice. I did decide to get it fixed (one rear hub, spindle and trailing arm for $580). Then I looked up the Kelly value for a 93 Escort with 110 K miles in "fair" condition, and it is only $775! On the other hand, it has so many new parts from the past 2 years, it _ought_ to be good for a while now ... (thats what I always tell myself).
But I feel I am getting caught in a trap: the more money I put into it, the more unwilling I am to make the tough choice to junk it. :roll:
Funny thing is that the engine is in great condition, runs like a charm, an never had any work done on it. I have always used Mobil One in it. Transmission ran without fluid for about 20k miles, until I discovered the broken fill plug, refilled it and its fine. Decades ago the main reason people junked cars was when the engines or transmissions developed major problems; now it seems to be all the peripherals that fail first.
 

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Decolliber said:
Funny thing is that the engine is in great condition, runs like a charm, an never had any work done on it. I have always used Mobil One in it.
One option is to part out the car. GT models are getting increasingly difficult to find body parts for. Just ask anyone who's had the misfortune to have to look for a front bumper. You could easily get a couple hundred bucks for the engine alone. Provided that you have the patience, and a clean place to store the car during part-out, you can easily recoupe your repair costs.
 

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Decolliber,
My personal opinion is simply spending just the right amount of money on the right car from the right person. I know that sounds pretty ideal, but if you educate yourself and shop around, you'd be suprised at the deals you can find.

First off, the escort is a great high school/college person car because it was at one time the econo-box of america, so to speak, so you can find them everywhere in junkyards just begging you to take their parts. The downside is that they aren't the best performers and the quality is at times less than par.

The fact that you've already bought and installed new parts into your daughter's LX makes it worth keeping simply because you now know that those parts won't fail again. Some other parts (original parts, for example) may break in the future, but you are essentially building a "new car."

So yes, hang on to this one, repair the small things, but if you run into anything like a transmission overhaul, ditch the car and part it out. If you decide to get another escort, which would be a good choice for your daughter, pull out the new parts you put in so you can pick up where you left off with the other one.

Assuming you keep the fluids level and don't manhandle the car, those escorts will last forever, assuming you can deal with the not-so-attractive rust.

However, if you live in a wintery place, I think that the best thing you can possibly do for yourself is to invest in a nice car for the summer and get a crappy rusted out old pickup truck for the winter. I did something like that and currently I've got a 95 escort GT with 153K miles on it up on blocks in the garage that really hasn't seen winter and looks absolutely fantastic. I have yet to see an escort in person that looks this good.
But I've found that spending more money on a better car from a trusted owner well offsets the "fixing up" of a beater car. My 2 cents.
 
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