REPAIRING AN OLD CAR

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Lately I have been talking with some friends whether they should keep their old (two decades) car, or should they sell it and up grade to a newer model car. For most of them, it would depend on how much they could sell their present car and how much would they need to add to purchase a newer model car. Some would opt to keep their old car and maintain it as long as they can. Now, a follow up question to that is how much is too much to spend on an old car. Hmmm… how much is too much? Let me share with you share with you the same question my friend is asking herself about her car. She has a 1996 Nissan Sentra with an automatic transmission that she inherited. She has been using it for about a year already. But about a week ago, the front right side was making some noise whenever she encounters a bump or a pothole. And her transmission is acting up if it comes from a cold start. To add to the list, the rear end shows signs of collision and the rear doors are showing signs of corrosion. The engine is in good order while the interior is very decent. The transmission is on its way out already…. It’s just a matter of time. How would it cost? For the body and paint I would say about P50k. That would include a whole respray of the car, repair of the rear and the two rear doors (surplus unit). Although the front and rear windshield would have to be removed because the seals are perished. That may be an additional cost. The transmission would be about P35k. Rebuilt, not a surplus unit. The under chassis repair might reach about P25k for the front and rear.

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Now, the total amount that might be spent on the repairs is about P110k. Now, is this an over exaggerated estimate? For some, yes it would seem that way. For that amount you could look for a car that is newer and maybe in better condition. I totally agree. But then again, it is still a second hand car. It has no warranty. I would recommend budgeting around P10k for repairs like changing the timing belts and fan belts. It doesn’t matter if the previous owners says their still in good condition.But what if my friend does decide to have her car fixed? Would that be like opening a can of worms? Yes it would, but you can’t catch fish without using bait. If done properly, it can a rewarding experience. One big advantage of going down this route is you would know the car inside out. Know what parts where changed/repaired. As to the car itself, you don’t know its full service history and the previous owner’s driving habits. Finding a shop that you are confident enough to leave your car with is a big help. You as the owner should get involved in the restoration process. Knowing what goes into your car help fine tune the car as the project progresses. It may take sometime but if done properly, the car could last five years easily. If she does decide to, I think I would be the one who will be thrilled to see the car go through the restoration process.

On another note, my friend called the other day asking if I could help with his VW Beetle. And I said YES. I definitely would want to help him get his Beetle up and running. A VW has special place in my heart as this was my first car. Good memories. I’ll see if I can show some pictures when I’m working on the Bug. Hopefully, I still remember what to do. Haven’t touched one for years…

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