Yaw A. writes:
It’s the dude whose mom had the sludged RX300 a while back. Thanks for publishing that. I have another question/update.
Someone hit mom in the RX300 about 2 weeks ago. She is fine but the car needs about $5000 in work. My dad has a 2003 M45 that has been sitting in the driveway for at least a year now that is not running (you can’t make this up). Rather than fix the M45, he bought an old Altima V6. If you are confused so far don’t worry, I am too.
I have no idea what the problem with the M45 is, but now with the RX300 basically worthless, and a cash settlement of about $5000 from the other driver’s insurance (they were at fault), I am wondering…would it make sense for my mom to take a gamble with the M45 and get it fixed, rather than put that $5000 towards a new car? The M45 is paid off and has well under 100,000 miles on it, so there is no way she could do better for $5K. I would not be surprised if it had less than 70,000 miles to be honest. KBB says the RETAIL value of the car is anywhere from $5500-7500 though, but that is assuming 10 years of normal mileage, which it definitely does not have. Even if it is the worst case scenario (an engine/transmission replacement), longblocks are going for ~$1000-1500 on Ebay, and I imagine labor would be another $1000-1500. So to me it’s kind of a no brainer.
Like I mentioned the problem is some “undisclosed mechanical issue” that makes the car stall, from what I understand. I am going to head out this weekend to investigate further. But based on what you know now, what do you think?
Thanks again, love the column.
Based on what I know? I know nothing!
Perhaps there’s some stupid minor wiring problem that keeps the engine from running. Perhaps the engine is bad, and you might as well get a complete motor from the junkyard to fix it. And maybe the tires are flat spotted. Perhaps even worse things happened while sitting around for a year (a leak in the moonroof turned the interior into a mold factory) and perhaps nobody in the house can or wants to address such problems.
As much as I find the M45 an obscurely charming machine that looks pretty frickin’ cool as a VIP tuner wagon…I have no idea what’s going on here!
So, just to CYA, I will say your parents are better off selling the M45 for scrap (or to a Craigslist last chance mechanic) and applying the $5200-$5500 to another vehicle.
Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.