My Car Threw a Rod

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My car "threw a rod" and caused major damage. It will cost $4500 (new engine) to fix per the mechanic.  The car,  2000 tdi jetta 200k miles,  isn't worth $4500 so I come to you for advice.  What is the most frugal thing to do with a non-operable car? Sell for parts, dontate, etc? 

I am in the process of getting it towed to my residence. O yeah! I've already thought of getting a Crown Vic!

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I had it towed to a mechanic I don't know.  Insurance would only cover 10 miles. I found a donor car ($1000) that I may ... (more)

Phenomix (Jul. 27, 2016 @ 11:36p) |

Was the oil rated VW 505.00?

taxmantoo (Jul. 28, 2016 @ 1:27a) |

160K isn't bad for an ALH engine, I sold mine at around 130K because I needed a bigger vehicle.  I seriously missed the ... (more)

RedWolfe01 (Jul. 28, 2016 @ 9:28a) |

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That car probably isn't worth a new engine. Get quotes on a remanufactured or junkyard one.

If you like the car and it's otherwise mechanically sound, a reman should get you many more years of service for lower transaction costs than buying a new car.

If you're sick of the car or it has other potential near-term weak spots, a junkyard engine to get it running again would probably give you more extra on resale than it would cost but you won't know until you get quotes.

You can part out high value parts and junk the hulk, but that takes mechanical aptitude, a trailer, and a lot of time. After you run the numbers on the other options and account for the value of your time it might really make the most sense to see what your local Euro junkyard would give you for it.

Are you getting anything from VW as part of their fraud? Do you need to "drive it" to VW to get money?

1. Sell as is for parts on CL.
2. Call those Junk Car guys, but you will get $500 max.
3. You can't donate a non running car.

No vw payout for me...It was the newer tdis. I guess parts it is...I have a good standing eBay account and some tools/time. Well see.

Actually, a few charities in my area say they want donated cars "running or not".

JW10 said:   Actually, a few charities in my area say they want donated cars "running or not".
  I am leery of these car donation "charities" given the slick ads they run all the time on the radio

They are a tax scam

Are you sure the car isn't worth more than you think? I recently sold a 2002 Jetta with about 200k miles for $3500. I was surprised there was that much demand, and it wasn't even a TDI; I think they hold their values a lot better.

2000 was the worst time for VW reliability. Even if you put a new engine in there's probably lots of other things about to fail. If you want to get the most out of it, post up a part-out thread for a month on TDIclub and VWVortex then sell what's left to a scrapyard.

Part it out or sell as is at TDIClub.com. A very active TDI enthusiast site.

Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

EDIT:  Okay, guys.  You are all picking out the numbers and ignoring the basic premise of my post.  How about I reword it like this?
Dcwilbur said:   Repairs that exceed the value of the vehicle may be worth it in some cases.  Do your own math.
 

sailinlight said:   Are you sure the car isn't worth more than you think? I recently sold a 2002 Jetta with about 200k miles for $3500. I was surprised there was that much demand, and it wasn't even a TDI; I think they hold their values a lot better.
  
FWIW I had the exact same car, with a standard transmission.  I paid under $9000 back in 2005 or so for it.

I found it was fairly dependable, once you fixed certain parts that failed that were not on the maint schedule like vacuum hoses.

No way is it still worth $4500 -- but as someone else said the place to sell it is TDIclub forums.  (that was where I sold mine for close to what I paid, and the guy shipped it in from VA to OR)

Thanks for the info.  I loved the car and chose it for the reliability, it being a Diesel with 5 speed.  O well. Its life.  Time to get something more "reliable."

PrincipalMember said:   Are you getting anything from VW as part of their fraud? Do you need to "drive it" to VW to get money?
OP has a 2000, the VW settlement only applies to 2009 and on.

Crown Vic with the interceptor cop motor...and spotlight.

btw I forgot to ask. What about installing a used Engine?
eBay is selling them for about $1000, and maybe another $1000 to install?

sailinlight said:   Are you sure the car isn't worth more than you think? I recently sold a 2002 Jetta with about 200k miles for $3500. I was surprised there was that much demand, and it wasn't even a TDI; I think they hold their values a lot better.
that is a surprising price for that car. are there some other variables you're not mentioning, like a replaced engine or coilovers or VR6 or a new turbo or....?

dcwilbur said:   
If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it

  That's over $180 a month. You can lease a new car for that much

Sell on Craigslist whole with blown engine. I've done this twice for friends/family and each time got between $1700-2200 for each car. Might be $500-1000 for yours.

dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  If it costs $4500 to get this specific car up and running, but it only costs $3000 to buy a similar vehicle that's running perfectly fine as of this moment, wouldn't it be better to buy the running vehicle for $3000 and get the two years out of that one and save $1500?

I think you could get at least $1000 for this car in the current condition if you find the right buyer. Maybe even $1500.

dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  A new small car costs about $15-20K. If you assume it lasts only 10 years, that's $1.5K-$2K per year.
Why would you spend $2250 per year to keep an old clunker running, that might die on you at any time, when it's actually cheaper to drive a new and reliable car with a warranty?

Unless the old car costs less than $1K per year to run, it's really not worth it, just based on the reliability issues. Particularly if you need to drive it to work. It's just not professional to have to call the boss and tell them you'll be late because your old clunker had to get towed. 

 If you want to wring every last dollar out of it, try selling it on Craigslist first and see if you can find someone who will pay more. I would try listing it on Autotrader too. It tends to get more responses.
If you don't get any responses, I would sell it to a scrapyard, get the $500 or so for it, and move on.
If you want, you can then donate the $500 directly to a charity and take the tax writeoff. 

DTASFAB said:   
dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  If it costs $4500 to get this specific car up and running, but it only costs $3000 to buy a similar vehicle that's running perfectly fine as of this moment, wouldn't it be better to buy the running vehicle for $3000 and get the two years out of that one and save $1500?

  A $3K car doesn't cost $3K -- add sales tax, title fees, tag fees, registration and the opportunity cost of car shopping.

Then you don't know what exactly you're buying.

canoeguy1 said:   
dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  A new small car costs about $15-20K. If you assume it lasts only 10 years, that's $1.5K-$2K per year.
Why would you spend $2250 per year to keep an old clunker running, that might die on you at any time, when it's actually cheaper to drive a new and reliable car with a warranty?

Unless the old car costs less than $1K per year to run, it's really not worth it, just based on the reliability issues. Particularly if you need to drive it to work. It's just not professional to have to call the boss and tell them you'll be late because your old clunker had to get towed. 

 If you want to wring every last dollar out of it, try selling it on Craigslist first and see if you can find someone who will pay more. I would try listing it on Autotrader too. It tends to get more responses.
If you don't get any responses, I would sell it to a scrapyard, get the $500 or so for it, and move on.
If you want, you can then donate the $500 directly to a charity and take the tax writeoff. 

  I don't think he was advocating spending $4500. Also, your calculations ignore potentially higher sales prices for a running car.

canoeguy1 said:   
dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  A new small car costs about $15-20K. If you assume it lasts only 10 years, that's $1.5K-$2K per year.
Why would you spend $2250 per year to keep an old clunker running, that might die on you at any time, when it's actually cheaper to drive a new and reliable car with a warranty?

Unless the old car costs less than $1K per year to run, it's really not worth it, just based on the reliability issues. Particularly if you need to drive it to work. It's just not professional to have to call the boss and tell them you'll be late because your old clunker had to get towed. 

 If you want to wring every last dollar out of it, try selling it on Craigslist first and see if you can find someone who will pay more. I would try listing it on Autotrader too. It tends to get more responses.
If you don't get any responses, I would sell it to a scrapyard, get the $500 or so for it, and move on.
If you want, you can then donate the $500 directly to a charity and take the tax writeoff. 

Really one has to run the numbers to see what makes sense.  A new car generally has higher insurance costs, property tax (if your state has it) and of course maintenance and repairs over the life of that vehicle.  And if you cannot pay cash then you have financing costs to include as well.  DCWilbur makes an excellent point even if it doesn't necessarily apply in this case which is that the value of the car is really tangential to whether to repair it or not.  When I had a Crown Vic I did several repairs over the years which exceeded the value of the car (it was 18 years old at the end) and I got my money's worth out of it in the sense of additional years of transportation I got out of the car based on those repairs.  Also in this case OP could probably find  a reman or used engine for less.  All that said in this instance I'd probably look at getting a replacement car.  

It always amused me when somebody says their old car is not worth repairing because the repairs exceed the value and then go and buy a new car which of course the minute you drive it off the lot is not worth what you paid for it (with some exceptions of course).    

stanolshefski said:   
DTASFAB said:   
dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  If it costs $4500 to get this specific car up and running, but it only costs $3000 to buy a similar vehicle that's running perfectly fine as of this moment, wouldn't it be better to buy the running vehicle for $3000 and get the two years out of that one and save $1500?

  A $3K car doesn't cost $3K -- add sales tax, title fees, tag fees, registration and the opportunity cost of car shopping.

Then you don't know what exactly you're buying.

  It's not like it's that big of a difference...I don't know how much this varies from state to state, but using Illinois for an example, tax, title and plate fees for an 11 year old car come to $221.

Obviously, the cost of one's time is relative.
 

secstate said:   
 
Really one has to run the numbers to see what makes sense.  A new car generally has higher insurance costs, property tax (if your state has it) and of course maintenance and repairs over the life of that vehicle.  And if you cannot pay cash then you have financing costs to include as well.  DCWilbur makes an excellent point even if it doesn't necessarily apply in this case which is that the value of the car is really tangential to whether to repair it or not.  

  if it is that close, then a new car is the obvious choice.

It's dead Jim.

stanolshefski said:   
DTASFAB said:   
dcwilbur said:   
Phenomix said:   It will cost $4500 to fix...isn't worth $4500
Just want to point out that the market value of the car has very little to do with whether it would be worthwhile to repair it or not.  If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it.  As another poster pointed out above, you can probably get it back on the road for much less though.

It is a common misconception that if a car isn't worth the cost of repairs, then it isn't worth repairing.  That's just not true.  With older vehicles, you have to look at the expected period of use that you are going to get out of the repaired vehicle.

  If it costs $4500 to get this specific car up and running, but it only costs $3000 to buy a similar vehicle that's running perfectly fine as of this moment, wouldn't it be better to buy the running vehicle for $3000 and get the two years out of that one and save $1500?

  A $3K car doesn't cost $3K -- add sales tax, title fees, tag fees, registration and the opportunity cost of car shopping.

Then you don't know what exactly you're buying.

There would presumably be sales tax added to the cost of a major repair, and in most states, the sales tax on the repair is the same rate as the sales tax paid on the purchase and registration of a new vehicle.  Assuming plates could be transferred for a nominal DMV fee, all the extra costs are basically a wash, give or take.

motors on eBay 1100 to 1500

my old man is a tv repairman, he has the ultimate set of tools.
i can fix this.

Wads said:   motors on eBay 1100 to 1500

my old man is a tv repairman, he has the ultimate set of tools.
i can fix this.

  Green for the hidden Sean Penn quote.

Find one with low miles cheap in a rust belt state and swap the engine. These will easily last 750k or 30 years if not in a road salt area. 

dcwilbur said:   If you can put it back on the road for $4,500 and get two more years out of it, that may very well be worth it. 
 

uh...this argument might hold if OP was driving a really nice car, and would theoretically only replace it with a very nice car where the cost of ownership is higher.

the cost of owning a 15 year old econobox should not be expected to be $2250/year. If someone is OK with paying that much, they can get something much newer and with lower miles and [likely] fewer problems.

OP - get another quote. that mechanic has access to reman engines but isn't saying so. But i personally would just sell it as-is on craigslist. I too have had good experiences with this. My last truck I bought for $2200, drove for 2 years and did no maintenance, then sold for $1200 when it died. plenty of hobby mechanic-flippers are OK with the tiny margins on repairs.

forbin4040 said:   3. You can't donate a non running car.
  Yes you can.

If you have the time/room for it, part it out and sell on craigslist/eBay

I would not be surprised if you could make at least $2k+ parting it out.

I went out to a self service junk yard. PicknPull. to check their price for a Diesel engine. $237.50 with accessories. If you want to save the TDI and are willing to go the work this is a possibility. 

Just sell it to the dealership or get quotes from them & a junkyard, you could do car forums too as suggested. When my 1994 Saturn threw a rod in 2007 (~160k miles but unsure as odometer quit at 149,251 I was able to limp it into a dealership. Wound up selling it to some guy that worked there for $200, car wasn't drivable at that point. Yeah I could've got more but not much more given all the other problems with the car and they had a similar car on the lot for sale for $2k.

If you don't want to be in the mini junkyard business just get rid of the entire thing--parting out is more viable if you're a car guy and have the space and time and don't mind perhaps being stuck with a car shell for awhile & putting in the effort to move it.

Just move on don't have any emotional attachment to it & go get another beater.

Also you don't need to go with a Crown Vic you can also get old Corollas or Camrys for ~1k. Good thing about that price point is you break even after 6 months and come out ahead after a year if no major repairs are needed (engine or transmission). Personally I'd go with a ~$5k budget to get a car that is no more than ten years old just for the safety improvements over time but to each their own.

Very odd that you throw a rod on these ALH engines, they are near bullet proof. Unless you hit the oil pan and ran it out of oil? It's the first I've heard of an ALH throwing a rod, ever!

I would personally, go over to TDIclub and talk to the guys over there to see if anyone local can put an engine in for cheap. As long as this isn't an automatic or the body is shot, this year TDI is an amazing car!

Also, STOP taking it to the mechanic that quoted you $4.5K to fix as they should touch a TDI in my opinion. Great car!! I have many in the family....

Skipping 15 Messages...
Phenomix said:   I had it towed to a mechanic I don't know.  Insurance would only cover 10 miles. I found a donor car ($1000) that I may try and purchase, see if I can find a car doctor locally. hopefully get it back on the road ~1500ish. 

The car must've been low on oil as some point and wore out a bearing...according to my friend. The got it towed home today.  Timing belt is looks new. I had it put in at 165k. Preventative measure that didnt pay off.

I bought the car with 160k on it.  Little naive at the time, second time buying a car. Doh! Crown VIC  next time.

Are there any other belts that could've broke - / caused it to run low on oil?

Thanks for the responses, I didn't expect so much analysis. 

  
160K isn't bad for an ALH engine, I sold mine at around 130K because I needed a bigger vehicle.  I seriously missed the economy when gas went to over $4 a gallon.  Its a lot less painful now.  

Just remember that its a basic standard car with very few frills.  Back then the Jetta was competing with Corolla more than anything else.



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