Sunfire costing $2400 to fix! Advice on Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix/Saturn Vue, etc

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Drew Bethel, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    We just sunk $1700 into repairing my 97 stick shift GT Sunfire this summer on a new water pump, new brakes, a tune up, and new struts. This past weekend the tranny went out and we got the bill for a new tranny and clutch (since we haven't replaced the cluth they recommend we do so at this time) for $2400!

    I trust my mechanic and know that he wouldn't take me for a ride, but I'm wondering if it's time to throw in the chips. The Sunfire has 108K and has performed flawlessly until everything started to go wrong this summer.

    So basically, if we get the current fixes done we will be over $4000 in auto expenses this summmer! We have not had car payments in two years and enjoyed the financial freedom. We just need to ensure we have a reliable vehicle especially with a new born baby and living in a state with notorious winters!

    Should we walk away and look at some of value models listed in the topic header. Cargo space and fuel economy is most important to us - we have a three month old daughter and a dog. [​IMG]
     
  2. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    My wife and I are researching new SUV's etc..we too have a 3 year old..no dog though.

    We did a 24hour test drive of the Vibe (it's a Toyota Corrola BTW) and really liked it. Great gas mielage, fun to drive, lots more room than we thought, and a nice size rugged and easliy cleaned cargo area..good for dogs I bet.

    We were thinking Vue, but based on the nasty recall it's having and the shotty built interior we're skipping it.

    Hyundai Santa Fe is number one on our list right now I think. Very nice ride, with lots of space. Great bang for the buck IMHO. Great reliability and crash tests as well.

    Our only other SUV that may be our top choice is the Mercury Mountaineer. My parents have a Limited 2WD and it is SO nice to drive. A ton of space plus every creature comfort imaginable for under $25,000 if you buy a year old one. Included 3rd row seat, leather, moon, 6 disc cd, and the list goes on. Very nice and worth a look.

    We're gonna wait until spring when dad retires and say he may want to "upgrade" to a more "upscale" model for his retirement years. He said he'd sell it to us. [​IMG]

    Good luck in your search!
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    You've already spent more repairing the sunfre than its worth, if that tells you anything.
     
  4. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    I bought my Saturn Vue this past November, and I love it. It has been a lot of fun to drive, and has tons of cargo space. I've hauled patio furniture, gas grill, lots of large plants, patio umbrella—all sorts of things— and there is always plenty of room. I like the size of it—bigger than a RAV 4 or CRV, but not a monster.

    Gas mileage is not too bad. Worse than my previous sedan, but not by too much. The V6 Vue actually has a Honda engine and transmission (same as the Piilot).

    It's also nice not to get door dings!




    The VIbe is actually a re-badged Toyota Matrix.
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    If you are looking at the Vue, look into the Chevy Equinox. It's the same platform but the Chevy is a little nicer inside and is generally being reviewed better than the Vue.

    It's a little longer than the Vue and has steel body panels instead of plastic.
     
  6. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the responses. Looks like I'm getting a Vue -today. They have a $4000 cash back that expires today on the 2004 model which bring the price to right around $15k out-the-door. Only one was available in the MN market so I'm stuck with red.

    My wife is test driving the Vue as we speak so maybe I'll take a quick peek at the Equinox before I sign off on the deal.
     
  7. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    And the Matrix, in turn, is heavily based on the Corrola platform [​IMG]

    Personally I'm waiting for the day that a an import pickup truck and a top-of-the-line BMW will be the same car. At the rate things are going it won't be too long [​IMG]
     
  8. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    The biggest knock on the Equinox is it's 20+ yr old pushrod engine... I've seen very favorable reviews on the Scion Xa, unfortunately it's ugly as sin in my opinion, but it's a compact 5dr built by Toyota and sells for under $13,000. The Matrix is definitely better, just a little more pricey.
     
  9. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    *sigh* OK, I'll do it: I have seen better cars a the Mall of America.

    That said,

    It's worth mentioning that the Mountaineer is nothing other than a fully loaded Explorer.

    --
    H
     
  10. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    How about the Subaru Impreza 2.5RS wagon for US$18K....or Subaru Outback Sport with a list of US$19K? All wheel drive is nice to have in a snow belt region. These will be on my short list when it's time for a new vehicle.

    Dave
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Hope you enjoy the Vue! Make sure the recall work has been done on the suspension. I'm a Subaru guy myself so would recommend a Scoobie over any of the above. [​IMG]

    Actually after sinking all that money into the Sunfire I probably would keep that for a while.
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    So would I... '05 Outback 2.5XT [​IMG] The official vehicle of hikers, cyclists, and kayakers it seems.

    Jay
     
  13. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    Buy tools, get a shop manual. $2400 for a rebuild & clutch?! Time for a new mechanic as well. He is ripping you off. My brother-in-law owns a used car lot. He picks up those cars at the auction all the time for less than the cost of that repair.

    -Dave
     
  14. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I won't be going through with the tranny repair...so I'm $1700 in the hole. I'm selling the Sunfire to the mechanic for $500...I just want it off my hands at this point!
     
  15. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Water pump, brakes, tune up, struts, and clutch are all maintenance work which should be expected at around 100K. The tranny itself, however, is not. I know you've already made your decision, but I remain convinced that fixing the car you have is always cheaper than replacing it. If it's a strictly a financial decision, then fix what you have. But if you're tired of it and just want a new car for the fun of it, then I can't think of a better reason to dump the old bucket for a new set of wheels. It sounds like you were "itching" to get rid of this one, so you should be happy with your decision.
    Where is it written that it is unwise to put more into a car than it's worth? I do that every time I fill the tank with gas! [​IMG]
     
  16. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Brian, a new car is nice but believe me, when you've been spending $600 per month on maintenance stuff it gives you a moment of pause. When we got hit a repair estimate for $2400 that was enough - the trade in blue book value is $1500. I also mentioned that we have a newborn...I don't know if you have kids but your their saftey and comfort becomes a top priority.

    But yes, a new car brings a certain type of stress with it. If I happen to bang the door of the Sunfire against the garage...small things. Or bumping into the work bench with our 1992 Chevy S10 that hasn't seen soap and water for years...priceless [​IMG]. Those days will be missed...I'm already talking about trying to keep the miles to 12k per year to enjoy the full warranty...ugh!!
     
  17. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Drew,

    Congrats on the VUE.

    If you were gonna go with the Matrix/Vibe I'd have told you to test drive one then go test drive a Mazda 3 5-door.
    The Mazda's built on the same platform as the new '04.5 Volvo S-40, and is close to a BMW as you're gonna get shy of 20k.
     
  18. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, but the Vue won't get dings! [​IMG] It will get scratched, however. [​IMG]
     
  19. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    That's perfectly normal for a do-it-all mechanic. It will probably be a tad less if he went to Aamco or Cottman's but not by much. I got quoted $1900-$2200 for my busted auto, but donated the car and bought another used one, this time a 5-speed.

    I'd buy a used import. A broken manual tranny at 108k is a joke.
     
  20. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Congrats, Drew. I didn't mean to suggest that your decision to get a VUE was a bad financial decision. Like I said, simply wanting to buy a new car is a good enough reason to get one. Safety, reliability, and other issues you mentioned certainly come into play as well. Enjoy your new ride, and don't feel like you have to justify your decision to anybody.

    Yeah, I have kids. My ten-year-old daughter thinks she'll be able to take my 1988 CRX to college with her.


    I don't think so. [​IMG]
     

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