Chucking good money after bad? WWYD

(6 Posts)
elvislives Sun 31-Mar-13 10:46:57

I have a 5 yo Chrysler PT Cruiser, which I got new. It's regularly serviced and all I've had to pay out for over the years has been tyres, wiperblades and brake pads.

Made the final payment in January. In February the alternator seized, the belt shredded and the repair was over £1000. In March the battery died (probably because of the alternator) and that was another £308. While in the garage they discovered the clutch needs replacing and have quoted me almost £900.

The car is probably worth less than £3k and to make matters worse some kind soul in a carpark a year ago reversed into my rear wheel arch causing a dent and a huge scrape right across the rear door. Quote to fix was over £800 and can't claim on insurance or will lose no claims. So again that devalues for resale.

We are really short of money and I was planning to keep the car once paid for so we could reduce our monthly outgoings. But obviously the repairs for the last few months would have paid for a year or so on a new agreement.

Does anyone know if, once I fix the clutch, there is anything else likely to go wrong? Having shelled out £1400 already I'm loathe to get rid of it, but if this is just the first of £££ then I need to give up before I shell out any more. The RAC man who rescued me says they are generally pretty reliable but I just don't know what to do. Any thoughts?

WMittens Sun 31-Mar-13 11:17:51

£308 for a battery is extortion, it's absolutely obscene; a replacement battery is about £40-£70 for a good one and two minutes work to swap over.

Get a quote for the work from a different garage that isn't going to mug you.

If the cambelt hasn't been changed, it might be an opportune time to get that done with the clutch, along with the water pump. (They may already have been done with the alternator, worth checking).

Personally I'd say if you can get a 5 year old car of which you know the history for £900 (or other better quote if possible), sure, replace it; otherwise get the clutch done.

Whatever you do, don't buy a new car if you're short of money and get rid of the Cruiser - just because it's a "convenient, manageable monthly payment" doesn't mean you're saving.

WMittens Sun 31-Mar-13 11:18:41

Along with the comment about the battery, a grand for a new alternator and belt sounds ridiculous. Definitely find a different garage.

elvislives Sun 31-Mar-13 16:22:30

It's a spiral battery (no idea what that means, but that's what the RAC told me) and it goes under the seat, so not a normal one.

I think the alternator wouldn't have been quite so much except that the belt shredded into the engine, which you can't get to without taking the headlights out.

How do you go about finding a garage though? Where we used to live there was one we knew was trustworthy, but we have been stung in the past by "cheap" garages (one left a spanner in part of an engine; another didn't replace the oil when they said they had and the engine blew up - just 2 examples from our years of old cars...).

I tried Mr Clutch for a quote but they won't touch PT Cruisers.

Thanks for the advice on the cambelt.

WMittens Sun 31-Mar-13 16:51:01

I've not heard of a SpiralCell battery before - it looks to be a Varta trademark. It's not essential to have that type of battery, it's just an expensive, high performance battery; anything of the correct shape and a high enough CCA rating (Cold Cranking Amps) will be fine.

It's an unfortunate trend that modern car engine bays are increasingly cramped, and require a lot of time just to get to the oily bits; some cars need the entire front end dismantling in order to get to the cambelt.

zumo Wed 03-Apr-13 06:54:05

Find your self a good local garage the bill will be far cheaper.
I like the PT cruiser and the Voyger but was put off as many parts are dealer only so you never fine a cheaper alternative, I would just fix it as if you sell it and but another you have no idea of the history

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