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Q: Is it worth fixing or just junk it?

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My car been sitting in the driveway for over 3 years, originally because it was overheating and then the tags all expired so i just gave up on it. Now i wanna see if it's worth fixing or just get rid of it and go for a new car. It doesn't start up anymore even with a new battery so i need your professional advice, does it sound like I'll be spending too much just to fix it because it looks like it still has great potential, or just move on With life. Thank you. My friends tell me to try and fix it save the hassle of new monthly payments. What do you think?

My car has 71000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The sales tax alone on a $20,000 new car am...

The sales tax alone on a $20,000 new car amounts to about $1,400. Inasmuch as $1,400 will buy a lot of repairs, you’ll obviously want to give serious consideration to fixing what you have. I would first check and make sure the engine turns freely, that is you want to be sure the rings in the cylinders didn’t rust to the cylinder wall. If the engine turns freely, you’ll simply want to get the no start condition diagnosed and repaired. The issue may be old fuel in the tank. If the fuel in the vehicle is more than a couple months old, that alone will keep it from starting. Fuel actually goes bad relatively quickly. If there is old fuel in the tank it will all HAVE to be removed and you might have to get a new fuel filter and have the fuel injectors cleaned, too. Then, once you get the engine running, obviously the overheating, which presumably will evidence itself on start up, has to be dealt with but who knows the overheating could have been due to a faulty $25 thermostat, a loose drive belt on the water pump or other reasonably circumscribed cause. If the overheating gets resolved (i.e., is not due to a leaking head gasket which would slightly complicate things), your final barrier will likely be the braking system. When brakes aren’t used, they tend to basically become "permanent brakes", that is the pads rust to the rotors and even if the car is not rendered "fixed in place", the brakes will probably not work that great. But, even if you have to buy all new rotors and loaded calipers (might be good idea but depends on results of inspection), your total repair bill could still be below the cost of just the sales tax on a new car. What I would suggest is get a no start diagnostic, get the engine running without any overheating and at that point get an estimate of the remaining repairs and refurbishment necessary to get it running. If you do all this methodically and carefully, you will end up with a running vehicle at the lowest possible cost.

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