Was told that the repairs would be 2800 dollars. More than the car is worth due to the high mileage. The engine and gaskets and valves maybe damaged. I still over 2000 on the car. Can the repairs be done cheaper.
My car has 280000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
If the damage, if there is any at all, is limited just to the valves, all you have to do to fully resolve that is install a remanufactured cylinder head. A remanufactured head for your vehicle costs roughly $500, if you bought it yourself at a parts store. Of course, you would need to buy a timing kit and a head gasket and a few other incidentals. It takes about 5 hours to put a new head on your vehicle but, again, you have to add time for the timing components and other incidentals. So, at $80 an hour, you’re up to roughly $1,000 ($500 for the head and $500 for labor roughly) in a scenario where ONLY the valves were damaged.
Temporarily install a new timing belt (or better yet, a "used" belt, if you can get one so that you can save on the part cost while you do the following experiment). Once the belt is correctly installed, simply carefully test individual cylinder compression (throttle held open). If, hopefully, cylinder compression is within the allowed limits on a cold engine (there will be a minimum and a max. variance in the service manual; compression on cold engines will be lower on test), simply forget about engine damage and go ahead and install a NEW timing belt and put everything back together. On the other hand, if compression is NOT good, thus indicating a problem, it might still be possible to rule out damage to the top of the pistons using an inspection scope. If you can be sure that there is no damage to the pistons, but there is damage to the valves, just put a new (or CAREFULLY selected used) cylinder head on and be done with it. Again, if it the head alone, this is nowhere near a $2,800 repair. If both the pistons and the valves are damaged though, your least cost option will be to simply install a CAREFULLY selected used engine swap. Based on data at Car-part.com a used engine (some with really low mileage, too) for your car starts at $300 and tops out at $1,300.
If you want to investigate the possibility of putting a timing belt on and doing the compression check I referred to above to check for damage, the service to request is timing belt replacement - additional diagnostics/compression test. If you end up needing a cylinder head or an engine replacement, YourMechanic professionals in certain locales can assist with that. Please simply inquire based on your locale. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic and we will further assist you with this.
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