Should I repair and sell or scrap/donate my old car?
January 14, 2016 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I have a 2002 Ford Taurus station wagon with 170,000 miles. The other day the starter died, and it should cost anywhere from 200-300 dollars to fix it. If I scrap it, I'll get 100 bucks. Should I take it to a mechanic, have them repair it, then sell it? Or donate it?

Basically I want to get rid of this thing. Will I get substantially more money if I fix it to the point where it runs, or should I just scrap or donate it for about 100 bucks?
posted by MisantropicPainforest to Work & Money (9 answers total)
 
The KBB value on this is around $1200 if you sell it to a private party or around $550 if you trade it into a dealer.

Clearly fixing the starter might be a good investment if you think you can sell it.

If you just want the thing off your hands ASAP, scrap it and walk away, but for about a grand, I might be inclined to put a bit of work into it.

Ask your mechanic if he'd be interested in buying it. You never know.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:11 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe call your local junkyard and see if they have a dead Taurus that you could pull a starter from, to save some money?

A car that starts and runs, even with Problems, is always worth $500 to the right person. Throw up an ad on craigslist titled 'cheap car runs needs a starter 800$' and see if you get any bites.

You'll have to deal with people. It isn't as easy as having someone show up with a checkbook and a tow truck to scrap it. But you'll get bites and from there you can determine if the added hassle is worth 500$.
posted by enfa at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2016


170,000 miles isn't too bad, really. If you need a car, and this one is serving you well, I see no reason not to drop a new starter in it and keep driving. I've done that to all my cars and haven't regretted it in the least. A properly maintained car can last an amazingly long time, even American models.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:47 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Starter is a pretty simple shade-tree fix. Put up an honest ad on craigslist, detailing known problems with the car and stating that it ran before starter went out. See if somebody will give you $600 for it. They put in a $75 starter and an hour of their time and get a $1200 car, you get $600, which is $500 more than you expected. Win-win.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2016


I had a Taurus (90's) that went over 250K. That thing was a beast and it met its final demise in a wreck, not a mechanical problem. If your transmission is fine and the engine isn't leaking like crazy or some other $$$$ problem, I'd replace the starter and keep going. Once you've paid off a car and are just doing basic maintenance, that is money in the bank. I'm firmly in the run it into the ground camp when it comes to cars.

The most critical part of this equation for me is having a mechanic I trust. I've found great mechanics through the Car Talk database. Find someone who has the experience to tell you when to say goodbye.
posted by quince at 1:30 PM on January 14, 2016


We need a reliable car and the Taurus isn't it. Three times this year it hasn't started when we need it to. I've put it up on craiglist and I'll see what I can get. Thanks!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:03 PM on January 14, 2016


We need a reliable car and the Taurus isn't it. Three times this year it hasn't started when we need it to.
Not to be that guy, but wouldn't that be because of the, uh, starter? ;)

Kidding aside, if you want to sell it, fix the starter than flip it on Craigslist or take it to CarMax. CarMax will buy literally anything, so you have at least a guaranteed sale there.

(Oh, and KBB is kinda crap for estimating value. NADA is a lot closer to what dealers will use. If you want to know market values to price out something for private sale, CarGurus sale data is useful too.)

NADA lists a 1997 Taurus Wagon GL with 178,000 and no options as having a clean trade value of $875, and a clean retail at $2,150. So personally I'd fix the starter myself (parts should run about $100 or less for a junkyard pull), then put it on Craigslist for $2,000 OBO and take the first cash offer at or above $1,000.
posted by -1 at 4:46 PM on January 14, 2016


NADA lists a 1997 Taurus Wagon GL with 178,000 and no options as having a clean trade value of $875, and a clean retail at $2,150. So personally I'd fix the starter myself (parts should run about $100 or less for a junkyard pull), then put it on Craigslist for $2,000 OBO and take the first cash offer at or above $1,000.
So I'm an idiot... I don't know why I thought it was a '97. Reading comprehension is apparently not high on my skill list today.

A 2002 Taurus Wagon SE with 170,000 miles and no options has a NADA clean retail of $3,325 and a clean trade of $1,750.

So I'd *definitely* fix it! I'd target a Craigslist sale of $1500 or better.
posted by -1 at 6:47 PM on January 14, 2016


Not to be that guy, but wouldn't that be because of the, uh, starter? ;)

Nope! First it was the battery, then then something that made it misfire, then the starter.

Update: I got it starting, so its definately in need of a new starter: I banged the existing one with a hammer, and boom.

How difficult is it to replace a starter?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:12 PM on January 15, 2016


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