What to do with this old car?
April 5, 2021 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2009 Ford Escape with an intermittent loss of power steering due to an electrical issue. There was a recall, but Ford won’t fix it anymore. My local trusted shop is saying that it’s going to cost 2200-2700. It’s worth around 4500. I have already bought a new car to replace it. What to do?

It’s so expensive because you basically have to take the whole steering column apart and replace a good chunk of it to fix the problem. The power steering is electric, not hydraulic, so things are weird. Outside of the steering issue, it’s in basically fine shape for a 12 year old Escape. I’m thinking I’ll just list it on Craigslist for like 2000 and see if anyone is interested in doing a transplant with junkyard parts? Is that reasonable?
posted by rockindata to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
I’m thinking I’ll just list it on Craigslist for like 2000 and see if anyone is interested in doing a transplant with junkyard parts? Is that reasonable?

Yeah, put it up on Craigslist for 30% more than whatever amount would make you happy. Be extremely clear and honest about the condition of the car and the repairs it needs. Include several good pictures, both far away and close up of any major damage. Cash only, meet in a public place like the parking lot of a coffee shop during daylight hours only, pickup only.

It's how I got rid of my 20 year old Rav4 after an accident that cracked the radiator. One weekend and done, walked away with a few extra hundred bucks.
posted by phunniemee at 2:21 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

Yup, I've gotten read of literally broken vehicles on craigslist for a minimum amount of cash (in my case it was around $300ea but neither moved under their own power) -- you'll get some backyard mechanic looking for a project. Make sure you have the title and don't take checks.

You could take it to a junkyard which will pay you by weight, but that will probably be only $100 or so.
posted by AzraelBrown at 3:02 PM on April 5

Take it to Carmax or similar place with the title in-hand and let them inspect it. You don't have to offer your non-professional opinions about the condition of the vehicle.
posted by zeikka at 3:13 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

You could always just donate it. (Link is to the NPR/Car Talk donation site. Other organizations take donations, as well).

They will come and get the car from your driveway, and if you let them know the car is not driveable, they will tow it.

Not a great return, especially if you can't itemize your tax deductions, but a way for a charity to make a few bucks.
posted by dforemsky at 3:25 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

If a car is "worth" 4500, but it needs a 2500 repair, it's probably "worth" 2000.

It's a tricky decision, but it's hard to sell a car with a major repair needed. If you have the cash, I'd do the repair prior to trying to sell it. Or, try to sell for a week on craigslist/facebook marketplace, then, if it doesn't sell, try again after the repair.
posted by bbqturtle at 3:30 PM on April 5

I sold a car that needed a major repair like yours to the mechanic. He would make money after the repair at his cost. I actually think he gave it to his 17 daughter after the fix.

See if your mechanic wants it at the Craigslist price before you Craigslist it.

Fwiw, I took apart my steering column on my 2008 F-150 with no prior experience. Watched a bunch of YouTube videos and understood that I may never get it back together. The parts sound like just a little bit of the cost of repair. Maybe you can do the labor
posted by AugustWest at 4:06 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Given the nature of the defect, Ford should be fixing this for you under the recall unless there is some extenuating circumstance such as the necessary parts no longer being available. If one dealer has given you the runaround, ask a different dealer. If that doesn't work, escalate to Ford corporate or NHTSA.
posted by wierdo at 12:27 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]

Electrical issues are a hassle. If theres anything shorting out power steering it's also shorting out somewhere else. It's hardly ever just one issue when it comes to electrical. I'd be leery of trusting a mechanic who's interest is in making money not resolving the issue. I'd Google the hell out of your car symptoms and try to find others who maybe found a solution much cheaper. Ford may not pay for the repair but they could be on the hook for parts you might see about the consumer protection laws in this instance. If it was a fire hazard or a danger to life they most definitely would have to replace it but maybe you can save money by just buying the labor and still make a decent profit after it's fixed.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 1:18 AM on April 7

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