What is the car worth if it was running OK? What is the cost of
I was in a similar situation about 20+ years ago with an Old Cutlass.
It was about $1000 for a rebuild at the time, but the car was worth
$50 scrap with no engine, $3000 with a good engine. It was worth
fixing and it lasted me another 50,000 miles.
You may want to check a couple of local shops and see what they would
charge you to do the work.
Do a Google search.
I'm curious, how often (if ever) did you change the oil? I shoot for
5,000 miles but could easily go 7500 with my driving. That is by the
Over the phone, the sales manager said that my year, make, and model running
and in good condition would have a wholesale value of around $4,500 -
$5,000. I think he meant that's what they would get if they wholesaled it.
He said if it is running, but in its present condition (meaning significant
engine problems or whatever), and as long as it could "drive in the lane" it
might wholesale for about $1,000 - $2,000. He said "drive in the lane"
means they can drive it up onto the car carrier truck that takes it away and
drive it into the lane where they sell them wholesale at auction.
He said if it is not drivable, the wholesale value is basically just the
junk metal value -- my guess being maybe up to $500.
The vehicle is a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS Utility 3.5L Auto 4WD 6 Cyl 4
doors with 93,500 miles.
I don't know the retail value, but when I looked it up online Kelly Blue
Book said the trade-in value in fair condition would be about $5,300 and in
good condition would be about $6,100. The retail value if sold privately
would be about $7,450 in fair condition, and $8,340 in good condition.
Consumer Reports said the average trade-in value would be about $7,500 and
the average price to buy it from a dealer would be about $9,700.
The KBB and Consumer Reports values seem too high to me, but I don't know if
they are high or not.
The service manager at the dealership said he could get a used 3.5L engine
with 71,000 miles on it and the installed cost would be about $4,200. And,
I think he said he could get a used 3.5L engine with about 118,000 miles on
it and the installed cost would be more like $2,400(?).
I hadn't thought about the possibility of having this engine rebuilt,
especially since I don't know what may be wrong with it. I don't know what
may have been damaged so far, if anything, due to the oil crud issue.
That's a good idea, both for the rebuild idea or the idea of having a used
engine put in by a local shop.
I'll definitely do the searches and see what I can find out.
Unfortunately, I almost never did an oil change. The service manager at the
dealership said that some people just add oil when it gets a little low and
don't do the oil changes. That's me, although not any more now that I know
better. I had work done on the vehicle at 77,000 miles and they did an oil
change then, but nothing since then. I bought the vehicle with about 24,000
miles on it and I don't remember ever doing an oil change on it before the
one that was done at 77,000 miles. Sad, but true.
I have also been reading and hearing (for the first time) that synthetic oil
doesn't break down like regular oil and doesn't create the kind of crud in
the that I created through neglect. And, I didn't know until now that
people can just switch any vehicle over to synthetic oil if they want. I
thought that only certain engines take synthetic oil and other engines take
Thanks for all of your suggestions and feedback.
I see three choices.
Run it until it stops and junk it. You get pennies on the dollar
Take it to another car dealer while still running and see what you can
get for a trade-in. Take anything they offer and then run away fast.
Rebuild the engine or buy a rebuilt. It has been years since I've
done that so I'm not up on prices, but given the retail value, it
would be a $mart move. For a few thousand dollars, you end up with a
car that has a value of $7500 or more.
I've heard of people getting good deals from junk yards. My grandson
recently bought an engine for a Mitsubishi for $500 with a 30 day
guarantee. About four years ago, someone in work had a used engine
installed for that much into an old Grand Prix.
I found this. 3.5 engines for less that 2k
I numbered the choices that you mentioned.
I definitely don't want to do option 1. But, even if the engine did die, I
could always still do Options 3 or 4 -- meaning have another engine put in.
Option 2 may be a possibility, but it depends on what I find out regarding
Options 3 and 4.
Options 3 and 4 are both good possibilities, depending on what I find in
terms of the price of engines (rebuilt or just used) and the labor costs
involved. If some of the numbers that I am seeing are correct, it may end
up making sense to do one of these two options.
Another option that I plan on trying first is for me to try taking off the
valve covers and cleaning out all of the crud that I can to the best of my
ability and see what happens. And, maybe do some cleanout of the lower oil
I found two YouTube videos that describe what I have in mind, except that I
don't think that I will be making any attempt to remove the camshaft etc.
That would involve the timing belt and is something that I think would be
too complicated for me and could easily cause me to destroy the engine by
messing up the timing.
If I do the cleanout process, I know it may not fix the problem, but it
looks like something that I can do on my own time without too much trouble.
It just looks like it would be time consuming and messy, but not too hard to
do. And, I guess the worst that would happen is that it doesn't work and I
am in the same position that I am in now.
Here are the two YouTube videos that I found:
You mentioned that "people can just switch any vehicle over to synthetic
oil if they want". Well, actually people can drive off a cliff if they
want to also. ;) Actually if you have run conventional oil and switch
to a synthetic you need to plan to change the oil VERY FREQUENTLY the
first time or two. Some other folks may provide experiential
testimonials as to whether or not you can get away with just changing
the OIL FILTER frequently instead. The issue is that synthetic oil will
break loose the gunk and stuff that has collected over the years and so
at first, while this is happening, you run the risk of getting clogs. I
would worry that if you have some crucial passages which are partially
blocked too much loose debris might close off a passage. (The cure being
worse than the sickness.) That said, way back when we had a used Ford
we'd purchased and it was having issues for a few years. Finally an old
mechanic friend checked some things out and discovered that it had lots
of crud built up in the engine. He put transmission fluid into the
engine instead of motor oil, started it up for a minute or two and then
stopped and drained it. It was probably like putting 0W-30 in it. I was
a bit freaked but he said that it would not hurt for a short run like
that (granted it was a cast iron block). Given the condition of the
engine it was sort of a no lose situation.
On 6/1/2012 9:47 AM, TomR wrote:
I think that when I try the cleanout process that I described in another
post, even if it seems to work, there could still be the possibility of
something later breaking loose and plugging up a port and wrecking the
I did read about the transmission fluid idea, but I think my situation is
too far gone to hope for just a flush-out being able to resolve the problem.
Nevertheless, I am doing a brief Motor Flush process now while the car is
sitting next to my house before I start the under-the-valve-cover cleanout
project. I added Motor Flush and I have been running in for 2 or 3 minutes
a couple of times a day to see if that will circulate the Motor Flush and
help pre-soften the crud that I will be attacking in the next phase of my
cleanout effort. I probably shouldn't do this, but I added 2 cans of Motor
Flush instead of the 1 can that is recommended. I am only running it at
idle speed for 2 or 3 minutes at a time so it won't get too hot and I
hopefully won't be pushing the limits on the bearing lubrication etc.
In case anyone is curious, here are a few photos of the crud in the engine.
The first one is actually a photo of the photo that the dealership took when
they had the valve cover off. I haven't taken the valve cover off myself
The next two photos are from below when I had the upper and lower oil pans
off, and with the oil pressure relief valve plug removed.
Looks nasty. I have to wonder though, how much the engine is worn so
far. If you were to have the engine disassembled, cleaned (soaked in
solvent?), reassembled, what kind of condition it would be in.
That kind of work is beyond my capability, but perhaps some more
experienced mechanic would know if it is feasible at all.
Oil changes? What's an oil change? :-)
The truth is that I didn't really do them. I bought the vehicle with about
24,500 miles on it and it now has about 93,500 miles. I am guessing that it
had about 2 or maybe 3 oil changes in between -- all when it was being
worked on for some other reason. So, 2 or maybe 3 oil changes in almost
70,000 miles. All I really did is add oil if it got a little low. Not a
smart thing to do, and now I know why.
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