Car repair advice needed

Hello, I do not know much about cars and need advice. I purchased a 1995 Chevy Lumina 3 years ago. I paid $2500 for it. Since then, I have put about $3000 into
it for various repairs. In January, it would not start. I had it towed to the garage. The mechanic said it is leaking oil and transmission fluid. He said it also needed a new starter. He charged me $550 to clean the fluid off the engine and to put in a new starter. I went to pick it up in the evening, after it had been sitting in the icy cold all day, and it would not start. It was in the same condition as before I had paid the $550! The next day, he told me that he would need to put in some kind of new wires for $220. I paid for him to do that, and the car now starts. However, it runs just as poorly as before once it starts. Sometimes, I have to start it 5-10 times to back it out of my driveway. For the first 10-20 minutes, it will stall out when I idle at a red light, and the brakes to not work properly. When I try to push on the break pedal it is like there is an object in the way, and I have to push down with quite a bit of force. Once the car has been running 10-20 minutes it runs fine (for now?!??!). .... Now, the muffler is suddenly making a tremendous amount of noise. It sounds like a lawn mower, or louder.
I never had the two leaks fixed that the mechanic told me about. He said that it will cost about $600 to have the leaks fixed. Right now, according to him, the car is leaking oil and transmission fluid and it is getting all over the engine.
What I am wondering is this. At what point would a person who is knowledgeable about cars decide that enough money has been put into a vehicle and that another used car should be purchased? I presently cannot afford to buy a new car. If I buy a car it will have to be another car in the $2500 price range. This Chevy is now in need of the $600 repair for the leaks, the muffler needs to be fixed, and soon I will need new tires and brakes. It is getting to the point where it will need so much money in repairs that I could buy another used car. On the other hand, if I buy another used car for $2500, won't that quickly need repairs too? I am wondering if it will be a case where I will spend $2500 for a used car and then it will need $3000 or more in repairs, like this Chevy has needed? If that is the case, I might as well just keep the Chevy and pay for all the repairs. Or, since this car is 13 years old already, would I be better off spending $2500 to get a newer car? Would a newer car generally need less repairs for awhile?
I know very little about cars and I am confused. I hope someone will give me advice. I am a college student and I am in a financial disaster. I almost can't afford the tuition payments for graduation, and now I am having all this trouble with my car. The drive to school is an hour each way. Every time I get in the car I wonder if it will make it. There is no bus system in my area, and I have no one to drive me to school, even for a short while. Please give me advice if you can. Should I keep sinking money into this 1995 Chevy or should I start thinking about getting a new car?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!
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The following message looks like a major troll to me, but if anyone wants to start addressing the extensive list of problems described, go ahead and start the pile of posts If what the message says is true, then QA2008 needs some life advice from a friendly uncle.
Sorry for the top post.
Rodan. ________________________________________________________
Hello, I do not know much about cars and need advice. I purchased a 1995 Chevy Lumina 3 years ago. I paid $2500 for it. Since then, I have put about $3000 into it for various repairs. In January, it would not start. I had it towed to the garage. The mechanic said it is leaking oil and transmission fluid. He said it also needed a new starter. He charged me $550 to clean the fluid off the engine and to put in a new starter. I went to pick it up in the evening, after it had been sitting in the icy cold all day, and it would not start. It was in the same condition as before I had paid the $550! The next day, he told me that he would need to put in some kind of new wires for $220. I paid for him to do that, and the car now starts. However, it runs just as poorly as before once it starts. Sometimes, I have to start it 5-10 times to back it out of my driveway. For the first 10-20 minutes, it will stall out when I idle at a red light, and the brakes to not work properly. When I try to push on the break pedal it is like there is an object in the way, and I have to push down with quite a bit of force. Once the car has been running 10-20 minutes it runs fine (for now?!??!). .... Now, the muffler is suddenly making a tremendous amount of noise. It sounds like a lawn mower, or louder.
I never had the two leaks fixed that the mechanic told me about. He said that it will cost about $600 to have the leaks fixed. Right now, according to him, the car is leaking oil and transmission fluid and it is getting all over the engine.
What I am wondering is this. At what point would a person who is knowledgeable about cars decide that enough money has been put into a vehicle and that another used car should be purchased? I presently cannot afford to buy a new car. If I buy a car it will have to be another car in the $2500 price range. This Chevy is now in need of the $600 repair for the leaks, the muffler needs to be fixed, and soon I will need new tires and brakes. It is getting to the point where it will need so much money in repairs that I could buy another used car. On the other hand, if I buy another used car for $2500, won't that quickly need repairs too? I am wondering if it will be a case where I will spend $2500 for a used car and then it will need $3000 or more in repairs, like this Chevy has needed? If that is the case, I might as well just keep the Chevy and pay for all the repairs. Or, since this car is 13 years old already, would I be better off spending $2500 to get a newer car? Would a newer car generally need less repairs for awhile?
I know very little about cars and I am confused. I hope someone will give me advice. I am a college student and I am in a financial disaster. I almost can't afford the tuition payments for graduation, and now I am having all this trouble with my car. The drive to school is an hour each way. Every time I get in the car I wonder if it will make it. There is no bus system in my area, and I have no one to drive me to school, even for a short while. Please give me advice if you can. Should I keep sinking money into this 1995 Chevy or should I start thinking about getting a new car?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!
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I looked up the word "Troll" and found that you are saying I am posting a fake message! You are not being very helpful. You are right, that I need advice from a friendly uncle. I do not have anyone to give me advice. Every time I ask anyone for car advice, they tell me they do not know what to do. I hoped that people who are interested in cars could give me advice. I am trying to ask whether it is worth it to keep pouring money into this Chevy. If I buy another used car, it seems like I would have to pour money into that. It seems that no matter what I do I am doomed with this car situation. At this point, I would start taking the bus but there is not a bus system in my city. I need real advice about whether to keep sinking money into this car or to get another used car and start sinking money into that. It seems to me that if I get another used car I will be in the exact same boat I am in now with this Chevy.
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Judging from your comments it sounds as if you don't trust the capabilities of your "mechanic".
Looks like he might have convinced you to exit the "boat you are in now" in exchange for "a ride to the cleaners".
There are several ways to fix all your problems: 1) replace the mechanic, or 2) buy a NEW car, or 3) buy a bicycle, or 4) carpool. If you choose option #1 you must have someone other than yourself, since you don't know anything about cars, select a good mechanic for you. Good Luck! Life may not be the party we hoped for,But while we`re here we should dance
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While the Lumina doesnt get rave reviews on quality or dependability, it should have been better that what you experienced...
You bought a money pit. One would hope that with all those repairs (which sound excessively expensive to me, by the way) this thing would start developing a little reliability, but apparently the car is addicted to frequent and expensive visits to the garage.
We dont know what sort of engine and transmission is in that car, nor the mileage involved, but I suspect that your problems are not over. If your transmission fails, or your engine commits suicide, you are looking at substantially more expensive repair jobs or you will be left with a worthless hunk of metal.
- You could take a course in auto tuneup and repair at a local community college, or suchlike, get yourself a manual, and start doing some of your own work. That could save you a lot of money, or...
- Get this thing running well enough to sell it and buy something that is more reliable...This time, have a mechanic friend help you choose more wisely. Dont buy somebody else's problems, if you can avoid it.
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<snip> > Should I keep sinking money into this 1995 Chevy or should I

A car this old is going to be very much a product of the care it's received in its life. 13 years is a long time for neglect, aftermarket parts and inept servicing to do lots of damage. And it sounds like yours has definitely not been looked after.
My general recommendation to any non-techie wanting car-buying advice from me is to get the absolute newest car he can afford, just to minimize the probability of buying a money pit.
Consider how much you would have to pay to get something newer and in better shape. Now contrast that against how much you'd have to pay to completely overhaul your current Lumina. That's how you decide whether to keep or sell.
--
Tegger


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Not an easy situation.
With a car that age I normally say dump it when the monthly upkeep starts costing more than payments on a new one or when a major component fails like the trans or engine.
Not to be mean, but you probably aren't going to find a great replacement car in the price range you are looking in. Best thing I can tell you is to buy from the original owner, not a used car lot. Check them out just as much as you check out the car. Nice house? Well kept yard? May sound dumb but in the age/price range you are shopping in how a car was cared for makes all the difference. If you can buy a car from a cute little granny and granpa with the perfectly maintained house and all the service records for the car since it was new I'm picking that one over the one in the trailer park with used appliances in the yard and the bubba that "changed the earl" once a year. Once you pick the car you need to take the car and have it checked out by a mechanic. People love to sell their problems which is what it sounds like you bought last time. Don't let my cute granny from above get you! You can not skip this step if you don't know a whole lot about cars.
Can u lease a new car? Normally I don't care for that idea but perhaps u could get the cheapest thing with four wheels for a hundred and change a month on a lease.
For the current vehicle: You need to start looking for somewhere else to take the vehicle for service. A starter replacement on that car should have been half what you paid. Ask friends and family who they use.... Normally I try to find an honest small independent shop and stay away from the chains like Goodyear and pep boys etc..
As far as the oil and trans leaking there normally isn't any reason these have to be fixed quickly unless they are major leaks.. Just keep a close eye on the fluid levels so you don't run low.
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wrote:

I have heard that the Geo Prizms of this era were extra reliable little cars, and you might be able to find one in the price range you are talking about.
I believe they were based on the Toyota Corolla, but I cant say for sure.
Owners I have talked to say that they last forever, BUT you can still buy a POS if you arent careful. As previously mentioned, if you get one that someone "dogged", and they didnt change oil or tranny fluid, etc, then you wont be any better off..
Some GM models have problems that are known to everybody in the trade and you might want to avoid those.. For example, the 3800 Series II engine of the middle 90's to early 2000's have a plenum problem which almost always fails, given enough time. It can cost enough ($350 to near $1000) to get it fixed. Some of the others with 3.1-3.4 engines have other problems having to do with intake manifold gasket failures. If people have not maintained their auto transmissions, you might not get much more than 100,000 miles out of them, or less.
Some Ford models had engine problems and tranny problems, as did Chrysler. Taurus is one model that has been a laughing stock in some groups. A lot of people bought them, some loved them, but a lot fell to pieces in short order.
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I hate to say it, but the Metro is the same way. They are like the K-Cars of the 21st century. The interior is cheap plastic and feels like crap, the handling and acceleration are doubful at best, but they just keep running and running even when badly abused. The whole drive train is really quite solid.

With any used car you are at the mercy of whoever had it before you. If at all possible, get a car with a maintenance log. That doesn't mean all that much, but it does mean the owner has at least taken the time to keep a log. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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QA2008 wrote:

Well, First of find a better mechanic. From what you have posted this one is REAL good at taking money and doing shoddy work. If he told you to come and get it because it was ready and it didn't start, he didn't repair the problem. The LEAKS, could be simply gasket leaks.
From your description of the crappy running and the brakes it sounds like you have a LARGE vacuum leak. That shouldn't be very hard for you to track yourself. Open the hood and look at the brake booster (big round thing bolted to the firewall with the master cylinder attached) It has a large line that goes from it to the engines intake manifold. Look for cracks or splits in the line and check that both ends are on tight. Now look on the engine itself for any loose hoses that are just laying there. Check ALL the hoses for leaks. To make it easier you could go to a parts store and buy a can of WD40. Start the engine and let it idle, now use the can to LIGHTLY spray each hose. Do them one at a time and listen to the engine. When you hear the engine rev up (like you were pushing the throttle) check the area you just sprayed for the leak. Fix the leak and see if your brakes work.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
  Click to see the full signature.
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QA2008 wrote:

If you are looking for advice, then here is mine: Dump the car. It prob has the 3.1 engine with the leaking intake manifold. Buy a Toyota Corolla.
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buy a toyota! and buy a 3800.00 trans or failed head gasket done both in the last month for customers asian crap cars and i did a nissan full size truck with 25 k that gets a new raditor nissan would not cover under warranty at 2 different dealers per customer still under 3/36 his parting comment was i will never buy another one nothing but trouble with truck since day 1
Paul wrote:

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mr.som ting wong wrote:

That's good to know. It is normal for those head gaskets to fail after a few years? Do you replace a lot of them? Same for the trans?
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Over the years, many cars have had runs of defective or short lived elements. Some are worse than others.
A lot of Nissans and Toyotas will run nearly forever. There were some problems on some, JUST AS GM HAS HAD SEVERE PROBLEMS IN MANY VEHICLES>
Check before you buy.
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you are correct and i would like to add asain cars cost far more to repair than gm
HLS wrote:

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You have a crappy mechanic. Go find a good one, or better yet, do it yourself (and use good parts, not crap from Autozone/Advance Auto/Pep Boys/Kraken, etc.).
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On Mar 13, 8:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

driving a car is never free. either you spend more at the beginning and then spend less for repairs, or you spend less first and then pay much more in repairs, but either way you have to spend money on your car:) personally I don't think it's worth to keep an old car unless you can repair it by yourself. (I've been there... every time I went to the mechanic I spent a few hundreds $$$, every time... , I sold it finally, it wasn't worth it). and if your mechanic is really crappy go to http://www.autonoto.com , search by your zip, and then by positive reviews. maybe you will find a better one. but you can't win with them anyway..
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lots of trans missions headgaskets are usually a result of neglect form overheat
Paul wrote:

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My rule of thumb is that when a cost of repair is greater than the value of the car, I get rid of it. Guaranteed if car is wrecked you will only get bluebook value.
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QA2008 wrote:

I would demand a refund for all but 1 hour of labor because you paid to get your car problems fixed, not merely have parts thrown randomly at them. I hope you paid by credit card.
Take a course in basic auto maintenance and repair at a community college, or at least read some introductory books about car repair, preferrably not Chilton or Haynes manuals.
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