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My poor car

is dying

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wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
4-Sep-2020 10:11 Message #4791451
According to the garage it has a leaking valve and its causing a loss of pressure which causes the engine light to come on and sometimes it "bunny hops" when pulling away from the house. The mechanic, who I trust, says on a 20 year old car even though it has incredibly low mileage for its age, that its not worth fixing, partly because everything else is 20 years old and it could very easily become a money pit. Manthing, being Manthing decided to have a look on You-Tube and found some videos about decoking an engine with water, he admits that its risky.

I'm not sure what to do, I have a distrust of a lot of stuff on youtube, but some of its is good and valid advice, it would be good have the car for another few years, but I also don't want the thing to blow up and be sat on the drive until we can get it to a scrap yard and in the meantime I'm carless. What would you guys suggest?
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
4-Sep-2020 10:17 Message #4791452
I'd listen to the mechanic...
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 10:18 Message #4791453
What is make and model of car and which VALVE exactly is leaking Hen?

Do you mean valve in cylinder head??
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
4-Sep-2020 10:27 Message #4791454
Personally, I'd consider how much MOT is left on the car, do I think it will pass next time?
An MOT test is £50 or so for a start.
How much is the road tax and how much is left, what will the refund be?
If the mechanic isn't keen to take your money then that's a sign it's not worth it, I'm sure he'd like the work...
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 10:28 Message #4791455
Yes I see it's one of the cylinder head valves.

Ballpark figure for getting head rebuilt would be around £300 to £400 if the take the head to a machine shop.

Did the mechanic conduct both a wet and dry compression test and if so what were respective numbers? It's also important to crank each cylinder same number of times as each other during compression test.

There is then the garage labour to remove/refit the head with new exhaust and head gasket set so maybe a ballpark total of £1000.

What is approx value of car today? Noting that repairs will not add a penny to the value...

The biggest single determinant of a car's value is age (unless it's a true classic car)

Many motor insurers call a 20 yr old car a classic but that is not what is really meant of course by the term.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
4-Sep-2020 10:32 Message #4791456
It has 11 months MOT, its is cheap to run, insure and tax, the cars worth the same as the repairs which is why the mechanic says its not worth fixing. I've no idea what sort of tests he did and I wouldn't understand if he had told me, he knows I know next to nothing and leave it to him. I don't think anyone will really call a mark one, 20 year old corsa a classic?
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
4-Sep-2020 10:41 Message #4791457
There's your answer, cut your losses.
Drive it to the scrap yard and spend your money on a car that's worth it...
connexkev  Male  East Sussex
4-Sep-2020 10:48 Message #4791458
The only good news is that it has a long MOT. You may be able to part exchange it for another second hand car as the cost to repair and fix things would be a lot of money. Hierophant has made a good point. Try a used car garage to see if you could get a deal with another car.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
4-Sep-2020 11:00 Message #4791459
I suppose you could try and trade it in but do you tell them it's knackered or keep quiet?
Although, with a 20 year old car it probably won't make much difference as they won't sell it on their forecourt, but they might not be interested as you're basically asking them to get rid of it for you...
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 11:39 Message #4791461
Hen - the only reason you would elect to get the car repaired is if you do not have access to a few thousand to buy a newer similar car - or if you have the money but prefer to spend it elsewhere.

Unless you buy a fairly new car you would not be able to buy even a separate independent warranty to cover repairs - as warranties have a falling annual limit on repairs as the car ages for obvs reasons.

Of course if you do buy a much newer car - you then face the large but hidden cost of depreciation.

That said the Corsa is not a dear car and there are examples online from as little as £400 - so if your annual mileage is fairly low there is an argument for buying a cheap one with 12 months MOT and being willing to metaphorically "run it in to the ground" and replace with similar as needed.

For around £2000 you could get a 2010 car - and £7000 can get you a 2017 car - though if you want to view and test drive locally I imagine there will be a somewhat limited choice - but you can select your desired search radius on the online searches.

Whilst the MOT was passed only a month ago - I am assuming there were no "Advisories" noted thereon - ie corrosion issues/little tread left on tyres/worn brake pads/engine oil leaks etc - as obvs any such issues would be an extra expense in the future if you keep the car.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 11:44 Message #4791462
Overall today I would value the car nearer say £200/£300 as sale on the basis of spares or repair.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 18:22 Message #4791478

This convertible metal roof Astra (copycat Merc SLK) is £3495

If your husband is capable of removing/refitting the Corsa cylinder head you may be able to get the repair done for around £400. It's a nuts and bolts job though you will need to at least borrow a suitable torque wrench to torque the head bolts on reassembly - and again after 500 miles or so of running.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
4-Sep-2020 18:57 Message #4791484
I don't have a HUSBAND! Perish the thought., but anyway, I went round to my mates house earlier, he's been a mechanic since 1968 and he had a good listen and drove it and it behaved perfectly, yet it had been acting up when I was driving to his and on the way back. He thinks it might be a problem with either the valve that lets fuel into the engine or something to do with exhaust gases leaking back to the engine, he said get a second opinion and the shocks are totally knackered. Manthing can fix some stuff, but he talks a better game than he plays, so he could get bored of it and leave it in bits, or mess about and I'd be no better off than now.

To be honest I'm inclined to ask mum if I can have some of my inheritance now and buy something much newer and that suits me and my needs now and for the next few years. I think I might need an automatic as my left knee is getting arthritic, although I might be alright with a car with a lower clutch, the one on the corsa is very high. I'd quite like something a little higher off the ground too for the same arthritic reasons. I don't want anything massive and high spec, just another small car to run about in thats comfortable to drive, long legs and back with short arms make driving positions awkward. I'm either almost in the back seat and can't reach the pedals or steering wheel or I feel like I scraping my head on the roof and about to pitch through the windscreen, there are a few cars I can't physically drive as my legs are jammed under the steering wheel even with the seat at its lowest and the wheel at its highest. The most comfortable car I've ever driven was my old Saab, but it was very expensive to run.

Thanks for all the advice.
brisinger-the-beekeeper  Male  Lancashire
4-Sep-2020 19:36 Message #4791486
I'd get a ball park figure of it's value from some of the many online sites. Possibly the most well known by TV adverts are webuyanycar and whatCar?

BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
4-Sep-2020 20:30 Message #4791489
Years ago I test drove a Porsche 924 - awful driving position with steering wheel so low it almost needed legs splayed out sideways - salesman said you just have to fit in around it - I thought WTF!

Given your needs you maybe need to visit one of the larger car supermarkets and try the driving position in a few cars - then once you have narrowed the focus look for a suitable model.

On your Corsa you should be able to buy a set of 4 shock absorbers for around £160 (rears £50 per pair) - Again a simple DIY nuts and bolts fitting process but precautions needed re springs - though a scrap yard should pay you the scrap value - or you could maybe sell it privately to a mechanically minded person who can do the repairs themselves.

That said the Corsa should NOT have passed MOT 4 weeks ago with dysfunctional shock absorbers as that can be lethal due to loss of control. Caveat being MOT is only valid as a snapshot of condition on the hour/day (if that).
fosy  Male  Leicestershire
4-Sep-2020 23:11 Message #4791493
" I might be alright with a car with a lower clutch, the one on the corsa is very high. I'd quite like something a little higher off the ground to"

if you mean the biting point of the clutch is high then that is a sign that its about had it.

in respect of "something a little higher off the ground too" a kia venga might suit;
"Is Kia Venga a good car?
its a good family car ,plenty of interior space and a large volume boot. The venga has a many extras that are safety features and the overall build quality is very good. The suspension copes well with all types roads but its a family car not a road racer ."

these cars stand quite high off the ground. but are a compact vehicle.

or the hyundai ix20.
HonestBob  Male  the Central region
5-Sep-2020 08:21 Message #4791497
"I don't think anyone will really call a mark one, 20 year old corsa a classic?"

I think for a 20 year old Corsa..... that might be it! I had two Corsas, a 2000 and a 2002 and both got up to around 120,000 miles. After that the were kind of F'ed.

My mum has recently got a 2010 Nissan Note, quite high-ish miles and it drives so well! Much better than my lower mileage, newer Subaru Outback. My Dad also had one, a 56 plate Note, couldn't say a bad word about it.
HonestBob  Male  the Central region
5-Sep-2020 08:24 Message #4791498
"I don't have a HUSBAND! Perish the thought"

BOYDEL.... The "Manthing" she mentions.... I've often wondered who, or what he is. I think I even asked once....

Maybe it's the Stig!!!!
Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire
5-Sep-2020 08:33 Message #4791499
Marrying the man in your life is not mandatory. gosh, you boys are nosy. lol
Pboro Trevor  Male  Cambridgeshire
5-Sep-2020 10:25 Message #4791512
Try adding Redex to your fuel tank. That will remove the carbon deposits and may improve performance.

BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
5-Sep-2020 11:34 Message #4791517
It sounds like a final decision would be facilitated by a robust appraisal of what exactly are the total faults with Corsa - as 2 mechanics so far have flagged different faults - and as Fosy suggested clutch needs looking as may also be needing replacement.

Has the car had a decent service at least annually - or was it only serviced every few years after doing the relevant mileage?

It is worth bearing in mind that if buying say a newish Kia it will need ideally main dealer servicing at the recommended frequency - and if serviced elsewhere the Invoice needs to detail exactly what has been done (in detail) and the part Nos of all components used to maintain validity of Kia's famous long manufacturer's warranty.
Aely  Female  Hampshire
5-Sep-2020 13:18 Message #4791526
Ah, the smell of Redex. That brings back memories.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
5-Sep-2020 15:09 Message #4791531
"It sounds like a final decision would be facilitated by a robust appraisal of what exactly are the total faults with Corsa"

Sorry, but what final decision?
With all due respect, it's a 20 year old Corsa worth about £200 with a long list of faults, all of which would cost far more to rectify than the car is worth.
Even replacing shock absorbers is not a job for the home mechanic on the front drive with a few spanners, I wouldn't even contemplate trying.
I have a 12 year old ford focus worth about £1000 and I would certainly think twice about spending more than a few hundred quid on it now.
I really don't see there is a decision to be made other than what scrap dealer you are going to drive the car to before it conks out completely and you have the added hassle of getting it picked up by a truck....
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
5-Sep-2020 15:52 Message #4791533
"Even replacing shock absorbers is not a job for the home mechanic on the front drive with a few spanners, I wouldn't even contemplate trying."

After being a motorist for only 6 months my first car needed a new clutch and with nil training or assistance I replaced the clutch successfully at the kerbside on a Saturday afternoon. Being a Triumph Herald it was a simple job to remove gearbox from inside the car after removing front seats and fibreboard transmission tunnel.

Next car needed new front shocks shortly after buying it - again a one or two hour job by kerbside - with judicious use of bottle jack to deal with the spring issue. Some people have a practical aptitude for such things whilst many do not.

Obvs I am not suggesting that a 57 yr old female with arthritis/joint issues signs up at local college for a car maintenance/repair course - but rather that listing all the imminent repairs and cost thereof kinda makes the decision for her - whilst she has already intimated that she is strongly leaning towards scrapping the Corsa and buying a much newer automatic car to last over next decade or so.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
5-Sep-2020 16:04 Message #4791534
Lol oh dear, the fact you mention a Triumph Herald tells us all we need to know.
For someone obsessed with figures, I'm amazed me you haven't worked out that buying shocks isn't cheap - a quick look online shows a cheap rear one is around £30 and a front around £40.
Why would you even bother buying them and fitting to a car worth £200?...

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