There comes a point in the life of most cars when the effort/money/time required to keep the car alive exceeds any real or emotional value. Here are the ten signs it's time to let your car die, according to Jalopnik readers.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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10.) When Duct Tape Can't Fix It
Suggested By: Raybey Maybey Slurpee
Why It Might be Time: Duct tape can do a lot of things. Most of the time, a little duct tape does wonders for holding down pieces of upholstery in a car's interior, or keeping a headlight or taillight in place. But when your car looks more like this than a real car, it might be time to let it go.
Photo credit: akeg, flickr
9.) When Google No Longer Helps
Suggested By: CRXPilot
Why It Might be Time: For the majority of car problems, there's no doubt that Google can be your best friend. Chances are someone, somewhere, has had the same problem as you and has documented it and put it up online. Either that or there's an entire online owners' club forum working tirelessly to diagnose the problem. But what happens when your car gets so bad that Google and the forumites fail you? It might be the end of the road.
Photo credit: Google
8.) When Parts Become Unavailable
Suggested By: Streets_Ahead
Why It Might be Time: The real-world version of Google failing — not being able to find parts — is even scarier and more immediate. When your parts store, junkyard, spare parts car in the backyard, and friends run out of spares for your ride, you're SOL unless you have some seriously deep pockets or machining skills.
Photo credit: rainy city, flickr
7.) When You Have To Choose Between Big Projects
Suggested By: notfitforhumanconsumption
Why It Might be Time: Do you have enough time or money to do both the bodywork and engine maintenance? What about the tears and stains in that seat? And the electrical system's been acting up lately, too. When you have to decide between major problems, for whatever reason, it usually means there's more to do than it's worth to keep the car on the road.
Photo credit: rustyheaps, flickr
6.) When the Engine Seizes
Suggested By: E34isanunderratedE30...Exceptbetter
Why It Might be Time: When your car's heart stops beating, it's usually easier to forgo life support. Performing open-bay engine swap surgery often opens a whole new can of worms that the shade tree
surgeon mechanic isn't qualified to deal with. And by that point it's most likely less expensive, both monetarily and in time spent, to just get another car.
Photo credit: Sparkwash, flickr
5.) When the Engine Block Cracks
Suggested By: Irishman
Why It Might be Time: Generally speaking, when the most solid part of an engine has a hole in it that isn't supposed to be there, it's bad news. Depending on the severity of the crack, it might sometimes be repairable, but the structural integrity of the block has been compromised, and it's probably only downhill from there. Time to cut your losses and move on.
Photo credit: Cadillacforums.com
4.) When You've Been "Meaning To Get To It" For Months
Suggested By: Autojunkie
Why It Might be Time: If your project car has been sitting in your driveway for months on end, and your spouse or significant other is giving you hell about it, you may want to consider either putting up or shutting up. Conversely, if your daily driver has been sitting in your driveway for months and you're driving your project car, you have a whole other set of problems. Someone, somewhere, will probably be happy to buy your car and also not work it.
Photo credit: bradleyolin, flickr
3.) When Rust Eats It
Suggested By: ZeroOrDie
Why It Might be Time: The Rust Monster is a cruel and unyielding opponent. Once it infests a car, it spreads like vehicular cancer and gets harder and harder to eradicate. You may get it all out of the passenger-side footwell, but it's still in the frame rail underneath, and there's a new spot on the back left fender that beginning to bubble... It is quite literally like opening Pandora's Box, except instead of releasing all the evils into the world, you're just releasing little brown flakes of chassis into the air. Go get a car that doesn't start disintegrating when you look at it funny.
Photo credit: JV Virta, flickr
2.) When You Survive, but the Car Doesn't
Suggested By: BigHarv
Why It Might be Time: If you've ever been in a really bad accident, you know that the car often does not resemble a car when all is said and done. If it is that bad, but you still walked away, the car is probably KIA. Let it go. It fought valiantly to protect you, and gave its life to save yours.
Photo credit: insurewish, flickr
1.) When The Mechanic's Costs are More Than the Car's Value
Suggested By: SennaMP4
Why It Might be Time: When the work gets to be too much to do on your own and you have to call in an expert, it's time to reconsider. When the expert starts quoting prices at or near the car's worth, it's definitely time to hand those keys on to someone else. If your mechanic starts reading a list of things he's going to have to fix, you'll only feel worse when he gets to the bottom and reads you a big number with a dollar sign attached. It may have been a good run, but it's probably time to put your car out to pasture so it can be recycled into a Chinese coal plant.
Photo credit: Marcelo cK, flickr