My car has been running horribly lately. The engine sounds horrible, it idles bad, etc. I mean, what can I really expect from an engine with 175,000 miles on it.
Well... Monday I pulled into the garage, shut the car off, and heard a new *CLUNK* noise. I thought, "great... something else is broken" However, I sort of just brushed it off for the evening.
The next morning, I tried to start it up and got an awful awful noise. Not like a dead battery or anything. Just this loud whine and the engine never turned over or anything. So I was basically stuck working from home.
Throughout my work day I made periodic trips down to my car to sort of mourn and gradually check things out as I thought of them. One of the first things I did was take the timing belt cover off - sure enough, the timing belt was loose and off it's teeth. Now, if you don't know a whole lot about cars, my car in particular, you might just think, "just throw a new belt on, what's the big deal?"
Well, it is sort of a big deal. See my engine is an interference type engine, which means that the valves enter the cylinder when the piston is out of the way. The problem with this is, if the timing is off by just a little tiny bit, the valves and the piston will run into each other, thus bending the valves and possibly damaging the piston. This is what happened to my car.
Basically, something broke externally near the timing belt to cause more serious things to break internally.
What it means is - taking my engine apart, replacing the head, replacing whatever broke externally (most likely a $100 pulley), and also replacing the timing belt - which involves unbolting the engine and jacking it up a bit. Oh, and I'll need new gaskets on everything while I'm at it.
Basically I'm dealing with several hours of dirty labor and at least $500. For what? To possibly get my crappy car running again.
I don't know what to do. I mean, no matter what, I have to borrow a car until I get something figured out. So, my options, as I see them, are:
- Fix my beater (again), so that I can keep driving my crappy, degrading car
- Buy another beater to get me by until Kari and I can afford the car i want (probably next year)
- Buy a truck. Practical. Everyone can use a truck. Plus, they retain their value well and we could just trade it back in later. However, this will require a loan - and more debt
- Buy another Eclipse with low miles and use my car as a parts car. This requires a loan, but I'd get a fun car to drive... I dunno. If I mod it, it'll lose value fast.
- Try to get an older M3 or e36. It'd require a loan as well, but it'd be a fun car to have. But then again, older cars may mean more repairs - which I am super sick of.
I just don't know. I don't have much money for a down payment, and we really don't have much extra income for car payments... but we could maybe swing a $10,000ish car for a minute. Advice? Suggestions?