Nov 9, 2013 (7 years ago)
Sorry for the late response. Very sound feedback and advice, and I'm grateful for it. Interestingly, just as I was pondering it, there's been a development that forces my hand: the cam belt has actually packed up and the car has now been recovered to an independent garage.
I agree that going to the Ford dealership would be a complete waste of money, so I'll probably stick with my indy, which I do trust.
They've given me the following prices, and I'll explain why:
Cam belt change: £150+VAT
Cam belt change + Engine (Valve) Repair: £650+VAT
Considering the age and value of the car, both the AA patrol who recovered it and the garage mechanic suggested that to avoid excessive costs, we could try to put a cam belt on it and see if that brought the car back to life, hence the first quote. This seems in line with [i]NickG's[/i] estimate.
The alternative would be to go the whole hog and replace the cam belt and repair any damaged valves, which is what the second quote is for. The figure is clearly three times Nick's one, so the question is will all the parts justify that kind of price or are we talking substantially more labour as well?
[i]Whittinghame[/i], I like the suggestion of doing the water pump at the same time.
So assuming the worst-case scenario, i.e. there is engine damage and valves need changing, then I'm looking at:
Engine repair incl. cam belt:650
Water pump, additional: 100?
Brake fluid change: 40
Total: 940 + VAT ~ £1200
Which brings us round to my original question: [b]how can I assess how much life there is left in the car, which then helps me justify what I spend on maintaining it?[/b]
I'm now considering whether to let go of the car and buy something to tide me over until next year (when I was intending to replace the Focus anyway). Talking to a friend last night, the thought came up that once one component on an old car goes, others are likely to follow. For example, will the newly re-timed and re-tensioned engine then start pushing the exhaust and the gearbox a bit harder, casing them to fail in the near future?
On the other hand, I know the Focus and its history, whereas a (cheap) car I might buy will come with unknown and potentially unreliable history.
[b]What would you do?[/b]