to repair or not to repair

Chris Tucker tucker at
Mon Apr 29 00:21:46 EDT 2002

I drive a 1991 Audi Quattro 200QT with 144,000 miles on it. It is in
pretty good drivable shape at the moment, but as the result of two
accidents, one in 1998 and another in 1999, and subsequent sub-par repairs
I find myself in a bit of a quandry:

1) fix the car up to spec
2) get another (used) car
3) keep on driving it in its less-than-perfect condition until it can be
drove no mo'.

I slid past a stop sign on an icy road while traveling about 4mph in '98
and hit a pickup truck going through the intersection at about 25mph. The
car had pretty bad damage to the front left, but the rest was ok.
Made the mistake of taking it to the body shop my insurer preferred, a
Chevy dealership (small town, not much else around) and they did a so-so
job: The bumper has sagged downward 2 inches and some of the trim popped
off in the time since then. So much for chevy repair jobs.

Second accident was in '99 when a semi rammed my at an intersection on the
highway. He wasn't watching where he was going. Hit me going about 5-10
mph and put a good dent in the bumper. Repairs were made by a different
company this time and were near perfect.

( )

Despite the hits, the car still drives fine. Very reliable...and paid for.

Things I'd like to fix:

Body work. I reckon this will cost me a few grand. I would take the car to
a frame alignment shop beforehand to double check that the frame wasn't
damaged in the previous two wrecks before preceeding with any
repairs. (both body shops said the frame was not damaged before)

Headlight has a hole in it. $300(!) to fix :P Fixed a busted headlight on
my gf's BMW: $5 at walmart...what a price difference!

repaint: Car is now three shades of pearl white thanks to wonderful repair
work by the two body shops. You wouldn't notice it unless you looked at it
every day like I do. Especially noticable at night when it's lit by
mercury vapor lamps. This has got to cost me another grand I am guessing.

Stereo is shot: From what I've read on the Web, sounds like a $500 fix for
four new speakers and new tuner.

So I'm guestimating this will cost me ~$5,000 to repair. Is it worth
it? The car is probably not worth that amount if I were to sell it in its
current condition.

I could buy a "new" used car for the amount it would cost for repairs. But
I have this feeling that the Audi will go another 100,000-800,000 miles if
I keep on fixing it (previous repairs include timing belt, $700 muffler,
$300 left front wheel bearing, yearly engine tuneups, etc).

just looking for your thoughts on this.


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