Spending close to the cars value on repairs and routine maintance - What would you do.

I have a 2012 Ford Focus ecoboost. I have had it for about 10 years. I really love the car however in the last couple of years it is starting to get niggling repair jobs a leaking hose here or a parking sensor there. All very small jobs which cost under £200. I have probably spend £600 on repairs in three years until recently. 

Of course there is the usual consumables such as new tyres and break pads etc which have cost me about £600 over the same time period. 

I have potentialy two big bills £470 to fix an issue with the turbo (it drives fine but something is cracked) and then replacement cam belt quite between £1800 and £1250 depending on where I go. 

So this year I could end up spending over £2K on repairs and general maintaince this year if I include the cam belt. This is a lot for a 2013 car where the value will be no more than £3K if I sell to trade or part ex as it has a couple of very small dents and scratched alloys on 2 wheels. 

It's only 55K on the clock and I love driving it and love the feel of the car. 

But part of me thinks its time to switch. 

I could buy something like a Golf which is 3 years old for cash (£18K max) without to much trouble, this would be dealder with a 2 year gurantee. and also there are some great leasing deals out there at the moment. 

What would you do, I am torn about sinking a lot of money into an ageing car I love or not bothering with the timing belt in the ecoboost and bying a new car with no guarantee it will be reliable like my well maintained car. 


  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,850
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    Spending £2k on repairs is your cheapest option, and will be no more uncertain than spending a lot on a newer car. Anecdotal evidence is that newer cars are more unreliable. Although it is tough to spend so much on repairs, you are doing so for a car that you know is otherwise sound, that meets your needs and that you know you enjoy driving.  With just 55k miles it has a lot of life left in it. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,032
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    Personally I would keep the car I know rather than buy a car I don't,  especially a car you seem to love. 

    You have a choice to be either 2k down or 18k down, it's a no brainer, the warranty might not be worth the paper it's written on

    As regards lease you may never own the car and it may cost more than it seems at first glance

    I bought a Jaguar 4 years ago it's now 7 years old, I am in a different world when I get in it and I may never sell it as it's the best car I have ever had over the last 60 years 
  • facade
    facade Posts: 6,902
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    edited 13 October 2023 at 11:59PM
    What could you realistically get for £2K plus your car in the state it is now?

    At that price, something worse I suspect than your current car with £2K spent on it.

    You might get 5 more years out of your car with a total spend of £4K (another £500 a year at the end of years 1-4) , I doubt if you'd get 21 years out of an £18K car without spending anything further on it, so in terms of cost per year, sticking with the current car is the winner.

    If you want  to splash out £18K on a nearly new car, then that is a different thing, if you are just after a car that works it would be better to invest in the one that you know the history of and are content with.
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

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  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,232
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    edited 14 October 2023 at 4:50AM
    There's another thread about the cambelt issue on the ecoboost engines. I will link it below


  • mgfvvc
    mgfvvc Posts: 1,161
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    I'm running a 2011 C-Max with twice the mileage. I'm not sure an £18,000 Golf would be as reliable?
  • jimjames
    jimjames Posts: 17,497
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    Spending £18k on a new car to avoid paying £2k out doesn't seem like money saving to me
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
  • Goudy
    Goudy Posts: 1,429
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    edited 16 October 2023 at 6:18AM
    It's a difficult one but I might be tempted to call time on the Ford.

    It might seem to some a bit odd spending for a new car when you "just" need to spend £2k+ on a £3k car, but if you start looking further ahead in the future, things will look a bit different.

    As you are finding out the Ecoboost engine does have it's fair share of expensive problems and service requirements, plus it hasn't been known for reliability.

    You will almost certain have to pump more money in it sooner rather than later after you have paid out to sort out the issues that need attention now.
    What if it needs a new clutch soon or the MOT starts picking up rusty suspension parts, flaky brake pipes etc.

    For your budget you could get into a new car, just. I won't be a Golf but Renaults Clio comes in under 18k new (which has a bigger boot than the Golf)  and Suzuki now do a similar scheme to Toyota with it's warranties, it's 3 year/60,000 but then another year after every dealer service (up to 7 years or 100,000 miles)

    With the sort of miles it looks like you do, it should see you only really worrying about service costs and depreciation for another long stretch. You'll probably not even look at replacing the tyres or brakes for 4 or 5 years.

    As for depreciation, some car depreciate a bit slower than others, oddly even though Dacia are a budget brand they deprecate at a slower rate than similar cars, plus depreciation as a percentage of cost will be smaller as they are cheap to start with.

    With this your budget to run the car will be far more set and predictable for the foreseeable future.
    Yes there is a cost, the cost of a new car but that should equal out the long run. Your Focus just won't last forever no matter how much you pump into it.

    There's still some value in your Focus for a trade in without doing the work, it could be time to cash out now.
  • Herzlos
    Herzlos Posts: 14,616
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    Don't compare the expenses to the current cars value, compare it to the potential new cars value.

    What else could you buy for that £2k? What's likely to go wrong with it?

    Or you could spend £10k to avoid a £2k bill.
  • Johnmcl7
    Johnmcl7 Posts: 2,816
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    I have a 2011 car and a couple of years ago it failed the MOT on a few corrosion issues which concerned me because I had a Metro that started that way and it was just more and more money each year until it was scrapped.  I had a good look at the newer cars and came to a similar conclusion as others above that spending a large amount of money on a newer car didn't make sense as long as the car wasn't going to need large amounts of work each year.

    As it turned out I was fretting over nothing as the bill wasn't that bad for the repair work nor has it had any big bills since either.  If it does need some more major maintenance work then I'd definitely still consider it particularly given there's no newer car I want and the car has been exceptionally reliable.  I feel at times I've spent quite a bit on it however to be fair, most of the costs are wear and tear ones I'd be paying for a newer car as well
  • I have to say that a Ford Ecoboost is not perhaps the best choice to keep investing in, assuming it has the wet belt. Some might say you've been lucky to get this far with it without the wet belt shedding small bits of rubber and blocking the oil pickup or even snapping and writing the engine off. There are some other issues with this engine such as the degas pipe.
    Make sure you use the correct Ford engine oil, apparently this prevents the wet belt degrading.

    In general though the car you're driving now is usually the cheapest car available per mile even in the face of expensive repairs. Only a history of extensive neglect or widespread body corrosion will be exceptions to this rule.

    I've never understood the reasoning behind maintaining and repairing an otherwise reliable car properly for years then getting rid of it because it needs a head gasket or clutch doing or something. Seen plenty of people sell such a car or even scrap it, buy another for a load more money then have a similar issue crop up on the replacement car. Better the devil you know. I drive a 26 yr old Merc and will keep it going for as long as I possibly can. For me, cars have become a bit valueless after about 2001 but I have noticed a further loss of reliability/ repair ability again after 2007 and then about 2014.
    90s car were the best. I had a Peugeot 405 1.9TD estate which I bought for £80 as an MOT failure... ended up driving it for 5 years/ 50k miles. Ended up with 300,000 miles on it. I think I had two breakdowns and ran it on cooking oil. Wish I had gone to town on it and kept it.
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