My car needs some work, but I don't like taking out too much debt and my savings are sort of depleted for the moment, so I need to do a little at a time. How can I prioritize the work that needs to be done? What I'd really like to know is, in general what types of things should be prioritized and what types of services can be pushed down the list? Are more expensive repairs likely to be necessary, or scams? Obviously "the car doesn't work" becomes Super High Priority, but what kinds of smaller items lead to the car not working faster than others, I guess is what I'm asking?
The specifics of my current situation are as follows, if it helps answer the question:
According to my local chain repair shop (since I don't have a preferred mechanic), it needed the following last time I had work done (with price quotes):
- Intake Manifold Gasket- $601.39
- Coolant System Flush - $106.99
- Transmission Flush Service - $119.99
- Power Steering Flush Service - $84.99
- Fuel System Cleaning Service - $79.99
- Fuel Filter Replacement - $58.99
- Strut Removal and Repair - $729.96
- Computerized 4-Wheel Alignment -$99.99
In addition, I am aware of the following issues:
- Tires need replacing (I had a blowout and elected to replace only that tire instead of all four, promising myself I'd replace them as a set soon...)
- The parking brake has stopped working
- I'm about due for an oil change
The car in question is a 2004 Chevy Impala. I need it to last me at least, oh, five or six more years, so I do want to take care of it the best I can.
Edit to add: According to the test in this answer, my struts are okay, and according to the penny test, I have more than 2/32" tire tread remaining, so neither of those are urgent.