I have a Toyota Echo 2005 and was quoted a ~$800+ repair for a broken AC compressor. I trust my mechanics and his diagnosis, and without the repair the car is unusable (very loud grinding noise). He also told me that unlike other cars, this car doesn't allow the AC to be bypassed.

The mechanics mentioned there are other repairs coming down my way in the not so distant future: new brakes, "pads" (can't remember exact name for it) under the brakes that aren't cheap at all and probably need replacement, and possibly others. The mechanics was even kind enough to explain it isn't an obvious call to make whether to fix and keep the car, or call it good and say bye to it.

As much as I love my Echo, I think I am ready to get rid of it before it becomes a money sink hole. (Not to mention the perspective of getting a 2-3 year old LEAF that's making me more and more excited.)

That leaves me down with the question of whether to fix that AC compressor with the hope of selling the car for a couple thousand bucks on Craigslist like I sold all my other cars in the past, or, sell it as is I am not even sure to whom. I read in a few places that major repairs before selling is typically not a good idea, but does that apply to a repair that makes the car not even drivable otherwise?

What should I do to get rid of my car in a financially intelligent way?

  • How much are you expecting to get out of the car by selling it? No one is going to buy a car with a grinding noise, Or they will try to get the price down a lot more than what it is going to cost you to fix it. – rana Oct 31 '15 at 12:22
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    One more advise not related to the questions. Other than the AC, the rest of the upcoming "repairs" are actually maintenance items. You will have to eventually replace the break pads and rotors in your leaf too. If I were you I would repair the Echo and keep it, but I am a cheap :) – rana Oct 31 '15 at 12:22
  • Just a tip... I had a similar issue in my car (a/c compressor was grinding), eventually the compressor locked up completely and the car would not start. So if you drive it and that suddenly happens, you know one possible reason. – user3188168 Nov 2 '15 at 15:40
  • I see my question on hold, and indeed, there is a good dose of opinion needed to answer it. However, what I got were opinions backed up by some reasonable arguments and facts, the simplest of which being there is little to no trade in value for a car that doesn't run. That does seem to justify pretty objectively to put in a good chunk of money into repairs for a car whose resell value is still higher than these repairs combined. This is the kind of as-objective-as-I-could-hope-for answer I got. – Lolo Nov 4 '15 at 4:04
  • @rana This discussion made me change my mind in the end: I am keeping the Echo and will get my LEAF in a few years. The pleasure will only be greater then! – Lolo Nov 4 '15 at 4:05

PREFACE: Anything I or anyone will say here is OPINION ... please accept it as such. Ultimately it's up to you. With that said ...

The trade off with the repair is how well it will sell without getting it fixed.

  • If you live in an area where humidity can be high or where the temperatures soar, you'll find people will be less likely to buy a vehicle which the A/C is not working. This will do one of two things, either extend the sale time of the vehicle or you will have to drastically reduce the price to get it sold.
  • You need to look at the trade off of how much you can sell the vehicle for without the A/C as compared to how much you can sell it for with the A/C fixed. If the trade-off is over $800, then the choice is an easy one.
  • You also need to realize that time is money. If you are waiting and waiting to sell a car to a buyer who is willing to purchase it for a price you have advertised, it could be a while. If you are thinking of purchasing the newer vehicle after you sell your current vehicle, you could be sitting on your current vehicle for a while. This may make it so the other vehicle is no longer available to purchase.

All-in-all, you'll have to discover what you need to do. Nobody here can tell you what to do, one way or the other. I'm sure there are more factors involved, but will leave it at this.

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    I think the grinding noise is present even with the AC off. Would be hard to sell a car with grinding noise. – rana Oct 31 '15 at 17:50
  • @rana - I would agree. Hard, but not impossible, though. If you lower the price enough, some entrepreneurial spirit will come along to do a fix-n-flip ... but the owner would need to drop the price below the point of what the vehicle is worth plus cost of repairs for someone to bite. My answer is a quest to provide the OP with ideas rather than a solution. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 31 '15 at 17:54

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