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ColleenC2
06-07-2007, 10:10 PM
My 1997 ford Taurus, I took in to get the usual maintenance, the mechanic wrote on the spec sheet after they did everything and said that I have an oil and transmission leak, however, when I brought it in he said the levels were fine. When I asked him why he did not tell me before they called to tell me the car is ready he said that it was normal for a car that has 207,000 miles, now since is the first time after 10 years that I have been told this I am having a hard time believing this is normal. I think maybe a seal or something is ready to go and do not want to incur a greater cost if it is something that can be handled now.

What do you guys think as I have no clue!

MikeHalloran
06-08-2007, 12:12 AM
The typical car doesn't explode right away when the transmission starts leaking. You just have to check the level more often than you used to, and add fluid to keep the level right. You can buy a barrel of fluid for what it costs to replace a seal, so for most folks it makes sense to keep adding fluid until the leak rate gets intolerable, or the garage floor gets too messy, or you trade the car.

At 207,000 miles, if you're going to r&r the transmission to replace a seal, most shops will try real hard to talk you into replacing the entire transmission, because you will naturally blame them for the next thing that goes wrong, even if it's just a natural old-age failure, and not their fault, and because the labor cost is substantial either way.

Speaking of which, the car has reached an age where there will likely be a steady stream of age-related failures. It's always cheaper to keep the car for as long as you can get parts, but the downtime may be inconvenient for you, and you will come to regard the car as unreliable. If you don't have AAA or something similar already, consider it now.

Eric
06-08-2007, 07:05 AM
My 1997 ford Taurus, I took in to get the usual maintenance, the mechanic wrote on the spec sheet after they did everything and said that I have an oil and transmission leak, however, when I brought it in he said the levels were fine. When I asked him why he did not tell me before they called to tell me the car is ready he said that it was normal for a car that has 207,000 miles, now since is the first time after 10 years that I have been told this I am having a hard time believing this is normal. I think maybe a seal or something is ready to go and do not want to incur a greater cost if it is something that can be handled now.

What do you guys think as I have no clue!


Virtually all engines seep/leak a little as they age; it is perfectly normal. Seals and gaskets expand and shhrink, or get a little brittle, etc.

So long as it's just a few little piddles on the floor (not puddles!) and so long as you check the oil level weekly to make sure you're not running excessively low - "watchful waiting" is the best advice I can give you. This is a high mileage car - and there's no need to spend money on work the car doesn't really need....

ColleenC2
06-08-2007, 10:06 AM
Thanks gentlemen,

the car is my daughters' and I would hate for anything to happen to her while she is driving although I have told her, please don't go long distances in this car, it has been a good car that has lasted 10 years and the only money I have put in the car is basic maintenance i.e oil changes, etc. and new tires, the vehicle still looks nice and drives well, but age is age. She is thinking about getting another car but my thought is wait.... until you can see where this fuel, hybrid thing is going, I don't know, that is my opinion and what I advised her

Eric
06-08-2007, 11:01 AM
Thanks gentlemen,

the car is my daughters' and I would hate for anything to happen to her while she is driving although I have told her, please don't go long distances in this car, it has been a good car that has lasted 10 years and the only money I have put in the car is basic maintenance i.e oil changes, etc. and new tires, the vehicle still looks nice and drives well, but age is age. She is thinking about getting another car but my thought is wait.... until you can see where this fuel, hybrid thing is going, I don't know, that is my opinion and what I advised her


So long as she treats it gently (easy, gradual acceleration and braking - no jackrabbit starts/high-speed driving, etc.) and checks the oil level often, watches for signs of things like overheating and so on, it will probably remain reliable tranpso for some time to come.

ColleenC2
06-08-2007, 01:50 PM
So long as she treats it gently (easy, gradual acceleration and braking - no jackrabbit starts/high-speed driving, etc.)

Unfortunately that is a habit that I am trying to get her to realize. Lately she is doing better, but she still "guns" it every now and then and when I am with her in the car, I have this need to "go off" on her and exercise this desire. I think she is getting it :(, she is clueless when it comes to mechanical stuff and often times thinks I don't know what I am talking about but I did learn something married to my ex and his father, If it makes a noise stop driving and check it out. From my Grandfather I learned to always check the gauges, everytime myself or one of my sisters went anywhere he would come out check the oil, water, gas level etc., he never wanted us to go anywhere unless this was done first, when the gas level got to a half a tank, he would go fill our cars up. So by example I learned.

mrblanche
06-08-2007, 01:53 PM
A Taurus with 200,000 miles on it is on its last legs. That's not to say it can't be a great go-down-to-the-corner car, but almost any repair will cost more than the car is worth. If you haven't done it already, the constant velocity joints will probably go any time now. The cost of a used transmission and installation would be a lot more than the car is worth...

Unless, of course, you find that repairing it is less than paying payments on a newer car. In other words, if you can afford to put an average of $400 per month in it in repairs, you may be ahead financially, if not mentally.

I think having a less-than-dependable car is good for a young person. It trains them in the vicissitudes of life.

ColleenC2
06-08-2007, 02:32 PM
the constant velocity joints

Sorry I don't know what those are.

chiph
06-08-2007, 03:24 PM
They're the semi-flexible shafts that connect the front wheels to the transmission. They will wear over time (jack-rabbit starts cause more wear than gradual starts). While they can be rebuilt, buying replacements is usually more cost-effective.

The way to tell if they're worn is to find a quiet parking lot, roll the windows down, and make left & right turns at various speeds. If you hear a clicking noise, they're almost gone.

Chip H.

Eric
06-08-2007, 03:31 PM
So long as she treats it gently (easy, gradual acceleration and braking - no jackrabbit starts/high-speed driving, etc.)

Unfortunately that is a habit that I am trying to get her to realize. Lately she is doing better, but she still "guns" it every now and then and when I am with her in the car, I have this need to "go off" on her and exercise this desire. I think she is getting it :(, she is clueless when it comes to mechanical stuff and often times thinks I don't know what I am talking about but I did learn something married to my ex and his father, If it makes a noise stop driving and check it out. From my Grandfather I learned to always check the gauges, everytime myself or one of my sisters went anywhere he would come out check the oil, water, gas level etc., he never wanted us to go anywhere unless this was done first, when the gas level got to a half a tank, he would go fill our cars up. So by example I learned.


There's an easy way to fix this: Just let her know that she will have to fund any repairs/maitenance issues that crop up!

ColleenC2
06-08-2007, 05:59 PM
There's an easy way to fix this: Just let her know that she will have to fund any repairs/maitenance issues that crop up!

She's very good with her money, and I also kind of raised her that money was something that she would always have, maybe a bad idea, but I have tightened up quite a bit in that area.

They're the semi-flexible shafts that connect the front wheels to the transmission. They will wear over time (jack-rabbit starts cause more wear than gradual starts). While they can be rebuilt, buying replacements is usually more cost-effective.

The way to tell if they're worn is to find a quiet parking lot, roll the windows down, and make left & right turns at various speeds. If you hear a clicking noise, they're almost gone.

Is this what they call U joints! If so no sounds are being made from the car

mrblanche
06-08-2007, 07:00 PM
Well, they're sort of u-joints, but they are on the front axles of front-drive cars. They're there so the suspension and steering will work, and the engine can still get power to the wheels. They have a rubber boot over them, and that boot wears out, gets holes in it, lets in dirt and water, and the joints wear out. As someone said, if you go to a fairly quiet place, open your windows, and make a sharp right turn in a circle, then a sharp left turn in a circle, you may hear a loud clicking sound. That's the CV joint when it's worn out.

swamprat
06-08-2007, 08:42 PM
I think that the Taurus as described should be good for another year or two. I would replace the car when it starts breaking down at the rate of say, $250.00 per month. Thats $3,000 per year. If she replaces the car with something that gets 30 mpg in the city, she'lll save nearly $100.00 on gas (20,000 miles per year average, gas at $3.50 per gallon).

I would advise her to save about $3,000 down on a $15,000 purchase. The payment would be around $240.00 per month at 7 percent interest (5 year note). If I was in the market for a $15000 car, I would look at that Honda Civic or the Fit. They seem to get the best mileage. If handling or style doesn't matter, the Corolla is another option. If you like ugly, you could get a Yaris. A $250.00 payment is low in todays day and age, and you can go lower if you're willing to go Korean. If gas mileage is still important but you're looking at a larger car, the Chevy Cobalt is a great choice. It has the ECOTEC 2.2L engine. I have that engine in my Saturn. With 137,000 miles, the check engine light hasn't come on once. Haven't had a single engine problem.

Its all about budgeting, though.

Otherwise, keep the Taurus and let nature, wear and tear run their course.

chiph
06-08-2007, 08:47 PM
Technical info about C/V joints:

http://www.aa1car.com/library/cvjoint1.htm

Eric
06-09-2007, 06:39 AM
"Otherwise, keep the Taurus and let nature, wear and tear run their course."

Amen!

If it's basically sound, it should be possible to gimp it around for another year, maybe two. The key is to treat it like a 95-year-old lady in a nursing home. Do everything very slowly - from accelerating to braking. No high-speed driving; keep it puttering around at under 45 mph whenever possible. Avoid running the engine past 3,500 rpm.

Anyone who has owned a beater ("hooptie" in today's jargon) knows you can usually keep one going for quite some time - so long as you always remember what you're driving - and drive accordingly!

ColleenC2
06-09-2007, 10:08 AM
No high-speed driving; keep it puttering around at under 45 mph whenever possible. Avoid running the engine past 3,500 rpm.

Most of the time it is just used around town, but it does great going 70mph on the free-ways as well, what are you talking about

Eric
06-09-2007, 10:23 AM
No high-speed driving; keep it puttering around at under 45 mph whenever possible. Avoid running the engine past 3,500 rpm.

Most of the time it is just used around town, but it does great going 70mph on the free-ways as well, what are you talking about


I'm talking about limiting the stresses placed on a very old, very tired, near-the-edge-of-its-useful-life Taurus.. that's what!

Look, you asked advice about how to keep this car going... I gave you some. Do with it what you like. It's your vehicle.

swamprat
06-09-2007, 07:39 PM
No high-speed driving; keep it puttering around at under 45 mph whenever possible. Avoid running the engine past 3,500 rpm.

Most of the time it is just used around town, but it does great going 70mph on the free-ways as well, what are you talking about


I'm talking about limiting the stresses placed on a very old, very tired, near-the-edge-of-its-useful-life Taurus.. that's what!

Look, you asked advice about how to keep this car going... I gave you some. Do with it what you like. It's your vehicle.


Is 70 mph considered high speed? I guess it may be if the trans is ready to puke.

ColleenC2
06-09-2007, 07:44 PM
Is 70 mph considered high speed? I guess it may be if the trans is ready to puke.

Thanks, no one has informed me that the "trans is ready to puke", just that it had a little leak. No dripping on the garage floor, I just didn't know because I have never been told that the car had an oil leak or trans leak before, so I asked the question. The car doesn't give any indication that the trans is bad, no slippage, sounds or anything.

I appreciate your response since Eric seemed to get offended when I asked my last question about 70 mph, to which I have no understanding why.

Eric
06-09-2007, 08:37 PM
Is 70 mph considered high speed? I guess it may be if the trans is ready to puke.

Thanks, no one has informed me that the "trans is ready to puke", just that it had a little leak. No dripping on the garage floor, I just didn't know because I have never been told that the car had an oil leak or trans leak before, so I asked the question. The car doesn't give any indication that the trans is bad, no slippage, sounds or anything.

I appreciate your response since Eric seemed to get offended when I asked my last question about 70 mph, to which I have no understanding why.


70 mph is "high speed" for a decrepit old beater with 200k on it that's close to the end of its useful service life. Keeping it closer to 55 or 60 will help it live a little longer. The engine will be turning less RPM, all the moving parts subject to less stress and strain.

You asked about preserving the car - ways to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns. I answered.

ColleenC2
06-09-2007, 09:25 PM
You asked about preserving the car - ways to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns.

Yes and I appreciate all information, but then you said


Look, you asked advice about how to keep this car going... I gave you some. Do with it what you like. It's your vehicle.

Dave Brand
06-10-2007, 06:32 AM
No dripping on the garage floor, I just didn't know because I have never been told that the car had an oil leak or trans leak before, so I asked the question. The car doesn't give any indication that the trans is bad, no slippage, sounds or anything.


That doesn't sound like a serious problem to me. Seals will wear & start to leak slightly with age, but the lack of dripping on the garage floor indicates that there is nothing more than normal wear & tear for - in fact I'd say that, given the age & mileage of the vehicle, it's very good! Oil seals very rarely fail catastrophically (although it has happened to me!) so I don't think there's any cause for concern.

Sometimes, however well-meant it is, I think it better not to say anything. In this case, if the mechanic had said nothing, you'd never even have had any suspicion that there could possibly be a fault with the car!

Contrary to what other people have said, I'd say just carry on driving the car exactly the same as before - if it's survived so far, it'll survive the same treatment for a while longer!

chiph
06-10-2007, 11:00 AM
The engine will be turning less RPM, all the moving parts subject to less stress and strain.


The good news is that with the leak, as she tops the levels off, the trans will have a constant supply of new fluid.

One question is to whether to attempt a fluid change at this age. The danger is (allegedly) that putting new fluid in will loosen up crud and cause it to move about within the interior plumbing, possibly causing a blockage at a valve. Sort of like giving it a stroke. :o

Doing a flush is completely out because the pressures would likely blow out internal seals.

Chip H.

Eric
06-10-2007, 11:44 AM
The engine will be turning less RPM, all the moving parts subject to less stress and strain.


The good news is that with the leak, as she tops the levels off, the trans will have a constant supply of new fluid.

One question is to whether to attempt a fluid change at this age. The danger is (allegedly) that putting new fluid in will loosen up crud and cause it to move about within the interior plumbing, possibly causing a blockage at a valve. Sort of like giving it a stroke. :o

Doing a flush is completely out because the pressures would likely blow out internal seals.

Chip H.



Agreed.

The idea should be to leave it alone - and let it limp on as long as possible by subjecting it to as little stress as possible.

Anything that breaks which will cost more than few hundred bucks to repair is enough to "total" the car... so a busted radiator, failed power steering pump or toasted transaxle means finis...