Reader Question I have a 2002 Neon with a broken timing belt that according the mechanic resulted in bent valves and maybe a broken piston.
Assuming that the mechanic is correct and that I probably need either a complete valve job or replace the engine, the cost will be $1200-$1,800.
I paid $3,500 for this car 7 months ago (it has 105,000 miles on it) and still owe the bank $2,500.
Should I junk the car or have it repaired?
Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch!
I have seen a few of these cars in my shop in the same situation. You will need to replace a few or all valve at a minimum…so a valve job is probably the very least amount of work it will take to get you on the road again.
Those figures for a valve job are in line with what I would charge you at my shop as well. You might find a shade tree mechanic to remove the cylinder head for you so you can take it to the machine shop yourself to save some money.
I sometimes make deals with customers, they supply all the parts and do all the running around (back and forth to the machine shop etc. etc.) and they pay me for the labor.
You might offer the mechanic $500 for the labor to remove and replace the cylinder head, replace the timing belt, tensioners and water pump, change oil and filter and replace spark plugs and any other incidental items they see.
The machine shop will probably charge you $150, the head gasket set, timing belts, tensioners and water pump and other knick knack parts you need will cost you $275 and the rest will be labor.
You COULD have more damage internally, but you won’t know that until you take the cylinder head off the vehicle, chances are you probably do not since the valves are weaker than the pistons.
SHOULD you put more money into this vehicle…man, I am not going to stick my neck out on that one. It kind of sounds like you don’t have a lot of choices at this point though.