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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to make the story short and sweet:

-Buy 2001 B5 passat for 3600. The car was not inspected and could not pass my shop's inspection. Owner got it inspected somewhere else (my guess is lick and stick aka fraudulent tags)
-Day 2 engine light goes on
-Since then I have put an additional 2k into the car between tierods and tires and cv boots and brakes.
-Inspection expired at the end of June, went to go get inspected. 3 out of 4 control arms are in bad shape. Will not pass inspection.


The garage quoted me at $900 originally but since I have been going to them and they understand I am going to college (Hail to Pitt) it will cost $700 to get through inspection (untinted tail lights, control arms)

I only have $1100 dollars. I want to sell the car and save the money for next summer and buy a Miata since I won't be driving in Pittsburgh.

What is my best bet here? Repair the car and sell it for more? It won't be drivable right now since it can't pass inspection. I want 3600.

If I don't have it repaired I save $700 but then I have to sell it for less since it is a good haggling point.

What do I do?
 

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If the car won't pass inspection that's gonna tank the asking price of the car. I am not familiar with the laws in PA but I am sure there might be some kind of law that protects buyers against shady car sales... "lemon laws" I believe they're called. But since you already sank all that money into the car I would just keep it. Fix it up and just drive it. No sense in pissing away 2500$ in fixing a car that you got screwed on. Just my .02. If it's a 1.8T buy a stage 1 tune for it and you'll be a lot faster than a miata, and better in the snow :)
 

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Depending what all you need to get it fixed for inspection I have a 01 1.8t sitting in my back yard for parts. Lemon law doesn't apply to privately selling from one individual to another. If your in a emissions county that will prob be more. I'm not sure on that. In the part of pa I live in no emissions. I would just get as much as u can used or cheap fix what's broken inspect it then if you still want to sell that would be the time to do it. If it's anything there like it is here in winter a miata would get maybe 2 feet into the pa snow. If you need help holler. I live 2 hours from Pittsburgh if that helps.
 

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Well, if you can barely afford $700 in further repairs, the Miata you could buy with that money and the price you could get with your non-road-legal car isn't exactly going to get the finest Miata on the road...

Now you've learned a valuable lesson... always get a pre-purchase inspection of a car you are thinking of buying.
 

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I've been through the same thing lately but most of my issues were emissions related.
Best bet is to get the parts cheaper by finding them here or online through ebay, rockauto, or even amazon. then take those parts to a shop that can do the work and only pay for labor. That, or purchase the chilton manual for the car and try it yourself if your handy.
your not going to be able to sell the car for very much without the inspection - as a matter of fact you will most likely lose more money then what you would have to put into it. best to just keep fixing it.
 

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I would personally just put control arms on the car and drive it until you graduate. I bought my control arms from Febi? as a whole kit with tie rods and end links. If you have some basic hand tools the control arms can be done in your driveway saving boatloads of money. I bought my car in college and it has honestly been the best vehicle I have ever bought and is way more useful than a Miata especially if you have to move in and out of your dorm or want to take more than one friend anywhere.
 

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5 gallons of gasoline, a match, and a case of your favorite beer with some of your friends might make for a pretty good weekend

Best bet for you is to source used parts. There are few parts on my car that are new, including mods. Send me a PM with what exactly you're after, I'm pretty good at this. If I can find the part new for cheap than even better.

On a side note: I think its funny that a state mandates a check on stuff like suspension components and such. Often "worn" is misdiagnosed as bad or needing replacement. Good way for mechanics to make money in PA I suppose. I'd just find another inspection center, they all vary standard wise.

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Dumping your existing don't-wanna-repair used car for another, cheaper used car is a sucker's game. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have a tricycle and 13¢. Get a set of control arms (you can find a full kit for $200 and up) roll up your sleeves and get cracking. Then drive your car.

That's how I changed a cylinder head the first time; just married, needed the car running, and no money to pay for the repair. It all worked out.
 

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It's time to buy some tools and watch a few YouTube videos on how to fix it yourself. I got into mechanics because years ago I was a struggling college student as well. I had a Jetta though with a much less complex suspension and drivetrain. Why a Miata? It's got no room. When you get out of college and move you'll regret ever buying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm having used control arms put on it. $400-500 total to get through inspection. Then I'm going to sell it. I bought the car a year ago for 3600. Since then too date I will have put in 2700. I need to cut losses because its just going to sit for a year and dry rot until I get back and have more things to fix. I barely even drive it as it is. I have friends who bought JDM and only have had to pay gas and insurance. When I am older and have a good paying job I will return to the german cars because they are truly magnificent. However, since I am only going to be driving in the summer for the next four years, a miata is a good idea. Its reliable, cheap to fix, and it looks like a blast. When I am 25 I will regret not buying one because then I will actually need a more robust car.
 

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Spammer I know it seems like everyone is on your behind about this it's tough love though. These cars are far superior to the miata. But to each his own. How jdm would a Mazda be? They are basically a ford. Just saying.
 

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Got a miata in my yard. Its been sitting there for almost a year after I did an engine swap. have some kind of electrical issue i cant figure out. I actually think working on my passat is easier than the miata plus parts are more plentiful in the junkyard. Ive found miata parts to be more expensive. If your getting one avoid anyone made before 93 because they have crankshaft issues which will require an engine or crankshaft swap.
 

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My friend drives a Miata. Save up enough money to make it fast, not just handle well. My friend has done nothing but handling and brakes for the car, and it is overwhelmingly slow for what its supporting power wise...

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I think the biggest mistake the OP made was asking this question on a Passat enthusiast's site. Most of us are pretty slanted in our views about these cars and probably look at some of the repairs needed as simple cost of ownership (I know I do). However I can't make a decision like that for someone else as my tolerance for repairs is much higher than most and I try to do the work myself so it would be unfair for me to recommend keeping the car if he wants a Miata. To each his own. To the OP: do what you think is best. It's one decision in a line of MANY you will have to make in your life and you have to do what will make you happy - no matter what anybody else tells you. Good luck. :thumbup:
 

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Agreed, but I can tell you from my side that I'm not a VW enthusiast (ducks head and avoids angry looks)..
I picked my car up for a friend of mine as he gave me some cash to have a driver while he was here in the states from New Zealand a few times this year. The person I bought it from completely lied about the car, and i have been hosed on it ever since as it has turned into a money pit. What was to be a reliable $2000 car has turned into a nightmare of about $4500 and it still wont pass emissions.
Not to blow my own horn here, but I think im the perfect person to help in this instance. Ive owned over 30 cars in my 20 years of driving and currently own 2 others (C5 z06 corvette and a Ford Ranger) and i do the majority of the work myself. besides auto shop in school, most things i have learned how to do through A) trial and error, B) friends on forums or other car buddies, C) the internet (including forums like this).
I know now that the only way i will get any useful life out of this car is to get it to a good, reliable daily driver for me as cheaply as possible and essentially drive it until the wheels fall off. at that point I can donate it and ask for the tax write off or use it as a trade in for a newer car down the road.
Miata's are nice, and if you can fit in one, great. If all you need are the parts your mentioning take a stab and replacing them yourself and then keep the Passat as a DD/carrying people around car and save your money to get a Miata and have both. you will get a discount on insurance for multiple cars most likely, and wouldnt you rather learn how to work on your Passat and take that knowledge to the Miata then the other way around?
 

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I think the biggest mistake the OP made was asking this question on a Passat enthusiast's site. Most of us are pretty slanted in our views about these cars and probably look at some of the repairs needed as simple cost of ownership (I know I do).
Oh, I don't know - I've had a LOT of cars over the years, and I like to view my preference for VW as an informed choice rather than a bias or slant. It's clear at this point what the OP's plan is, and I can't really fault the initial phase - fix it as cheaply as possible and sell it. He's clearly over his head with the car, and the inability/unwillingness to do his own repairs, or pay for proper work, clinches it. A Rolex doesn't keep as good time as a Timex, if it need work and you can't fix it. I do think he'll be badly surprised by the resale price, though - probably somewhere in the $2000 area.

Phase two, I have some problems with. For most 20-something college students, a cool car (assuming that's what a Miata is these days) is not a great choice. It's not a practical car in the best circumstances; I usually point people to a Corolla or some such.
 

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Oh, I don't know - I've had a LOT of cars over the years, and I like to view my preference for VW as an informed choice rather than a bias or slant.
Maybe I misspoke; I own VWs as a choice myself both because of the fit/finish and the driving dynamics of the cars. What I was alluding to was the fact that serious Passat (or VW for that matter) owners think nothing of dealing with the myriad maintenance and repair quirks that come with owning the car.
 

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Phase two, I have some problems with. For most 20-something college students, a cool car (assuming that's what a Miata is these days) is not a great choice. It's not a practical car in the best circumstances; I usually point people to a Corolla or some such.
I agree with you Scotts13. As a parent of a young man in college, the last thing I need is for him to have a cool car. Just purchased a 2005 Chevy Classic for him. I have enough problems keeping my Passat running, so having him drive a more reliable car is best for our family. Sure it's not cool, but it runs and is durable.
 

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As a parent of a young man in college, the last thing I need is for him to have a cool car. Just purchased a 2005 Chevy Classic for him. I have enough problems keeping my Passat running, so having him drive a more reliable car is best for our family. Sure it's not cool, but it runs and is durable.
(GRIN) When my girls were in school, they got Ford Escorts. I mentioned Corollas because that's what my sisters got, and it turned out to be a better choice than the Escorts.
 
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