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Just got news that my smartcar needs about $1,500-$2,000 in repairs. It's got 92,000 miles on it. I'm thinking it's not worth it because I will probably only get around 100,000 miles out of it, but maybe I'm wrong. Any thoughts?

Thanks.
 

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Parting it out will net you more than three grand - but you'll be without wheels....:shrug:
 

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I purchased my latest smart with 99k miles and it is now up to 142k miles (2008) and just put on new rear tires for the winter. I am guessing to get at least another 30k miles it is up to you and if it is worth the investment a replacement will run 4k+
 

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So what is the work that needs to be done? Is the car usable as is? How much of a DIY guy are you?

Len
2014 EV Coupe 16,000 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 7,000 miles
 

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I have a 2009 Smart Passion coupe that I converted to a North American Brabus model, by searching for the least expensive Brabus parts, from eBay, Craigslist, and an east coast dealer's parts department that had the body parts at a really reasonable price. And quite a few parts including wheels from Smart Madness. The car has 35,500 miles on it. It threw a code at 32,000 miles, indicating that it had burned a valve. Had it flat bed towed to the dealer in San Francisco, was going to cost $5,000 for a new head, but the dealer/service department stepped up, called corporate and I only paid $500 out of pocket. I think that was so painless because I only take the car to the dealer for service. To celebrate, I had a new panoramic roof installed. Cost around $950. Then I replaced all four tires, onto my aftermarket wheels (all the same size) and it's like I have a new car. Did it make financial sense to dump the money for new tires and the panoramic roof? I did to me, I love my car, and expect it to give me many more years of service. Also replaced the tailgate myself because some nimrod pressed his bumper and license plate bolts into the plastic. Some would say that I'm upside down in the car, price wise, but I have no intention of selling it. If you want to talk big expenses, try having someone else restore a 1960 Nash Metropolitan for you. I won't quote numbers on that project, but it was a lesson learned, next time I would have bought an MGA. I now understand that the car hobby is an expensive one. My Smart is still my daily driver, but I drive it only about 500 miles a year. Just bought a 2004 Thunderbird, Ford stopped making replacement parts for it a while back, and they only built about 68,000 of them. Parts will become a challenge, but it is fun and comfortable to drive, and I can deal with hunting for parts. I think if you like your Smart, keep it going. If you don't feel like spending the money, sell it and get one of the many new or off lease cars from Toyota, Honda or Mazda. If you're lucky, you'll have a worry-free ride for many, many miles. Our other car is a 2014 Prius IV. The only problem we've had with it is that when dropping someone off or picking them up at the train station, a few folks think we're an Uber or Lyft.
 

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Interesting question.
I bought one of the very first "orphans" when smart first came out.
Up till last week has been a great car.
Currently it's a 2 cylinder instead instead of a 3, yep I'm sure it's the dreaded burnt valve as their is no compression on one cylinder.
Will I fix it, yep.
I have a spare wrecked smart I can pull the head off or have the head rebuild will cross that bridge when I get to it.
The whole world is becoming more and more disposable.
In my case I will drive it till the "wheels fall off it".
Everyone's different!
 

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Thin about it logically. Say it'll cost $1500 to repair - can you buy a replacement car for $1500 that wont need a sheet load of work doing to get it up to par? I don't know what the used car market is live over there, but that kind of money over here would get you a sheetbox.

If you fancy a new car and this is all the excuse you need, then go for it. If you're genuinely concerned about making the best economic decision then repair the Smart.
 

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So what is the work that needs to be done? Is the car usable as is? How much of a DIY guy are you?

Len
2014 EV Coupe 16,000 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 7,000 miles
I'm with (sokoloff), Whats going on with the car, Is it currently running and driving and can pass inspection. If so you at least have some time and less urgency. After that, who is telling you what it may need and what the cost of that need is? Give us that info and we will have a better idea. If money was no object what would you do. If money is an object, do the same thing, just get the cost under control.
 

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I personally wouldn’t sink $2k into a 10 year old car. With 90k miles. A 2008 smart car, trade in value it’s worth less then that. I’d invest $2k it into a newer model, with less miles. Sell you car, for what ever it’s worth, if it’s still drivable.

What service does your car, need for $2k?
 

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I would look at the big picture. What is the current problem with the car and what else might need to be replaced in the coming year. If the car is going to also need new brakes, tires, AC, and a bunch of other stuff done, then maybe it is better to sell now vs next year. If you think you could keep the car for another 2-3 years, then maybe it is worth the investment. I usually keep a car until I can no longer trust it to start up and get me to my destination. I would rather drive a car that I have owned and know the service history over buying something used where I don't know how it was maintained. So, replacing a car means buying something new that I can drive for many years beyond when it has been paid off.
 

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The car has 35,500 miles on it. It threw a code at 32,000 miles, indicating that it had burned a valve. Had it flat bed towed to the dealer in San Francisco, was going to cost $5,000 for a new head...
I'm a DIYer - but $5000 for repairing a burned valve is obscene! If you pulled the head yourself, and had a machine shop rebuild it and replaced it yourself, it would cost you no more than a $300 or so.
 

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Evidently, a batch of bad cylinder heads were installed on some late 2008 - early 2009 smart fortwos. The dealer didn't only replace one burned valve, they installed a complete, new head. Some of us don't have your skills, and even if I did, an extra $200.00 over the $300.00 you quoted if I had pulled it myself and had a machine shop rebuild it would not be worth it to me. Yes, $5000 would be a lot to pay, but I only paid $500.00. If the dealer had not gotten "corporate to participate" in the repair, paying the remaining $4,500 - I would have explored alternatives. My time is worth more than $200.00, not to mention the aggravation. This was a known problem, and as one of our moderators wrote, he believed that Mercedes was performing a "soft recall."
 

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Evidently, a batch of bad cylinder heads were installed on some late 2008 - early 2009 smart fortwos. The dealer didn't only replace one burned valve, they installed a complete, new head. Some of us don't have your skills, and even if I did, an extra $200.00 over the $300.00 you quoted if I had pulled it myself and had a machine shop rebuild it would not be worth it to me. Yes, $5000 would be a lot to pay, but I only paid $500.00. If the dealer had not gotten "corporate to participate" in the repair, paying the remaining $4,500 - I would have explored alternatives. My time is worth more than $200.00, not to mention the aggravation. This was a known problem, and as one of our moderators wrote, he believed that Mercedes was performing a "soft recall."
Interesting
Was this just recently that they did this.
At this point I can't even drive my 2008 to the nearest smart dealer (550 miles) for the recall because of a burnt valve.
I do have a Mercedes dealer 135 miles away but they said they couldn't/wouldn't do the recall.
I'd pay $500 in a second for the repair!!!!!
 

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Out of my four smarts and three motorcycles I've somehow avoided any truly expensive repairs. The most expensive repair would have been the engine (was misfiring on two cylinders), however I figured that out on my own. The second most expensive the wheel bearings, but I got those done for free. The most expensive cost in one sitting was getting my 450 cab towed home after a three bars of death.

I can't imagine paying four figures for a repair and would probably end up just getting another smart (and keeping the dead one, because I'm a "collector") :D

On that note, I am looking for a crashed or somewhat dead smart, preferably 2008. I'm hoping to break that mythical sub $1,000 barrier so I can make it into my micro-Jeep and not feel bad about it getting beat up offroad.
 

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Yeah.... as another opinion? I'm still driving my used 2013 Smart Passion Cabriolet that I bought w/58K miles or so on it. It was owned by a college student originally, who apparently got rid of it shortly after finishing college. From what I've been able to tell, it wasn't running that great because it was time for new plugs and needed a lot of carbon deposits burnt off. Probably used it mostly for short trips and not a lot of highway driving. Since I tend to use it on the interstate, on trips that take 20-30 minutes each way, I think I got the deposits burnt off after a month or so of driving it and it's been running a lot better now. The new plugs I put in made a huge difference too.

I'm a little worried about the potential burnt valve issue -- but so far, so good. I've seen several other similar cars running around out here lately, including one used by an electrician who put his logo all over it in vinyl wrap. I get the idea these cars are low cost to own and drive around, all in all. But I'm not seeing them selling for much money on the used market at all. They have a big stigma working against them, for starters. I find a lot of people turn their nose up at them, even though they've never sat in one or driven one before. They just think either A) it's way too small and that makes it too dangerous, B) it amounts to driving a "virtue signaling" compromise of a car, just because you want to preach how "Green" you are to people, or C) it lacks power and is too slow.

The new model with an improved engine and the 6 speed transmission still fetches a LOT more money, but that's probably because it's the preferred one for pretty much anyone who likes Smart cars and actually wants to drive one.

This one works pretty well for my needs, but I gotta be honest? If it had a major breakdown that cost $2000+ to fix, I'd part ways with it and maybe just buy another used one in better condition. You have to think, if you drive one of these for a while before it breaks down, you've gotten your money out of it if you only paid $7000 or less for it, like many of the used ones sell for these days. All cars depreciate, but this one saves a lot on gas while driving it, not to mention relatively cheap tires to replace. If you can resell it with something like a bad valve or broken A/C, you're probably still going to recoup enough money to make a decent downpayment on the next used one you buy. The only money you "lost" at that point is probably less than a lot of more expensive cars lose even if you just sat them in your driveway, unused, for that same length of time after buying them!
 

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The used market is also depressed by the crazy wide surplus of Car2Go units still in used car dealership circulation. It's at the point where every other buy-here-pay-here in my area has at least one 2013 or 2015 that started life with Car2Go, drove very few miles, then got dumped into auctions for pennies on the dollar. If you're selling a used 451, you now have to compete with these dirt cheap ex Car2Gos. If you look hard enough, you'll even find a Car2Go ED or a few hiding on these lots, too.
 

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The market up here is also saturated with Car2Go units. Autotrader has one seller who's just flooded the database, which is rather annoying. Prices are all over the place though they seem to be higher lately. Granted these high priced smarts have also been sitting around for a while so I think overall the market has cooled down considerably.

I'd have paid $500 for a new head BTW, granted I think that dealer went above and beyond so they are definitely a keeper. I can see $5k at the dealer level for a head replacement as I would guess based on having to do a head gasket on my 10 that the motor has to be pulled. My head gasket job cost $3k although while out I had the water pump, belt tensioner and brake lines and coolant system flushed. Shop time is expensive and smart didn't exactly make our little cars that easy to work on.....

In my case I went ahead with the repairs because it's not easy finding a good condition Brabus cabriolet up here. After blowing the head gasket I'm still throwing P2188 codes when I really put my foot in it. If I just drive normally no code, we did replace the plugs while the engine was out. it's a weird problem, car has good power otherwise, keep debating if I should swap out to a K&N air filter as I run those on all our other vehicles or go for the smart madness cold air kit.

Kind of hoping the market stays depressed as I would like to find a manual trans 453 in either all white or black. I'd really like to get a Proxy but I don't believe they were ever shipped here with manual trannies. Or maybe a nice 450 cabriolet.
 

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Interesting
Was this just recently that they did this.
At this point I can't even drive my 2008 to the nearest smart dealer (550 miles) for the recall because of a burnt valve.
I do have a Mercedes dealer 135 miles away but they said they couldn't/wouldn't do the recall.
I'd pay $500 in a second for the repair!!!!!
Hi, Slivers - it was about a year ago that the head was replaced. I'm fortunate that my dealer is just across the Bay Bridge, and the car was sold and serviced by them since the get-go. They've always treated me right, and because I drive it so little, it just goes in for an annual checkup and fluid change/replacement of filters, key batteries, etc. and/or whatever other service is called for, according to the service schedule. Sure, it costs more, but not that much - particularly if it's just an oil and filter change, but they go over the entire car annually, and give it any software updates needed (transmission, I'm looking at you). The head replacement was the only major issue, unless you count the free battery that was installed at around 8,000 miles, as the original battery was not long lived on some early 451's. We shall see how it goes when most of the gasoline powered 451's are off the road and they only deal with electric versions.

If I lived so far away from a dealer, I would probably have gotten rid of the car a while ago. I just bought a low mileage 2004 Ford Thunderbird, and it turns out that Lincoln dealers are more familiar with them than Ford dealers, because the V-8 engine is shared with the Lincoln LS from the early to mid- 2000's. The suspension is very similar, as well as that on the Jaguar "S Type". And my Lincoln dealer is 45 miles away. So, there will be inconvenience on the horizon. I'm taking it to the Ford dealer in Walnut Creek to have a new serpentine belt installed, that's only 15 miles from here. Sorry to digress, but I stayed on the inconvenience topic at least. Good luck, whatever you decide. There are independent shops that are popping up for German cars including the Smart in my area, so I will eventually come to rely on them, no doubt.
 
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