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Hi all!

My wife's 2009 Insight has worked great over the years and hit 100k miles a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, soon after, the AC stopped working (while we had a week of 100ºF weather!) and it makes bad noises when running. We brought it to the local dealer who said it has a bad AC compressor clutch and a leaking compressor. They are quoting $1061 for a new compressor, $126 for coil set, and $320 for clutch set plus labor for a total of about $2,500. For now, we're not doing anything since that's about the KBB value of the car!

Is this reasonable? Worth doing on an 11-year-old car (ok shape - some little dents and scratches)? Cheaper solution (I can't do any of the work myself)? Sell car for $2k to some kid to fix up on their own? Donate for tax deduction?

Since we're both working from home now, we've been fine with just my car (2010 Compressed Natural Gas Civic - why did Honda discontinue these????) but we'll need another car at some point. The new Insight looks nice but it would be great to get a car that qualifies for California HOV sticker (like my Civic used to...). But, the only qualifying Honda is the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (and the fuel cell Clarity but that's a thousand times less practical than my CNG Civic!).

Thanks for any ideas, tips, etc.

David
 

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Since you can probably live without AC all winter, take some time to research mechanics in your area and get references for one who owns a small family-owned shop. It may take some time to find one. You should be able to get a much more realistic price.

Be sure to give them smaller business like batteries and oil changes. Jiffy Lube is a false economy. Chains will try to convince you to do work you may not need. Your new trusted shop may cost a little more, but it will help keep them alive, and you will save it on the big jobs, and it gives them another opportunity to place their eyeballs on your car and potentially identify other real issues early (and not have teenagers cross-thread your oil pan bolts).

There is no cheaper solution if your car is otherwise reliable. When you pay your new mechanic for the repairs, don't think of it in dollars, but in months of payments that you would have paid if you bought a new car. Subtract that from the annual cost of payments for the replacement car, and you may find that the difference could pay for a chuck of your vacation (or some other toy, or your retirement savings, or take a large chunk out of whatever new car you eventually do get.)
 
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