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I am a college student who is responsible for the...

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Dear Tom and Ray:


I am a college student who is responsible for the maintenance of my own car. I have an '85 Toyota Corolla LE with 78,000 miles. The body and the interior are in excellent condition for the age of the car. Until recently, I have had to add power steering fluid to the car once in a while. Now, I have to add it almost every day. I took my car to the Toyota dealer who said that if they installed new seals, they could not guarantee against future leaks. Instead, they are suggesting a new steering rack, for a total cost of over $1,000. What is your opinion? What do I need to do to correct the problem before going back to UGA for the fall semester?
Kristin

TOM: What do you need to do? It's obvious, Kristin. Write to your parents and ask for money.

RAY: If you want a new rack, $1,000 is the right price. But there's no reason to put a brand new rack in a car with 78,000 miles. For $400-$500 (plus about $200 labor), you can get a "rebuilt" steering rack for this Corolla. And that should last the rest of the life of this car.

TOM: Going with a rebuilt instead of a new rack should save you about $300-$400, Kristin, which ought to be enough to keep you in Cliff's Notes for the next couple of semesters.
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