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Discussion Starter #1
So I've got an Element 2009 LX. I've had it since 2013, it had 70k miles on it originally and now it's up to 156k. I had to rely on delivery gigs for a bit and was driving 120+ miles a day for almost 2 years. I get regular maintenance done, changed out the brake pads and had the rotors(?) replaced maybe over a year ago. I recently moved to a big city where all the roads are very bumpy. I'm starting to notice how poor the car performs and it feels very bumpy and noisy. I had a strut replaced recently and that fixed the sounds coming from the back but I think I'm still getting noises from the engine mount. Overall I've spent around $2k+ in the last few months and now my A/C is gone.

I started shopping around for cars and decided on what I want already but I'm trying to be budget friendly and having a $15k loan is not ideal at the moment.

It'd be great if I can just fix up my car but I can't do any of the mechanical work myself due to physical disabilities (carpal tunnel).

Is it possible to make my car overall better on bumpy roads? If I can just spend around $5k instead on making the car a more comfortable ride and adding some modern items like a backup camera, etc I'd be more than willing to hold on to my car.

Any suggestions or recommendations? Thanks!
 

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Are you more interested in making your E more "comfortable" or patched up so it rides like it would if new? I've got more sounds coming from underneath my E than I can count but that has nothing to do with whether it's ride is comfortable. It still runs fine and it's got more miles than yours. I don't know about your area but $5k using my local independent shop would replace pretty much everything underneath (I think). And then it would probably run about like it does now only quieter.

Elements aren't money pits, sure there's regular maintenance and stuff that will eventually need replacing but I've owned my '04 since new and I'm not fazed by the money I've put into it to keep it running (brakes/tires/one lower ball joint/plugs/serpentine belt/minor electrical stuff), it's all just the cost of owning an aging car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm more interested in making the ride more comfortable. But from what I've been reading elsewhere, it's known for being bumpy and noisy even with the ball joints and struts being replaced. Someone suggested getting larger tires. I was also able to fix the A/C by replacing the relay just a few moments ago so I'm not as concerned with that problem anymore.

The Element has everything I need so I'm leaning towards keeping it.

Appreciate your input!
 

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I see in your original post that you say you had 'a strut' replaced; if you only replaced one of them, I would replace all the others too if you haven't. On mine, I started getting a 'clunk' from the rear end at about 130k, so replaced the rear struts only. It made me realize how shot the front struts were after replacing the rears, so I had the fronts replaced and I'm now very happy with the ride -- firm and sporty, like I suppose it was when new. It works for me as I don't like cars with soft, floaty suspensions even though I'm 56 years young.

An element is a short-wheelbase, fairly small vehicle dimension wise, so it's never going to have the cushy ride of a large, long-wheelbase SUV, but I think new struts and shocks improve the ride greatly and take the sharp edge of off the worst bumps. The ride has never been the biggest comfort factor for me with the Element, but I think the road noise is my biggest complaint. Fortunately I have a newer vehicle to drive when I need to roam some distance from home.

I definitely think you should consider keeping the Element, because even if you do buy a newer vehicle for $15k it too will probably need some maintenance done at some point -- might even need it as soon as you buy it -- and with greater regularity than a well-maintained Element. Good luck whatever you decide!
 
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