Time to Replace The Explorer

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I bought my 1999 Ford Explorer new and have since put nearly 141,000 miles on it. I've kept up on the maintenance of it, and that's all been expected expenses: fluid changes, brake pads and rotors, plugs, etc. There have been a handful of other less-expected maintenance items such as needing a tune-up to pass the emissions test, but it's been a pretty solid vehicle.

Over the last year or so, the side step bars have become quite rusted. Tires should probably be replaced in a year or so. And the power steering fluid should be changed. All of that pales, however, in comparison to the fact that--as of Thursday last week--cylinders 1 and 4 have practically no compression. Driving to work Thursday, it was obvious that there was a misfire, quickly reinforced by the "check engine" light that came on and started flashing. I did what little trouble-shooting I could (checking plugs, wires, distributor), found nothing obviously wrong, and took it to the Ford Dealer. They quickly discovered that the Explorer's diagnostic computer wasn't working and worked at manually diagnosing the problem--which led to the previously-mentioned compression trouble.

The Kelley Blue Book trade-in value is... well, close to worthless. KBB says it's about $1200, but given the current gas prices, I'm sure it's not worth but a fraction of that. Jumping back, adding what I've already spent on diagnosis and the estimate to further diagnose--and not even repair--was about $1000. It's just not worth repairing.

And so, time to replace the Explorer. But with what?

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