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I have had my 2008 Caliber for about 4 years and overall its a great car. Now, though, I am faced with replacing the rocker panels (not just the outer shell but the whole thing because the pillars are shot too). I have been quoted about $2k for this work.

Here's the thing - its also got quite a rapping noise thats gotten worse over the past year or so, especially when it first starts before the oil fully circulates.

Also, the rear defrost no longer works and the air selection dial no longer moves into the defrost position.

There is also a clunking noise in the front when I go around left-hanf turns and hit even a small bump, so I am looking at possible suspension problems, maybe CV joint or wheel bearings.

Its got 160k miles. Is this thing worth sinking another 2k or 3k into to stay running?

I live paycheck to paycheck for the most part but is it time to move on?
 

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Not worth it.

I bought my '08 R/T for $3k cash two years ago. Look around, you might get lucky.
 

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I have had my 2008 Caliber for about 4 years and overall its a great car. Now, though, I am faced with replacing the rocker panels (not just the outer shell but the whole thing because the pillars are shot too). I have been quoted about $2k for this work.

Here's the thing - its also got quite a rapping noise thats gotten worse over the past year or so, especially when it first starts before the oil fully circulates.

Also, the rear defrost no longer works and the air selection dial no longer moves into the defrost position.

There is also a clunking noise in the front when I go around left-hanf turns and hit even a small bump, so I am looking at possible suspension problems, maybe CV joint or wheel bearings.

Its got 160k miles. Is this thing worth sinking another 2k or 3k into to stay running?

I live paycheck to paycheck for the most part but is it time to move on?
I would say that it probably isn't worth the time or money unless you truly love your cali. For that amount you could definitely find a better car to invest in. You could always buy another Caliber and keep your car for spare parts if you wanted to. Either way best of luck to you :)
 

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Not worth the effort if you have to pay somebody to do all the work...that amount is definitely more than the car is worth. If you're at all handy you could replace the rockers yourself...I did it last summer on mine and while they definitely aren't perfect it's a darn sight better than it was when I started, lol! No way I spent more than a few hundred bucks for the materials to do the work.
 

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It is not worth fixing if you cannot do the work yourself.

If you can sell the car now for a few grand, then do so (but you probably can't). Otherwise, keep driving it until it dies and will cost more than a few hundred to revive. Then go buy a Toyota or some other more reliable car.
 

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I have had my 2008 Caliber for about 4 years and overall its a great car. Now, though, I am faced with replacing the rocker panels (not just the outer shell but the whole thing because the pillars are shot too). I have been quoted about $2k for this work.

Here's the thing - its also got quite a rapping noise thats gotten worse over the past year or so, especially when it first starts before the oil fully circulates.

Also, the rear defrost no longer works and the air selection dial no longer moves into the defrost position.

There is also a clunking noise in the front when I go around left-hanf turns and hit even a small bump, so I am looking at possible suspension problems, maybe CV joint or wheel bearings.

Its got 160k miles. Is this thing worth sinking another 2k or 3k into to stay running?

I live paycheck to paycheck for the most part but is it time to move on?
The answer is how good are you doing major auto mechanics on a car or this car?If you have the know how you can cut that cost down by buying the parts yourself and doing It.I have NEVER work on a Caliber until I bought this 2007 Caliber 2 years ago,The very first thing I had to do was a front subframe in less then 2 week owning the car and I Never done one before on any car but I do have tools and if i don't i go buy what i need to do a job and i do have some mechanic skills.Now it's a year later 2021 and I just got finish with doing a new rear subframe so i am saving money.My only problem is waiting on the other new parts to finish because every time i take the car up to NTB they find some things that needs to be replace and I take the car back home and doing them now I'm waiting on rear toe links they say i need to do the rear alignment.One thing i can tell you is that the NTB where i live gives you a lot of BULLSHIT,this will be my 3rd trip there trying to get a alignment on my Caliber and each time the find **** the didn't tell me so go back and fix that.If do have some skills and you on a fix income and you can try to fix it yourself or shop around for a lower cost.
 

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The defroster may be hanging up due to the climate control cable snagging on something under the dash, behind the glove box. Many threads on this to look through for a fairly simple solution. Rear defrost I would check fuse, then move on to test continuity testing between the wiring. Also check to see if the rear window defroster wires are broken or corroded, as I believe this will cause the circuit to be open. The climate control bezel pops off fairly easily. Another forum search is required. I know theres a video on YouTube showing how to disassemble the wire and cable harnesses with a small flat screwdriver. I mention these to make the last days of use more comfortable.

If it were me, the body work would be the deterrent. CV joint repairs usually run $350-550 last I had inquired with the part included. Granted I'm used to CV's clicking when bad, not clunking. I would think it more likely a bad strut, wheel bearing, or lower control arms going out. Lift the car and grab on the tire for a fairly quick assessment of the suspension. 12 o clock and 6 o clock for control arm ball joints, and 5 and 10 for wheel bearings. Too much wiggle in either direction can tell if either are bad, outside of being visually broken. Struts you just push on the car not being jacked up, and see how long it takes to stop moving up and down. I believe this should be about 2 or so times movements up and down before the struts settle the car back. Visually checked by looking at the strut to see if theres oil leakage. Could possibly even be a strut mount has deteriorated.

These engines are picky about what oil to use also. SAE 5w-20 full synthetic is required by stock standards if a 2.0 and I've seen a few people have better success with Mobile1 or higher end brands.
 
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