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I have a 2003 STS w/172000 km that I bought used in Feb. of this year. Since that time, I've done the following:

New brakes

New pads

New rotors

New surge tank

New tie rod

New engine mount

New taillight

New BOSE head unit

...and the list goes on.

Every day I turn on the ignition, I fear for the next problem.

Today, the Check Engine Light went on. It is solid yellow, no message on the DIC. Car is riding fine, as far as I can tell, except for a rough idle on start up which eventually returns to normal (within a minute or two).

I did have a Check Fuel Gage message a couple of weeks ago, which was fixed (I think) by removing and reinstalling the fuel cap. Problem was also that the Low Fuel message was displayed yet the fuel gage showed still 1/4 full. So I didn't know which to trust, anyway obviously I filled the tank just to be sure.

I love this car. It's gorgeous. But it's a nightmare. Obviously it's over 10 years old. I don't know what the previous (original) owner did in terms of upkeep and standard maintenance, I just know there is a long service history record with GM.

I asked the dealer about the CEL and was told that they need to do a smoke test, as it is usually an exhaust issue. The car does have a slight fuel smell inside the cabin, and I've also noticed that after getting out of the car, there is a smell like a boat (I remember from when I was a kid, my grandfather had a boat and it has a very distinctive smell).


1. For the short term, is it ok to drive the car?

2. Is the smoke test the right way to go?

3. If smoke test shows something, what kind of money are we talking about for a fix (I guess it depends on what is wrong, I understand that).

4. Should I junk the car? LOL

I looked at selling it and/or trading and I was only offered between $1,500 and $2,500 Canadian. Insulting but I guess it's to be expected.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am NOT a mechanic nor do I understand mechanical workings/parts of a vehicle so I rely on others (dealerships, mechanics) to guide me, and unfortunately that often leads to being taken advantage of.


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