Those repair bills sure beat the $600/$700 car payment every month. There's no guarantee you wouldn't have the same problems with a new car. From one who spent 8 years in automotive assembly plants I can tell you you can get a lemon coming off any assembly line.
My philosophy on cars is they are a tool. A means to get you from point A to point B. They have to start and they have to stop. Everything else is just creature comfort. And I haven't had a car payment since 1985. Almost 20 years now.
Thomas (driving a 1993 Olds '88......225,000 miles and bad paint)