And the verdict:
Warped brake rotors – they say they can machine them to be smooth again, although they add that they may be a bit under spec when they do that. That makes me worry, but, let’s hope that the specs have a greater margin of safety than they advertise, or that his estimation of the amount they need to shave off may turn out to be less severe than his estimate. Though his exact words were “they’re pretty thin already” — I wonder if they’d been shaved down by the previous owner before it was mine. I think new brake pads were additional dollars, so I think maybe the brakes will end up being about $400. I am tempted to call back and tell them to replace them, but he said that would be $200 more.
Starter – they say they can rebuild it and 90% of the time that fixes it. I still have my suspicions that it is actually the shifter cable but the mechanic says if that were the case, the car wouldn’t let go of the key when you try to remove the key. So, he may be right. He said a rebuilt starter should last for the rest of the life of the car. $200.
Blower (air vent blower) – $200 (and this seems higher than it should be, but, ok). The mechanic was amused by the WD40 that poured out of it when he disassembled it (from my earlier attempt to silence it by spraying a massive amount of WD40 into it).
So, probably $800 or so. But on the bright side he says the car is in great condition otherwise – he said he’d be comfortable driving this vehicle across the country, theoretically.
Myself, my knowledge that the front brakes will be a little thin is going to terrify me if ever I drive this car fully loaded with my stuff on a highway.