If it were me, I would get the codes to see the problem areas I would be looking at. I would estimate my ability to give it a go myself depending on the complexity of the problems. I would get a firmer estimate from the mechanic. I would also look for an independent estimate if the first mechanic were from a dealership. From there I have an idea of how much I need to pay someone else vs the time, effort and capability to give it a go myself (I can look up part costs etc online).
Depending if your state has annual inspections it is less likely you can pass with a check engine light. Just mentioning as the "drive it until it dies" option may have other time limits. Personally I would also be concerned over how it was likely to die. To my mind engine ceasing on a freeway is very different to failing to start in the morning...
Best of luck with your decision and fix.
Last edited by boomer; 02-23-2019 at 12:28 PM.