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Transmission needs replacing - what would YOU do?
Old 06-02-2017, 02:14 PM   #1
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Transmission needs replacing - what would YOU do?

My DD's car needs the transmission fixed or replaced. Approximate cost would be in the $1500-$2000 range. The car is a 2002 Dodge Intrepid with around 125k miles on it. The current value of the car is less than $1000.

DD is in the last year of grad school so she should be receiving a paycheck in a year or so.

What would you do with the car? Repair it? Replace it with a $2000 used car that would hopefully last 2-3 years?

A local salvage yard said they'd give us $175 for it. It is currently sitting in the parking lot at a garage while we mull our options.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:19 PM   #2
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We faced the same decision when DW's 2003 Buick Century needed a transmission three years ago with 173k miles on it. Like yours, the new transmission would cost $2k on a car that would be worth about that much after it was fixed.

We bought a new Honda Accord and traded the Buick in at the dealer not wanting to bother selling a car with a transmission going bad. Small market for that.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:30 PM   #3
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My previous car was a Plymouth Neon. Needed a new transmission and I had it rebuilt. Went out again and I went to another place and had it rebuilt again. After a year, the transmission went out again but the work was under warranty so got repair again. Later the transmission went bad again and the engine started leaking oil and that was when I threw in the towel.

My new rule of thumb is if the transmission or engine goes, time to think about getting another vehicle. Otherwise, I'd probably repair.

If you do get the transmission fixed, get it repaired from a good place with a warranty on the repair service.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Carpediem View Post
My DD's car needs the transmission fixed or replaced. Approximate cost would be in the $1500-$2000 range. The car is a 2002 Dodge Intrepid with around 125k miles on it. The current value of the car is less than $1000.

DD is in the last year of grad school so she should be receiving a paycheck in a year or so.

What would you do with the car? Repair it? Replace it with a $2000 used car that would hopefully last 2-3 years?

A local salvage yard said they'd give us $175 for it. It is currently sitting in the parking lot at a garage while we mull our options.
If it were a Civic or a Corolla, I'd consider repairing, but a Dodge: not so much. Chances are good that other (major) things will start failing soon.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:36 PM   #5
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If it were a Civic or a Corolla, I'd consider repairing, but a Dodge: not so much. Chances are good that other (major) things will start failing soon.
^^^ This is my thought as well.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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If it were a Civic or a Corolla, I'd consider repairing, but a Dodge: not so much. Chances are good that other (major) things will start failing soon.
+2

Dodge is a bad car... not worth chasing repairs that will more than likely keep coming...
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:44 PM   #7
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I can not imagine finding a reliable car for 2000 dollars. A set of tires for my car was 880 bucks. i went to the used tire place and got 4 with balancing for 200 with the tip. they look ok, i needed tires due to rubber deteriorating after 11 years parked outside in the salt belt. I used to be the king of buying throw away cars. But i drove in the city, i did not go far, never over 35 mph. If it was for a young lady that might be on a lonely highway in the wee hours of the night a 2000 used car wouldnt be my first choice. i would fix the car get a 1 year warranty with it. If it dies she will be graduated and can get better transportation. Just my 2 Cents since u asked. By the way if it was for my son in graduate school, i would tell him to take the bus.
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Old 06-02-2017, 04:37 PM   #8
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Replacement is not the only option. What specifically are the symptoms? If the check engine light is on - you can have the code read for specific cause.

A trip to some shops will give the 'replace it all advice' (more boat payments for the mechanic).

I have worked on several Mercedes transmissions - always more effective to repair than replace. Unless the clutch/friction plates are burned or all the planetary teeth are ground off, there may be simpler repairs. For example - adding/changing the ATF and filter, replace the conductor plate or electronics plug (if equipped), changing valve body springs - all these are less than $200.

Try a querying a car specific (make/model/year) forum for advice - folks are usually very helpful.

If however the tyranny is pushing daisies - get a new beater.
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:56 PM   #9
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Get a used transmission from a wrecking yard , uh I Mean " Quality Recycled Automotive Parts Establishment" as some call themselves. Should be under $800 installed, with about half of that as labor.

Any cheap used car you find may have other problems. Think of it this way, Spend a grand on car repairs for the next year is under 100 a mo for car expenses. Low cost IMO. Stick with the current heap until school is over
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:56 PM   #10
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If your experience with the car has been good and you know of no other major problems, do the tranny.

To spend $2000 on a replacement car is to buy a pig in a poke, possibly soon needing a tranny too. It doesn't make sense. Somebody had a reason for selling that car and it may be a hidden maintenance issue.

IMO generalizations about brands are a waste of time when talking about one specific car about which you have good information.
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:29 AM   #11
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I wouldn't spend money on the tranny or a $2K replacement vehicle. Aren't there other better options that you can make work financially, especially if she can pick up the loan payments in another year?
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for the feedback. It appears DD is going to tap into some ex-FIL money and get a $5k-$6k used car that will hopefully last her 5+ years. I like that idea. It really isn't feasible for us to buy a used tranny from a salvage yard and repair it because of current family situations and locations.

Sounds like she's going to be looking at used Hondas and Toyotas.
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Carpediem View Post
What would you do with the car? Repair it? Replace it with a $2000 used car that would hopefully last 2-3 years?

A local salvage yard said they'd give us $175 for it. It is currently sitting in the parking lot at a garage while we mull our options.
I take from this that you are willing to use your money to help her out, right?

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I wouldn't spend money on the tranny or a $2K replacement vehicle. Aren't there other better options that you can make work financially, especially if she can pick up the loan payments in another year?
Unless you can get a used transmission put in for less than $500, I'd probably go car shopping with her. She's going to need a reliable car when she gets a job. Structure the deal as you want, but one idea would be to make her payments for this year and she can pay you back over the remainder of the loan period. Or, buy the car for cash yourself and she'll pay you back. She should build a budget in advance for her post-graduation paycheck (be realistic--an English MA is not worth $90K/year starting pay) and expenses and figure out what she'll be able to afford. Then, you both can shop for a reliable, inexpensive car and plan to keep it for a long time. Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota . . . While my common practice was to buy a car a couple of years old to avoid the depreciation hit, in many cases that isn't worth it with Toyotas and Hondas because the depreciate so slowly. It might still be a viable tactic with a Hyundai or Kia.
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Old 06-03-2017, 04:10 PM   #14
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$2000 on a used car or fixing the current one? I vote none of the above.

Go get a reliable used car that is SAFE, with new SAFEty Features. My son got hit by a drunk driver in a dual wheeled diesel truck (hit and run, they caught him later that same evening) on Xmas eve, I am glad that his car protected him from any serious/ life threatening injury.

Get a newer SAFE car it will be the best money and gift you ever got her, especially if she gets hit.......
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Carpediem View Post
My DD's car needs the transmission fixed or replaced. Approximate cost would be in the $1500-$2000 range. The car is a 2002 Dodge Intrepid with around 125k miles on it. The current value of the car is less than $1000.


What would you do with the car? Repair it? Replace it with a $2000 used car that would hopefully last 2-3 years?
Sell or donate it. Time to move on.

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A set of tires for my car was 880 bucks. i went to the used tire place and got 4 with balancing for 200 with the tip.
My last set of tires was $2k. Yep, $500 each. And I'm lucky to get 20,000 miles on a set of those tires.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:27 AM   #16
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... My last set of tires was $2k. Yep, $500 each. And I'm lucky to get 20,000 miles on a set of those tires.
OK, I'll bite. What kind of machine, what kind of tires?

I'm familiar with this kind of issue. When I was racing sports cars, a set of tires lasted an hour or maybe an hour and a half. Then we needed new ones because the heat cycles from the track sessions hardened the rubber and it didn't stick so well any more. Measured tire temps were in the 180deg range.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:48 PM   #17
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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT - OEM is Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Run Flat 295 /45 R20. Discount Tires has them for $554 each, Tire Rack for $490, (if you want to deal with shipping and mounting issues). Actually got a set of 4 mount/balanced/tax, at discount tires for $2000 so they will deal little.

They are 20 inch Y rated (186mph) run flats. There are cheaper non OEM tires that would fit but I like the tires and they were made for this vehicle.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:57 PM   #18
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My one neighbor is a real piece of work. When his car was going bad we saw him drive it down the road...2 hours later he brought the car back on a roll back. He drove it right into a tree. Not a high speed but fast enough for the insurance company to total it and pay it out.

I wouldnt recommend this but im sure a lot of people do it.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #19
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My one neighbor is a real piece of work. When his car was going bad we saw him drive it down the road...2 hours later he brought the car back on a roll back. He drove it right into a tree. Not a high speed but fast enough for the insurance company to total it and pay it out.

I wouldnt recommend this but im sure a lot of people do it.
We all pay the bill for jerks that do that sort of thing. To me, it's like stealing.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:36 PM   #20
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DD was in her last year of college when the transmission failed in her 2002 Ford Escape with about 130K miles. We paid just under $2K for a rebuild. At the time, blue book was about $2.5K. Three years later, that car is still going strong. Very glad we didn't junk it.
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