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1995 Ford Explorer Needs a Rebuilt Transmission - do we junk or replace?

My college aged daughter drives a 1995 Ford Explorer. She uses it primarily to get around town for work and to get too and from school a few times a year. We live approx 2.5 hours from campus. The car has 180,000 miles and aside from maintenance of brakes, tires, et cetera it has been in good running condition since it was purchased new by a family member. We have a quote of $1700 to fix the transmission. My goal is for her to have the car for two more years. The most we can come up with for a replacement car is $3500. Do you junk the car or buy a cheap used one?

$1700 is very reasonable. And the next suitable replacement is $3500? With unknown maintenance record? If you feel the Explorer is in otherwise good shape, the $3500 is a bigger gamble. Unless that is $3500 down payment, the cars in that price range are worse than your truck.

+1 for BustedKnuckles.

You will likely buy a car for $3,500 with more problems that the car you’ve got now. A transmission that went 180K miles over 17 years isn’t bad at all. If the motor is sound, and the body isn’t too rusty I’d keep it going. If the transmission job is properly done you could get a lot more miles and years out of the car.

$3,500 just won’t get you much of a car, and you’ll have no idea how it was cared for by the previous owners.

Check out the used car ads and see what your exp is selling for with similar miles. I know any used trans swap out will cost at least $1k. Are they overhauling your trans for 1700? It’s not like your motor is rock solid either.