2000 Toyota Corolla To Repair or Not To Repair

I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla with 233,000 miles on it. A national name transmission company told me the transmission may die soon, though I never saw any indication. It was always not extremely fast at high speed interstate driving (don’t know if it is symptom of age, engine, trans or what). They also said I neded brake master cylinder (brake pedal goes to floor).
New trans from Toyota installed $3,000
Master cylinder $300
Total cost $3,300
My question is, is it worth to invest the money and do the repair?

First things first!
If your brake pedal is going to the floor, you need to have it repaired–almost surely by replacing the master cylinder–before driving it again. Otherwise, you face an incredible amount of liability for operating a vehicle which you know to have bad brakes. Any competent mechanic can do this type of repair, so you might just want to go to the nearest mechanic’s shop for this repair.

Now to the transmission…
Yes, it is possible that you do need to have your transmission overhauled or replaced–especially if the trans fluid wasn’t changed every 30k miles. However, I would NEVER accept a diagnosis from a “national name transmission company” (presumably either AAMCO or Lee Myles or Cottman or Mr. Transmission), as they are known for telling virtually all of their customers that they need a new/overhauled transmission.

You need to take your car to an independent trans shop that has been in business for at least 3 years. If they concur that you need a new/overhauled transmission, they will almost surely be able to do it cheaper than a Toyota dealer, and they will be able to do it more competently than a “chain” transmission shop.

As to whether it is worthwhile to do these repairs on an old car, that really depends on its overall condition (for instance, how much rust is on the chassis?) and how well you have maintained it over the years. If you will share the car’s maintenance record over the past 3 years, that will give us some indication of how well you have maintained it.

However, even a well-maintained car is likely in the twilight of its useful life after 14 years, and much of the decision should probably come down to the issue of…

…Do you expect the car to start and run reliably every time that you drive it?

If the answer to that question is “yes”, then it would probably be a good idea to start shopping for your next car.

I agree with @VCDdriver, as usual. Get the brakes fixed first. If you are not noticing a transmission problem, you probably don’t have a transmission problem. So, don’t worry about that. Just get those brakes done.

I find it outrageous that a trans shop would try to sell you a tranny because it MIGHT fail soon, based on mileage

Along those lines, might as well also buy a rebuilt engine, because it MIGHT fail soon, based on mileage

LOL . . . ?!

There is no investment in a car.

Fix the brakes as in the state you describe you can get killed or worst kill someone. A car in the state now is unsafe to drive.

The transmission will die the question is when. Wait till it happens and then decide.

Maybe this wouldn’t be a good bet if you were playing poker, but It’s entirely possible the transmission shop is looking out for the OP’s best interests, did some tests, and found the transmission is on the last legs. The first thing to do though is get the brakes fixed.

I’d recommend to use a local inde shop to replace the MC, not a dealer or the transmission shop. Ask friends/co-workers/etc for who they use. $300 for a replacement MC, parts and labor, seems reasonable, but get other bids from some inde shops.

Once the brake situation is under control, ask the local inde shop who did your MC replacement who’s the best transmission shop in town. Give them the scoop, ask if they think a proper transmission service (drop pan/replace filter/new fluid) is in order.

Not being able to go as fast as you like on the freeway, that’s hard to say. Could be that is just the way this car is. Or it could needs some relatively inexpensive routine maintenance is all. The shop that does the brakes could do a test drive and tell you more.

The best thing you can do about it is to never ever again go to AAMCO (All Automatics Must Come Out) for ANY reason, forget what they said, keep maintaining the car, keep driving, and SMILE!!!

And GET THOSE BRAKES FIXED at a reputable, local, owner-operated garage.

Oh, and 2000 Corollas never were extremely fast at high speed interstate driving. I owned a brand new 2005 Corolla and IT wasn’t extremely fast at high speed interstate driving. They’re not designed for that.

Happy motoring.

I’ll go with the majority here and say “Get those brakes fixed!” No mechanic that I’ve ever known or even heard about has a crystal ball that can tell the future. They don’t exist so forget about that diagnosis that uses the ability to see into the future. “May die soon” is the language of a con/scam artist.


Find a good reputable LOCAL mechanic or transmission shop. I have one here in NH I deal with. They cringe every time someone comes in and says they just had it at AAMCO and was told they needed a new transmission. More then half the time…NOTHINGS WRONG. And of the transmissions that do have a problem…less then half of them need to be rebuilt.

thanks to all for the great advice! Confirmed what I was thinking of doing anyway.

It’s like me walking up to the first real old guy I see and saying he may die sometime soon. Who knows when. Just fix the car brakes and save your money till it really happens. Then buy another Corolla and go for another 200k miles.