2000 Toyota Corolla-worth investing for repairs?

I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla with 118,000 miles on it, Bluebook value $4000. I just took it to the shop for a metal on metal squeel when I turn right–turns out I need to replace the front differential, which means a rebuilt transmission for $1500. Additionally the ball joints are starting to wear, they don’t need to be replaced yet, but I should keep an eye on them.
Overall, this is a great car. I bought it in 2005 with low miles and it has taken good care of me for 7 years. This is the most expensive repair I’ve had to do, otherwise it operates well, gets 30mpg, and satisfies my needs in general
I figure at some point this wonderful car will not be worth repairing…any thoughts on if this is the time? How do you know when it is time to call it quits

Take it to a reputable independent shop for a second opinion. A metal squealing sound when turning right does not sound like a symptom of a bad differential. It sounds more like a symptom of a bad inner CV joint. That would require a new half-shaft (axle), not a new tranny.

Oh, I forgot to ask;; does it squeal when turning but not rolling, or only when rolling? I still don;t think you need a new tranny, but the answer could change my theory.

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I’ve only heard it squeal when breaking and turning, like right asI turn into the driveway. The shop didn’t mention the CV, but I have to take it back for something else so I might ask them about that.
The transmission shop said he doesn’t think it needs a rebuild, but said a service couldn’t hurt (I’ve had the car 8 years, 90k miles, and I’ve never had the tranny serviced).
I’ve been listening closeley and trying not to turn as hard (ie not turning the wheel all the way), and it seems to be better.

You state the car’s value is $4000. I’m not sure how you arrive at that. I could only find it’s worth that if it were in excellent condition and you were selling it privately. If it does need a new transaxle, its value is far less. My point: Be careful about sinking big money into this.

I agree with mountainbike. Get a second opinion before proceeding.

If it has been well maintained and is in otherwise good shape then I would not hesitate to spend the money. I just dropped $2000 into my 99 Accord with 199,000 miles. It is in excellent shape and needed a clutch, a ball joint (upper control arm), and rear subframe under the engine. The mechanic said the subframe is a common problem with my car but that the rest of the vehicle was in excellent condition. The engine and transmission are in very good condition and I know how well I have maintained the vehicle so I feel good about my expenditure.

For the squeal try the cheap fixes first.
Change the serpentine belt, it could be squealing if over 5 years old.
And yes, get that transmission fluid changed, not flushed. Use the fluid Toyota specs.

I think this is the left CV joint, not the transmission. This is a common problem and inexpensive to repair, $250 tops. It’s possible it is the transmission, but very unlikely. Unless you have 100% faith in the original diagnosis, ask friends/relatives for a reference for an independent mechanic who specializes in Toyotas for a second opinion. My car is an early 90’s Corolla with 200K miles and still going strong. A 2000 Corolla? Why, in my wa of thining, that’s practically a new car!

Never had transmission problems? with your corolla? No check engine light?

Did you not see that this is a 5 year old thread?

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You have to look at a lot of things, shocks, struts , brakes, tires . You have things that could go wrong that you dont know about like alternators, fuel pumps etc… Tuneup if it hasnt been done etc… Does your motor have a timing belt or a chain . If a belt this is a big cost for replacement which normally comes at around 100000 miles and is usually in the $5-700 range . If you ignore it and it breaks it will probably trash the engine as most engines these days are interference designs . If it uses a chain then those usually will last the life of the car .

My 1999 Corolla squealed when I turn right at any speed. Turned out to be a bad front wheel bearing. Cost: $200 to replace. The wheel had a lot of play in it.

Video of my car when it was starting to go bad. You can hear it well when I sway the car to the right.