I’ve got a 2005 Volkswagon Golf. It’s got a fair number of miles on it 125,000+/- and I recently put around 3000 dollars worth of repairs into it, changing EVERYTHING that it needed, from belts to the emergency brake cable. Then my transmission died. The car is otherwise in great shape - no accidents, I have all the paperwork, and did only highway driving in it commuting to work. What do I do with it now? The KBB is 4-7000 dollars depending on condition, but it seems foolish to put 1-2000 more bucks into it. Should I sell it to someone who rebuilds transmissions? for how much? Should I sell it for scrap? Suck it up and get a rebuilt transmission? I bought it for 5000, so in total it’s cost me 8000 now. Advice!!!?
There’s a lot more info that needs to be provided.
Did any of this service involve the transmission fluid? (Automatic I assume)
How long between the work and the death of the transmission?
Are you SURE the transmission is dead?
What are the symptoms?
There’s a number of others but the above is a starting point anyway.
A 6 year old car with well over 100k miles and an (allegedly) bad transmission will not be worth that much. How much that is will vary greatly depending on how badly someone wants the car.
I’m not a mechanic – not at all. Not in any sense.
But I am a driver and car owner. And on the first car I owned, which I’d put about $3000 into over the time I owned it (3 years – so standard maintenance budget, and actually pretty good for as old as the car was), the automatic transmission also went. I spent about two weeks fretting over whether to try to get a used transmission to put into the car, or a rebuild, or to forget that car and get a newer one. I decided in the end to get a newer car.
I regret that. I had all the maintenance records from the 60K I drove the first car, knew what condition it was in, knew it was reliable and wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg down the road, provided the used transmission worked or the rebuild held. I ended up with a used Volvo that became a money pit, and I’ve recently bought a new used car that might also turn out to be a money pit – because there wasn’t enough maintenance info for either car to prove that it was sound, and it didn’t become obvious until too late that they might have fatal flaws.
All that is to say that it could be worth it, if you’ve really had all the other work done that it needs, to invest in the car you already know, than to try to find another car for $5000 that doesn’t need any more work. (Because it probably will need more work.)
On the other hand, I don’t get the feeling you’re super enthusiastic about this car (like I was about my first one), so if you’re looking to get rid of it and start over (like I did with the Volvo), that’s fine, too. You might find even in that case that having a rebuilt transmission will raise the value of the car more than the cost of the repair, in which case you may want to check with the trans shop and make sure the warranty is transferrable, then have it fixed up and drive it while you’re trying to sell it/save up for a new car.
The mechanics on this forum will be more helpful than me. But whatever you do, make sure whatever car you’re driving has a full maintenance history available – and the way I figure it, what better way to guarantee that work was done well than to know it was done by your own trusted mechanics?
Unfortunately auto transmission failures in VW Golf’s and Jetta’s are very common at the age and miles you have on your car. Since the car isn’t worth much in a non running condition you really have no choice but to fix it. Start getting prices for new, rebuilt, and used transmissions.
Only put a used tranny in if you are going to sell the car immediately. If you plan to keep it, go for either a new or rebuilt. Don’t follow VW’s advice that their transmissions have lifetime fluid that never needs servicing. This is the main reason the VW trannys have such a short lifetime. Get you new transmission serviced every 30K miles and it will last much longer than the original.
Thank you so much for the advice so far.
Re OK4450: Yes it’s an automatic, no, I don’t think any of the servicing involved the transmission fluid, but I’ll have to look through the paperwork. About 9/10 months passed between the work and the transmission death, though relatively little driving happened during that time. (No job = no more commuting.) I’m not sure the transmission is dead, I just know it started driving weird all of a sudden and my mechanic said it was dead.
The symptoms: I drove out to a doctors appointment in a burb of the city I live in. Afterwards I had to make a left turn onto a small highway/busy road and then up a fairly sustained incline. I saw my opening, entered traffic, and although I heard the engine rev I accelerated pretty slowly, even when I was practically flooring it. Kinda scary actually. It was doing that all the way to the mechanic. He took it for a spin and said it was probably the transmission. Then he put it up on the lift and opened some screw or stopper underneath the trans and let a little bit of the fluid out, which was a darkish unhealthy color. Gave me a quote for around 15 or 1600 for a rebuilt with warranty or more for a new one. Does any of that sound like it adds up to a dead transmission?
Hive mind: aren’t there people out there who rebuild transmissions that would be interested in buying this off me for a few thousand to fix it and flip it for a few thousand more? Where would I find them?
What could I get for it with a used/rebuilt/new transmission purring away? It’s my first car and I am sentimentally attached but finances are really tight without trabajo…
Thank you all!
The trans fluid coming out dark points to a major problem. That is burnt fluid and contaminants from the transmission friction material so yes, it sounds like a dead transmission.
Odds are this problem has been coming on for a while and it reached the point where it surrendered.
For what it’s worth, automatic transmission fluid should be changed about every 30k miles at the latest. Doing this will prevent most transmission failures.
I doubt very seriously that a shop of any sort would give a couple of thousand dollars for a car like this with a failed transmission. You could ask but don’t be surprised if 500 dollars is tops.
I could not see putting a reman or new trans in and then selling it. If the car is in good shape other than the transmission problem I’d fix it if it were mine. Hope that helps.