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Buy or fix

Hello Car Talk Community!
After many years of the odometer working overtime, my Toyota RAV4 finally succumbed to transmission failure. She has 265K miles. I can either
(1) have a salvaged transmission put in
(2) buy a new “used” vehicle.
If I go with Option 2, I would need a vehicle that can withstand my many miles/day driving…
Any advice (with reasoning) / feedback would be helpful.

Thank you!!

Tilly, Even Without A Transmission Failure Many Folks Would Be Considering Vehicle Replacement At That Mileage. The Death Of The Transmission Makes The Decision A Much Easier One.

Vehicle age is another factor. What model-year is this vehicle ?
How far do you drive every day/week/month/or year ?

Almost any vehicle with 265k, even one that’s working well, does not have much residual value. Id’d say chances are that you’ve gotten your money’s worth and would be better off putting the repair money into a younger, lower mileage vehicle.

A salvage transmission in this vehicle does not assure you that you’ll be all set for any given number of miles or any certain amount of time. It could turn out alright or you could throw good money after bad money.

We get “attached” to our old faithful vehicle companions and it’s difficult to make the decision when it becomes time to let go, but I think this is it.

In addition to the questions above, does the vehicle need anything else to be considered in tip-top shape ? Is vehicle rust (including rust you don’t see on the outside) a factor in your locale ?


The question you have to ask is - Will you get your money back by putting in a used/rebuilt/new transmission??

You determine this by taking what the value of the vehicle is NOW as it sits…and subtract that from the value of the vehicle after you put another transmission in. Is that value GREATER then the cost of the transmission. If so then it might be worth it. The hard part is determining the value.

As to a replacement, if the Rav4 met your needs, I’d get a newer Rav4.

At that mileage, I’d replace the Rav-4. How long will the engine last if you replace the transmission? It’s hard to say, given the mileage. What you should replace it with depends on what you need it for. If it is only for your long commutes, then you might consider something that gets better mileage. But we don’t know how you will use it other than long drives. Tell us more.