I have a 1998 Saturn with about 270,000 miles. Two weeks ago, I was shifting in and out of reverse and drive, trying to get out of a tight spot in my driveway. Suddenly, I heard some sputtering noises. The transmission started jamming and jarring, rather than shifting. I got out of the car and saw transmission fluid rapidly leaking all over the driveway. I put the car in park, turned it off, and haven’t done anything for about two weeks because I had to go out of town.
Now that I’m back at home, I’m trying to assess the situation. I’m not sure if I should spend any money for a mechanic to even diagnose this car because it’s only worth a few hundred dollars, if that. I figure that any diagnosis and repair work will probably far exceed the value of the car. I guess the worst case scenario is that the transmission is blown. I would not invest in a new or rebuilt transmission. I suppose the best case scenario is that this is merely a leak that might only require a $2-$300 repair. I don’t think I could justify spending upwards of that, $400 or more, on this car.
I’m wondering if someone might be able to help me assess the odds of what could be wrong and the chance that this could be a $2-300 repair. Once I know those odds, I would feel more comfortable deciding whether I should have AAA tow it to a mechanic, or whether I should simply get rid of it for good.
Any expert opinions are welcome!