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Continued Investment - 11+ Yr Old Car

Invest more $'s now and take the chance or trade up to newer used model? Re: Have an 11+ Yr old 1999 Acura 3.2TL. 100K miles. Current maint cost: $2,453. Runs well, but model has history of trans. failure.

Personally it is good to be cognizant of trouble areas for a vehicle.

The truth is the vast majority owners do not encounter them. At 11yrs old/100k miles anything major can fail at any moment but again likely will not.

Is this the 5 speed auto? If so, it would appear that after the added oil jet was retro fitted, the failure points were traced to pressure switches that are serviceable externally. Otherwise the trans appears pretty reliable.

100k is not much age for the engine. I’d say that much depends (mainly) on your economic discipline. The payments on a new one will be pretty high, and while I do not expect anyone to put that money away (yeah, right) that liberated revenue would allow you to tolerate having the car taken out of service for a day or two for an expensive repair. It might require you to get a rental and to have a $2000-$3000 repair done, so a good credit or savings thing has to be available to make it work.

Then the biggest issue is keeping it from being cracked up, totaled, or perhaps stolen.

A chassis will get about 13 years of use before major systems start taking a dump. Stuff like the AC, the steering rack …power steering pump…brake lines with longer term corrosion (if in the rust belt) …new radiator …etc…etc.

Yep. Swap out the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches (should be about $80 in parts) and assuming you have the oil jet retrofitted (I think this was a recall, so if it’s not, you can, if my recall is correct, get it put in for free) you should be OK with the transmission.

Instead of making payments on a new car, make the same payment into a car fund. If your car breaks, pay for it out of the fund. Eventually when you’re really ready to replace your Acura, you’ll have a hefty downpayment saved up in the car fund.

BTW, assuming you maintain the car properly, you shouldn’t have too many major systems going out at only 13 years old. I have two cars that are 18 and 20 years old, respectively, and the first major system to go out, just went out - the brake master cylinder, which will cost me a max of around $70 to fix.

Back in 1999, this was probably the 4 speed auto tranny.

It’s always cheaper to repair what you have than buy a new vehicle, but there are too many unanswered questions for us to know what the right thing is for you to do. For example, what is the alternative? New or used, make and model, etc.? Can you afford a new vehicle? How inconvenienced would you be if this car broke down? Would you lose your job? Would anyone die?

Personally, I would never get rid of a car with only 100,000 miles. A car of this vintage should be able to make it to 200,000 miles with few major repairs if it is properly maintained, especially if it is garaged. Then again, my life won’t stop if my car breaks down and I really don’t want to take on a car payment right now, so what’s right for me may not be what’s right for you, especially if people’s lives depend on you getting to work, and your salary is commensurate with that kind of responsibility.