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Do I buy a new car or get a new transmission?

Four weeks ago, my 18 year old daughter crashed my 1995 Ford Ranger 4 wheel drive truck on the first icy day of the winter. Luckily she was ok but she killed the truck. I since bought a new truck for myself but here is the issue. The vehicle I was driving prior to her crach and she is now driving due to the crash is a 1999 Toyota Sienna Minivan with 280,000+ miles. This vehicle has been a great vehicle other than a slow oil leak in the engine until lately when it is clear that the transmission is about to fail any day/week from now. I have had quotes to replace the transmission from $2,000 to $3,000 well above the trade in value of the vehicle. I have looked around for used cars in the area in the $4,000 range for my daughter but have only found very used (150,000+ miles) used/junk cars.

So the the question I have for everyone:
Is it more cost effective to buy a very used car and risk taking on someone elses issues or get my transmition replaced?

you said it does the Toyota need more work then the tranns or is that all she needs and how is the rest of the van holdind up like rust the int. of the van?

Hey RLangen,

I realy wish I could give you a clear cut answer on this one, but truth be told everyones answer on this subject will be opinion based. That being said my opinion would be: as long as the toyota van is in good condition other than the tranny, you might just wanna have it rebuilt at a shop you trust and call it a day. However to justify that repair cost I would recommend having the mechanic do a general inspection of the van to make sure there is nothing else serious about to go wrong with it. Like you said spending the $2 - $3k on a vehicle whos blue book suggested value is less that that is hard to stomach but spending $5k+ on that same vehicle is near ludacris. If that might turn out to be the case I would recommend looking for a older (80’s - late 90’s) toyota or honda car. Would help your daughter save on gas, and insurance values for said vehicles are relativly low.

Hope this advice helps,
Best wishes

Do you or your daughter need a minivan ? A decent minivan can’t be had for $4k if yours is other wise decent. But, if you DONOT need the van anymore, dump it ASAP and look for a compact car.

I can’t see going into that much debt on a vehicle that has almost 300k miles on it.

One option that you might consider is calling around to several large salvage yards and price a used unit. Some large salvage yards will also install what they sell for a nominal fee and guarantee the unit be it a transmission, engine or whatever. Depending on any price quote this may be a viable option.

I might disagree that a nice used car can’t be found for 4k dollars or even much less. With patience and footwork they can.