Is it worth keeping?

My 2002 Ford Windstar Van needs a rebuilt transmission. The chain, according to my mechanic, may quit at any time (the van makes a grinding noise going up inclines). In 2005 my van had the transmission rebuilt (it totally quit on me driving). It currently has 200, 030 miles on it. I’ve checked around and the best estimate for a rebuilt transmission is $2200.00. Is it worth keeping? Repairing? If not, do I try selling it (for what amount?)? Do I take it to a junk yard and get about $400.00 for it? Please advice. Thank you.

I had a 2001 windstar. My tranny went at 140k and did not think it was worth fixing. Traded for 500 bucks

Agree that your Windstar has reached the end of the economic road. Sure, you can keep fixing it and dump money into that pit, but at that mileage many other things will break, and you will be on a treadmill.

In accounting terms, the money you have already spent is a “sunk cost”, and it’s time to move on. Sunk Cost means water under the bridge.

I’m sure the guys who designed it will agree that 200,000 miles out of a vehicle full of design compromises is commendable!!

So, I would do the world a favor and either advertise it for “parts” for $400 or drive it to the nearest recycler and get 2 cents a pound for it.

Its well done. Junkyard for $400 is fair.

I’d get rid of it. If you want to trade it in, tell the salesman that you haven’t decided when he asks if you have a trade. That way you know how much your next car costs. Once that is settled, ask for a trade evaluation on the Windstar. Again, you will get a reasonable estimate of its worth to them. But they may say they are not interested. In that case, taking it to an auto recycler is the best bet.

BTW, how much can you afford to spend? We can help you figure out what your next car will be, if you want the help.

In the old days, most owners would keep their car as long as they could get parts or the frame had not rusted away. Today it seems far more are replaced because they get tired of the same old car and rather than care for the car, they just junk it, or find some sucker who will get stuck with it.

Joseph; it’s not as simple as that. Even frugal people who know how to handle money will be reluctant to sink more money in a poorly designed car with a short life expectancy. If all the parts to be replaced were small and cheap, as well as labor, you could fix a car econimically for a long time. Older US pickup trucks fall in that category.

However, a Windstar with that many miles, and a good number of potential problem areas, all expensive to fix, is a potential money pit. A friend of mine had one and after transmission and head gasket problems, as well as a number of other expensive fixes, they simply dumped it! These folks got 22 years out of a Mazda 626 before it finally wore out its transmission, and no shop could economically fix it.

Many Ford products, starting with the 1986 Taurus, in order to reduce manufacturing costs, were “designed for assembly” which means they were easy and
s cheap to assemble. This often meant they were brutally difficult and expensive to REPAIR. Military vehicles are generally designed for easy repair, especially under combat conditions. That approach allows for a longer economical service life. I teach course in “repairability” and life cycle costing. An industrial pump with replaceable bearings requiring regular greasing will last a lot longer than with sealed bearings, for instance.

We had a Ford Granada, and replacing the flimsy heater core was a very expensive procedure. We got rid of that car for $750 with only 108,000 miles on it.

“Joseph; it’s not as simple as that. Even frugal people who know how to handle money will be reluctant to sink more money in a poorly designed car with a short life expectancy.”

I agree with you, at least to some extent. It is not all one or the other, both are true and there are many more factors we have not addressed.

For what its worth, I owned a 1997 Windstar that I bought used from a Ford dealer. After only a couple of months, and with only 80,000 miles on it, the head gasket blew. I discovered that there had been a recall on all of the prior years models due to the heads being made too small. Since mine was supposedly after the “fix”, the dealership wouldn’t do a thing. It ended up costing me well over a grand to have it fixed. I say get rid of it, and never look back.

If yours is in otherwise decent condition, buy another one with a major issue that isn’t the transmission and use yours to fix the other?