Keep 2000 Chevy Venture van or buy hew Chevy Traverse?

Our transmission on the Venture seems to be having problems. It has 137000 plus miles. The gas mileage isn’t great so we thought we should buy a new car we can keep for 10 plus years. I don’t like car payments. So we are not sure whether to buy new or put more money into the Venture. Tramission work is really expensive! What should we do?

The Venture motors are pretty decent, but there is a lot of stuff on a van that can go haywire. Things like power windows and automatic sliding doors get problematic with age. At 11 to 12 years old your Venture is old. It could be time for a new car.

If you have the transmission rebuilt the Venture could last another 10 years but it won’t be trouble-free years. If you keep it expect and budget for more repairs and downtime while repairs are made. If you have a second car this might not be a problem.

In general it is usually less expensive to keep the old car for a few more years than buying a new car. Eventually the Venture will be ready for the crusher. The question is are you feed up with the Venture enough to deal with a high monthly car payment?

I’d say to keep the Venture if the overall car is still in OK shape. Find out what the car payment would be on a new car. The Venture will have -0- trade in value so you’ll need a big down payment to get a new car and keep the monthly payment reasonable. So, start making monthly car payments to your own savings account. The goal could be to buy a new car for cash if the Venture holds up for 5 years.

I would instead consider a Ford instead of another Chevy if I expected to keep it ten years.

You should find a 2009 LT1 Traverse at a dealer for around $23,000. A similar, new 2011 will run you about $29,500; including the $2000 rebate. I think that I’d go for the used Traverse if you can find one.

If you do keep it, watch your engine. My coolant ate the aluminium on all levels. What started as a “you need to replace your intake manifold” ended up to be “we have to take the engine out so we can find out what other damage there is”.

The decision may rest on what kind of driving that you do. If having dependable transportation without down time in the shop is a high priority, it may be time to purchase a newer vehicle. On the other hand, if you can live with being inconvenienced with having the car repaired more often, then you can save money by staying with the venture.
I did have the experience of driving a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse for over 1000 miles. We flew to California and rented the Traverse. I found it to be a comfortable, roomy car that was pleasant to drive. On the other hand, the gasoline mileage was 4 to 5 mpg less on the highway than the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander (the successor to your Venture) that I used to own. My son now owns the Uplander and it has been very reliable for him.

I’ll second dagosa’s recommendation to look at Ford if you want to keep it 10 years or more. Or Honda. Or Mazda. Or Toyota. Or Hyundai.

My experience is that GM products will last for 10 years as well. I have a 13 year old Regal and an 8 year old Oldsmobile. Both are running well at this time.

I have a '00 Silhouette (same vehicle). Unless you are a DIY person who will do a lot of work on your own vehicles, get rid of it if you are in a position to do so. At its age & mileage it is used up and will need endless tinkering.

We plan to keep the Silhouette for another 2.5 years. When the kids are out of college, my wife gets a new vehicle. So far it’s been good to us, and I hate to get rid of a reliable vehicle, especially with 2 tuition bills.

Thanks for all of the advice. The transmission on the Venture needs work that could run us close to $1600 to $2000 or more. That would take our repair bill on the venture in the last couple of months to almost $4000. So we are not sure it is worth it to get it fixed. So we are leaning towards a newer car. Thanks for the suggestion on what cars to look at. That really helps.

If you have never replaced the head gaskets or plenum gasket plan on spending money for that. These engines eat these, if I remember correctly.

If you want to describe the transmission issues that might help people say more. But, in general, once the transmissions in those vans start to go squirrely there are no guarantees that things can be straightened out with them. If you are thinking about doing the transmission work I’d flip a coin as to whether or not you’ll be regretting it in a few months. At the very least, if you do it make sure that whatever is done comes with a fat warranty.

The Traverse has an EPA combined rating of 19 mpg, but the tests I’ve seen don’t seem to do that well. So if mpgs are important, you might consider a minivan instead.