Lent to a friend

How do I go about handling this situation? I lent my van out to a friend who went about 45mi. away. On his way back, the trani. went out. The next day he paid to have it towed back to my house. Now me & my family (of 7) are out of transportation. This friend has transportation but it’s not reliable. Do I hold him responsible? or 1/2 responsible? what should I do? I still owe $ on this vehicle!

If he was a good guy he would split cost…but if no agreement ahead of time the bill is yours unless you think he abused it. What make , model , engine , ?

usually it takes tons of abuse to kill a tranny, so I would guess the tranny was on its way out already.

So unless he was stuck in a ditch for 3 hours I would say you are the responsible party.

You know this one. It’s your bill, and you wouldn’t lend a car to a friend if he couldn’t be trusted. If you can’t afford to lose your transportation, you can’t afford to lend it to anybody but family, and then it’s the same risk. You can ask friends, family and strangers if they would like to help you out.

2004 Dodge Caravan

Determine what’s wrong first before you determine who’s guilty

If the tranny fluid was never changed, then you’re on the hook for this one.

Well legally unless you were renting it to him, if he was using it for his benefit at no charge, and he damaged it, which might be hard to determine, he would be responsible I believe. Practically though, unless he abused it, it’s your problem.

yeah, we need to know what he was doing with the van. If we’re talking about filling a 14’ trailer with bricks and then towing it up the side of a mountain then, yeah, he did it. But if he was just driving around, I can’t see how he could have hurt it, even if he was hotrodding it.

Transmissions don’t just go from perfect to failed within forty-five miles. You have a family of seven, so I guess you have been hauling seven bodies of various weight for x number of years on this transmission.
You don’t tell us the vehicle, year or engine, the mileage, service record and repair history. It’s kind of hard to come down on your side of this without any information. It might even be neither of you are at fault and there is something wrong with your make and model and year. There might even be a recall.

Hmmm…let’s see.

This 2004 Caravan should have had its trans fluid and filter changed at least twice so far, on the basis of elapsed time. You did not provide us with the odometer mileage, but if it has a really high number of miles on it, then it is possible that the trans should have been serviced three times already.

If the trans has been serviced on the type of schedule outlined above, then it would be unusual for the transmission to have failed this early. Please note that I stated “unusual”–not impossible.

On the other hand, if it has not been serviced as described above, then it is very easy to determine responsibility for the trans failure, and the responsible party would be the vehicle owner.

Also–does the OP know factually that the level of fluid in the trans (as well as its color and odor) was “normal” immediately prior to your friend’s borrowing of the vehicle? If the answer is “I don’t know” or “no”, then it is a quantum leap to assume that anything the friend did could have caused this breakdown.

Let me try to give you a home-related analogy. Let’s say that your friend used the toilet while he was at your house, and that when he flushed the toilet, the flush mechanism broke. Would you bill him for the $20 or so that it would take for you to replace the flush mechanism that just happened to break when he used it? Hopefully, the answer would be “no”.

Or, let’s say that a guest at your dinner party happens to knock over a wine glass while reaching for the mashed potatoes. Do you jump up and shout, “That will be $15, Charlie!”? Accidents happen and a good friend does not attempt to bill his friends for unintentional occurrences. If a guest at my home happened to accidentally break a wine glass, it is likely that he would offer to pay for it, but I would decline payment–simply because accidents happen.

On the basis of just being a decent human being, you should assume all financial responsibility for this situation unless you know your friend to be someone who truly abuses vehicles. Do you believe that he abused your van sufficiently in 45 miles for him to have destroyed a properly-maintained transmission whose fluid you had checked immediately prior to his use of it?

Unless your record of maintenance with this transmission is flawless, and/or unless you have actual evidence that he abused the vehicle, I think that you should just attribute this situation to a chance occurrence that could just as well have taken place the next time that you drove the vehicle.

Unless he did something really hard on the transmission like towing a large boat up the mountain, I doubt if it was his fault, it was just unlucky that it died when it did.

Ask yourself this.  If he borrowed it and returned it, but it died the next morning, would you feel it was still his fault or would you believe it was your fault.  

Transmission tend to die based not on what happened in the last 24 hours, but rather what happened (or did not happen) during the past 24 months.  

 Have you had the transmission fluid replaced in the last 24 months?  When was the last time you checked the fluid (level and condition). Well then I would suggest that based on the limited information it is most likely your fault for failure to service the transmission.  

  Personally If I had borrowed the car, I would have offered some financial assistance, but less than 50%

  Legally you will need to ask a lawyer, but I suspect you will have to prove that the your friend abused the car in a way that caused or at least contributed to the failure.

  BTW what is the make, model miles and auto or manual transmission?

I find this post to represent an insane way to think.

Of course, somewhere on some other discussion board is some other guy. He’s asking how he can get his money back after having to tow his friend’s crappy van home when it left him stranded on the side of the road.

In addition to mileage and service history, I’m wondering what “trani. went out” means. There are lots of ways that a transmission can fail - some of them bad. Some not so much.

And, btw, MikeD - if you own a minivan, expect transmission problems. They’re not as bad as they used to be but on every make/model the transmission is the weak link in a minivan.

Base on the information given it looks as though you loaned your friend a van with a defective transmission. He paid to have it towed back to you, which is all he is liable for.

The best thing you can do is get the transmission fixed as soon as possible.