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Maintain or Buy

2001 Odyssey at 112,000 miles. Some rust on door bottoms, trailer hitch dents, etc. AND: the transmission is going. Otherwise is seems to be in good working order. Just did $800 worth of work on the brake system and got the vehicle state-inspected.

Should I keep maintaining or get a “new to me” vehicle? How much more use should I expect out of it and what should I expect to be spending yearly at this point?

My own opinion: once a vehicle starts to rust out, don’t put any more money into it except normal maintenance. And, start looking for a replacement.

Besides the serious Achilles heel of early 2000’s Honda’s(transmission) I would suspect about $1200 average/year in maintenance/repair costs. I suspect a replacement or fixed transmission is going to cost between $3000-$5000.

Not sure if this transmission is ever really “fixed”. I know two owners SOL with their Honda warranty furnished replacement automatics failing after 50-70k miles from the first failure.

If you haven’t replaced the transmission as yet and pull any kind of trailer you’ve done very well with your Odyssey. How long the car will hold up is anyone’s guess.

I’d suggest start making a monthly new car payment to yourself now of about $350 a month. This will start to get your budget ready for a newer replacement. Put that money into a “newer car” account at the bank and try not to touch it. When the next big repair comes up on the Odyssey you can decide to sell it and have some money for a down payment on a newer car. The longer the Odyssey lasts the bigger your down payment will be.

Agree with Uncle turbo; this vehicle will be worth next to nothing on a trade, so I would do just the minimal maintenance and drive it till it dies. An auto shop can sell you a can of touch up paint for $10 or so. Clean off a much of the rust as possible with rubbing compound and just paint over the spots. The rust is likely at the bottom, so no one will take notice.

This is great input - thanks.

I have been towing a 19’ in/out Starcraft maybe 40 miles total a year, and a pretty heavy pop-up trailer a few hundred miles a year in the hills. No tow prep either. Maybe I am lucky, but still unhappy about the needed repair.

The rust issue isn’t one I considered more than cosmetic, but maybe I should. If I fix the transmission I’d hope to get another 3 years / 30-40,000 miles out of this. But that new transmission may have isues too? Just a bad design, I guess.

I do have the cash to just buy - looking at a nicely maintained '06 Sienna w/ 40,000 miles and a tow prep. Struggling with whether to go with it. $18,000 immediately vs. $4000 now and possible future issues.

Since the Odyssey is not worth much, maybe you should buy another vehicle now and keep the Odyssey. Unless you need the great combination of room for cargo and passengers a minivan affords, you might consider something more suited to towing, like a midsize SUV. The maximum towing capacity for the Sienna is 3500#. A 2006 Explorer with RWD is rated at 7300#. My neighbor has one and loves it. He tows his boat with it.