Rebuild Transmission or Not To?


#1

I have a 2005 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE and it needs a new transmission. I am getting quotes for a rebuilt transmission are from $1900 and up. The average being around $2600. They all come with a one year or 12,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first). The car also has a timing chain that needs to be replaced ($900) and motor mounts replaced ($800). Furthermore, I have a power steering leak from the HIGH LINE, a CAM SENSOR that needs to be replaced and a possibly a leak in the AC (but I can live with replacing the freon every year). I also need new tires and a brake job. We are looking anywhere from a $4,000 to $5,000 job. The car has 94,000 miles.

The question is: Should I get this job done or invest my money on buying another used car (2004 Honda Accord) or even leasing a car?

FYI: Buying a 2004 Honda Accord LX (Base Model) with 107,000 miles that had a rebuilt transmission done with 92,000 miles. Cost of buying is $4,500.

I am listening to all advice just keep it genuine please because this is a tough decision for me. Then again it could be a no-brainer for everyone else lol.


#2

You also may be looking at a $150 spark plug change if it’s recommended for your car at 100,000 miles. Yes, buy the Accord and try to get rid of the Altima. You may be better off if you don’t even try to keep your car on the road. Your repairs and hassles will cost you much more that you expect.

It’s always a no-brainer for someone else to tell you what to do.


#3

Sounds like the Altima has had a tough life.
I’d have the Accord thoroughly checked out, do some good test drives, and if everything is in order offer a price that will leave you enough margin to have the timing belt and water pump replaced.


#4

I think its time to move on. Just too much stuff to deal with. We were interested in the Altimas at one time but decided against it. Seems like they have their issues. Nomally I fix things, but enough is enough.


#5

KBB shows an '05 Altima in fair/good condition is only worth $4.5k-$5.5k for a dealer trade-in, and slightly more if you sell it privately. Yours is worth less at the moment with those needed repairs.

If you spend the $4000-$5000 in repairs that you mention, you will still have an Altima that is only worth $4.5K-$5.5K.

I agree it’s time to move on.


#6

You can count this as one more vote to cut your losses and move on.

However, for the sake of your wallet, I strongly suggest that you move on to a vehicle with a known history of good maintenance. I say that because both your Altima and that Accord appear to be victims of lax maintenance.

For your Altima to need a new timing chain at only 94k miles makes me suspect that this car did not have its engine oil changed often enough, as lubrication problems are almost always to blame when a timing chain needs to be replaced prior to…let’s say…200k or 250k miles. Even if you were using the oil change interval specified by Nissan, if you do a lot of local, short-trip driving you need to change the oil at least every 4 months in order to avoid sludging and related lubrication issues.

Similarly, if you need a transmission rebuild at 94k miles, that points toward probable lax maintenance of the transmission. Even if the mfr’s maintenance schedule doesn’t specify it, trans fluid (& filter) should be changed every 3 years or 30k miles. Has the trans fluid been changed at least 3 times already? If not, that is the probable explanation for trans failure at 94k miles.

And, also similarly, if that Accord needed a trans rebuild at 92k miles, that indicates lax maintenance on that car. In other words, it looks to me like you would be going from one poorly-maintained car to a different poorly-maintained car that will likely also cause a hole in your wallet.

I suggest that, instead of focusing on the legendary reliability of makes such as Toyota and Honda, you should focus on finding a car (of virtually any make) which comes with full maintenance records that you can compare to the mfr’s maintenance schedule, in order to verify proper maintenance. Then, once you find such a vehicle, you still need to have your own mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection in order to detect incipient problems and possible collision damage. And, of course, after buying it, make sure that you maintain it properly!

What I am suggesting is time-consuming, but in the long run it will save you a huge amount of money.

Buying a poorly-maintained car, and/or not maintaining it properly after you buy it, is invariably a lot more expensive than simply doing basic, scheduled maintenance when it is supposed to be done.


#7

I’ll join the chorus here and say it’s time to cut your losses and get rid of the Altima…