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Repair or buy new?

The mechanic says the transmission is on it’s last legs. The price to repair (ie: new transmission) is about what we still owe on the car. So, when do you decide whether to double what you owe on the vehicle (and then owe more than KBB value) or dump it at the dealer for a new vehicle?

2000 Van, 92K miles, decent enough, we’ve only had it 6 months.

A 2000 van isn’t worth very much with a bad transmission. I wouldn’t make a decision in your case until I had consulted with an independent transmission shop. Is a used transmission a possibility?

Let us know what make van you are talking about here and any other details that may be pertinent.

I had both AAMCO and an independent shop look at it. The AAMCO guy said it "might be just seals… " or something… or it could be a total transmission. The independent shop didn’t offer anything but a totally new transmission. $1400 -$3200. It’s an Olds Silhouette.

Am i just stuck with an expensive repair?

ps. it’s driveable, only “clunks” occasionally!

First, pay off the balance of the loan. It can’t be that much and the interest is eating you up. If you have the money for repair then surely you can pay off the loan in full.

We can’t advise you on the condition of the transmission since you provided no details. It may not be all that bad. Speak again to the guy who thinks it might just be the seals. If he can do the seals for under $400, it is worth a gamble that it just might work. Go for it.

Is the question “repair or buy new” as in a brand new car? Or, “repair or buy new” meaning buying a used car? If you just bought this car 6 months ago it seems your budget might not allow for a new, new car. Rather than buy another used car you should make an effort to fix the one you have now. Another used car could have just as much or more wrong with it than the one you have.

A “clunk” in a 2000 car isn’t hard to imagine. Are you sure your transmission is the problem? I’d say get some more opinions on what if anything is wrong with the car before jumping into another used car.

You might get another opinion. I can believe that a new transmission would cost $3200, but not $1400. I think that is likely a rebuilt transmission. If you owe $3000 or so on the van, I’d get it fixed. If you can leave it at a transmission shop for a few days, maybe they can rebuild it for you and that might save money. It certainly would compared to a brand new transmission.

When you’re in a hole, the first rule is; stop digging.

You’re in a financial hole. Don’t make it worse by moving to another vehicle. You’ll just go deeper into debt.

I would just keep driving it and be putting money away for the next car. If you can drop the pan your self and change the fluid and filter I would do that.
Beware of large transmission chains, they are notorious for making you think it might be something cheap and then yanking your transmission out and then telling you you need a new or rebuilt one. If you balk at that they will tell you that you owe them a large sum of money to re-assemble and re-install your transmission and it might not work because it has been “disturbed”

Nothing worse than trading cars when its not paid off yet. Yes it may seem like wasted money but unless you would be buying a new car with a warranty, there is no way of knowing whether the same thing would happen again. If the rest of it is ok, you’re just going to have to hold you nose and fix it. You’ll get another 2-3 years out of it until you’re free and clear.