Repair or Replace?

We own a 1993 Astro Van

190,000 miles

transmission slips between drive and od at 55-60 mph after it is warmed up.

We have put almost $8000 into van since 2002.

Mechanic says it may cost $1300 (?) or so for 3 solenoids (not sure which one is causing the problem) and he is not sure if that will fix the problem.

Hoping to travel from OH to Nebraska this summer.

There are other small issues with van like no dash lights, cruise does not work, radio does not work. Not a huge deal but this is not a work van, this is for a family of 7.

When is it time to quit putting $into vehicle?

Should we fix it or replace it?

A '93 Asto van in good condition is worth…maybe $2,000. Spending over $1,000. on a 16 year old vehicle that is not in good condition and will require more repairs just does not make sense to me, but only you can make that decision.

Personally, I would start shopping for a replacement vehicle.

I almost always recommend fixing not changing. But assuming all the work you have done was really needed and not the result of neglect or driving condition, I would say this van has reached the end of it’s useful life for day to day use.

We have always kept up on regular maintenance and services on this vehicle, the cost of which is included in the $8000 mentioned.

The average American spends about $1200 per year on maintenance repairs and tires per year. So that would be about $8400 for the time you have owned the vehicle. You actually spent less. If you owned a BMW or AUdi or Mercedes and you had no breakdowns at all you would still have spent $8000 over that period maintaining it properly.

In the overall scheme a car costs about its original selling price in maintenance, repairs and tires over its life. For a Toyota Camry that would be 20 years or so and it would cost some $22,000 to keep it running for 400,000 miles over the 20 years. That’s only 5.5 cents/mile.

In other words, you can’t have anything for nothing; all cars need maintenance and periodic repairs; the trick is to keep them running a very long time so you don’t have buy a car that often.

As others point out, at that mileage of your van it should have a lot of life left in it, but if these breakdowns are frequent, maybe the time has come to say goodbye and get something newer.