Replace Transmission or buy another car?

2007 Dodge Nitro, 193 K. Tranny went out. My brother needs 4WD for beach work (not AWD).
Car very well maintained, almost no rust, no detectable oil use between 4K oil changes.
Looks like a rebuilt tranny would be about $3K for this. Should he do this, or face the horrible
used car market?

Ordinarily I’d say it’s a slam dunk, replace the car. Mainly because Nitros aren’t exactly paragons of reliability and so after he replaces the transmission, he’s almost guaranteed to run into more problems, probably sooner than later.

But on the other hand, there’s more than one ten year old Ford Rangers for sale near me right now for almost 20 grand, which is about 25 grand more than they’re probably worth. :wink:

The used car market is so insane right now that it might be more economical to keep fixing the Nitro until things calm down.


I’d get several quotes for replacing the transmission. I’d also have a mechanic go over the car and see if there are any other issues “lurking”. With nearly 15 years and 193K miles on the clock, there’s bound to be other things that need attention.

You can make an informed decision from that point.


Current crazy used car prices makes repairing much more attractive than it used to be.


Yes. I’ll bet a lot of cars which otherwise would have been junked are getting a second chance due to high used car prices right now.

1 Like

I would bet that Scrapyard John could enlighten us on that point.

I think a good used or rebuilt transmission makes sense.

No guarantee a used car you might buy could need the same thing.


Just don’t cheap out like I did. For $200 more I could have had a GM rebuild but instead waited 7 weeks for the car, $400 at another shop to replace the wire harness that was supposed to be replaced, and $2000 a year later for another rebuild. Go with quality.

I did read somewhere in the last few days that used car prices are up either 41% or 54% this year. It’s a time for hanging onto what you have just like during the war. Take good care of everything you have right now.

Would he accept $500 for the vehicle as is?

If so, after repaired would be willing to buy it from me for $5,000?

If he needs the car in a couple weeks, get the transmission repaired. If he can wait a few months, maybe he should wait. I read an interview with a car market specialist, and he said that dealers are paying less than they had been for used cars. This will translate to lower prices soon. The article was published about one month ago, and he said expect prices to drop around the end of September. The longer he can wait, the lower the cost will be.

New wrinkle: after being stuck in low all day, when he took it out the next two times.
it behaved normally. Maybe when they changed the fluid recently they left it too low?
Drive it till it breaks?

At this point why not? May be a good idea to check this out overall since it sounds like it meets his specific needs.

You may have gotten lucky, and whatever was sticking has broken free, likely b/c of the transmission fluid refresh. If you want to increase the odds it will remain unstuck & keep working, refresh the trans fluid a second time at the earliest convenience.

1 Like