CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Should it stay or should it go!

On the fence about repairing the transmission in my 1994 Accord. The car has 240K and the engine runs good and most everything on the car still works and it’s in good physical shape. I’m still driving it but after about 15 minutes (after it’s warmed up) the tranny starts slipping pretty bad. Fortunately I’m about 15 minutes from work so it’s working but I assume it’s going to get worse eventually . I know the car and what it’s been through and how it’s been treated but… thoughts?

Find an independent transmission shop and get an evaluation. This is an auto transmission, correct? If you don’t know one, ask everyone you know. Eventually, you will find a shop recommended by several people. If it is a simple repair of a few hundred bucks, you night consider it. If it is a replacement, you might think about a new car.

Agree that you should get an estimate (or two) before deciding. Set an upper limit for yourself, perhaps $1000 or whatever you feel OK by you.

If you are ok with the car, fix or replace the tranny. If you live in an area where body rust due to road salting isn’t an issue, the car could go on forever if you are willing to fix stuff as it breaks.

Agreed, this is a good opportunity to inspect the rest of the car and make a decision based on how everything checks out. On an older car the biggest unknown is usually the automatic transmission, but since yours is already going, it’s beside the point. Pretty much everything else on the car can be inspected and evaluated. If the body is structurally sound, the suspension is in good shape, the engine and its accessories are good, no reason not to expect more life out of the car. However, if the timing belt is due or nearly due for replacement, that should be factored in because it’s a several hundred dollar replacement–but a critical one nonetheless.

I’m not one to advocate buying a new car for frivolous reasons, but there comes a time when you have to face up to the fact you’ve gotten the best years out of a vehicle and it’s time to say goodbye. You are there. The tranny is gone and the repair/replacement is big $$$. After that, what’s next? At the age of your car and with those miles, it’s inevitable something else is gonna go sooner rather than later. The next time it may not give a warning, either. On the other hand, a new Accord (or many other cars) will be much safer with all the latest safety equipment, offer better mileage, run cleaner with less air pollution, and offer you a raft of standard equipment goodies never dreamed of in 94. Go for it!

I would call it a day with that car. When the tranny goes on an 18 year old car with that mileage, many other things are not far behind. We have an 18 year old Nissan, but the body is starting to rust out. The rest is great, including the transmission, but the car only has 135,000 miles on it.

Still it will be replaced before the year in up. Some kid or student will be able to get another 4 years out of it before the doors fall off!