Vehicle is a 2008 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited, 100k miles. Timing belt has not been replaced yet, but I have been the sole owner and have kept up on all major and minor maintenance. New brakes 6 months ago, new tires 4 months ago.
I didn’t notice my transmission was leaking and I drove my vehicle about a mile before the transmission failed – no power, some white smoke coming from engine, and clear red liquid leaking profusely. I parked immediately and had it towed to my mechanic.
They quoted me $3.2k to replace my five-speed transmission with a used transmission, 75k miles on it. Said they’d give me a 6 mos. warranty on it. Another mechanic said he’d replace it for $4.5k and give me a 3 year, 36k mile warranty on it. Another said $4.5k for a rebuilt transmission – forgot to ask about a warranty.
While I have taken care of this car, it has been through some accidents. I hit a deer about 6 years ago and wrecked the front end, bent the chassis, causing about $4.5k worth of damage. Six months ago I got into a fender bender and once again had the front end replaced (hood, lights, bumper, etc.).
Other than those accidents, the car has served me really well. I drove across the country in it twice, have navigated many mountain roads, etc., and have had no major issues. Well, aside from this. It has all the normal wear and tear you’d find in a vehicle of its age and use - dings, some scratches, etc. - but on the whole it looks quite good, especially with a fresh paint job and new lights in the front, and the interior is really well cared for.
KBB puts the value of my car in good, working condition at about $5k. NADA, however, put it at $8k.
I’ve gotten about every single opinion possible from the people I’ve asked about what to do with it. Some have said that given its age, this issue, and the fact it’s been in some accidents, I’m bound to have more major problems sooner rather than later and I should just sell it as is for what I can get (which – I have no idea, but I’d guess around $3k?).
Others have said given it’s a good vehicle that I’ve taken care of, I should replace the transmission, get the timing belt taken care of, and keep driving it.
I have never owned any other vehicle and am at a loss about what to do. While I could afford a modest new car or a good used car, I don’t want to take on that expense if it would be smarter for me to just fix what I have. I’m just looking for people’s opinions – what would you do, given everything I’ve described above?