To Repair or Not to Repair

I have a 2003 Subaru Baja, in decent shape and blue book around $5,500 because it has 120k miles. Transmission bearing is fading fast w/ estimate of $1,600 to repair. Any thoughts on whether to fix ro move on. I like the car but hate to put that much in.

You should repair the vehicle especially if you owe no money on it. That makes financial sense since your vehicle has a good value. The other option would be to sell the vehicle “as is” with full disclosure of the transmission problem and buy another vehicle. Again, repairing the vehicle will save you money in the long run if it’s in good shape otherwise.

Some thoughts:

  1. Have you checked into just replacing the transmission with a used unit? That might be a few hundred bucks less - unless that’s the intended fix already.

B) If you don’t fix the car, what will you be able to get in its place for the amount of money that you’re talking about? Figure the proceeds from selling it “as is”, which will be probably about half of its blue book value if you’re lucky; plus the money that the repair would have cost you. What can you get for $4000 or so? Will it be any better than what you’ve got now?

III) Before making that decision, consider what else this car needs. At 120K miles, there could be all sorts of things, unless you’ve (and any previous owners) been diligent about upkeep so far. Perhaps have your mechanic take a look at the car as if you were about to buy it, and give you a list of what it needs (or is about to need) and how much he would charge to repair it. Now how much is it going to cost? Reconsider Option B, above, with the dollar amount appropriately adjusted. If everything else is wonderful, would you be happy keeping this car once it’s been fixed?

In many cases, you may find that you’re better off repairing what you’ve already got because you won’t be able to get anything equal (much less better) for the same amount of money. Good luck!

I’d fix it even if I wanted to sell it because you control the sales price better that way. If you want a new car, get one. But repair the transmission first. How many estimates have you gotten? Get at least 3 from reputable, non-chain transmission specialists to see if you can get it repaired for less.