I have a 2001 Saturn SC2 coupe automatic with 130K miles on it (~80% highway miles). It has been well maintained and has been running well…until 2 days ago!!

Now every time the gear shifts up, the car very briefly goes into neutral and then with a sudden jerk shift into gear.

My mechanics opinion: Transmission is dying and it would take between $1800 and $2400 to fix it. His advice: either sell it (of course with full disclosure of the problem) or keep driving it until it dies.

My Question: If I kept driving it, how likely is it that the transmission would totally break down on the road?

Thanks for your comments.


Well, I am not an odds-maker, but I would be willing to bet that your transmission is more likely to suddenly die on the highway than it is to quit while parked in your driveway. In addition to the cost factor when considering whether to repair the transmission or to replace the car, I think that there may some other factors to consider, namely:

*Safety–If the transmission quits while you are driving, you could place yourself in a dangerous situation on the highway while attempting to get over to the shoulder.
*Convenience–If your commute to work, your commute back home, your trip to the doctor’s office, etc are interrupted, this could be problematic in terms of affecting your job or other important factors in your daily routine.

If I were you, I would park the Saturn and either borrow a car or rent a car for a few days while shopping for a replacement vehicle. Or, alternatively, you might want to borrow a car or rent a car while having the Saturn repaired. Either way, your life will be safer and more predictable than if you continue to drive a vehicle that is likely to die in an inconvenient place, at an inconvenient time.


If you don’t have one, get a cell phone. You may need it.

As previously noted, it is not likely to die while parked in your drive.