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Transmission Repair

My 17 year old son has a 1991 car that was given to him by my dad. i already put about $2,000 in it a few months ago for the brake line, tires, etc. Now it’s going to cost between $900 to $1,500 to replace a transmission. Do you think it’s worth fixing? It has over 150,000 miles He really wants to keep the car.

$900 to $1,500 is a pretty big range. Can’t you get someone to narrow it down a bit?

Why does it need to have its transmission replaced? Can’t it be repaired?

We can’t see the car, so we can’t evaluate its overall condition. Only you can decide whether or not the rest of the car is in good condition. If it is perhaps it’s worth the money. If it’s rusty or beat up, perhaps not.

The question of whether that’s smart or not has everything to do with the rest of the car. If everything is kept in order - things fixed when broken, maintenance always done, it doesn’t need tires or brakes really soon, the suspension is in good shape etc. etc. etc., then it can make sense to fix it.

If you have a mechanic that you really trust ask them to give everything a once over and advise you about what kinds of things are likely around the corner.

Also, go to an auto parts store and buy him a $20 Haynes or Chilton’s repair manual for the car. Have him start learning how to do all sorts of basic things by himself and learn about how to properly maintain a car. This will save a bundle over the long run. At 17, if he’s got no real experience working on cars, nothing he does up front should have anything to do with putting the car in the air until he knows all about jacking and jack stand safety. That kind of stuff he should learn from having someone experienced looking over his shoulder.

I just spent $1,500 replacing the break line and the right rear shock? (thing that attaches to the wheel?) which were both severly rusted and $210 on 4 new tires. The car does have some rust issues but rides nice. I think that’s a good suggestion to have someone give it the once over. Also, i will check to see if it can just be repaired instead of replaced. I really don’t want to put a lot more money into the car because i don’t think it’s worth that much, but on the other hand i already put about $2,000 in it. It’s difficult…

Depending on where you are, it may be difficult to find a good used car for $3500, especially if you are not car savvy. Except for tires, your repairs are one time instances. Get a good car inspection so you can prioritize repairs, but it may be prudent to keep the car.

I don’t know who you have doing the work, but an independent mechanic may be cheaper.

Ask around for your best locally owned transmission shop - has to be a shop that specializes in transmission and should not be a national chain. Ask them to check out the transmission. They might not then be the best ones to ask about the rest of the car since even honest people might be tempted to lean toward an answer that would mean more business for them. But first thing’s first - have an experienced and trustworthy transission tech give you a diagnosis.