Transmission Replacement

I have a 2000 Toyota Sienna which I like, and is in good shape other than the transmission. The replacement from the dealership cost about $3,500. It already has 180,000 miles. With current gas prices, should I replace it, or should I buy something else? Is it worth the replacement?

Saw this the recently and it seems like a good decision guideline. If fixing a car, appliance, etc. costs more than 1/2 of the value then replace it. If the repair costs less than 1/2 the value then fix it.

In this case the rule would say fix it if the Sienna is worth more than $7,000. Go to and you can look up the “true market value” of your Sienna. If you have an LE version with 180K miles you are looking at $2,000 in a private party sale, and $1,300 trade in value.

If you fix it you’ll need to drive it for 5+ years to get your moneys worth out of the repair. In those 5+ years you’ll also need to figure on some other pretty heafty repair bills to keep it on the road.

Thank You very much for your help!

you don’t have to go to the dealer…use craiglist and post an add under labor requesting quotes for a transmission swap you could pay cash or sometimes even barter for the labor…also look on for a transmission or at a salvage yard…i replaced my transmission for super cheap this way

Speaking as a CPA, there are many ways to look at decisions such as this. The usual CPA way is strictly with a calculator. UT expresses that way very well.

You have not said how many miles it has, or I missed it. That makes a difference in some cases. A 2000 with 120,000 miles is far different from a 2000 with 250,000 miles on it.

The problem with the CPA way, well, look at what they did to Enron.

Another way to look at it is how much will a replacement car cost. One that you would want to drive. And, if a used car, how much will repairs on it cost if you get one with problems.

Payments on a late model car will take that $3500 in less than a year. If you can afford it, that may be the way to go, because then you will have a newer car. Assuming you buy either a new car, or a well maintained used one.

Also, how long will this car last with the different transmission?

Other Toyota owners have reported that good transmission shops can rebuild yours much cheaper than the $3500 if the case isn’t damaged. Look at Mechanix Files on this URL and see if you can find a good transmission mechanic in your area. Not one of the national transmission chains.

If $3500 is the dealership quote, that’s not actually too bad. But you could probably do better elsewhere (local, independent transmission shops).

What - exactly - is wrong with the transmission?

It will not take you 5+ years to get your money’s worth out of a $3500 bill. If the rest of the van is sound and no major work is looming around the corner then I’d say 1-2 years. If you go buy a new van today you’ll be at $3500 in 6 months - and that excludes any downpayment you’d be making.

A vehicle with 180k miles on it…I would NOT put a new transmission in it…Look around for a used or even a rebuilt.