When to say good-bye

I have a 99 Subaru Legacy that has survived both of my children’s learning to drive adventures, as well as many Vermont winters. It’s a bit beat up looking (well, a lot beat up looking) but the engine still runs well. My son took it from Vermont to Maine yesterday and made it most of the way to where he was going, but now it appears that the transmission is having a major problem of some kind.

The car is probably not worth more than maybe $2000 when it’s running. When is it time to say goodbye? If the cost to fix it is more than 1/2 the value? More than the cost to replace the car?

If there is rust (and I assume in VT there is) then dump it. A new car is a LOT safer–do not let your sentimental attachment to this car get the better of your judgment.

Cart Before The Horse ?
" . . . it appears that the transmission is having a major problem of some kind. "

Before you junk this car, more information is needed.
Where’s the car ?
Is it on the roadside, dead ?
In a shop ?
What is it doing/not doing (symptoms) ?
Does the fluid look low or dark and smell burned ?
Who made a diagnosis ?

My wife called me once to say she had “major transmission problems” on our old Dodge Intrepid. It had “Check Engine” illuminated, many fault codes, wouldn’t upshift, jerked the whole car when you slowed, etcetera.

The car just needed input and output speed sensors replaced. It took me about an hour and cost about 50 bucks.

Cars will go into “limp mode” when some transmission problems arise, even when minor, and this make it seem like major problems.

So, the answer to your question is, "It all depends . . . "
Please give more of the story.


I agree with both @Mleich and @CSA.

The car is in Rumford, ME at a shop my son found when it broke down. The shift lever won’t move. I don’t have a complete diagnosis yet from the shop. The engine runs fine, but the car won’t move.

Perhaps the shift lever won’t move because the stop lamp switch is faulty. I have personally seen this a few times.