Should I Get A New Car or Rebuild My Transmission?

Having your transmission go out is stressful and worrisome. Should you get a new car? How much is it going to cost to get the transmission rebuilt? Is a rebuilt transmission worth it for your vehicle? Wouldn’t you save more money in the long run by getting a new car? These are all good questions to ask yourself. We have a few suggestions for how to think about them:

First things first. Be honest with yourself. If your current vehicle no longer fits your lifestyle – say if you have different driving needs or have more kids – and you want a new car (and you can afford it), maybe the time is right. However, payments on a new car will be more expensive than what you’re going to pay for a rebuilt transmission. If you can’t afford it, but have a reliable car, do the sensible thing and get it fixed.

Second, you need to ask yourself how reliable your vehicle is. If you think you had a one-time transmission problem and everything else seems great, buying a new vehicle probably doesn’t make sense. Are you spending thousands of dollars to repair the car each year or does it just need occasional work? The time to get a new car is when you’re facing one problem after another in different areas of the car.

If you still have some time to think about it (supposing your transmission hasn’t already blown out) here’s some advice:

Set aside money for repairs or payments. If you can put aside $700 a year for maintenance on your older car, you’ve done yourself a great favor. Having that cushion will prepare you for the problems they face. However, if you know that you need to get a new car, try putting aside the $499 a month that your car payment will cost for a couple months. Determine how comfortably you can live and if it’s really worth it to upgrade. That $500 a month could end up buying you a family trip or some new gadgets (TV, DVD player, Computer) at the end of the year. Or it could go into your savings or kids’ college fund.

Talk to your trusted auto repair technician. See what your technician thinks about the potential longevity of your vehicle. If they’re honest, they may end up saving you thousands on a new vehicle or, conversely, the hassle of dealing with constant breakdowns on your old one. Then rest easy with the peace of mind that you’ve made the best decision.