Is it worthwhile to get fixed & does this diagnosis make sense to you

  • 67,747 MILES
My wife went to leave store parking lot, she put the car in Drive & it would go only backwards. Other than in Park, it would go in reverse. A man was walking by & she had him try it also. Did the same thing.

My wife called me & I went to get her. The car was now OFF & in Park. I got in & started the car, drove it around the lot & all operates correctly in forward & reverse. We haven't driven the car much since Wed. But so far everything working correctly. I did have a guy from a local transmission shop look at it yesterday & he ran a scan & said there were NO errors showing. He seems to think it's the "LIP SEAL" that is bad & best to replace/rebuild the transmission. Said it would cost $1800.00 & work guaranteed. He has been in our area for about 20 yrs. I also got another estimate & was told would be $2400.00.

He said he would recommend re-building the transmission in that he has seen this problem before. The car is a 2002 Buick Custom w/67,747 miles & 3.1 motor. Always maintained, in excellent condition & never in an accident. We do have the $$ to get it fixed but wonder if the expense outways the value of the vehicle which is about $4000 according to Edmunds. I really didn't want to buy a new car but am willing to if that's the better direction to go considering the cars age.

Bruce Warhanik


warhanik@gmail. Com
Do you
have the same problem?
Sunday, July 8th, 2012 AT 2:56 AM

1 Reply

The price is a good estimate as $2400.00 is far too high. It is good you went to a transmission shop as it takes special knowledge and special tools to rebuild automatic transmissions. They are very complicated and experience building them is everything when you are in the business. You might go to AAMCO and get someone who has been rebuilindg for a year and you get charged $2000.00+ and even with short warranty you end up having short and long term problems.
After rebuild you should ask him how to maintain the tranmission. Even though the manufacturer says a time and mileage interval, depending on your driving conditions he may suggest a different fluid and time and mileage interval to follow. I would have him service the transmission as it is not easy, it makes a mess, and going to a jiffy lube of somewhere like that will get you inferior fluids and they drain them so fast not all contaminants get out of the transmission.
He will also offer you a short warranty. If something is going to happen with the transmission it will happen soon. Having him aintain it will mean any issues in the future will get you an extra helping hand which is a lifesaver.
If the rest of the car is well maintained, then it is worth it. However sometimes "well maintained " means different things as I mentioned earlier.
The number one reason for rebuilds besides neglecting oil services that leads to rebuilding engines is failure to service anti-freeze.
It should be changed every 2 years and if you live in a harsh or dirty climate and are in stop and go traffic, you should test it with a prestone anti-freeze tester. It costs $1.00.
There is a great article on how the $40.00 or more to service and flush and fill your anti-freeze is well worth it and will save you costly repairs in the thousands and you will be without a car for a while. I believe you can find the article on this site under transmission care and maintainence. It is as important as chaning the oil.
So, if it is well maintained then you should get it rebuilt and at the shop that gave you the $1800.00 quote. Automatic tranmissions are a whole different game in the auto repair business and that is why you see specific shops to repair them. They take a lot of know how and experience and he would not be around if he did not know what he is doing and you are assured that his years of experience will go into rebuiling your transmission rather than a shop like AAMCO.
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Sunday, July 8th, 2012 AT 3:19 AM

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