2004 Dodge Caravan Transmission

  • 148,000 MILES
Mom's Caravan just lost the transmission. Will require a rebuild or remanufactured. A rebuild is at least $2,000 to $3,000. Kelly BB list the van's value at $2800. Mom is 75 yrs. Old and a widow. Does she fix it or take the money and buy a different vehicle? The van runs fine and still looks good, but does have a lot of miles and now she will be worried about "what's next ". Advice?

Thank you !
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Friday, October 18th, 2013 AT 9:36 PM

1 Reply

What is the transmission doing? Buying a different vehicle doesn't eliminate the "what's next". If everything else has been working okay, there's no reason to suspect other expensive failures are on the way. A used car can have intermittent problems the dealer didn't know about.

The Blue Book value is only relevant if you're buying or selling. I doubt they'd care to list a value for my rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan daily driver, but I would never consider getting rid of it. I'm willing to do any expensive repair should it become necessary because this van has been so good to me.

On the other hand, if your mother would like to trade for something different, now is the time. You will not lose as much in trade value as the repair that's needed. I don't pay attention to numbers. These are just to illustrate my story. If you can get $2800.00 trade-in value with everything working properly, toward something more expensive, that same van needing a $2000.00 repair might still get you $2000.00, not $800.00. That's because dealers know trade-ins will need repairs that they often aren't told about, and they factor that into what they offer you.

Look around on some used car lots to see what similar vans are going for. I bet you'll find a 2004 is bringing a lot more than $2800.00.
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Saturday, October 19th, 2013 AT 2:54 AM

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