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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2003 Acura MDX, 160K miles; I just replaced the breaks and power steering. Today I found out that transmission is completely out and needs to be replaced. It will cost $3200 to fix it. I'm debating rather I should get a used MDX which will be about $25K or replace the transmission. Advice please!!
 

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Depends entirely on your budget/financial-situation and needs. No one can answer that question but you.


Aside from the transmission, what condition is your current MDX in?


Consider that any other "used" vehicle will have it's own problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would say it's in good condition. We've had the breaks, power steering, and battery replaced within the last two years and that cost about $3,000. There are small problems like the lock on one door doesn't work, stereo system is broken, driver's side-view mirror doesn't work. Small stuff that can be fixed.
 

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If you think you'll get another couple years out of the MDX with a fixed transmission, then it's probably best to do the repair, in my opinion.
 

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One simple way to look at your options is to think about that $3,000 repair versus car payments in a new vehicle. Suppose your new monthly car payment turns out to be $500/month. In 6 months, you would've covered that $3,000 repair bill, except the car payments do not end. The upside is that you have a new(er) car. Are those new monthly car payments (which you didn't have before) worth it to you in order to be driving a new car? That's ultimately up to you.
 

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As everyone else has said, it is up to you to decide if the added financial responsibility of getting a newer car is worth it for you. That includes the cost of buying the car plus the potentially higher insurance premium that comes with it. And, as someone else has said, a newer used car could also have its own set of problems that could also be costly. I was in the same situation 2 months ago, and I decided to just have the tranny rebuilt on my '03 with 170k mi instead of shelling out a much larger amount for a newer car. I paid $1600 for the rebuild with a 1-yr warranty at an independent shop, and it's running fine so far. The next lowest quote I got was $2400.



A tranny problem is a real pain coz you would probably need to get the car towed to a shop before they can diagnose and give you an estimate. So if you do not want to go through the trouble, I suggest you browse through reviews on yelp of highly rated auto repair shops in your area and start making calls to narrow down your choices. I was told specialized tranny shops tend to be more expensive, but I do not really have first-hand knowledge of whether that expertise is worth the extra cost or not.



And remember that with this type of issue that can leave u stranded in the middle of the road, a good roadside service plan is invaluable.
 

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Stay away from transmissions rebuilt by Howard Engineering Corp or HEC based in the LA, CA area. Dishonest, lying crooks that I had to take to court and pester every day only to settle for a partial payment. They say they specialize in Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus but don’t fall for it.
 

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I'll add my two cents' worth: our '01 MDX, which we bought used with 185K miles four years ago, gave us numerous transmission fluid overheat and boil out failures before we finally gave up and had a rebuilt tranny installed at about 260K miles for $2000. We thought if well worthwhile even with this many miles as rest of vehicle is in very decent shape. We only got a 6 month guarantee but the shop we chose has a good reputation and does a big business in Honda and Acura transmissions. We do not buy new cars anymore - last one was a '76 Honda Accord when they first came out. I figure even if this rebuilt does fail again, say with 50K on it, we will be way ahead. I hope to see this vehicle make 400K as it now approaching 300K and after I replaced the power steering pump this year I don't see any big expense forthcoming. Of course one never knows, it is a piece of machinery, and it could blow up, but the engine seems perfect - very little oil consumption between changes, so I hope to run it into the ground. New cars are a terrible investment. Good luck!
 

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Do the math....

You spend $3000 today (or less...) and get a "new" transmission. Four years from now, you have a nice car that's worth $3,000 that's probably still got plenty of miles left in it. Sure, you've also spent a little more in maintenance, but that's going to be the case for almost anything you buy. You're out essentially nothing if you sell it.

Or you buy that $25,000 MDX. Four years from you've spent $28,800 (assuming a 4-year, 7% loan), and you have a car that's worth $10,000. If you sell this one in four years, you're out about $19,000.


19.000 divided by 48 months means you paid $400 a month for the privilege of driving a newer car. You're better off putting that $400 a month in the bank (after using the first 8 months of it to "pay off the transmission), and then four years from now you have a $3,000 trade-in PLUS $16,000 cash, which you can use to buy a LOT better car than the one you're looking at now (better than it will be in four years, that is). If you use this philosophy instead of paying the bank to use its money, you'll be driving a nicer car for the rest of your life, assuming the same monthly auto budget.
 

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Your mileage on your 03 mdx will probably get you resale value of less than $3k assuming your transmission is not broken. Now with the bad transmission, hauling the car away may cost you, or you can donate it to a charity for free. It depends how well you have maintained your car, there may be other major repairs following the transmission problem who knows. If the car is in good shape, fix the trans problem and keep it for another 200k miles as some of us reporting their high mileage in this forum. If you want a peace of mind, buy a new car.
 
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