Major Components Major Money

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I don’t know how many of you have replaced a major component on your vehicle lately but if you have you were probably shocked by the cost.  Replacing an engine or transmission is big money but relative to the cost of the vehicle it is probably no more than it ever was.

 

What is way different is that you will likely be replacing a major component on a much older vehicle than the last time you did this.  Vehicle engines and transmissions generally last longer than they use to.  I know.  In the 25 years I have been in the business it has changed significantly.  Major engine repair was something performed in a shop every other day.  Now it is maybe every other month.

 

The cost of that engine or transmission repair  will likely be a higher percentage of the value of your vehicle when all is said and done.  In many cases the vehicle will actually be worth less than the dollars you put into it.

 

Does this make major component repair or replacement a waste of money?  Not necessarily.

 

Major component failure means your vehicle is useless if you are not going to fix it. Your alternative is then replacement unless of course you have no need for that vehicle anymore.

 

A used or new vehicle is likely going to cost a lot more than fixing your old one.  This is especially true of a new vehicle and even more so if your taste in vehicles is a little high class.  If you are going with used you still have to spend a fair amount to get something you will like and that will be more reliable than what you currently have.

 

Fixing your old vehicle will likely get you up and running with a smaller outlay of cash but before you jump on that idea it is time to evaluate the condition of your trusty old iron horse.

 

Remember there is more to a vehicle than a transmission and an engine. What is the overall condition of your vehicle.  Is it structurally sound?   That does not mean is the paint shiny.  Corrosion is sneaky.  Sometimes you really need to know what you are looking for.

 

Brakes, suspension, steering, tires etc.  Where and how soon are you going to have to spend more money?  Many of these items are regular maintenance expenditures but it would be good to know what “for sure” expenses are coming down the pike.

 

What is also very important is what lead up to your major component failure.  If you overheated your engine so badly that it now burns oil and the head gaskets are gone you must remember your automatic transmission is cooled by the same coolant that cools the engine.  So if your engine was overheated so was your transmission.  Are you prepared to replace the transmission after repairing the engine?

 

In some cases it makes sense to replace more parts than just those that failed.  A turbocharger failure is a costly item on its own but if clogged oil passages to the turbo caused its failure then it might be time to remove the oil pan and the valve cover.  The inside of the engine might show major neglect.  Replacing that turbo is just the start.  An engine oiling problem might be just around the corner.  A new engine and turbo might just be money better spent.

 

On the other hand that new pickup truck has lane departure monitoring and onboard internet!

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