Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Charles asks: I have a 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that I like and would like to keep. It has 150,000 miles on it and rather than buy a new car I’m thinking of having a Jasper re-manufactured engine and transmission installed when and if I can get to 200k. They have a three year/ 100,000 mile warranty. My price for engine and tranny would be $11,600 installed. Sure would like to know what you think.
My reply: I think, first of all, that you should consider not fixing what hasn’t broken! Why replace them preemptively?
Isn’t that like throwing away the three slices of perfectly good pie you’ve got in the ‘fridge and buying a new pie to replace them? Why not eat those three slices first?
If your T&C is running well now, it is a good bet it will continue to run well. Don’t sweat the mileage so much; you’d be surprised how long a modern vehicle can go – assuming it is not a bad design to start with and has been decently treated. It may help ease your mind to have it inspected by a mechanic you trust. If the engine’s compression and other variables check out, it is not likely it is going to fail anytime soon. If the transmission isn’t slipping or otherwise giving indication of imminent failure, it is also likely to be fine for the foreseeable future.
And it is also a good bet that the engine and transmission will not fail at the same time. Why throw away a perfectly sound engine because the transmission bolted to it (and which can easily be unbolted) failed?
I’d play the odds.
I’d continue driving the T&C as is – taking good care of it as you go – and wait and see what happens. If a time comes when it needs a new/rebuilt transmission (which is more likely, as transmissions usually fail before the engine does) then you can spend money on the new/rebuilt transmission.
And maybe some time after that, the engine will need to be replaced – and at that time, you can decide whether it’s still worth putting a new/rebuilt one in.
Meanwhile, I’d take that $12k and invest it/save it. Use it to make more money – or just keep it in the “just in case” fund.
If you need to spend some money on the T&C, you will have it. And if not, you will still have the money.
Odds are, you will have most of that money to spend on other things when it is finally time to say goodbye to the T&C… many years from now!
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