Last week the transmission in our beloved minivan began to slip. After having it inspected, it was determined that certain parts needed to be replaced, with an estimated cost of $3000. Rob contacted the Honda dealer for a second opinion and they would not be able to simply repair our current tranny, they would have to replace it with a factory refurbished one, running $4500.
These repairs were a little too steep for us, and with 252,000+ miles on our van, we were nervous about putting so much money into it. The fear was that more things were going to begin breaking. So we had a decision to make. There were a few options to choose from:
- Repair the van and hope that nothing else broke anytime soon.
- Take out a small loan to fix all the things that needed tending to. (There were several.)
- Buy a new car.
- Go without a car for a while.
- Buy a new-to-us used car that was less expensive than repairing the van.
Taking out a loan was not something we even wanted to consider, so that ruled out buying a new car and a loan to fix more repairs on the van. We also decided that replacing the tranny was a no-go. Going without a chaser vehicle was considered for a bit, but in all honesty, we love to drive, to explore, to go the grocery store without having to unhook Waldo. While that would have been our cheapest solution, it was not the most desirable. So we decided to look into the new-to-us used car idea. I thought it was a long shot, but it was worth a look.
We stumbled upon something most intriguing, so we drove down the road to Salvo to check it out. It just so happened that a family of six was moving to Texas and had too many vehicles. They were selling their Cherokee because it only seated five. (On a side note, Rob and I had a Jeep Wrangler once-upon-a-time that we thoroughly enjoyed, but it only seated four, so we ended up selling it for the very same reason.) This Jeep had been maintained very well and had lots of recent updates and repairs, including a new transmission. Rob, being much more mechanical than I, checked it out and felt like it was a good solid car.
Needless to say, we decided to buy the Jeep. It was less than repairing our van and has less miles, even though it is two years older. The fact that it is a Jeep is simply a bonus. We have always loved Jeeps and have often talked about getting another one.
We cannot drive it yet since we do not have plates, but we can register it through our mailing service in South Dakota. It should only take a couple of weeks to get it licensed. We are continuing to drive the van for now, only as little as possible. The Odyssey (Dory) has been a great van for us over the last six years. We drive a lot and we ask a lot of our cars. The van definitely has not let us down. It will be strange not driving her anymore, but she has earned her retirement. We will have to leave her here when we leave North Carolina in a few weeks.
Why is it that sometimes cars feel less like cars and more like a part of the family? Is it because of all the places they take us? Or the memories we make while in them? I have no idea. What I do know, though, is that while getting a new car is exciting, leaving one behind is not always easily done…