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Old 02-10-2009, 09:49 AM
 
13,722 posts, read 18,012,569 times
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It's my 21-year-old daughter's car. She had said the car had been "acting funny" but her descriptions didn't make it sound like it was anything we needed to worry about immediately and we planned to have it checked out sometime. Well, yesterday she called from a parking lot. Husband went to get her and was going to pull her car home but the transmission's locked up; wheels won't turn. The car has 100,000 miles on it. She's always had the oil changed every 3000 miles. We bought the car new.

The price we got for a new transmission was $3000 to $3500. Not sure if it's better to put a new transmission in or find another car.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:57 AM
 
13,808 posts, read 25,668,717 times
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I'm going thru this too, but I have a 1995 Volvo 850 w/ 150k on it. The difference is my Volvo will probably hit 300k, not sure about that neon.

I'm either going to buy one off ebay for around $400-$500 or swap in a manual when it finally gives up the ghost, but it's been acting funny for 30,000 miles so who knows when it'll let go.

Also check Transmission Planet out of Atlanta, they quoted me $1100 including shipping for a rebuilt tranny with a 2 year unlimited mileage warranty on it. Figure $500 to pay someone to swap it in and you're into a new tranny for half of what the local tranny shop wants.

Oh just wanted to say maybe check the shift-lock override function, it's possible that the shifter is just out of alignment. Also check around for some Neon forums and ask around, I bet others have had the same issue. This one seems to get a lot of traffic:

http://forums.neons.org/viewforum.ph...d6a582c645451e

If you're thinking about swapping the tranny out I certainly wouldn't pay 3 grand for it and I would also check the compression of the engine. If it's good, no leaks, car is otherwise sound I might be tempted to buy a rebuilt one. Not sure how long the typical neon auto tranny lasts for you to buy a used one off ebay though. I just got unlucky with mine in my 850, they typically will last the life of the car.

Last edited by wheelsup; 02-10-2009 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Incognito
7,004 posts, read 20,363,956 times
Reputation: 5499
I would replace the whole car.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:07 AM
 
Location: southern california
61,281 posts, read 83,360,452 times
Reputation: 55458
curse of the 21st century, automatic transmissions, technology has successfully created the throwaway car. if you buy a new car (if anybody can afford it any longer) always get a stick. a few hundred dollars will put you in a good used trans or clutch.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Floribama
18,484 posts, read 39,434,448 times
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Get one from a junk yard. It's most likely just a 3-speed auto without OD, so it shouldn't cost that much.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:34 AM
 
13,722 posts, read 18,012,569 times
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Thanks for all the comments so far, everyone. Would like to find the cheapest option possible to get her some kind of reliable transportation. Right now she has MY car and I'm not going to be okay with that for very long...
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: WA
5,594 posts, read 23,742,317 times
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I would consider an estimate on repair but the high price of replacement just about equals the value of the car.

I have found that almost all automatic transmissions only perform well over a long life if the fluid and filter are changed periodically. Any vehicle subjected to high loads, high speed downshifts, or high temps last longer and perform better with maintenance every 30K miles or so.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
16,167 posts, read 52,870,355 times
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Are you certain the transmission is locked up? Maybe the shifter is just broke and it's stuck in "Park"? You can check this by looking at the actual actuation lever on the transmission itself, on some of these FWD cars you can see it just by raising the hood.

I have never heard of a transmission seizing like you describe here. Of course I have not heard it all.

What does the transmission fluid look/smell like?

You have options beyond installing a new or "factory rebuilt" transmission and throwing the car away. I had transmission issues with my 87 Camry and put in a junkyard transmission (or more precisely had a local shop put it in) and so far so good. Another option, if the car is otherwise in good shape, is to sell it as a "mechanic's special". You may find some guy like me who will buy it as-is and install an ex-junkyard transola himself.

Final thought. The kid should be forced to take an equity stake in the repair. Kids, particularly girls, just won't take care of a car that's given to them. If the kid won't help pay, let her walk to school, barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, sez me. Seriously. If you bail her out when she has trouble, you are training her to come running to you, with her tail between her legs, when things go wrong. Absent what Dr. Morris Massey calls a "significant emotional event", she will continue to do this in her 40's. Not a pleasant thing to contemplate.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:36 PM
 
13,722 posts, read 18,012,569 times
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Mitch - my husband said it's locked up; that's all I'm going by. I will tell him what you said and have him check. He knows just enough about cars to be dangerous because he thinks he knows more than he actually does.

She said that what had been happening is when she was driving in town, her car would feel like it wasn't going to go - like when leaving a stoplight, and then suddenly would surge forward. Well, she said it "jumped." She said nothing has ever happened on the highway before until yesterday, and she was driving the 45 minutes from her college town to home, but she said yesterday it wasn't acting right on the highway. Again, she said it "jumped." She said that's the only way she can explain it.

She exited off the highway because she had reached her exit, and was able to drive it into a parking lot. She left it there and my husband went back to get it after rush hour was over and he said the wheels were locked. I will definitely tell him to check the shift-lock override and the lever you mention on the transmission. That would be wonderful if it were something simple.

I agree she needs to help pay for the repair or for another car. We gave each of our kids a car when they turned 16 and if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do that. You are right; they appreciate it more if it's not handed to them. She's talking about using her tax refund to use as a downpayment for a newer car. Never mind that she is a college student, works part time, would not qualify for a car loan, and we don't intend to cosign because she can't afford car payments. I think we'll be having a talk tonight.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Kansas
3,855 posts, read 12,724,766 times
Reputation: 1731
Hmm...replace transmission...or...set Neon on fire....tough call.
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