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I am only on my 3rd car (in my life). The first one was a '68 Ford Custom. The next one (after a long period of being carfree) was a 1988 Volvo station wagon, which I kept for 13 years. The next, my current car, is a 2001 Honda Odyssey - 7 seats, including 5 kid seats, lots of cargo room. I have been thinking lately that I don't really want a minivan any more, but we usually keep our cars at least 10 years and I had been assuming that I'd get another one in 2-3 years, probably some sort of energy-efficient vehicle.
My Honda transmission has just failed at 61,000 miles. The service station guy told me that he'd had quite a few Honda owners whose transmissions failed at about my mileage. I googled "Honda Odyssey transmission failure" and got over 500,000 hits. Read a couple of very active car forum threads and learned that Honda Odyssey transmissions have been failing at very high rates for years. There was a class action suit on the 1999-2001 models that forced Honda to extend the warranty to 7.75 years. I am 6 months past that, so out of warranty. (There is a class action suit being prepared for later-year models, which also have transmission failures.) Sometimes Honda pays part of the repair cost out of "good will." The dealership where I bought it called Honda, and they refused to cover this at all. The repair cost is $2700.
Now I am trying to decide what to do. I am tempted to just get a new car now, and maybe just trade in this car as is. But I am totally unprepared to make a decision about what I will be driving for the next decade or so. I will never again buy a Honda, of course, but I am not interested in cars and don't follow them until I am getting ready to make a purchase. I'm wondering whether I should lease a car for a few months or a year to buy some time? But then I would have to pay to have this car fixed and then sell it.