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Q: Rebuilt transmission and strut mounts

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Just spoke to customer service to get a " your mechanic " to inspect a car I am considering buying. Because you do not inspect in my zipcode, she suggested I e-mail you for advice. It is a 2008 Saturn Vue V6 with a 3.6 litre engine. It currently has 128,000 miles. The transmission was rebuilt at 127,000 miles. The strut mounts were replaced this week, before I learned the car was for sale. My concern is, can I rely on a rebuilt transmission? Why would you have to rebuild the transmission; are Saturns known for faulty transmissions? And, if the transmission has been rebuilt, does that mean the engine will need be replacing soon? As for the strut mount replacement, why would they have replaced them? Is this car known for a loud or tinny ride? I was told that most rebuilt transmissions only last until the warranty expires. They are asking $ 6000. U.S. dollars for this car. Is this a fair price, or should I negotiate a lower price because of the car's history? Thanks, Patricia

My car has 128000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Saturn vehicles are no more prone to transmission failure than other vehicles. 127,000 miles and requiring a rebuild is not unheard of. Changing the transmission fluid every 4 years or 50,000 miles is a good rule of thumb to follow for a long and healthy transmission life. Do rebuilt transmissions have a shorter life than original ? No, not really. Maintain it properly and it can last a good, long time. From personal experience, I purchased a vehicle with 220,000 miles, with a trans rebuild at 205,000 miles. I sold the vehicle to a friend of a friend after a year at 285,000 miles. He still has the vehicle with 345,000 miles and the same transmission rebuilt at 205,000 miles.

Strut mounts are a normal wear item and generally should be replaced when struts are replaced. The mounts are typically a rubber and metal construction with a small bearing, allowing the struts (front) to turn freely when you turn the wheel. They wear over time just as the strut does. This is nothing unusual.

As far as it being a "fair price", check your local classifieds like Craigslist, cars.com, etc. Find vehicles with the same age and mileage for comparison and maybe use the prices you find as a negotiating tool.

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