Summit Transmissions and Auto Care

La Mesa Auto Repair

Top Five-Star Reviewed Shop in San Diego Area

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish


We’ve all heard the expression “Penny wise and Pound Foolish’ I know that when financial times are rough and you’re confronted with a major car repair such as needing a transmission, it’s hard to think past “How much money can I afford right now?” However, stepping back and evaluating the options might be the most economical thing you can do and save you lots of money in the long run. Maybe even in the short run.

I’ve worked with many customer who set a firm spending limit, rather that looking at the options for the best value. One customer wanted to install a used transmission from a junkyard, rather than having us do a complete rebuild, less solenoids. The savings would have been only $200.00 and she would have had only a 30 day warranty instead of a one year warranty with our rebuild. And, if there was a problem with the used transmissions, she then would’ve paid additional labor to install another one. One of my customer went through 7 transmissions before getting one that lasted 45 days. Luckily she reconsidered and had us do the work.

Some customers will decline work which, if done in combination with the transmission work, could save them hundreds. Rear main engine oil seals, which can cost $500 or more to replace, are easy to do with the trans out. You might just pay for parts only when it comes to replacing most transmissions mounts.

It’s always a good idea to ask the mechanic or manager what could be done in conjunction with the orginal repairs. Replacing you belts and water pump while having the timing belt replaced is a good example of how to save money.

I won’t condone someone selling you work that’s not needed but it’s sometimes a fine line. If your rear engine seal is not leaking, but you have 150,000 miles on the engine, it would be wrong for me not to recommend replacing it. I will always tell my customers the condition of the part I am recommending and why I’m suggesting the replacement. At least then, the customer has the information they need to make an inform decision. In the end, that’s what we all want. The correct information to make a good decision.

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