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2013 Toyota Corolla mysteriously bites the dust

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Hi everyone, 
We have a rather stressful situation with our car and haven’t been able to determine the best course of action. 

In the summer or 2015, we bought a used 2013 Toyota Corolla with about 34k miles on it from a reputable Toyota dealership. Around 2018, after driving around 12k each year, we began to hear a knocking in the engine. The knocking got progressively louder so we brought it to a mechanic who said the engine needed to be replaced as the problem would only get worse until it died. Just to be sure, I brought it to a certified Toyota dealership for a second opinion and was told  the same thing. They both estimated we could get some more mileage out of it before the engine would completely die. We have no idea what caused these problems. I always had maintenance and oil changes performed on time. I don’t know what the car was treated like before we bought it thought. 

Last week, my husband was driving the Corolla up a winding road and the car broke down and had to be towed. Oil was leaking from the transmission. We had it towed to a AAA certified mechanic who said the transmission completely blew out. There was zero oil in it and even when he tried to replace it, the oil would leak and come right back out. The car won’t even drive at all. He said we absolutely needed a new transmission but he also wondered about the engine And suspected there was a problem there too. We didn’t give him any background info on the engine diagnosis we previously received. He essentially said, if it were him, he would cut his losses and part with the car because fixing it would be crazy expensive. At this point, we can’t even sell the car as is because it won’t turn on and needs to be able to do so in order to pass a smog check. 

I would love others thoughts about what we should do. My husband feels we should keep the car and pay to have both the engine and transmission replaced with used ones, which he estimates a friend could do for $3000. To me, this seems like a complete waste. The car has over 100k miles on it and to invest 3k (or likely more) to replace with a used engine and transmission—neither of which can be guaranteed or warrantied— for a car we will likely never be able to get much back for doesn’t seem like a good idea in my mind. He feels the Corolla gets good mpg and bc it’s a 2013 it’s worth keeping, but I disagree. We have two other used cars so this is a third vehicle and it feels like we are just bleeding money by even having it on our insurance policy.

What would you do? Grateful for any advice. Wish I could just call Car Talk! 

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Well there is the hard way to think about it. Cost over return. Sticking a $3k engine will make the car worth?


And then there is the "heart" way, cost does not matter over the return as it's always good to have a back up car. that does not owe you a lot.


Or "Break it for spares" or buy a similar model and swap your good bits over to it as and when needed. 


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Have a look on Autotrader or US equivalent and see what a car with the same mileage and age would cost to buy. Then spend less on the one you have. In fact quite a bit less, because it has proven itself untrustworthy, hasn't it? I suspect that means writing it off to experience, and scrapping the vehicle, or selling it for parts ..

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