Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:26 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:I would get another opinion from a different mechanic.


I have recently attended a live Rocky Horror Picture Show. The line that comes into mind is "I'll get you a satanic mechanic." May be I should not do any repairs after all. The life is more exciting when a car breaks down next to a castle.

Victoria
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:38 pm

Thank you, all, for looking under the hood of my belt-and-boots problem.

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby JoeJohnson » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:51 pm

If your life is stressful right now, I would probably ditch the old Civic as soon as possible. Ticking time bomb so to speak. You can negotiate for a new car via email from the comfort of your residence.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:01 pm

JoeJohnson wrote:If your life is stressful right now, I would probably ditch the old Civic as soon as possible. Ticking time bomb so to speak. You can negotiate for a new car via email from the comfort of your residence.


It's not as much stressful as eventful. Knowing myself, if I start thinking about buying a new car, I will stop thinking about far more important things. Paying for the repairs is much easier in comparison.

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Default User BR » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:12 pm

Why do anything without a repair estimate? I'm surprised they didn't give you one at the time.


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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Default User BR » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:14 pm

HueyLD wrote:You can donate your old car to charity after the new car arrives.

I wouldn't do that. The old days of excess write-off are over. Sell it on the open market or call a "we buy junkers" place.


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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:17 pm

Default User BR wrote:Why do anything without a repair estimate? I'm surprised they didn't give you one at the time.


Brian


The mechanic told me to call about the boot estimate tomorrow. As for the timing belt, I needed to look up when it has been changed the last time.

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby jimmyq » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:19 pm

I had a similar situation about 5 years ago. I owned a 96 Honda Civic, and had cracked CV boots. Had both sides replaced and also replaced the timing belt about a year later. I believe that cracked CV boots are fairly common, so I wouldn't consider it a sign that the car is on its last legs. If you enjoy driving the Civic, my vote is to repair it and keep it. But if you yearn for something new... I certainly understand. I just went through that this year and (finally) traded in the Civic for a new Accord.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:28 pm

jimmyq wrote:I had a similar situation about 5 years ago. I owned a 96 Honda Civic, and had cracked CV boots. Had both sides replaced and also replaced the timing belt about a year later. I believe that cracked CV boots are fairly common, so I wouldn't consider it a sign that the car is on its last legs. If you enjoy driving the Civic, my vote is to repair it and keep it. But if you yearn for something new... I certainly understand. I just went through that this year and (finally) traded in the Civic for a new Accord.


Thank you, it will help me to make the decision once I get the estimate. I honestly don't yearn for another car. I started this thread, because I suspected that wanting to repair the Civic was irrational. Now, it appears that not repairing it is irrational.

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Don_Qua » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:35 pm

jimmyq wrote:I had a similar situation about 5 years ago. I owned a 96 Honda Civic, and had cracked CV boots. Had both sides replaced and also replaced the timing belt about a year later. I believe that cracked CV boots are fairly common, so I wouldn't consider it a sign that the car is on its last legs. If you enjoy driving the Civic, my vote is to repair it and keep it. But if you yearn for something new... I certainly understand. I just went through that this year and (finally) traded in the Civic for a new Accord.

I second this. CV boots and timing belts are both wear items, like tires or brake pads they have a finite lifespan and can be replaced while the rest of the car soldiers on. If you don't relish buying a new car repair the Civic and keep on goin'.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby thomase » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:39 pm

Most of the time mechanics will replace with a rebuilt axle instead of just replacing the boot, as it's less work and less messy for them. If your boot is actually split and spewing grease, then it's a matter of time before the CV joint fails. If it's just surface cracks on the boot and it's not leaking grease, you can drive it for a while. You will have warning before the axle fails, you will hear loud clicking noises coming from the CV joint, which are the steel balls in the joint disintegrating.

The timing belt is maintenance, and replacing the two axles with rebuilt ones shouldn't cost too much. But then again I also have a 16 year old Accord but with more mileage than your Civic.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby whodatheads » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:46 pm

On selling the old car, is it better to trade in or sell it to Carmax, tax wise? When you buy a new car w/ trade-in, you get to deduct the trade-in price from new car price and pay tax accordingly. You lose that if you sell to Carmax. Is that correct?
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby JoeJohnson » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:58 pm

whodatheads wrote:On selling the old car, is it better to trade in or sell it to Carmax, tax wise? When you buy a new car w/ trade-in, you get to deduct the trade-in price from new car price and pay tax accordingly. You lose that if you sell to Carmax. Is that correct?


Probably depends on the state, but in my state you get the added benefit of paying less tax when you trade-in to the dealer you're purchasing from.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby HueyLD » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:02 pm

whodatheads wrote:On selling the old car, is it better to trade in or sell it to Carmax, tax wise? When you buy a new car w/ trade-in, you get to deduct the trade-in price from new car price and pay tax accordingly. You lose that if you sell to Carmax. Is that correct?

Not in my state. The sales tax here is based on the sale price w/o adjusting for trade-in value.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby fandango » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:07 pm

Since you plan to get a new car within 6 months, I would just keep on driving your current vehicle until you get your new car.

Start thinking about what you want to buy, how much you want to spend, and what dealers have a good repuation in your area.

For a six month period, I think the likelihood of a failure is not that high on a Honda Civic. I've seen them driven in third world countries with very little maintenance.

If it dies before then, call a junk yard to pick it up (scrap metal has some value).

Check to see if there is an Enterprise car rental facility within 10 or 12 miles (they will drop a rental car off at your house at no charge).
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Frugal Al » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:23 am

Victoria, it seems you've got a relatively low mileage vehicle for it's age, and you've maintained it well. All the current problems you mentioned can be considered normal wear and tear items. I'd say the car has a few years of relatively trouble free utility left in it, given your usage. I'm thinking the repairs can be done for a grand or less (even if the axles need replaced), and be recouped upon resale. A (relatively) low mileage, older, Honda is still a desirable vehicle to many. Once again, this assumes the vehicle is otherwise sound and in good condition.

If you later find yourself in a position where you're driving more miles, reliability will be more important and you can revisit selling at that point.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby cleosdad » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:49 am

VictoriaF wrote:
jimmyq wrote:I had a similar situation about 5 years ago. I owned a 96 Honda Civic, and had cracked CV boots. Had both sides replaced and also replaced the timing belt about a year later. I believe that cracked CV boots are fairly common, so I wouldn't consider it a sign that the car is on its last legs. If you enjoy driving the Civic, my vote is to repair it and keep it. But if you yearn for something new... I certainly understand. I just went through that this year and (finally) traded in the Civic for a new Accord.


Thank you, it will help me to make the decision once I get the estimate. I honestly don't yearn for another car. I started this thread, because I suspected that wanting to repair the Civic was irrational. Now, it appears that not repairing it is irrational.

Victoria

Victoria, If your car is a 97 Civic it has an interference engine. If the timing belt breaks it could ruin your engine. FYI my wife has a 96 4Runner. We just replaced the original brakes @206,000. I maintain the car well and change timing belt and pump every 60,000-70,000 miles. Our mechanic believes we will easily get 300,000 safely out of it. We could buy new but see no reason to and wife loves the car. BTW our kayaks fit the roof racks. My 2 cents. Tim
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Update:
I found a receipt for the timing belt change in 2008 at 85k miles, and thus I don't need it for two more years. An estimate for a complete front axle assembly on both sides is $437. I will do it at my earliest convenience.

My Civic and I thank you all,

Victoria
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby cleosdad » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:23 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Update:
I found a receipt for the timing belt change in 2008 at 85k miles, and thus I don't need it for two more years. An estimate for a complete front axle assembly on both sides is $437. I will do it at my earliest convenience.

My Civic and I thank you all,

Victoria

Good for you.I doubt you will need one then.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby derosa » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:29 pm

This is cheap for a 16 year old car that you barely drive - Less than 7,000 miles a year - nothing. You have a Honda from the golden age of hondas.

This maintenance is the alternative to that car payment. You have to pay to take care of your car. I have a 1996 honda accord with 245,000 miles. And it runs fine. BUT I get the maintenance done when it is due. CV boots, timing chains, oil changes, alingments, water pump, etc etc. Take care of your care and it will take care of you.

You are not going to break down in your driveway - trust me on that one. It will be the middle lane of the freeway at rush hour.

You are going to pay for these repairs no matter what plan you follow. You can pay for them all now and enjoy the benefits of them. Or you can pay when you sell the car. For example you think carmax won't notice the cv boot cracks?? And deduct for them?

You can easily get another 100k out of this car. But you have to be ready and willing and happy to pay for it. It sounds like you have a solid mechanic. Follow their advice.

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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:38 am

VictoriaF wrote:Update:
I found a receipt for the timing belt change in 2008 at 85k miles, and thus I don't need it for two more years. An estimate for a complete front axle assembly on both sides is $437. I will do it at my earliest convenience.

My Civic and I thank you all,

Victoria

FYI, you might consider making a maintenance document to keep track of such repairs (while also keeping the receipts in a file cabinet). I made a simple spreadsheet that tracks all of the recommended maintenance and all of the maintenance performed on the car. It's just years for the columns and type of maintenance/repair for the rows. One table has the recommended maintenance by years/miles. A second table has the actual work performed on my car.

So I can just look at the first table to see when a repair is recommended for my car and I can look at the second table and see what year the timing belt, battery, brake pads, tires, etc. were replaced. It let me see that the mechanic was constantly doing the 30k or 60k service (my car is also low mileage, not even 90k at 14 years) instead of alternating with the 45k or 75k service, and therefore was missing the recommended engine coolant and brake fluid changes.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby donall » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:33 am

Good decision Victoria, as safety is way more important. Civics commonly go for 200K miles and seem to have quite a fan club. Your car will never be worth $0. Use Enterprise if you go on long trips.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby letsgobobby » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:05 am

VictoriaF wrote:Thank you, all! Here is additional information:

Current Usage:
- I now live within walking distance from work and don't use the car for commute.
- I drive to business meetings and social activities, most of which are within 40-mile radius.
- Occasionally, I drive 200-300 miles, but I try to avoid it because my car is old.

Planning:
- In about half-year my circumstances will change. I may start driving more and farther.
- If I do get a new car, it will be a new one, so that I will keep it for another 16 years.
- I am assuming that the resale value of my current car is $0, because I hate dealing with this. If I buy a new car, I will probably donate this one.

Given this additional information, does it make sense to keep Civic until January as is (without any repairs), and just buy a new car in January?

Victoria


Yes, but start your shopping now. You may find a super deal on a new or lightly used car that makes it worth 'not waiting.'

However, a 16 year old car if well taken are of and with only 105k miles could conceivable go quite a bit further. CV joints are wear and tear items, esp on older Hondas, and timing belt is routine maintenance, so there aren't indications of impending doom based on what you've written.

My father's 17 year old Accord needs a master cylinder and a new seat belt, for probably $1500-$2000. But he drives a lot more than you do, and the car has closer to 200k miles. I've recommended he get a new car. He probably won't listen.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby Abe » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:43 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Update:
I found a receipt for the timing belt change in 2008 at 85k miles, and thus I don't need it for two more years. An estimate for a complete front axle assembly on both sides is $437. I will do it at my earliest convenience.

My Civic and I thank you all,

Victoria

FYI, you might consider making a maintenance document to keep track of such repairs (while also keeping the receipts in a file cabinet). I made a simple spreadsheet that tracks all of the recommended maintenance and all of the maintenance performed on the car. It's just years for the columns and type of maintenance/repair for the rows. One table has the recommended maintenance by years/miles. A second table has the actual work performed on my car.

So I can just look at the first table to see when a repair is recommended for my car and I can look at the second table and see what year the timing belt, battery, brake pads, tires, etc. were replaced. It let me see that the mechanic was constantly doing the 30k or 60k service (my car is also low mileage, not even 90k at 14 years) instead of alternating with the 45k or 75k service, and therefore was missing the recommended engine coolant and brake fluid changes.


Victoria: This is good advise from Mudpuppy. I keep a 3X5 spiral notebook in the glove compartment of my vehicles. I keep a record of any maintenance and repairs in it including oil changes. I write down the date, mileage and a brief description of what was done including cost. That way you will always have a chronological history of everything done to the car handy.
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby CherylHall » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:56 pm

I have a 2001 Civic with 147K miles on it. Love this car - no car payment, dependable and I also love close to work (1 mile but need to drive for a few reasons).

I suggest #1. I had a few expensive (500-1K) repairs on my Civic BUT its only every few years and the benefit of having no car payment and a very dependable car very much outweigh the expense. I have had the same mechanic work on it since it had 39 K on it - he has the same car and his is at 200k and going strong. You definitely need the timing belt and water pump replaced - I cant comment on the rest. I have the service intervals in a folder and keep up with them flawlessly -there are a few that are expensive but they are few and far in between.

Ideas: I negotiated the labor rate on the timing belt down to 50% because I had it done at at time when the shop had limited business
Second, consider keeping the car- as a Boglehead it a great investment. I change the oil every 3k for about $25 and the tech tells me keep doing that and I can keep going for another 5-7 years. Music to my ears.


My2C. thanks
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby JMacDonald » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:35 pm

Hi Victoria,
Until this year I had really never heard of Carmax. As I was looking at new trucks, it was suggested that I go to Carmax. I was impressed by Carmax. Even if you don't sell your car to Carmax, you may want to look at the cars they have for sale. This can be easily done by looking at what they have available on their website. I ended up trading in my truck to a dealer when I bought a new one. But I did seriously consider selling and buying from Carmax.
Best Wishes, | Joe
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Re: Expensive repairs on an old car. Opinions?

Postby SamB » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:06 am

Based on your mileage your car is really not that old.

CV boots are usually replaced with the axle as a unit. The last time I had it done on the 1995 subaru, it was less than $200 per axle, and it is an easy replacement. I would not run a CV boot dry.

Your big expense is the timing belt, which is standard. Nothing you have mentioned would cause me to sell the car.
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