Preventive maintenance question [car]

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zaplunken
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Preventive maintenance question [car]

Post by zaplunken »

I take good care of my car. It occurred to me the other day that I might want to do some preventative maintenance on my car. What would you do?

1991 Honda Civic DX purchased in Nov. 1997 with 100,300 miles

Today's miles - 301,400

The coil is original. My ignitor was recalled at 60k (per original owner) and then it failed in July 1998 when I was driving. So this ignitor is 12 years old with 190,000 miles on it.

Cost from Honda dealer #1:
ignitor $147
coil $151
labor $99
total $397

Cost from Honda dealer #2:
ignitor $114
coil $117
labor $175
total $406

$400 is a lot of money to spend on something that is not broken but the age of the coil is 19 years and the ignitor is 12 years. Failure of either means the car won't start or stops running if on the road.

I'm leaning to replacing both for peace of mind as I intend to keep this car a few more years at the minimum.

Comments?

Zaplunken
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TxAg
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Post by TxAg »

I spent $300 on preventative maintenance today. I'm doing some out of state travelling this summer and peace of mind is a beautiful thing.

If you plan on having your car for a while, you might as well put a little money into it.
Wannaretireearly
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Post by Wannaretireearly »

Congrats on getting to 300k miles !!

At that mileage why not just wait until the component breaks? That's assuming that these parts are non-interference. i.e. don't cause a bigger problem than just that part failing.
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Driver
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Post by Driver »

If it were me I'd go on the Honda forums and see if this part does have a history of going bad. That's a lot of money to spend on a car that isn't worth that much in terms of money in my opinion (however I have spent thousands keeping an old Toyota MR2 running). The car could also fail to start if the starter goes bad or stop running if the timing belt breaks as well. How old are these parts? Perhaps the parts you replaced in 1998 were improved compared to the original parts?
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zaplunken
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Post by zaplunken »

It's a great car in very good condition. Everything is in good condition and I'll probably never do any brake, timing belt, exhaust system, battery alternator work as these all have been done and they should go for 5 years or more based upon my moderate driving. The clutch is original but in good shape.

There's no knowing on a coil or ignitor, 1 second they work and the next they do not. You could be parked in the garage or a shopping lot. You could be going 30 mph on a side road or 70 mph on the interstate. When they go the engine stops like when you turn off the key. Now you have a tow and a diagnosis cost. Peace of mind for $400 seems reasonable. I'll check a Honda forum, any suggestions?
Sam I Am
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Post by Sam I Am »

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
bluemonday
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Post by bluemonday »

wouldn't do it on a car that old with that many miles. If your worried about the tow costs, buy an auto club membership that includes towing. As for the cost of diagnosis, you could always have it towed to a place like Pep Boys or the like, and they will usually help you figure out what is wrong. If that fails then have it towed to a shop. To me idea with driving a beater, is to drive it till it drops, not pour in money beyond what is called for in scheduled maintenance ( if that ). Just my two cents.
Polaris
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Post by Polaris »

If this car is your "baby", I would spend the money on preventive maintenance. If you consider the car to be mere transportation, I wouldn't replace any 19 year old parts until they needed replacing (especially considering you probably have many more 19 year old parts on the old girl). :)
yakers
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Post by yakers »

It depends how dependent you are on this specific car. Do you have a non-Boglean (shudder) second car? Public transportation option? If you do than I would just drive the Honda until something fails or gives signals that it is about to.
If you are reliant on the car then I would suggest getting a spare igniter, maybe used but know good and just have it with you. On some vehicles it is simple to change out, not sure about yours. Nice to keep an old car going but @300K miles it really is past its life expectancy and if a major system fails it would be uneconomical to repair. Now iy you love it than it is entirely a different picture. I had an 85 VW camper that achieved that mileage with, I assure you, much more maintenance. Have a Miata that we would replace major components to keep going, just had it repainted, but this is not an economic proposition, my wife loves her car, nuf said.
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empb
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Post by empb »

Buy the parts from Honda Dealer #2 and bring them to Honda Dealer #1.

Aren't there any independent repair shops around that you can trust? Have any guy friends who seem like they'd know one? I hate the mere thought of bringing a car into a dealer for repair.
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Driver
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Post by Driver »

I don't know much about Honda forums, but hopefully thse two help:

http://www.hondacivicforum.com/forum/

http://www.hondaforum.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=12
hsv_climber
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Post by hsv_climber »

Does it makes sense to invest $400 into something that might be currently worth $400-$500?
Shawn
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Post by Shawn »

zaplunken wrote: There's no knowing on a coil or ignitor, 1 second they work and the next they do not. You could be parked in the garage or a shopping lot. You could be going 30 mph on a side road or 70 mph on the interstate. When they go the engine stops like when you turn off the key. Now you have a tow and a diagnosis cost. Peace of mind for $400 seems reasonable. I'll check a Honda forum, any suggestions?
My ignitor failed a little over a month ago just as I was getting on the freeway on ramp. I was going about 30 mph and the engine suddenly stopped. There was no warning, other than a non-responsive feeling from a stoplight 1/2 mile earlier. AAA towed my car to my mechanic. I have a 1980 Toyota Corolla with 265K miles.

I didn't know that this was something that would fail until it did. If I was planning to keep my car for at least 2-3 more years, then I might have the work done. Otherwise, I might take the chance. Will the replacement equipment be new or refurbished? If it is not new, then I would not have the work done.
Last edited by Shawn on Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrugalInvestor
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

zaplunken wrote:It's a great car in very good condition. Everything is in good condition and I'll probably never do any brake, timing belt, exhaust system, battery alternator work as these all have been done and they should go for 5 years or more based upon my moderate driving. The clutch is original but in good shape.

There's no knowing on a coil or ignitor, 1 second they work and the next they do not. You could be parked in the garage or a shopping lot. You could be going 30 mph on a side road or 70 mph on the interstate. When they go the engine stops like when you turn off the key. Now you have a tow and a diagnosis cost. Peace of mind for $400 seems reasonable. I'll check a Honda forum, any suggestions?
It sounds like you've made your decision and just need the go-ahead to have the work done.

Go do it!
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
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TJAJ9
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Post by TJAJ9 »

hsv_climber wrote:Does it makes sense to invest $400 into something that might be currently worth $400-$500?
A car is not an investment. If that $400 allows the car to run for another couple of years, it's definitely worth it.

If the car's transmission breaks 1 month after putting $400 into it, then it obviously wasn't worth it, but nobody can predict the future. I say go for it.
hsv_climber
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Post by hsv_climber »

TJAJ9 wrote: A car is not an investment. If that $400 allows the car to run for another couple of years, it's definitely worth it.

If the car's transmission breaks 1 month after putting $400 into it, then it obviously wasn't worth it, but nobody can predict the future. I say go for it.
Unless car is used only for luxuries, i.e. driving around the neighborhood and picking up girls, then car is definitely an investment.

------------
From wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investment )
In all economics or macro-economics, fixed asset investment or formation (sometimes simply called investment) is the production per unit time of goods which are not consumed but are to be used for future production. Examples include tangibles (such as building a railroad or factory) and intangibles (such as a year of schoolings or on-the-job training like).
------------

So, if a person is using the car for the purpose of transporting himself to his work location then it is an investment into a tangible asset, which allows that person to arrive at work and produce goods there.

But since the current value of this asset is $400-600 (just guessing), adding $400 of arbitrary replacements is a poor decision.
With 300K on it, almost any part can fail at any time, including timing belt (when was it replaced last time?), water pump (they usually work for about 100-120K), and pretty much anything else.
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Post by TJAJ9 »

hsv_climber wrote:
TJAJ9 wrote: A car is not an investment. If that $400 allows the car to run for another couple of years, it's definitely worth it.

If the car's transmission breaks 1 month after putting $400 into it, then it obviously wasn't worth it, but nobody can predict the future. I say go for it.
Unless car is used only for luxuries, i.e. driving around the neighborhood and picking up girls, then car is definitely an investment.

------------
From wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investment )
In all economics or macro-economics, fixed asset investment or formation (sometimes simply called investment) is the production per unit time of goods which are not consumed but are to be used for future production. Examples include tangibles (such as building a railroad or factory) and intangibles (such as a year of schoolings or on-the-job training like).
------------

So, if a person is using the car for the purpose of transporting himself to his work location then it is an investment into a tangible asset, which allows that person to arrive at work and produce goods there.

But since the current value of this asset is $400-600 (just guessing), adding $400 of arbitrary replacements is a poor decision.
With 300K on it, almost any part can fail at any time, including timing belt (when was it replaced last time?), water pump (they usually work for about 100-120K), and pretty much anything else.
What I mean by investment is that you don't buy a car because it's an appreciating asset. A car is not a stock or a bond. I doubt that the OP is worried about how much money he's going to be able to get for his 1991 Honda. You're mentioning how much the car is currently worth. Obviously, that's meaningless to the OP.
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Post by zaplunken »

Thanks for the replies.

I and you (plural) are definitely not on the same page! This car is in such good mechanical shape and over the past 3 years I have put maybe a thousand into repairs even with an original clutch that $400 is not a lot vs buying another car. It looks like hell (rust) but is actually solid or I'd never sunk the money into various repairs over the past 75K miles, the guy that works on it has been a Honda mechanic for 25 years and marvels at how good condition the car is in. I'd replace the clutch if it went so I guess you see where I come from. At 40-44 mpg, it uses 16 oz of oil between changes every 3,000 miles, very reliable, well it'd take something truly major to get rid of this car, like the engine blowing up, the clutch failing and a car accident all at once. Now in 15 or 20,000 miles maybe that'll change but I drive 5-6K per year and it has a few more years left in it so I am pretty sure I'll keep it going. I just don't want either of these electrical components to fail leaving me stranded. Part store parts are not worth the money you pay for them when talking about these 2 parts!
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Post by hsv_climber »

TJAJ9 wrote: What I mean by investment is that you don't buy a car because it's an appreciating asset. A car is not a stock or a bond. I doubt that the OP is worried about how much money he's going to be able to get for his 1991 Honda. You're mentioning how much the car is currently worth. Obviously, that's meaningless to the OP.

If car is not treated as an investment then it is a hobby. And people (including myself) spend a lot of money on different hobbies.

Of course, it is up for the OP to decide either his car is a hobby for him or an investment into transportation.
If it is a hobby then logic does not apply.

But if it is a method of transportation then value of the car is very important, because if car is worth $400 (or whatever) and OP wants to add $400 to it then the OP should consider the option of selling the car +$400 and buying another car.
In other words, it is an investment decision between 2 options:
Option 1. Invest $400 into this car
Option 2. Sell the car. Add $400. Buy another car.
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Post by TJAJ9 »

hsv_climber wrote:
TJAJ9 wrote: What I mean by investment is that you don't buy a car because it's an appreciating asset. A car is not a stock or a bond. I doubt that the OP is worried about how much money he's going to be able to get for his 1991 Honda. You're mentioning how much the car is currently worth. Obviously, that's meaningless to the OP.

If car is not treated as an investment then it is a hobby. And people (including myself) spend a lot of money on different hobbies.

Of course, it is up for the OP to decide either his car is a hobby for him or an investment into transportation.
If it is a hobby then logic does not apply.

But if it is a method of transportation then value of the car is very important, because if car is worth $400 (or whatever) and OP wants to add $400 to it then the OP should consider the option of selling the car +$400 and buying another car.
In other words, it is an investment decision between 2 options:
Option 1. Invest $400 into this car
Option 2. Sell the car. Add $400. Buy another car.
What would be the better investment?

1) Spend only $400 now and have a car that will last for a few more years.
2) Spend thousands of dollars now or hundreds of dollars a month (car loan) and buy a new car.

I would choose #1.
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Post by hsv_climber »

TJAJ9 wrote:
What would be the better investment?

1) Spend only $400 now and have a car that will last for a few more years.
2) Spend thousands of dollars now or hundreds of dollars a month (car loan) and buy a new car.

I would choose #1.
I would do #3 - put $400 into Vanguard Short Term Bond Fund and do nothing until the car fails, and then use $400+ to buy another car (not necessary a brand new).
But I fail to see how replacing WORKING electrical parts is a better decision than replacing a timing belt or any other part of this car for that matter.
Why these parts? I can easily name bunch of other parts in Honda Civic 91, which can fail at any second, starting with the timing belt.
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Post by TJAJ9 »

hsv_climber wrote:I can easily name bunch of other parts in Honda Civic 91, which can fail at any second, starting with the timing belt.
That is definitely possible. No argument there. All I know is that if $400 will get me a few more years out of a car, I'm definitely going to do it. If it was $1000, that might be a different story. Everyone has to have their cutoff point.
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Post by zaplunken »

hsv_climber wrote:
But I fail to see how replacing WORKING electrical parts is a better decision than replacing a timing belt or any other part of this car for that matter.
Why these parts? I can easily name bunch of other parts in Honda Civic 91, which can fail at any second, starting with the timing belt.
Because those working electrical parts are WAY past any reasonable expected longevity time frame and I do not want to be stuck on the side of the road. The ignitor in this current car was replaced at 60k miles (was done via a recall by the original owner so I have no idea the date) but I do know that in 7/98 after 60k miles that ignitor failed when I was driving it. I replaced it in 7/98... 12 years ago and 190K miles! That 7/98 failure was in rush hour traffic coming home on a brutally hot day, very unpleasant but I was able to call my spouse to come get me, no spouse today. My prior Honda's ignitor died out in the boondocks, houses were well over a mile apart! Again it was very unpleasant. Honestly I think both the coil and ignitor are really on borrowed time. Normally I would not replace parts just because but I intend to keep this car for years and it's just when NOT if they both fail!

I don't buy new cars, I get a 7 or 8 year old and drive it for as long as the body lasts. My last 2 Hondas rotted out fast and I'd never have done this but this Honda is in solid structural condition so despite it's 19 years old and has 301K miles it has 3-5 years of body life left in it especially as I am retired and don't have to drive on snow and salty roads daily to go to work now. Many people would just driven this car and gave up on it 100K miles ago when it needed $800 of brake work but a replacement car was far more than $800 and the car had a history of being reliable and was in good shape so it made sense to put money into it from time to time even tho the amounts varied from say $500 to $1500 over the past 100K miles.

Thanks again for your comments, like another poster said where can i get another car for $400? the time will come to stop spending money on this car but today I feel comfortable spending this money cuz if I ignore this I'll eventually face this plus a tow fee as well!
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Post by bluemonday »

"$400 is a lot of money to spend on something that is not broken but the age of the coil is 19 years and the ignitor is 12 years. Failure of either means the car won't start or stops running if on the road. "
As was previously pointed out, there are many points of potential failure in a 19 year old car, even without the ultra high mileage. You've picked these two to focus on for better or worse. It's your money,and I suspect that it wouldn't have mattered what anyone here said, your mind was already made up.
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

bluemonday wrote:"$400 is a lot of money to spend on something that is not broken but the age of the coil is 19 years and the ignitor is 12 years. Failure of either means the car won't start or stops running if on the road. "
As was previously pointed out, there are many points of potential failure in a 19 year old car, even without the ultra high mileage. You've picked these two to focus on for better or worse. It's your money,and I suspect that it wouldn't have mattered what anyone here said, your mind was already made up.
Whether it's reasonable to replace them or not, and I'm not arguing either way, it is obviously bothering the OP that they might fail. He should go ahead and do the repair if for no other reason than to relieve his concern.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
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