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2000 Honda Civic: Time to buy a new car? :/

deannada2deannada2 Posts: 2
I have always maintained my car and do not drive it very far. Over the past few years I feel like I've been putting more and more money into it and I am now debating whether it will last much longer or if I should start to consider looking at new cars. :/

I just took my 2000 automatic Honda Civic 4dr VP with 110,000 miles into our dealership because the check engine light was on and it was making thumping noises and shaking. They got back to me with an estimate of $2100 (!!). The mechanic said I was unlucky to have everything hit me ALL at once but apparently my rear wheel cylinders where leaking, my rear shoes were worn out, I need a valve adjustment (to fix the oil leak), my distributor is leaking (??) my spark plug wires were soaked and I need new spark plugs, AND I need a new timing belt!

I do not mind putting the money into my car if it going to last me a couple more years, but I'm just REALLY worried that something MAJOR is going to go wrong (transmission ???). I'm stuck with deciding to put the money towards the car or towards a down payment on a new car (which I REALLY do not want to do if I don't). Any experience or suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks in advanced. :)


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,355
    First of all, a valve adjustment isn't going to cure an oil leak unless the valve cover gasket is leaking.

    It sounds like youc Civic has a lot of deferred maintenance that has hit you all at once. That timing belt should have been replaced after seven years. It's common to replace the water pump and belts at the same time.

    That Civic is well worth putting the money into. It kinda sounds like very little has been done for twelve years and 110,000 miles. Now, it's time.
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    I agree. These are not signs of things that are "broken", but signs that wear & tear items have not been replaced along the way.

    Think of it this way: If you don't do the necessary repairs now, how much do you think you will get for the vehicle? Let's say it's $2100 - the cost of the repairs - which I think is pretty realistic.

    You're going to take that $2100 and either 1) buy another used vehicle for that amount, which will of course probably need work, or 2) use it as a downpayment and have payments on another vehicle, which will soon exceed the $2100 you'd be putting into the current car.

    We recently had the same dilemma - in the past year on our old truck, we've had to replace the fuel pump, radiator, and a/c compressor. About the same amount - $2000. Problem is, no one would have wanted to buy it with those issues, so we had to fix them whether we sold it afterward or not. Even so, with the transmission and engine in good shape, $2000 at once is better than a car payment every month. If the engine & transmission are in good shape, the best bet is to fix the car. If you want to upgrade after fixing it, you should get the money back in the selling price of the car, because people will expect a DEEP discount on a car with much maintenance needed.

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  • deannada2deannada2 Posts: 2
    I just rechecked my records and did have my timing belt changed at 101, 000 miles. I normally bring my car into an independent mechanic/garage and ALWAYS follow their recommendations. Over the past year or so they have told me over visits that a few issues could wait or where not necessary/high priority at the time (??). I'll admit that I do have to be more proactive about referring back to my records and schedules as far as maintenance requirements and schedules, but I always thought that I staying on track with everything. :confuse:

    I'm definitely going to put the rest of the fixes into it because I do agree with what you said about not having a car payment, keeping it in good condition and for resale purposes. I'm debating now whether to just start bringing back to the dealership mechanic or stick with my small garage guy. :confuse:
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    All of the items you mention should be repairable by any qualified mechanic. If your small garage guy does good work at a lower price, that's probably your best bet. If you had issues that required serious Honda expertise, like a big electrical problem, or the computer module going out, I would suggest taking it to the dealership. But, the items you listed appear to be pretty run-of-the-mill.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,355
    If it's the same shop that did the timing belt 9000 miles ago is telling her she needs a new one now, I have a serious problem with them.

    If a car is new to a shop and they don't know if the belt has been replaced they can loosen a few bolts and pry back the timing belt cover and take a look at it with a flashlight. If the belt is fairly new they can tell right away.

    I somehow get the feeling there isn't much wrong with this car and that she is being sold unnecessary work...but...I could be wrong!
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    That was the dealership - and yeah, I hadn't noticed the short mileage interval since the belt was changed. If it's ready to be changed already, there's a problem with the belt quality or installation... or something. That's not normal.

    I'd at least take it elsewhere for a 2nd opinion, even if it's to a different dealership. They need to be able to explain why the belt needs replacement already.

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