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Fixing your car

  1. Jun 29, 2008 #1
    At what point do you say spending x amount of money on fixing your car isnt worth it anymore?

    My 10 year old accord needs the front axle fixed, $300. And my radio is busted, so I bought a new head unit w/all wires for around $90.00. I couldnt take not having a radio anymore :rolleyes:.

    I think the xmsn may have gone south AGAIN. Its 98' Accord LX. The paint has lots of scratches all around, but the interior is good. It just needs new buttons for the lights on the interior roof because the plastic broke. :rolleyes:

    BUT, the car is HUGE. I can fix big boxes in the back, and if I want to ride my bike I can fold down the back seat and fit my entire 61" frame bike in there!

    If I could, I'd keep this car as long as possible. But I fear its getting to the point where fixing it might not be worth it soon. Its got around 150k miles.

    Ahhh.....I really dont want to have to buy a new car.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2008 #2

    Ouabache

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    I find it is a personal choice when to decide it is no longer worth fixing. $300 doesn't sound so bad to me. I've paid that much to have a timing belt replaced. My own threshold for thinking more seriously about replacing an older car, is when repairs begin costing $1K or more. Everyone is different. I know people who trade in their car every 5 years, just because they like a prettier exterior or a newer engine. I am not one of those. I've already gone 10 years or more on two of my cars.
     
  4. Jun 29, 2008 #3
    Well, its the xmsn that worries me. If its going to go bad, thats going to cost a good chunk of the worth of the car...
     
  5. Jun 29, 2008 #4
    It should be simple: collect some statistics and optimize :)

    But, I think 5-6 years is economical life of most cars.
     
  6. Jun 29, 2008 #5

    Ouabache

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    A 2nd transmission overhaul is enough for me to seriously consider my options.
     
  7. Jun 30, 2008 #6
    Cough cough, they messed up the design and its actually like the 4th one.... I didnt pay for parts, just for labor. But that was still a lot of money.

    It would be nice to have a hybrid car that gets really high MPG, but those ant cheap, and a small car like a Civic wont work for carrying cargo. There just too small inside. Thats the problem, my car is big inside, but has an engine very close in size to a civic (4-cylinder). But is woefully underpowered.
     
  8. Jun 30, 2008 #7
    I've heard that the batteries in them need to be changed every so many years and that they cost a couple grand to replace.


    As far as the OP it all depends on costs. My car's tranny went out and my mechanic told me that since evrything else on the car seemed to be in order it would likely be better to fix it since another used car would cost about the same and who knows what sort of issues the new one might have. This turned out to be a bad idea. I spent over three grand to replace the tranny. Then with in a month the head gasket blew costing about fifteen hundred. Brakes went out at the same time which cost another five hundred. Along with a few other odds and ends I wound up spending about six grand on the thing in a matter of a few months. Once I had put over three thousand into it for the tranny it would have been throwing away money to not fix the next problem and then even worse not to fix the next. It became a money pit. Fortunately it's working ok right now but I really wish I had ditched it for a newer car. If your car is getting old and the model is known for havng issues it's best to get rid of it. Three hundred in repairs though is nothing.
     
  9. Jun 30, 2008 #8

    wolram

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    Scrap it and buy a small car and trailer, you can leave the trailer off until you need it, all you have to do is practice reversing with the trailer on.
     
  10. Jun 30, 2008 #9
    The guy replaced the whole front axle in a few hours, damn that was fast! And he said the car needed oil badly. (So I drove it 900 miles over, big deal........they can go over 3k miles before every oil change anyways. Its not like smoke was coming out the back, and the engine temp wasnt high).

    I think in the next year or two it might need to be replaced though. That subaru outback seems to be a big car with lots of room inside, and costs under 20k for a model thats 1-2 years old with a 4 cyl engine. I need a car thats cheap to repair if I ever replace this one. Im not going the route my friend did and buy a used mercedes that needs preimum only, twice a week, and has stupid crap break down because its full of gadgets, like sensors that run a few hundred........no. That car costs way too much to maintain.

    Toyota camry seems pretty good too.


    The guy at the gas station got the part from the honda dealership, and replaced it for me in half an hour, and changed the oil. All costing $300.00. Just to change the axle the dealership wanted $700.00 w/3 hours labor costs......
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  11. Jun 30, 2008 #10

    chemisttree

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    You should learn to fix the car yourself. If you had consulted the Chilton manual, you would have seen that the half axle replacement requires few tools and only basic skill... that's why the mechanic replaced it so quickly. I do it in about 1 hour total. The price at Auto Zone for the part (lifetime guarantee) is roughly half of what you paid and Auto Zone has a free tool loan policy. You might need to invest in some stands though. I've replaced two of them on the various Civics I've owned and they are pretty simple to do. Of course if you can do the half axle, you can do the front brakes as well and as long as you are underneath the car, you can change the oil/filter. You can save a lot of money doing basic things yourself.... and buy a nice Alpine stereo with the savings!

    Regarding Statutory's comment about Hybrid batteries needing replacing every couple of years, it ain't so. Toyota hasn't yet replaced any batteries on the Prius on any of it's cars due to them wearing out. The Prius has been on the market now for over 7 years.
     
  12. Jun 30, 2008 #11

    mgb_phys

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    I bought the subaru impressa a year ago (same as outback but lower ground clearance and less rugged look)
    Four wheel drive is great when it snows, and general handling is amazing - you constantly wonder why everyone else is braking in corners.
    4wd is on all the time which hurts the gas mileage, I get about 35mpg on a commute for a 2.5L 4cylinder manual transmssion. It looks like it might eat tyres though.

    Dealer service is surprisingly cheap, although I got a deal on the 3year waranty and 3years servicing costs. Don't know easy the engine is to work on yourself, it's an odd flat 4 boxer, very low down in the engine bay.
    It has all the engine management computer stuff of any Japanese car but very few gadgets/toys.
    I bought it as a 10year 'keeper' - it's my first non <$1000 car!
     
  13. Jun 30, 2008 #12

    Borek

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    Really that low consumption? I mean - that much mpg (I am thinking in L/100 km)?
     
  14. Jun 30, 2008 #13

    mgb_phys

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    Spec is 10L/100km town and 8L/100km highway.
    I get about 8L/100km commuting, but that's using manual transmission to coast a lot, that works out to less than 30mpg (us gallon).
    I don't know how much is the engine vs the 4wd, but it is worse than the 2wheel drive Jeep, although better than the smallest VW golf they sell here.

    I would like citreon/peugot to import the 60-70mpg little diesel hatchbacks I used to have in europe!
     
  15. Jun 30, 2008 #14

    loseyourname

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    I had to fix an axle on a Civic about six years ago and just bought it from Auto Zone and had my dad's friend install it. It took him about twenty minutes and only cost me the part, which was negligible. I probably should learn to do that myself.

    I also have a ten year old Accord right now and am strongly considering getting a new car, but this one does run perfectly fine. The problem is that the power windows no longer work, so I can't roll either window down, and the right door handle came out of the door, so a passenger can't get out without me needing to walk over and let them out. The center console is split at the joint, too. The interior is just falling apart, but I feel like I should keep driving it as long as it runs well, which it does.
     
  16. Jun 30, 2008 #15
    Thats odd, because my interior is actually in great shape, (except for the buttons for the top lights which broke). When I clean the inside of the car, it looks brand new. The outside, well.........thats scratched to all hell. If you look at it from about 10 feet, its nice and new looking. If you walk up close, you'll see the scratches.

    Do you have the LX, and what year is it? Im wondering if you also have the transmission problems and underpowered engine.
     
  17. Jun 30, 2008 #16

    Moonbear

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    For me, it's when repairs that expensive start happening every few months. If it's not much difference between a new car payment and the repair bill, it's time to get the new car. The severity of the problems and availability of replacement parts becomes an issue too. When it gets to the point you're waiting a few days for them to order parts every time something breaks, or worse, can only get them by heading down to the junkyard and searching there, it's definitely time to replace the car, even if the repairs aren't that expensive yet.
     
  18. Jun 30, 2008 #17

    turbo

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    I keep up with maintenance, catch problems as early as possible (this involves driving under a variety of circumstances WITHOUT the radio blaring, so you can hear when mechanical stuff starts sounding different), and drive the vehicles into the ground. I have a wonderful independent mechanic who has been doing this stuff for almost 50 years, and can fix stuff properly in a fraction of the time that the dealerships do. Even when he needs more time (lacking a specialty tool, for instance) the cost of the repair is always way less than it would have been at the dealership.
     
  19. Jun 30, 2008 #18
    The axle went bad and would make a noise 'tak-tak-tak-tak-tak-tak' like a machine gun when you would turn the wheel and press on the gas pedal. People walking on the sidewalk would stare at me like...........WTF.....are you serious........wow. :rofl:
     
  20. Jun 30, 2008 #19

    turbo

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    OK, that's an example of a mechanical problem that was allowed to go from problematic to serious. Sounds like you lucked out, but mechanical problems that are allowed to worsen often cause damage to related parts, and that can cost a LOT more money than it would have cost if you had addressed the problem as soon as it started.

    As an example, when you start up your vehicle, and the hydraulic lifters are not fully pumped up, you'll hear the valve-train clacking away. In warm weather, this gets quiet quickly. In cold weather, this will go away in a while as the oil warms and thins. If it does not go away, or the valve-train of one cylinder stays noisy, get help from a decent mechanic. You might save yourself a LOT of money down the road. It might be as simple as a plugged oil-galley to that particular lifter and might be resolved with a solvent flush.
     
  21. Jun 30, 2008 #20
    Well, it was the (I think) bearing in the axle. Its been doing it for about a month. It wasnt so bad at first, but it got to be quite loud so I finally go it fixed. The guy at the dealership said it was ok to drive it like that for a while.
     
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