91 Acura Integra 194,000 needs 3k in body work: Keep or Bail?

I recently got into an accident with the Integra and it now requires $3K in body work. I know it is at about the value of the car but we have had regular maintenance on it and the clutch and timing were recently replaced. We only drive it 5K miles a year so is it worth investing the money (3k) vs. paying $8-10K for a newer used car that we do not know as much about?

Your question is impossible to answer without knowing if this car is in the rust belt, your financial situation, your age, and your other interests and obligations. It would be only a guess to predict what mechanical needs your car might need in the future. Personally, I would not put $3000 into a 16 year old car unless it was one that had promise as a collector car in the future.

How is the rest of the car (interior, undercarriage rust, accessories like A/C, etc.) and how bad is the damage (does the car continue to track and brake straight?)? Can the car be driven without the body work? How much do you love the car? Lastly, don’t you love it when someone answers a question with questions??

No frills car, interior is in good shape, a little bit of rust spots here and there. Live in CO so not a big deal concerning rust. Damage was to the driver front (hood buckle, fender crumple, light smashed in and peice behind the light bent). Drivable during the day but would have to tie up bumper and wife loves the car.

“wife loves the car”
“vs. paying $8-10K for a newer used car that we do not know as much about”

I think you have answered you own question. If you’re handy and lucky, you may be able to find repair parts at a salvage yard or online site and replace them yourself.

Even if it were in excellent condition, it would be worth about $1000. It’s time to move on. You could donate it and expect a couple hundred dollar tax deduction after the donee sells it. You might look for an organization that will use the car. There is no bill of sale, so you can’t provide one to the IRS. You would have to estimate the value of your donation.

First let me state that I am NOT knowledgable about mechanical things in any way whatsoever. I read this board to learn how to better take care of my car.

However, I can say from experience that a car about that old my folks had was hit hard enough to do a similar amount of damage. Despite having the body work done to fix it, for the same reasons you give for wanting to keep yours, the car never handled well afterwards and began having a cascade of problems that appeared related to having been jarred hard enough to loosen electrical connections, etc.

So be sure to have all the other systems of the car properly evaluated by your mechanic before deciding whether or not to fix the body damage or replace the car.

Good luck.


NYBo, where you been hiding all this time?

Junk it. 194k and 17 years old its life well past its life.

The value of the car is around $1000 at most in excellent condition.

I agree. Move on. Doing major body repairs on a 17 year old car is never wise. Sell it as a parts car, SOMEONE needs the powertrain and will pay more than you think for it. Todays market is FLOODED with reasonably priced cars.

For 3 grand I would say it’s time to write it off.
The damage you list is minor though and this sounds like one of those “bolt-on” repairs.
You could check with a salvage yard about these parts and they should be relatively inexpensive. If the yard does not have those parts ask them to use their parts locator and see if anything is in the vicinity. If it’s the same color then it’s a slam dunk.

You can also find a parts car on CraigsList or eBay, pirate some parts, scrap the rest, and then run the car down to MAACO for a partial shoot if the color is different.

Some years back I hit a large deer one night at high speed and totally smashed in the front of my old Mercury Sable. Hood, fenders, those “laserlights” across the front, bumper, etc. along with ruining the 2 front tires. Those laserlights especially made the repair questionable due to their cost.

About a week of digging around calling yards and I found a complete front clip for 400 dollars. It was the same color and even had the identical pinstripe down the fenders. One day of bolting parts on and voila! Did not even have to hit the paint booth with it.
Just a few possibilities if you consider repairing it. :slight_smile:

My first impression is that it’s time to say buh-bye to Old Faithful. It is simply not cost effective to spend $3000 on such an elderly car. Then it occurred to me that its appearance is not all that important to you. Maybe we can find a way.

Visit several body shops. Ask them what can be done for under $1000. Tell them all you want is a car that is mechanically sound and that everything works. Beauty is not an issue. You’ll even accept a multi-colored vehicle. Work with them, let them work with you. I think this patient can be saved.

The fact you live in Colorado and only put on 3000 miles a year makes it worthwhile to shop around a bit and go to a shop that does not specialize in insurance work (too expensive). I would fix it , but you may be able to do it for less than $3000.