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98 Honda with 80K - time to buy a new car?

My Honda’s engine light is on, the spedometer is going crazy, and lately, the battery has been dead (more anon). 3 months ago, it was totaled, and I elected to take the money and rebuild - mainly body work. 1 month ago, the a.c. went and had a new system put in. Then this. It has been to 3 mechanics this past week. Someone sent me back to the a.c. guys. They did a diagnostic and found some frayed wires and blown fuses (to fix: $200) and some indication that the transmission was acting up. I went to the transmission guy next and he said that ‘no, transmission’s okay, but it needs electrical work.’ In the meantime, both the a.c. mechanics and the transmission guys left the lights and radio on (respectively) while they were working so when I went to pick the thing up, the battery was dead. They zapped it and I got it home, but now it is just dead. Am I about $200 from a fixed car, or is it time to ditch this thing?

Can you get the specific fault codes? Post them here.

My main concern is the accident. How bad was it? “Totalled” in a '98 could have been less than one owuld think, but if there was substantial damage you could have wiring harness and/or component damage that could be extremely difficult to trace down.

P1298, P0135, P0141; and then trans codes P0501, P0700, P0720. For the first 3, the “probable cause” is engine wire harness is rubbing on the intake manifold braket.

That can be a royal pain. You might need a new engine wiring harness. And that is a horrible job to do on an installed engine. If the engine’s out of the car and swinging on an engine hoist, it’s very easy - just walk around the engine plugging A into B and so forth. But with the engine in the car, you have to jam your hands into tiny little spaces to get things plugged in. Find someone with small hands to do the job and pay them in beer. Usually works for me :wink:

At the risk of GOT,going off topic,Let me simply state,here and now,that I wouldn’t drive a vehicle that couldn’t be fixed without beer or ductape.

When are beer and duct tape GOT?

P1298 IDM Failure
P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
P0501 Vehicle Speed Sensor Range/Performance
P0700 Transmission Control System Malfunction
P0720 Output Speed Sensor Circuit Malfunction

It looks like you may have a wiring harness problem, likely as a result of the accident. Someone will need to get the car up on a lift with a multimeter, a good worklight and a schematic.

Sorry. I wish I had a better recommendation.

I don’t buy a Honda until it has 150K miles. So you should keep it until it has enough miles to sell. Realistically, if you are getting it fixed often, get rid of it. Some poor sucker who is good at fixing things will waste months getting it right and be perfectly happy with it. But if you’re not a fixer, forget it. I just sold a 94 Accord at a good price, what I paid for it a few years ago. The buyer has a Cuban mechanic on retainer. This ethnicity is unfairly gifted with repair aptitude, and especially motivated with non-American based manufacturers’.

That’s great information. Thanks.

You have an old car. Issues crop up. If your life cannot deal with it all move on if funds are available. The likely cheapest solution is keep fixing. However unreliable transport is hard on people’s life.

Myself this would be indifferent as I do not rely on my car.

Also don’t believe the folklore of Honda’s. While decent cars they have issues just like every other make. Currently 4 out of 10 friends with 10 year+ old Honda’s (CRV, Civic, Accord, Odyssey) are spending at least $2000 on major repairs (internal motor work, transmissions, and few other items).