Dare

honda
accord

#1

OK- do I dare drive my 1989 Honda Accord to California and back.



Its issues-

-needs new brakes (yes, I am getting them so this is moot I think)

-has 133,000 miles

-ac doe snot work

-driver’s side window does not work

-windows only work with fuse in, and then wipers “work” all the time



I plan on getting new brakes, just had muffler done. But wipers / window the mechanic claims will cost me over $500…if he get part.



Right now I pull fuse, and avoid rainy days unless it’s a short drive. The wipers will work but I can’t control them once driving.

I’ve thought of getting that spray for the windshield that drives off rain, but Tom and Ray said it’s crap.



Anything else I should get done before I partake on my driving adventure? PS My husband is blind so I can’t let him drive too often.



Will I go mad? I mean go crazier driving such a distance in this relic?



Can I get window “fixed” some other way? Shutters perhaps?

And wipers…if I buy used motor could I fix this myself without electrocuting myself?



Cartalk inspires me, has for years, but the idea of "do-it-yurself- car repair seems much like the gym commercials right

after New Years promising abs… for 45 yrs. olds with life-long guts.






#2

For you Mensa members out there…I am in Chicago!


#3

I would try it in my '89 but it’s in good shape. Sounds like you have issues. How far are you coming from to the West coast? Wipers and windows are not a big thing. How’s the engine and tranny and “important” stuff? Your Husband is blind and you can’t let him drive? Is this for real? Rocketman


#4

Unfortunately, he is really blind. I was joking, you know ala “Scent of a Woman.” I gues I will ask mechanic about tranny, the car lived in the south up until 3yrs. ago. Engine starts after two tries usually, save if it’s below zero.


#5

You might use that ‘rain x’ stuff, might help if you get caught in a downpour.


#6

Wipers could be “fixed” with a $1.00 switch from Radio Shack. Drill a hole somewhere on the dash (where there is nothing behind it and put the switch there. You need a Bubba mechanic on this one. He will get you running and safe for much less money, but it will not be a thing of beauty.


#7

If the engine and transmission are fairly solid then that should at the least weed out any major catastrophe happening if you maintain oil/coolant levels and don’t continue driving the car if it overheats. In that case, stop immediately and let it cool; even if takes 2 hours.

Some years back I drove a '60 Chrysler New Yorker cross country and I only paid 10 bucks for that car to begin with. If that tank can make it so can your Honda.
:slight_smile:


#8

The timing belt on your engine is supposed to be replaced–IIRC–at 105,000 miles or every 7 years, whichever comes first. On the basis of elapsed time, that belt should have been replaced twice already.

Unless it was replaced within the last 6 years or so, I would advise against driving this car farther than on a local errand. When the timing belt snaps on a Honda, it causes damage that would exceed the book value of your car, so this is not something that can be ignored.

If you need to replace the timing belt, be sure to also replace the serpentine belt, belt tensioners and the water pump. Assume that this will cost ~$400-&600, depending on local economic conditions.


#9

I actually thought of timing belt, then repressed that thought. Yes, that’s a must. I will ask when I visit mechanic.


#10

I wouldn’t do it without the AC working if it were me, but I’m a wimp about heat and I find I’m much less tired at the end of driving day if I have AC than if I don’t. Heat and noise will wear you out and opening a window will make a lot of noise.

The mileage and age would not bother me if the car is well maintained, but trying not to be too blunt, it does not sound like it’s been well maintained. Is a rental a possibility?

I’m not sure what your wiper issue is. Sounds like a bad multi-function switch or maybe a bad relay, but as someone else said, a mechanic with some creativity could fix that for cheap.

If you simply must drive this car, get the timing belt done! No ifs, ands or buts, if that breaks in the middle of the dessert you are cooked (in more ways than one).


#11

“if that breaks in the middle of the dessert you are cooked”

Even if it breaks while they are in the middle of the appetizer course, it will still be a very expensive repair job.

;-))


#12

I’d rent a car for the trip.


#13

OK- I take umbrage at the thought this care is not maintained! It’s TWENTY years old. It still runs.
: )

I have owned it for 3 yrs. And it runs great. The AC “works” but not the modern chilled to the bone effect I have experienced in other cars. Not enough AC blast to be out in 80 degrees in a traffic jam or a cantankerous over-heated middle age diabetic husband ( God love him!)

OK- how do I know, without records, if timing belt should be changed? I read a little that it’s just age that determines this.

And any idea where I find a BUBBA mechanic? Same place I found Bubba movers once…Craigslist?

And if you’re in Chicago and know Bubba, pls. post his contact info.

Thanks for the advice, encouragement and jeering.


#14

"how do I know, without records, if timing belt should be changed? I read a little that it’s just age that determines this.

Timing belt change intervals are always expressed in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time, with the proviso, “whichever comes first”. So, if your replacement schedule is…let’s say…every 105k miles or 7 years, then even someone who drives the car only infrequently should change the belt after 7 years have elapsed. The driver who piles on the miles might reach the 105k interval in only 3 or 4 years, but he should observe the 105k interval.

In your case, since you have no maintenance records, you have to–unfortunately–assume that the belt has never been changed, and as a result it could snap tomorrow. In reality, it is possible that the belt was replaced only a year or so before you bought the car, but in the absence of any real indicator, do you really want to gamble? And, it should be noted that visual inspection of a timing belt will not give you any real idea of how much longer it will function. As I said previously, when a timing belt snaps on a Honda, it results in ~$2,000 (or more) in repairs–in other words, more than the car is actually worth.

If I were you, I would invest the $400-$600 to have the timing belt, serpentine belt, belt tensioners, and water pump replaced now. For some reason, people always seem to envision a major mechanical breakdown as taking place in a convenient location, at a convenient time. In reality, this could happen while you are in the passing lane with semi-trailers all around you, or in a dodgy neighborhood at night, or while you are attempting to cross a busy highway full of speeding cars.

Since the broken timing belt causes your engine to stop abruptly (and loudly, as metal parts collide in an expensive fashion), you would immediately lose your power steering and would have just enough reserve power assist for your brakes for (hopefully) one stop while you try to figure out how to maneuver the car to a safe place to stop. And then of course, you would have to choose an unknown mechanic to do this expensive repair job for you while you coop up in a motel for several days. Does this sound like a situation that you want to expose yourself and your diabetic husband to?

Used cars without maintenance records are a risk.
Twenty year old used cars without maintenance records are a MAJOR risk.

I’m sorry, but no responsible person would set out on a cross-country trip with an unhealthy person in a 20 year old car with a questionable (at best) timing belt.


#15

Agree with VC; the regulars on this forum would not recommend anyone do anything with significant risk. In your case, the timing belt and other items such as serpentine belt and water pump are MAJOR RISK ITEMS on an old car, no matter how well it has been looked after on a day to day basis.

Our family has taken a dozen long holiday trips in cars ranging from 2 to 12 years old. Even with the best preparation, on 4 trips we encountered minor mechanical problems, not serious, but still requiring AAA assistance.

So, I would fix the things that make a car unreliable, and forget the A/C and the cosmetic stuff.


#16

OK- I take umbrage at the thought this care is not maintained! It’s TWENTY years old. It still runs.
: )

I see the smiley, but I will just point out that I said, “well maintained,” not just maintained. To me, if the windshield wiper and a window and the AC don’t work right, someone has been skimping on the maintenance. I’m not casting aspersions. For all I know the previous owner is probably to blame for its current state.

I have owned it for 3 yrs. And it runs great. The AC “works” but not the modern chilled to the bone effect I have experienced in other cars. Not enough AC blast to be out in 80 degrees in a traffic jam or a cantankerous over-heated middle age diabetic husband

I just went by your statement that it didn’t work. It sounds like you should have it fixed if you plan to cross the desert. Again, I personally want AC that works if I’m taking a long trip. If you are staying to the northern route and not going for a few months, it might not be too bad, but otherwise no way I’d take this car.

OK- how do I know, without records, if timing belt should be changed? I read a little that it’s just age that determines this.

You don’t know. I always assume, unless the previous owner has a receipt from a local shop showing it has been done, that the timing belt has not been changed and have it done immediately on interference engine cars. This gives you a known baseline to start from.

I was not jeering, and if you thought so, I’m sorry. I’m just telling it like I see it. You may not have the money to make the repairs and I fully understand that. I have no doubt the car will run and make the trip as long as the timing belt doesn’t break, even a car on its last legs can usually go a couple thousand miles, but without knowing a lot more about your situation (and I do not want to know) I just gave you my best assessment.


#17

WOW- Thanks so much. I was NOT planning to go this distance without servicing the car. I had repressed thought of the timing belt. But I will have to face that–ugh.

And my husband thanks you :slight_smile: Also, I could theoretically get a loan and a new car, I just have sworn off debt. If I can’t buy it outright, I don’t.

I type with tongue-in-cheek at all times!