Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation


My girlfriend and I have reached a crossroads. Her 1993 Honda Accord has 166K miles on it and is, lately, in the shop for significant, but not repeat-issue, parts repair and replacement. I have a 1986 Toyota pickup with 270K miles and a 1987 Toyota pickup with 360K miles and have been through, what I consider to be, this standard process of maintaining a worthwhile vehicle, which, in my opinion, the Honda certainly is. It has become a divisive issue in our relationship. She has asked me to solicit testimony that this is a normal, reasonable part of car ownership, and wishes to know a rough estimate of how much one can expect to pay over time to maintain longevity on such a vehicle. Thank you for any and all advice, suggestions, questions, comments, and/or criticisms. Cheers!

Maintaining a RWD body on frame pick-up truck is one thing, trying to keep a FWD, unibody, timing belt, automatic transmission vehicle on the road past a certain point is a COMPLETELY different issue!

I’m assuming the Honda is an automatic, and if it has not been replaced already, it won’t be long before it will require a new transmission. $3500. Crossroads…

You could add up your upkeep bills on your 2 trucks and compare them to car and ins payments and it will show her the thousands of dollars you saved.
Got to speak there lingo, LOL
Or find friends that did not do upkeep and hear there stories of timing belts breaking and engine over hauls from lack of oil changes.

All your cars are in the high maintenance age, so you take your chances, depreciation or repairs. If reliability is important you are stuck with depreciation. Buy her a new car.

There is always a time when it starts to make a lot of sense to give up on a car rather than keep with it.

There is also a time when people just decide that they want something different - and maybe newer - and maybe something that needs less attention.

But, in general, if it had to do with $$, people who get frustrated about repair bills on older cars usually haven’t sat down to do the math. It is almost always cheaper to fix what you have then get something else. Once one looks at the cost of a monthly car payment with the much higher insurance premiums, AND figures in that a newer or even new car does NOT eliminate maintenance costs, it becomes apparent how much those repair bills are often saving. My brother thinks I’m nuts to keep fixing my older jalopies - I just ask him how much his car payments were last month. Mine = 0$

Keep in mind though, that $$ is only one reason people might think about changing cars. In the end, I think that your gf should do what she wants. Maybe she just wants a change - would changing cars be better than changing boyfriends?

Well, seen as how you didn’t include the items that she has needed to replace on her car, we can’t really tell you if the cost has been normal, or out of the ordinary.

If she has had to replace the engine twice, then I would say no.
If she has had to replace a wheel bearing here, and a tie rod there, then yes.

If she’s unhappy with how much it cost to replace the timing belt, then there’s not much she can do except either eat the cost, or make sure her next vehicle has a timing chain.


Exactly what has her '93 been recently in the shop for?

When an old vehicle develops problems indicating intternal engine problems, tranny problems, safety system problems (such as rotted brake lines), or rot significant to affect the mechanical integrity of the vehicle or its chassis, then it’s time to call it quits. Replacement of peripheral items like the alternator or the starter or even a half-shaft are not sigfificant problems.

Without your providing details it’s impossible to guess whether this is worth keeping or not.

And, frankly, even if it’s not it’s her decision, not yours. Unless there are problems that cause you to be concerned for her safety, you shoud offer your thoughts and then your support for her decision. This should not be a devisive issue. It should be her decision. Period.

I agree with everything tsm said.

Hondas will routinely go well beyond 200,000 miles, but not without routine maintenance, and some stuff will break from time to time. Do you want to pay a few thou here and there across almost 20 years to keep that car running, or do you want to pay nearly 30 thou for a new one?

I suspect she just wants a new car. If she has the money, why get in her way?