How do I know when I'm throwing good money after a bad car?


I own a '96 Civic with 215000 miles and counting. It’s served me better than I ever could have expected, and it seems like it could go on for some time. How much should I invest in preventative maintenance on a machine that might fail anyway?


Why do you think it’s going to fail?

Is there a problem?

Spending money on preventive maintenance is ALWAYS a good idea. Spending money on problem car is NOT. If the car isn’t giving you any problems then what are you worrying about?


How much should I invest in preventative maintenance on a machine that might fail anyway?

As much as it takes to maintain it according to the recommended schedule in the owner’s manual and maybe a little more.

Maintenance is not a cost, it is an investment.  Cutting back on maintenance is a sure way to make you cost of ownership go up.  

The time to give up on a car is when the cost of an immediate repair is higher than the total value of the car adjusted by your personal love or hate of the car.


Do timely oil changes they are very cheap.

What PM maintenance are you considering?


Continue doing the standard maintenance according to the schedule that came with the owner’s manual. My Honda mechanic has several customers with more than 300,000 miles on their cars. Keep driving it, but don’t skip the maintenance.


thinking of replacing timing belt, complete ignition tune up, and replace struts. i guess i just wanted some reassurance from more experienced car owners that my car can keep chugging for well past my current mileage.


Preventative maintenance keeps those little headaches from becoming big ones.
If the car is running fine then fix what it needs. It should go a long longer.

When it becomes a matter of breaking down every other week and a monthly money pit, then get rid of it and consider that you have gotten your money’s worth and more out of it.


Typo. Long = lot.


There are no guaranes in life, you may do all of those repairs and the car may die the next day. If you like the car and want to keep it, then yes do the repairs. Just know the old addage

“If its got Br*sts or wheels its going to cost you money” :wink: