How many miles can I expect to get from a honda?

We want to buy a used honda civic.

We don’t want to spend much more than $1,000.

We don’t need the car to last very long–give or take two years–and we would use it mostly for driving around time, with occasional hops onto the highway.

Most used hondas we are seeing in our price range are already at 200,000 miles. Is it worth buying a honda with this many miles on it?


At this price level, how many miles and which brand of car isn’t as important as who and how the vehicle was taken care of during the lifespan so far. Shop carefully and have a repair fund about as large as your purchasing price. Make sure a quality mechanic looks over your purchase before the sale. You want to watch out for possible engine and transmission issues, which are expensive.

It all depends. Honda’s have a weak spot with timing belts which snap and turn your car into instant junk. You will want to confirm it is not way overdue by asking the previous owner.

If you could change the timing belt yourself you’re in a great position to keep it running cheaply. (or know someone a little handy.) Other parts you could get from a U-pull-it-yourself salvage yard for next to nothing. Make sure the steering/suspension is ok too (CV joints.)

I bought a new Civic in '03 and I plan to keep it for 300K miles or I can’t drive anymore, whichever comes first.

A used Civic with 200K miles which are “unknown” miles that’s another story. I know what I have done and not done for my car as far as maintaining it is concerned. You know practically nothing about the cars you will be considering.

When you have no maintenance history you have to assume the car was cared for by the original owner, perhaps. The next owner, less so. The next even less and so on. Now, you are the 4th, 5th, or 6th owner?

For $1,000 you can’t get much. If you have -0- additional money for repairs you really can’t afford a $1,000 Honda or anything else. Any car with 200K miles and 10 years old will need some repairs, tires, brakes, etc. Perhaps you need a new plan, like use your $1,000 for a taxi when needed, or rent a car if you need to take a trip.

If you buy a car for $1,000 and only need to spend $500 on repairs in the 1st year you would be extremely lucky. It is more likely your $1,000 car will need $2,000 in repairs in the 1st year you own it.

In the $1000 range anything you find will be pretty well used up. Especially in a Civic, since Civics bring a premium price relative to other makes. All the young folks seem to want Civics.

Perhaps the best source for a reliable car in that price range is family. Let everyone you know and/or are related to that you’re looking. You might get lucky.

?You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk??

Any $1000 car is a crap shoot. Having it checked by a competent mechanic helps, but it is still anybody’s guess whether it will go 100 miles or 100,000 miles without needing a new engine and transmission.

The reliable $1000 car is sought out just like the fountain of youth or a winning lottery ticket, but seldom if ever discovered.

You are not doing yourself a favor by narrowing your search to a particular make, not in that price range. You have champagne tastes on a beer (not brand name, either) budget.

Look for anything that starts, drives and checks out OK. Minor body damage could be your friend. As others have said, get a car that the owner can prove had a timing belt replacement (sometime in the last 50,000 miles) or get something with a timing chain that you can’t hear.

Try and buy a car that is currently being driven (plate, insurance) daily, as opposed to something parked with weeds growing up through it.

Oh, and if you find 2 good thousand dollar cars, buy them both ! They are always worth $2000 to $3000 or more and have a market. :wink:

Good Luck, and let us know the particulars of what you buy.

For $1000 for a car ?..don’t expect anything, and feel luck for each mile it runs.

For that kind of money you’re really flipping a coin, especially if you’re not mechanically inclined enough to really give a car the once over.

And why a Civic? They’re popular, especially among the fast and furious crowd, and this means they hold their value a bit better.
You would be much better off forgetting the Civic angle and looking around for a bland old Buick or Taurus, etc.

Any used car is a toss-up and you can bet that any 200k miles/1000 dollar car needs a few somethings. What you must try to do is make sure that the biggest building blocks (engine/transmission/suspension) are in at least decent shape.

Okay. Thanks for all of the advice. I hear that this is not a great idea. We aren’t actually limiting ourselves to Civics, but that’s what we’ve seen the most of. In general, we were looking at Hondas and Toyotas, imagining them to be more reliable. I’m hearing, though, that that’s not necessarily the case, either…

In that price range the main condsiderations are

  1. does the particular model have a reputation for long term reliability and
  2. how well was the car maintained,
  3. was the car abused, and
  4. is there any evidence of it having been in a serious crash.

These are the same criteria for newer used cars, but as the cars in the target group get older the available selection of those that meet the criteria gets small, so the criteria begins to override make and model in importance.

As it’s been stated, in that price range, the nameplate on the car has almost ZERO affect on how long it’ll last.
Suppose there’s a Crown Victoria for sale for $800, 1 owner, all maintenance records that shows everything is up to date and looks almost as clean as the day it rolled off the delivery truck. Would you pass that up for a Honda or Toyota that has no maintenance records, has several dents and dings, the teenage owner can’t really recall ever doing ANYthing to the car in the 3 years their parents got it for them, and has been seen running around town trying to spin the tires everytime he’s at a stoplight.

No, but I’d pass it up for a Toyota or Honda for $800, 1 owner, all maintenance records that shows everything is up to date and looks as clean as the day it rolled off the delivery truck.

You have to compare apples to apples.

I have nothing against Crown Vics, but your example compared a like-new Crown Vic with excellent papers against a beat up and abused Toyota or Honda with no evidence of maintenance.

I was merely showing that maintenance is key in that price range, not the company that built it.

Are Hondas and Toyotas reliable? Sure

Is a Honda or a Toyota (or virtually any other make of car) that is selling for $1,000 a reliable car? Ummmm…You get what you pay for.

In the realm of cars, $1,000 buys you a car with an uncertain maintenance history, a huge number of miles on the odometer, and the probability of frequent breakdowns. Just don’t expect much for that price and you will be less likely to be disappointed.

Also, be sure that your cell phone is always charged up, as you will be likely to need a tow or a ride from a friend on a fairly frequent basis if you buy a $1,000 car of any make.

I see your point but still feel that reputation counts. To illustrate my point, I wouldn’t buy a used Yugo no matter how well it had been maintained! Except perhaps as a toy to play with.

I Haven’t Checked Current Scrap Metal Prices, But A $1000 Car Has Just One Tire Out Of the Crusher. At Least With A Crown Vic Or Other Large Sedan You’re Buying More Potential Scrap, The Car’s “Rebate Program”.

I like bscar’s thinking.


Honda’s are great…Had two Accords…one went well past 300k miles…and the other we gave away at 240k miles…and now has over 300k miles and still going strong.

The problem with buying ANY vehicle with this many miles how well it was maintained. I don’t car if it’s a Honda or Yugo…if the car wasn’t maintained properly for those first 200k miles…it probably won’t see 250k…let alone 300k miles.

You won’t get much of a car for $1000…Especially a $1000 Civic…You might get more car with a Sentra, Mazda 3, Prism, Hyundai

With high-mileage cars, the automatic transmission or rubber timing belt failure can total your ride instantly, so ask the right questions.

I Haven’t Checked Current Scrap Metal Prices, But A $1000 Car Has Just One Tire Out Of the Crusher.

I am not sure how true that is. My Civic isn’t worth much more than $1,000, and it is a long way from the crusher. It might not be much to look at, but it has relatively new a/c compressor, tires, timing belt, and water pump. It has been meticulously maintained from day one, although I haven’t saved the records. It’s got 190,000 miles on it, and I plan to keep it running for at least another 110,000 miles.

Davenportcrazy, if you don’t have access to the maintenance records for this (or any) car, the only way to tell whether or not it is worth buying is to take it to your mechanic for a thorough inspection. You can’t go by any one criterion, whether it is brand name or maintenance records. You have to have someone who knows what to look for take a close look at everything, from the engine to the brakes.