How much more repair should i put into my car?


#1

I have a '99 Honda Civic with 115K… in the past 3 months I’ve put over $2000 of work into it and about $1500 of it was within 6 weeks. I’ve replaced rotors, the emergency brake, the coil springs, the window/lock mechanism inside the door as well as other more minor fixes. There are still some things that need to be done (i.e. a few minor rust spots on the wheel well, a check engine light permanently on etc).



I’m a college student and don’t have a lot of money, and being that this is my first car I don’t know how much money is worth putting into it. Does anyone know how much money is too much money to put into my car? Should I start looking for a new car (new to me, i can’t afford a brand new one) and not put more money into this one or should I keep putting more money into the one I have?



Any and all help is appreciated… thanks!


#2

Well, I’m sure all of us with older cars ask ourselves the same thing; I know I sure do. I love my old Volvo 240 but she’s definitely become a money pit, despite what everyone tells me about how good these cars are and with “only” 142,000 miles it’s just getting broken in. Several thousand dollars later, I’m really reluctant to put anything else into it, and right now it’s in the shop with a cracked power steering line – the one on the rack itself, not the rubber hoses – that will take 3-4 days to obtain from the west coast. At least they don’t have to replace the entire steering rack.

That said, it’s likely that your car still has plenty of life in it. A friend of mine had a 97 Civic, completely neglected it and still drove it 320,000 miles before it finally blew up.


#3

Brake work is normal maintenance.
By the “coil springs” do you mean struts? That would also be normal wear.
The window lock mechanism and Ebrake work (it’s actually a parking brake, but that’s another thread) could be considered normal too, depending on the details.
As too with the few rust spots.

None of these things are cause to be preparing to get another car. If you’re going to the dealer, you can likely save money by finding an independently owned and operated local shop. Without details it’s hard to tell.

The one I’d be concerned about is the Check Engine Light. Stop by the local AutoZone and get the codes read. Post them here.


#4

My next concern is when was timing belt done?
That motor with get major damage if belt breaks but if it was done or if you get it done you should be good to go for a long time.
If you sell it and get another you could have more trouble than you have now.
Hondas are real good cars, I would keep it and take care of it.


#5

i was told the front coil springs were cracked… they could be struts, but i don’t know

as far as the check engine light i have gone to autozone several times to get it checked out and every time i have an appointment for my car (which i have done at a local independent shop i actually found on the cartalk website) i have them turn it off, but it keeps coming on. every time it’s been read it’s either the solenoid valve (which i’ve had looked at and my repair shop tells me there’s nothing wrong with it) or an 02 sensor which I was told wasn’t a big deal. I’ve also heard that the salt and treatment they put on roads in the winter (I live in VT) can cause the computer for the check engine light to malfunction… all in all i’m not too worried about the check engine light - if it starts blinking i know to stop driving immediately though, which hasn’t happened yet.


#6

the timing belt was replaced about a year ago - around 100K miles - i think it has until about 200K to be changed again, so that’s safe