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How should I go about fixing my 2010 Honda Accord? (More details below)

I owe $4,924 on a 2010 Accord worth $4,000 on KBB (w/ a “Good” rating and 123,000 miles). There are minor cosmetic damages from a hit and run case that was never settled. My insurance has a $500 deductible to fix them. I want to trade it in for a new car.

Aside from cosmetics, the car burns oil like nothing I’ve ever seen before; I have to top it off every 2,200 miles. And from what I’ve read, ‘08–12 Accords have that problem. I’ve spent the past two and a half years doing all I can to fix the issue with no positive results. Additionally, the front axle’s cracked and the timing belt’s dry. All these things have been around since I purchased the car from a private seller in April 2016. The symptoms just didn’t show up till it was too late.

I couldn’t care less about the cosmetics of the car. I only bring it up because I don’t know whether it would be better to have my insurance pay for it (+ my deductible), the dealership I trade it into pay for it (along with the mechanical issues), or I bring it into a shop myself to avoid having an accident report on the vehicle.

And lastly, my bank is the one who gave me the loan for the car, and they treat me pretty well. So having a dealership deduct the car’s value from what I owe, paying off my existing loan and taxing the difference on to a loan for a new car is something I’m prepared to do.

Any dealer new or used is not going to give you hardly anything for this vehicle. They don’t want it . They might claim some trade in but they are not going to lower the price on what they have.

If you can handle having a loan for a new vehicle plus 3 or 4 thousand on top of that is a choice only you can make. Even if your bank agrees to it which I doubt that they will.

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Well, if you are going to trade the car or sell it, use your insurance and $500 to fix the cosmetic damage.
If you are using only 1 quart of oil to top off the crankcase every 2200 miles, you don’t have a problem there.
If I were in your place, I would replace the timing belt ASAP so that the engine doesn’t self destruct and do what is necessary to keep the car roadworthy. This might help in getting some value in what you have spent for the car
I’ve never owned a Honda, but friends who own them seem to get good service from them.

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One quart per 2200 miles is absolutely normal, I have had new cars that burn that much, and I am not talking about the old days.

A $4000 valuation means absolutely nothing with cosmetic damage, needing an axle and poor maintenance.

You have been driving around 2-3 years with a timing belt that needs changing and a cracked?? axle. How are you driving on a cracked axle? Did you mean a cracked boot?

Paying a mechanic to inspect a car before purchase is a lot cheaper than repairing it after.

If you roll the money you owe into a new car loan you will be even more upside down in that one.

Whatyou should do is replace the timing bely,water pump tensioner and seals plus the axle and keep driving it until you at least have it paid off.

Keep the oil; topped off, don’t let it get more than a quart low and change it according to the manual.


Thanks for your input, Sir. As far as the oil goes, the oil level is depleted after 2200 miles; it’s empty, it doesn’t even read on the dipstick.

As for the cracked axle, that is what a mechanic at a Honda dealership told me about a year or so ago. I can feel vibrations when I’m driving half the time.

I appreciate all your advice and will begin working on those things. I’m getting ahead of myself with this post, seeing as how I wasn’t planning on trading it in until January 2020. But now I have a goal to fix some necessities and pay it off. The oil consumption issue has gotten to be very annoying though.

Letting it get that low is a sure way to let an engine self-destruct. Check oil much more often now. Add oil as needed to keep the level at the full mark on the dipstick.

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I have a 2010 Honda and oil loss is due to bad rings. Honda had a recall for this issue. If u were to keep the car, they would do a compression test and prob fix it

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I also have 187k on mine and running great. If u were to fix car y may get some good wear but I would not roll over the loan to new one. I have done it and regret it. Not worth it. I have a camry and car value is less than I owe because I rolled over my previous loan… Not good

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If you are unable to do all this work yourself I’m afraid you are staring at a loss here. The work needed to actually repair just the engine alone will put you upside down or close to it especially if a shop is doing the work. Sorry to say you are not in a good situation here.

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you should maintain your car better. or you will be forced to replace it more often.

  1. check your oil level at least once a month and add some if it is required.
    you buy gas weekly? and wont check oil? learn to do it.
  2. you have insurance. fix the damage. now you are in spot where something is damaged and if a 2nd issue pops up you almost certainly will not fix that either. it snowballs.
  3. replace the timing belt? vs doing no maintenance? do it.

Unfortunately, that means that you have essentially destroyed the engine. With your next car, try to remember to check the oil on a regular basis. The object is to keep the oil level from falling more than 1 qt below the “full” mark.


Then don’t fix them, given the poor shape the rest of the car is in, you would just be wasting money and your insurance premiums would probably go up.

Other than fixing the front axle and adding oil, I wouldn’t be spending much money on this car.

As for trade in value, if you’re lucky, $500 is all you’ll get, spending $4000 to fix it all up might get you $1000 for trade in.


Once a month for cars without known oil loss issues. Cars that run bone dry in 2200 miles should be checked once a week, because you never know when that leak/burn is going to get worse and you start losing a quart a week.

OP, this car is an expensive lesson in bad financing (you shouldn’t still owe $4900 on a car that’s worth $4,000) and bad maintenance (as others have said, waiting until it runs out of oil to add oil is like waiting until you’re hospitalized with starvation to eat breakfast). And that’s not even getting into the timing belt issue, which should have been replaced before you bought the car based on its age, so that was something that you needed to verify, with receipts, was done or have the money for the job knocked off of the sticker price.

The best you can do at this point is get whatever you can for the car (which may well be scrap-value-only) and then apply what you’ve learned to your next vehicle so that things go better for you.

Not when they find out OP has been running the car dry of oil. OP still has a duty of care to mitigate damage as much as possible before a fix is applied.

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Thanks everyone for the wealth of info. Like some of y’all have said, this is a hard lesson that I should learn from. Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. Thanks again

Yes, we all sound like Grandpa, giving the kid hell for not wearing his galoshes on a rainy day. Well, most of us probably are Grandpa, so that’s to be expected.

You actually might not be in a bad spot. The front axle thing is routine maintenance and can be fixed fairly cheaply. The oil issue has been beaten to death here, so you know that’s just a minor nuisance if you keep after it. The bumps and dents are, according to you, no biggie anyway. The one big thing is the timing belt. If it’s as old as the car and has 120,000 miles on it, you really have to change it. If you do that the repair bills all together could be somewhere around $1,000, but then you’d have a car you know, and if it starts and runs and gets the job done $1,000 is the price you should pay. Anything else will cost lots more and you have no idea what other problems you’ll be buying. People only sell cars when they don’t want them anymore, and mostly they have pretty good reasons for that decision.

Maybe you can get a quote from a body shop, submit it to your insurance, see if they will pay something and then don’t actually fix the car. If it’s a hit and run it’s covered by your collision policy, and I’m surprised if you have one. It isn’t a mark against your record, because it’s not your fault, but ask about it anyway.


Many of us older folks on this board have learned from experience. In my case, my first car was a 1947 Pontiac which I bought for $75 back in 1961. It used oil, so I had to check the oil every time I bought gas. I scanned the gauges frequently as I drove along. I still have this habit today 58 years later.
I thought I knew enough about cars, when I bought a 1955 Pontiac a year later. The service department of the Rambler dealer had overhauled the engine before putting it on the lot. It was a manual transmission which I thought would be trouble free. I had problems with the car from day one. Insufficient oil was getting to the rocker arms and they chirped. Had I done more research, I would have found that an oil filter was an option on the 1955 Pontiac. My Pontiac didn’t have that option. That was the first year for a V-8 on the Pontiac and mechanics that had been around knew that the 1955 engine had teething problems. I had to have the rear bearing replaced in the manual transmission. By the mid 1950s, most Pontiacs had the reliable GM Hydramatic. The manual transmission was an unwanted step child as far as the factory was concerned.(This was the era of the three speed column shift designed for early 1940s cars with less power). Had I done my homework and had a mechanic check the car, I would have saved myself a lot of grief.
I can’t get too hard on the younger people who come to this board for advice. Cars have become almost as maintenance free as refrigerators. Today’s cars as a rule, don’t use the oil as cars of an earlier time period. I’ve made mistakes, and have had to learn from experience.

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I don’t see which engine you have, 4 cylinder or V-6. I understand the 4 cylinder has a timing chain instead of a timing belt.

Oil is cheap, buy it in bulk. Just because the oil doesn’t show on the dipstick doesn’t mean that it is out of oil. If you are waiting for the red warning light to come on before checking, then it is empty and you are damaging your engine. As long as the red oil light does not come on, you are OK.

My recommendation is if you have the 4 cylinder is to carry a quart or two of oil in the trunk and check the oil level at each gas fill up. Top off the oil whenever it gets to the lower mark on the stick, one quart. Keep it until the loan is paid off. As long as it is running good, save the amount you were making for a monthly payment until you have a good down payment for your net vehicle.

If you have a V-6, you will need a new timing belt and that kind of changes the economics of the situation. If you still like the car, do the belt and follow the advice above. Don’t bother with the body work.

The oil leak could be from around the distributor shaft. It’s an o-ring, about a buck, but an hour of labor so it could cost you another $100 to put it in.

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Thanks again for all the input, guys. I recently picked up a job that’ll have me commuting 500+ miles a week. With the way my car’s been handling itself, I figured I should look into doing what I can mechanically with the Accord for it to last another year or so (after I pay it off + save for a down payment for a new car).

Now I know to check on the oil with every gas fill-up, about once a week. Timing belt, water pump tensioner, and seals are my priority. Axle (or boot) would be next. I’ll definitely be keeping spare oil in my car from now on as well.

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Most oils are cheaper in a 5 qt jug and in my area, no one is cheaper than Walmart unless you get into a rebate situation.

In the late 60s I drove a Mack B42 (gas engine) city tractor that burned 2 qts per 100 miles.

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Like others have said, oil is cheap. Some cars burn a lot more oil. I have friends who admit they were very stupid to trade in their car with negative equity, and now have huge car payments because they rolled in the old loan with the new car loan. Since car loans are defaulting higher than ever before, I’d say its a bad idea to trade for a new car.

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