Is It Worth It?

I have a 2000 Honda Civic EX. It has about 275,000 miles on it. The frame is in excellent shape and the body has some rust spots on it. I just replaced the fuel and brake lines from front to back. It has started burning oil and the mechanic indicated the seals are starting to deteriorate. I understand this can be a total engine rebuild to repair this. It is also due to have the timing and other belts changed again and that is expensive to. Is it worth having all the belts changed since it is starting to burn oil or should I save the money and put it into a different car? Any opinions?

I’d save the money and put it in another car. I would drive this one till it blows up and not put another dime in it. All the while saving for the other car.

My preference is usually to keep an older car running until it gets either unsafe or becomes almost as expensive to maintain as the cost of payments on a new car.

If you could get another year or two out of the car for, say, $1000, would you do it? I probably would. I’d have the timing belt done along with the other belts, and that’s maybe $500 or so. Forget about replacing the seals, just keep an eye on the oil level and top it off as necessary.

Meanwhile, start saving a few hundred bucks a month towards your new car, and in a year or two when this one hits 300k you’ll have a good down payment saved.

Yes, I think I would put the $1,000 into it if it would last another year or two. I should mention I put about 3,000 miles on the car every month so it will reach 300,000 pretty quickly. Do you think that changes anything?

It boils down to whether or not you want to rebuild or not. Once the engine’s out, the belts are off–there’s no extra effort putting new belts back on, so dismiss the cost of the timing belt job in your calculations. I wouldn’t go the middle ground and do a timing belt job on an oil burner…either rebuild, or go the “no heroic measures” route and drive it as is until it breaks.

I agree with @jesmed and just do the timing belt, tensioner and water pump. That’s done as a package, budget $600 or so. I’ve had cars like yours and at this age and mileage you basically drive it till it incurs a repair that is not worth doing. At the miles you drive, the car is not suffering; highway miles are easy.

Just check the oil and coolant frequently and keep a case of 1 quart bottles in the trunk; at this stage the oil you use will be an economy brand.

Hondas are very reliable; most other cars would have bit the dust long before yours.

Since you using the car 3000K a month I think the repairs will pay off and therefore are worth it. If you got a new(er) car those many miles would depreciate it quickly anyway. As long as the body and frame are solid and it is safe I’d fix it. There really isn’t going to be anything that will replace this Civic that would be cheaper to drive.

I vote for the timing belt etc. I would not have that engine rebuilt. If you want to do that I’d have a rebuilt engine put in. But I’d rather be saving like crazy for its replacement.

I would move on.

At 3000 miles a month if you can easily afford it I vote with BING. Just move on, there are a lot of nice much safer vehicles out there in the 20000 to 25000 dollar range.

Ok, let me get my heart started again. Unfortunately a $20,000-$25,000 car won’t ever be in my budget that’s why I would really like to hang on to this one but only if it’s worth it. I appreciate all of the input from everyone. I think I’ll look into the cost of the timing belt and other belts being changed and go from there. Again, Much appreciated!


What seals are deteriorating?

If you mean valve stem seals, that’s not the end of the world. A good shop with the right tools might be able to replace them without even removing the cylinder head.

Can you define “rust spots” . . . ?

There may be more rust than you can actually see

How much oil is it burning?
At this mileage less than 1qt per 1000 miles can be lived with.
Any fluids dripping on the ground? Is the engine an oily mess?
If not live with it.
Get a second opinion on how bad things are.
I would change the belts, keep up with other maintenance and drive on.

@Rayna May I ask how you put 3000 miles a month on your car and if break downs would effect your employment?

275,000 miles over 14 years is 1600 miles per month not 3000 and the OP didn’t say they were the original owner or the one who put all the miles on it.
Even 19,000 miles a year is expensive and there is no cheap way to do it. I think the OP should look for an older car in good condition with fairly low miles on it.

VOLVO V70 I live quite a ways from where I work. It takes about an hour to get there so two hours driving each day. So to have my car break down would mean I need to get a different one pretty quickly. We do have a backup car if necessary. It is not one I would want to drive all the time though.

oldtimer 11 right, I am not the original owner and I put about 3000 miles a month on it now.

I’d keep the Honda and do the necessary maintenance to keep it going, but I do 99% of my own maintenance/repairs. I have an '88 Escort that started using/leaking a minimal amount of oil (quart between changes) at about 250-300K miles and has progressively got worse over the years/miles, but now has over 500K miles. The oil consumption has got to the point (quart every 600-800 miles) that I save the used oil from my other cars at oil changes and use it for topping off oil in the '88 Escort rather than pouring in new oil that’s going to be leaked out or burnt. I keep a close check on the oil level, I refill when the level gets down 1/2 quart and the engine just refuses to give up.


Is it possible it’s time for valve stem seals and/or guides?

Have someone stand behind the car and watch the tailpipe when you start the car up after it has been sitting for a few hours. Is there a puff of blue or dark smoke then it clear up? If so, that’s an indication of worn valve stem seals, which are relatively inexpensive to repair. You might want to have a wet/dry compression test done to determine the state of the rings. If the rings are ok and the problem causing the oil burning is just the valve stem seals, I’d just fix those, bring all the routine maintenance up to date, and keep driving.