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Keep it and fix it or get a new used car?


I own a Honda CRV, 1999, 97,000 miles. It’s been a great car. I just got new tires for it. It’s starting to feel a bit old, and has a “check engine” light that won’t go out even though I’ve had my mechanics try to figure out what’s wrong with it several times. Otherwise, it’s been running just fine. I get 23 mpg. QUESTION: Should I hold 'em or fold 'em with my car? Should I sell it now and look for a newer used car (with better mpg maybe?) or should I take it into a Honda dealer and have it gone over front to back, maybe put in a couple thousand $$ and try to keep it for 2-4 more years? I’m wondering about the pros and cons of doing either of the above in terms of $$, safety, and mpg. Many thanks for advice!

Assuming the fix isn’t expensive, you’re big $$ ahead with your car vs. a new one. $2/gallon gas doesn’t justify much, especially if you’re getting 23 mpg, which is good. If safety is a major concern of yours, new vehicles will be (typically) safer, especially with side airbags and stability control. Take a look at the new CRV if you’re curious.

I would think that another mechanic, dealer or otherwise, could take care of the check engine light issue. Get the codes read and post the numbers here–some of the forum members can probably give you a good long distance diagnosis. Even if you spent a couple of thousand that equates to just a few car payments and 97,000 miles should be far from the end of life. Most cars nowadays, yours included, can easily attain 200,000 or more miles with general maintenance.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

Regarding warning lights:

  1. if the coolant temp light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  2. if the oil warning light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  3. if a FLASHING MIL/CEL comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

    ASAP means driving to the berm of the highway right now and not waiting for the next exit.

But if the MIL/CEL is not flashing, then it’s not an urgent indicator.

Keep it. If the codes make no sense, consider the engine computer as a problem.

The car is getting close to a timing belt change if not already done.
I’d have a good mechanic check it out and go from there.

Thanks for all these replies! Great advice which I will follow–especially getting the codes to try to figure out the check engine light issue. Thanks to all.