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New Car or Maintain 2001 Accord V6: Complex of Considerations

I am 65, retired, fixed income. My 2001 Accord V6 has been terrific to date; 31 mpg on the road, but 16 in town; no major repairs; 91,000 miles with 10K annually; excellent condition. Do I maintain this car for 10 years or trade it in soon for a Prius III or IV or a Civic Hybrid? With a fixed income in mind, I can see increasing maintenance, gas costs for sure, and new car costs along with decreasing used car value and general inflation. What’s the break-even point?

Financially keep it until it falls apart or starts costing you more money to maintain it then to buy a new one.

Second…You don’t drive enough miles to where a hybrid is going to save you much money. It’ll take you years to get the pay back for the cost difference between the hybrid and the non-hybrid version. That is if gas prices don’t go up much more. If they start approaching $10/gallon then the cost savings could be MONTHS…not years.

As for decreasing the resale value of the car…Not going to be much of a difference between selling now and 5 years from now. You’ll save more by keeping it then any resale difference.

You don’t drive enough miles per year to make it worthwhile to spend a lot of money on a new hybrid. That Accord has a lot of miles left in it. That’s your cheapest answer. You should be able to do a lot better than 16 mpg in town, drive the car a little more gently. Don’t accelerate so hard, coast more, don’t let it idle so long if you’re not moving, don’t drive during rush hour.

Personally I would maintain it.

Make sure you get the timing belt changed out if not already its (over) due.

The depreciation is very slow at this point on your vehicle. And given the cars nameplate and model its a very easy sell in mostly any market.

Yep, keep driving it while putting money aside for your next new car. When you face a major single repair (say $1,500) you’ll have a decision to make. And at 10k/year (probably dropping) a hybrid isn’t a good fit. A high-mpg regular car would probably be a better, cheaper option.

Its cheaper to keep her, but there are some considerations here. How are the tires? Hows are the brakes? When will the timing belt need to be changed next? Have the CV joint boots been changed?

These are the big ticket items, but even if you had to do them all tomorrow, it would not add up to the cost of a new car, especially a hybrid. Consider this also, the batteries in a hybrid will need to be changed out about every 5 years, at $4-5k. That kinda offsets the savings in gas.

If you are looking at all the above coming up, and you want a more economical and newer vehicle, consider a smaller, non-hybrid vehicle like a Civic/Fit, Focus/Fiesta, Corolla or Sentra/Versa. Unless you do a lot of highway driving, don’t get fooled by the highway mileage claims and focus on the city numbers instead. Manufacturers are gearing their cars for better highway mileage at the expense of city fuel economy because the numbers impress buyers.

Keep it, but get the transmission serviced regularly. They were terribly unreliable on that age of Accord, particularly with the V6. Get it serviced regularly and baby the throttle, and you hopefully will get a few more years out of it.

At that point, I agree with the others - buy a conventionally powered small car, not a hybrid. I’d especially avoid a Civic hybrid based on the class action lawsuits Honda has over poor mileage (low 30s) in those.

Think of it this way… comparably equipped, a Prius I will cost you about $4,500 more than a Focus S. If you drive 10,000 miles per year, all city (worst case scenario), then that’s 196 gallons for a Prius at 51 mpg vs. 357 gallons for the Focus at 28 mpg. Put the $4,500 in a long term CD at the bank at 3%, and even at $4 per gallon, it will take 8 years of gas savings in the Prius to make up that cost differential. If you keep the Accord 5 more years and then trade in, you’d be 78 before you’d even break even.

But if you can afford to go to a hybrid and want to, why not? Its your choice… and don’t be afraid of the batteries like keith is claiming - they tend to last much longer than 5 years…

The “break even point” is where it becomes significantly more expensive to keep your car on the road than to make a car payment. From reading your post, that’ll probably be some years from now. Figure that an Accord if properly maintained and not abused is generally reliable for 200,000 miles or more.

At about $4/gal for gas, you will save around $1100 per year with a new Prius just in gasoline. But you stillhave to buy the Prius, and it will cost you at least $22,000. If you get $4200 in trade for your Accord, the Prius costs you $18,000. It will take you at least 16 years of gas savings to pay off the Prius. Are you still interested?

Great comments! Thank you, all. Here in Maine driving is small city, hills and long-distance state roads and the Interstates. Even with the frequent trips to Portland and for sightseeing with guests, clearly I’m not going to drive much more than 12,000 miles per year. I’ve kept the car on scheduled Honda service, including the transmission, which Honda has tweaked at its expense. Just replaced the oil pan, but other than that, no major expenses beyond the motherboard replacement by Honda in its second year. I’ll definitely keep it. Thanks again.