Repair 99 Civic or move on to a new car?



Our wonderful 1999 Civic is starting to decline. Known issues are a broken master cylinder, bad alignment, oil leak (very, very small), possible transmission issues (it revs, races and isn’t changing gears correctly/ at the right time and it’s an automatic). I don’t have an estimate for the transmission issue but the alignment and master cylinder aren’t that expensive.

We had been thinking about a 2010 Mazda5 but I have little faith in the reliability with it in the coming years and I would like to keep it for a good number of years. Even more of an issue is that the dealers we have been dealing with have been less than helpful and, well, they really make me not want to give them $ (heck the one seems to not want my $ by never getting back to me). I would like to have that extra extra seating while still having a very small car (same length as my Civic!).

I thought about a 2010 Accord because I think it is a practical, reliable car. I can fit an extra person in the Accord between the kids’ carseats which I can not do in my Civic. The dealers have been wonderful to deal with and I have been taking my Civic to that service shop for years and continue to be a happy customer.

The cars are very different and I am indecisive. All that background leads me to my main question- repair the Civic or just move on. If I move on, any opinions on which way to go?

I appreciate any thoughts!


The transmission is likely going to be expensive and nail in the coffin. However you cannot get an accurate picture without taking it someplace.

Lastly if the timing belt has never been changed it is overdue and another $500. Thankfully Honda came to their senses and got rid of this in their recent 4 cylinder engines.


Timing belt was replaced between 70,000-80,000 miles so unless that needs to be done again I’m good there. Does it sound like the transmission is going?


We’ve looked at the Mazda5 and the Accord as well - The ONLY thing I’ve seen in the Mazda 5 that brings up reliability questions is the penchant that they’ve had for eating tires at rapid rates. This seems to have dropped off starting around the 2008 model year, but for the life of me, I can’t find out what Mazda might have done to solve the problem, and without knowing, I’m not eager to risk spending $600+ every 18 months for a new set of tires. But other than that, there are NO major reliability issues I’ve seen.

The Accord is really no better - lots of complaints about eating rear brakes. Actually the 2008 Accord is the second most complained about vehicle at (mostly because of the brakes). Not at all scientific, but it isn’t like the other vehicles on the top of that list are stellar for reliability…

But as for your Civic, I’d get the transmission properly diagnosed, and if it is in need of serious repair, I think its time to kiss it goodbye.


Just a mention that the Civic has 134,000 miles on it.

Is it worth it to pay to have the transmission diagnosed? I hate the idea of throwing away $ if we aren’t going to keep the car. No idea how much it would cost to get the problem ID’ed though.


The timing belt needs to be replaced every 90,000 miles, so yes, it will need to be done again soon if you want to keep this car running.

I don’t consider the alignment a repair. I consider it a maintenance item.

Are you really driving a car with a bad master cylinder? That could earn you a Darwin Award.

The new transmission probably makes keeping this vehicle cost prohibitive since installation of a new or rebuilt transmission will probably cost more than the car is worth.

It’s threads like this that make me glad I got my 98 Civic with a manual transmission.


It sounds like the engine might be in good condition. I wish I could buy it from you and put it into a street legal dune buggy or a custom motorcycle.

Maybe someone out there needs a used or rebuilt engine for a 6th generation Honda Civic. That might help you get more than salvage value for the car when you get rid of it. You could try listing it on Craig’s List.


No, no. The car is sitting garage bound with it’s bad master cylinder. Thanks for the timing belt info. I am going to have to check back over the records because it might have been replaced last year again.