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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 carcomplaints.com (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.

Have you checked the solenoids. Theres three of the sitting on the transmission, some time those traps get clogged up, solenoids are magnetic and draw metal to the trap and dirt l. if the transmission fluid is dirty or if ur have a lot of hard shifts I would clean out the solenoids and go get the transmission flushed before u get a new transmission, and when u check the transmission fluid make sure it doesn’t look metallic, normal transmission fluid will be red, depending on your brand u get but if it looks like it’s got metallic flakes in it then u might want to try what I said first and if you’re still having issues the hit me back up on here because my dad is licensed mechanic and he could help give u other options because I had civic lx that started acting up and if I had done what I told u I would still have my car lol so check that fluid first, if it’s good the clean out those solenoid traps cleaned out and hopefully that will help

Have you checked the solenoids. Theres three of the sitting on the transmission, some time those traps get clogged up, solenoids are magnetic and draw metal to the trap and dirt l. if the transmission fluid is dirty or if ur have a lot of hard shifts I would clean out the solenoids and go get the transmission flushed before u get a new transmission, and when u check the transmission fluid make sure it doesn’t look metallic, normal transmission fluid will be red, depending on your brand u get but if it looks like it’s got metallic flakes in it then u might want to try what I said first and if you’re still having issues the hit me back up on here because my dad is licensed mechanic and he could help give u other options because I had civic lx that started acting up and if I had done what I told u I would still have my car lol so check that fluid first, if it’s good the clean out those solenoid traps cleaned out and hopefully that will help

Tough one as the transmission repair if needed would be pricey. Seems like you don’t have much faith in the car but I will also say that I have had funky shifting transmissions go for another 50K miles. Your luck might be different. If it was me, I would fix the master cylinder and the alignment and drive it until it stops. BUT you have to save up for your next car.
Also, I would separate the two decisions. First decide if you have to get rid of the Civic, then tinker on what to get. It gets too confusing.
I rode in my dealer’s Mazda 5 and even though I wanted to like it, I hated the ride. It was a shuttle car, but go test drive one.

9 YEARS LATER :smile_cat:

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If you read my post and get buddy to read it, the problem could be as simple as the solenoids being clogged up on the transmission and he might have to get the transmission flushed, other that that it doesn’t sound to serious, yes transmissions are expensive but some times people aren’t looking at the real problem, transmissions have magnetic traps, there 3 of them, when clogged up ur car will shift hard, some times it will feel like the car doesn’t want to accelerate at takeoff, eventually if its not taken care of u will end up like me with a badass civic and can’t drive it because the transmission got stuck between gears because I didn’t flush out the transmission and clean out the solenoids

I dont know why it said 9yrs later lol, this was supposed be for whoever’s having the transmission problems

ahem . . . 9 years old

translation . . . op is probably not reading this, and the 1999 Civic in question was probably scrapped a few years ago

Well dang, I’m pretty sure that he could have fixed it. Do u know anything about accord ex

Well, I know that the OP’s Accord would now be two decades old… if he still has it.
:wink:

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And he very well may have fixed it, 9 years ago, very few people come back and tell us the final outcome.

First of all, the automatic transmission in the 6th Generation Civic is a known weak spot. It has a reputation for failure, so it’s not likely to have been something simple.

Second, I’m always skeptical when someone recommends doing maintenance to fix a malfunction, particularly when routine maintenance was already performed, and it blows my mind how gullible people can be about it. I’ve even seen a mechanic fall for it. It goes like this:

Customer: “My automatic transmission isn’t shifting right. I’ve kept up with the scheduled maintenance and the transmission fluid is in good condition.”

Service Representative: “I recommend you get the transmission flushed. It might help.”

Customer: “Okay, I’d rather spend $150 to get it flushed than spend $1,500 to get it fixed.”

…a week later…

Customer: “The problem didn’t go away.”

Service Representative: “You’re probably going to need a new transmission or a rebuild.”

Now the customer is going to spend $1,650 instead of $1,500.

Why didn’t the service writer have the mechanic properly diagnose the transmission from the start? Because the more $150 transmission flushes he sells, the better his numbers look when he is evaluated by his employer.

The OP’s car was a Civic, not an Accord.

Not only are you diagnosing a car you haven’t even seen, but you’re diagnosing the wrong model.

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