Repair or buy

My son has a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid that needs a new battery pack ($3000). The car has over 100,000 miles on it but seems to be in decent shape otherwise. He had hoped to keep it another year but isn’t sure about putting $3000 into an older car. What do you all think?

If he just needs another year out of the car check salvage yards for a battery pack from a wreaked Civic Hybrid. Less dollars and most used parts seller’s test the parts to make sure they are OK. Not as good as new, but perhaps a lower cost option to consider.

I think that there will be some back channel recovery scheme going on with battery packs from wrecked units. It could be masked in environmental law, by requiring some EPA certification for handling them and selling them to the public. That is, an “authorized” agent has to certify that they’re suitable to be released for use (something like that).

To Midwest Muser: Does it matter if you’re recycling your car now or in one year? Your battery pack was a $50/month habit in recurring costs. I doubt that you’ll get more in trade in for a newer battery pack. You will, but it will be more in terms of pennies on the dollar vs. lower or less than pennies on the dollar in ROI.

Let me state it this way. If I was going to endure a $3000 capital expenditure for a vehicle, I would not be getting rid of it in one year. I’d be getting that $3000 out of that car. That’s as much as a re manufactured long block for many cars.

If the Civic hybrid is like the Insight, he doesn’t actually NEED a new battery pack. He can keep driving with a worn out one and still get fuel economy almost as good as new. Not all hybrids are capable of this, though.

I would say a 2003 with a bit over 100K miles on it isn’t an “older” car. Its more or less just broken in now. If the car has been well cared for then I wouldn’t hesitate to do it.

Thank you for the feedback and ideas. I thought that I would add that my son and his wife will have paid off their other car in a year, giving them more income to spend on a vehicle. They want a larger car at some point but don’t need it at the moment. He also can’t afford the car he would like right now. I could imagine their getting a used car to tide them over but am not sure that really makes sense.