Repair or not

I am the lucky owner of two Honda Civics. My first is a '98 EX with 220000 miles. I have used this as my main commuter car for about 10 years. My commute is about 70 miles daily. I recently inherited my mothers '03 Civic EX with 65000 miles.

It is time for a timing belt/chain on the '98, the dealership also says maybe a clutch. The question is whether or not it is time to say goodbye to the '98. What does the collective wisdom say?

If the motor, trans and body are otherwise in good shape, then pay and have the work done. Civics have been know to go 300K+ miles. Both the timing belt and clutch are normal repairs for Hondas, so, while the work may be pricey, I consider them normal maintenance costs for this vehicle. Obviously your commute is fairly easy miles on the car, so I would assume everything is in fairly good shape–only you know for sure.

There is nothing magic about your Civic, so using a quality independent mechanic will help decrease the overall costs. Dealers tend to be most expensive.

If the choice is between keeping both and selling one, and if your state has mandatory safety and/or emissions inspections, I’d suggest selling the '98 and keeping the '03.

Keeping two vehicles on the road adds cost, even if one is essentially unused. In states with annual inspections the added cost can be even more. Since keeping both doesn’t add utility value (like a truck would), then there’s no sense in supporting the added one. The new one will have more life left, better safety, and maybe even slightly better mileage.

I would move on with the civic and just drive the newer one. You can fetch a decent sum still for an old Honda.

Sadly the newer Honda also has a timing belt, it was not until 2005 that came fully to their senses and dumped timing belts in all their 4 cylinder engines.

This makes sense. Thanks. Both cars are in good shape and have been taken care of. Living in the south I also don’t have rust issues that I know of either.

I understand your perspective and it also makes sense. I do have an annual inspection, but the cost in and of itself, isn’t much (less than $10.) But it is also true that I will get more for the car now than 15-20 thousand miles later. Thanks for the input.

One additional suggestion if you do decide to sell one: keep it registered until it’s sold. I’ve help friends look for used cars and we’ll always walk away from any private-party cars without plates and an inspection sticker. I’d never spend my money on something I couldn’t test drive.

My original reply didn’t really consider selling one - details, details! I assumed you wanted to keep both.
I would sell the 98 as-is and be honest about potential maintenance requirements. It should sell fine as well maintained Civics do.

You want to sell your 98 Civic because the timing belt is due to be changed?

I guess the question really is if it is makes sense to keep the older car on the road given that I have a newer one at my disposal. The older one is completely dependable, but has some needed regular maintenance that is needed. Also has a chirp in the fan but is otherwise in good shape.

I would also make the effort to find a good independent Honda Mechanic and save about half on the clutch and the belt…If you DON’t do this maintenance, the '98 has little more than salvage value…I think Honda’s like to have their valve adjustment at least checked also.