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Sell or Repair 1995 Honda Civic

My car has 160,000 miles on it and it drive great, with good mileage. But - the AC just took a dive (1100-1500 to repair), I need a new radiator, I probably need to replace the timing belt stuff and I need 2 new tires, plus an oil change & a tune up.

I got this car from my son who took good care of it, but there is a lot of rust at the sides of the trunk where it connects with the fender.

I can’t afford to repair the AC (and I am a baby about that) but if it’s worth repairing the other stuff, then I can live with it another year.

It’s just there are some good lease deals right now and it seems leases are going out of style. I can get a payment under $200 for a 3 year lease.

One more thing, I have to transport my elderly parents (89 & 86) occasionally & this car is a nightmare to get in & out of & I don’t think they could take the heat.

I live in Wisconsin & yes, it does get hot, although I have willed it to stay cool now.

Well, the timing belt, tires, oil change and tune-up are considered maintenance items rather than repair so the only thing that really needs to be fixed is the radiator. In addition, most Honda’s of those years have the rear-fender rust, i’d fix it but that’s just me.

I think it is time to dump it and have a car you consider reliable enough to go anywhere in the country. You have willed it to stay cool? Lucky we had nice weather going to mn for vacation. let me know about an 81 and sunny weekend to take the kids on the lakes.

Well with the timing belt, water pump, tires, tune up, etc., you’re at about $900 unless you do it yourself. The one thing you said that makes the difference is “RUST”. If the rust is starting, its time to dump it without putting more repairs into it. But, a lease is a terrible waste of money. You just look at the monthly payments as the decider. Look at the overall cost over a period of years minus the scrap value or sales value and see how expensive a lease is. My gosh you can get a 2008 Impala or such for around $10,000 now with 20K on it. Why would you want to lease???

I’m completely in agreement with Bing. There are just thousands of very good used cars out there now, with a failed market and lots of repossessions and those cars coming off 3 year 30000 or 36000 mile leases. I would definitely shop around and look for a good used 2007 or so. With Mom and Dad duty you need something more upright. There are lots of good choices - review Consumer Reports Auto issue from April for recommended used cars.

I owned this very car. It is not very comfortable. Rust at the surface near the rear wheel wells means the bumper will FALL off soon. Otherwise some pricey body work.

I would be hard pressed to put over $2000 into a Civic this old. Even if the AC is working 100% to Honda spec it is weak anyway (my not comfortable comment).

Have you taken the AC to an independent shop for a quote?

My feeling is that if you can’t afford to repair the AC, you probably can’t afford much of a replacement vehicle. With the exception of the AC and radiator, everything else is routine maintenance. Find a cheap replacement vehicle and you just may discover it has even more serious problems.

It might make more sense to do the needed work (at an independent shop) and rent a car for the times you need to transport the elderly parents.

Leases are not a good idea. Not only do you lose every dime you put in, but if something breaks (like the AC) you HAVE to fix it whether or not you can afford to. And then there’s the limited mileage… I know people who have to cancel trips because they’ve met their allocation for the month and the cost per mile of going over will be too high. The “allocation” is one leasees need to impose of themselves to keep from going bankrupt paying for all the excess mileage when the lease ends.

The thing about leases is the payments are lower than a car payment and it is a new car under warranty. Right now the monthly payment is the key for me. I can get a Suburu Impreza with no down payment for $189 a month + tax. It would be a no brainer, except it gets 20/26 mph.

And this Honda has been such a good reliable car. I was quoted $506 for all the timing belt stuff.

Thanks for the input.

I took the car to an independent shop - their quote was $1500 because the evaporator core needed replacing too (the AC was really leaking there). I can get the parts for cheaper, but the labor was quoted at $539.

I did consider the renting - but it’s even hard to find a good daily rental deal around here.

As to the lease, because it is a new car - everything would be under warranty & the payment under $200.

The lease deal ends 8/3 so I’m going to look around some more. This is really a complicated problem, because I love the way the car drives & handles.

Thanks for your opinion.

So what did you do with this car. My debate is putting about $1000 into the car & not fix the AC. I am concerned that the bumper will fall off - thought of using gorilla tape to hold it on.

Thanks for your help.