Selling 97 Honda Accord with lots of rust and blown head gasket - how much can I get?

I’ve had this car for 13 years and I absolutely love it. It has been a great car. It has primarily been used for road trips - not for daily commuting. There is some wear and tear on both the interior and exterior but it hasn’t bothered me. The AC does not work but the radio, cd player, sunroof work fine. The automatic windows are a little slow but they work. We just got the O2 sensor replaced. The car only has 151,000 miles on it and so I think there is the potential for it to have a lot more life in it. Some Hondas go for 300,000.

Here’s the catch - the head gasket is blown and a mechanic took one look and said he hesitates to fix it because of all the rust. The car goes for about 1,500 on Kelly Blue Book for the lowest rate. I created this craigslist posting - is $1,000 too much? Any suggestions?

Lots of cancer, breathing problem, AND a heart condition ?
Be honest about its problems and see how much someone willing to resuscitate it is willing to offer .
v6 or 4cyl ?
how much rust and where ?

The car really could be rusted to the point of being unsafe. At that point it is a “parts” car, meaning you sell it to a salvage yard for a few bucks.

I don’t think the car is safe to drive, not due to head gasket issues, but due to possible frame and rust on structural components. The worst that can happen from driving the motor with a bad head gasket is you run low on coolant, overheat the motor, and likely ruin the motor.

To expect $1000 to 1500 means to me the car might last another 5 years and that looks unlikely. Keep adding coolant as needed and run the car into the ground and save some money and look for a replacement. Any older Volvo is a bad choice.

Scrap price probaly-no disrespect intended-Kevin


I advise you to call the local junkyards and ask them what they’ll give you if you drive it over there

No offense, but significant rust + blown head gasket + broken ac = it’s a goner

Thanks everyone - really appreciate it!


You’re welcome

I feel for you. I had to get rid of a car last year. It looked pretty good, and had no rust, but I couldn’t financially justify fixing it anymore, and I do all my own work!

Yeah I think you’re in the several hundred dollar range if the tires and trans are good.

Why do you think the headgasket is blown? Did you let it overheat?

Do you itemize your deductions? It may be worth more as a tax write off than the salvage yard will offer. Call your local charities to see what the write off would be and they will come and get it.

The IRS has tightened up those deductions, the write off will only be the amount the charity actually sells it for, so it would have to sell for 4-5 times the salvage yard price, if the OP is itemizing.

The car only has 151,000 miles on it and so I think there is the potential for it to have a lot more life in it. Some Hondas go for 300,000.

Last I knew my wifes 96 Accord was approaching 500k miles.

With a lot of rust…and the blown head gasket…take it to your nearest junkyard. How well were you on preventive maintenance???

Absolutely agree with @texases Gone are the days when you donated a $500 car but claimed a $5000 deduction. You can do it but then its adjusted back to the actual sales value. Just not worth it anymore.

Yep, and any car has the potential to go another couple hundred thousand miles with enough work and money put into it. So take the BB value minus the engine cost, minus the rust repair, and you may well be in negative numbers, which leaves the scrap value of a couple hundred. Too bad how sad but thats why they continue to manufacture new cars.

Rust ? If you really “loved” your car, you wouldn’t have let it rust. Rust is a sign of indifference and it should not have been neglected. I think you were temporarily infatuated with it and grew to appreciate it’s dependability. When rust appeared, magically, from nowhere, it was too late and you feel guilty for having let it get that way. The first stage of recovery is not to fall “in love” with your car but to recognize it for what it is. You’re tired of it and you want an excuse to rid yourself of this POS. Got for it and get a new one…then start the new relationship all over again. ;=)

So how is the seats?
Often, the tires, hub caps, and wheels are worth more than the auto. My 99 Civic has more value in the 4 round thingys than the other stuff.