Snapped accelerator cable on 2004 Element?


#1

This is the third time or car has broken down in as many months. We had to replace the battery, starter and a battery cable. Now it seems like the accelerator cable has broken. Half way home the pedal kinda dropped and, whilewasn’t flat to the floor, there was no resistance and jiggling it around caused no revving. The cruise control was still working fine, though.
Bearing in mind how packed in everything is in the engine if this model, how much am I looking at for a fix? I just can’t afford to keep pouring money into this car.


#2

You have to do repairs on a 10 year old car but don’t kid yourself about saving money by buying a new car, those payments are every month. Also, replacing a battery and cable isn’t a repair, it’s maintenance.


#3

I agree with @oldtimer11

It is amazing how many maintenance items are considered “repairs” by unhappy car owners


#4

I don’t consider an accelerator cable replacement normal maintenance. Nor a starter. Last accelerator cable I replaced was on my 73 Vega.

I do agree those items on occasion will need replacing…but they should be rare. Battery is normal maintenance. 7-10 years is about it for battery life.

All-in-all if those are the only repairs you’ve had in a 10yo car…then it’s pretty good. Still cheaper then new car payments.


#5

It should be straight forward except setting the idle and making sure the throttle closes when released.


#6

While I do agree that a certain amount of maintenance is to be expected, once something is broken it becomes a repair. I’m slowly learning how to fix and maintain stuff in the car, but a lot of stuff is just beyond me at present.
Unfortunately, we only just bought the car 12 months ago so I have already blown through all of my emergency savings fixing the car in the last three months and honestly have no idea where I am going to find money to get the car fixed, pay the car payment and pay rent and groceries. I’ve been through a few manuals looking at how to fix it myself, and I’m not confident that I could safely do so.

My wife and I had been discussing trading in for a car with better mileage because they’re about to change her bus route so she may have to start driving to work. I’m not one who takes on new car payments lightly, but the draw of a younger car with better mileage and a guarantee for a few years seems a lot better than paying my $365 car payment as well as $300-$500 each month for the latest repair. And that’s where I am stuck for the moment.

And I will reiterate, getting stuff switched out before it breaks is fine and maintenance, but replacing it after it has fried is a repair. And I have not had the funds or, as yet, the knowledge, to do the maintenance. It does not make me a disgruntled or unhappy car owner. It makes me someone who is absolutely flat broke and trying to keep his head above water.

I’ll speak to the mechanic today and see what I can do, but trying to get a new car for a smaller payment with some guarantee that I won’t have to do repairs or maintenance every month may be a considerably cheaper choice for me.


#7

Honda’s are good cars. A car payment every month is more expensive than repairing it when something breaks. I doubt you will spend $300 each month on repairs. A starter is a DC motor and they will wear out. A battery is an every 3 to 5 year item. Belts & plugs every 5 years or 100k miles. The throttle cable is unusual and should be a one time deal. By the way, get a set of those little felt pads for the battery terminals and your battery cables will not get corroded up.


#8
A starter is a DC motor and they will wear out.

Eventually…But what’s eventually. I guess if you do a lot of short driving where you’re starting and stopping a vehicle 20+ times a day they’ll wear out before you need to sell it. But I haven’t worn out a starter since 1987. Same thing with an alternator. Haven’t worn one of those out in years either.


#9

@Dreadgerbil

Would you care to explain what you don’t agree with, in regards to my comment?


#10

True, it isn’t part of normal maintenance, but it isn’t that unusual to have to replace a throttle cable once in a while. It’s unusual one would break after 10 years though, so there may be something else wrong that is causing the throttle to stick, and the broken cable is a symptom. Sssuming it’s just a quirk that this cable broke and nothing else is wrong, replacing it shouldn’t be particularly expensive. Surf over to RockAuto.com, enter your car info, and you can probably get an idea of the price of the replacement cable without much grief.

Not sure if there are particular problems with the set-up on this car that would complicate the job, but many DIY’er types – those that do their own oil changes for example, but hire a pro to replace the own timing belt – DIY’ers would definitely consider to do this job themselves. Reviewing the manual and procedures to see if any special tools or testing equip is needed first is a good idea of course.

Edit … One thing you might try to reduce repair costs after replacing the cable is to avoid using the cruise control. That may be what is causing the cable to break.


#11

Sorry, I didn’t know you were between a rock and a hard place. The last time I was broke was 1986 and I was driving a 20 year old Plymouth Valiant that I paid $225 for. I got 5 years out of that car . I have never had a $365 payment and never will. I wouldn’t buy a used Japanese car because I think they are way overvalued in the marketplace. A 10 year old domestic will cost much less to buy and the difference in reliability isn’t that great.


#12

You may want to check reliability ratings on Consumer Reports before jumping to another car. The Element is statistically very reliable (which, of course, says nothing about how an individual vehicle may or may not perform) but you’d be hard pressed to find another car with similar overall ratings. As one of my history prof friends used to say, “you can always make a bad situation worse.”