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To buy or to keep

I have a 1997 accord EXL that has had many problems, all listed in my previous posts, but is now running fine, 2 thousand dollars and new engine mounts, rack and pinion later…however it occasionally makes noises, will be due for a timing belt etc in 15K (1 year for me) which will be another 2 grand what with the driver belt and everything else to be changed at that time - and i have a chance to buy a 2007 accord also EXL, with 106K miles, timing belt just changed, which appears to have no problems other than what looks like a small bleach discoloration on the back seat leather (Btw - does black leather heat up in the summer more than tan leather does?) This car will probably actually sell for $8,500, which is a good price for nyc. i’m concerned though, since it is an 8 year old car now, and it does have 106K miles that in 5 years or so, I’ll be right back where I am now. On the other hand, dealers want $13,000 for similar cars to the 2007 now available and I don’t want to be in a situation where something else expensive goes on my 1997 and I have to buy a car overnight. Pros and cons?

Black leather will heat up more if exposed to sunlight. If you keep the car in a shade, it’s no issue. But a black car, inside or out can be an issue in sunny climates. 107k is acceptable mileage for an 8 year old car and both my kids had good results buying Accords with 100k and keeping them for the next 100k plus. You just need the car thourghly check over by a mechanic if it’s a private sale regardless of what a good deal you may think it is. Make sure the body is rust free and damage free if that might be an issue in your area.

I’d sell the 1997 Accord now while it still runs and before the next timing belt is due. It’s only going to get older, need more repairs, and continue to lose value.

The 2007 Accord is ten years younger. So if you buy it, no, in five years you won’t be back where you are now. (You might have the same mileage on the odometer, but the car itself will still be newer).

And yes, in New York City, or anywhere else except Antarctica, black leather interior is going to feel hotter in August than tan. :wink:

If I lived in NYC I’d probably keep it. Anywhere else, I’d probably trade it.

Yes, black will always get hotter in the sun. The color you see is that portion of the electromagnetic energy in the visual spectrum that gets reflected rather than absorbed. Black means all the energy has been absorbed into the material, none is being reflected. Tan means some of the energy has been absorbed and some is being reflected. The more energy that gets absorbed, the hotter the seat gets. You can easily change the equation by getting tan seat covers to cover black seats. Then they won’t get as hot.

If you want a 2007 Accord, look for a 4 cylinder, they don’t have a timing belt.

I’m surprised that it costs about $2000 for a timing belt. It cost me $800 for the belt, water pump, and coolant. I live in Central MD, and prices are high here, too. BTW, I had it done at the dealer, and they were the least expensive. 2005 Accord EX V6. Maybe you should get more estimates if paying less than $1000 would make decision easier.

I’ve never had black leather but have had black cherry and dark gray leather. I have to say that sure it will absorb more heat but when you sit on it it is not hot like a vinyl seat would be, and seems to cool quite a bit faster. In NY I don’t think it would be a deal breaker and any worse than in Minnesota. Edit: Stupid comment that I regret. Now gone.

So @Bing, is body you’re sitting on alive and doesn’t mind you sitting on them ? ;=) Is that all there is to this story and you leave us guessing ?

1997, what’s that, 17 years old? As cars approach 20, even the most reliable, they start to develop problems never seen prior. I’ll offer up my 20 year old Corolla as an example of this phenomenon. The engine has always run like a top. But 6-9 months ago it started to idle too fast, took quite a bit of DIY time on my part (and help from this forum) to discover the cause and fix that problem. And it isn’t really fixed, just did a work-a-round as what it really needs is a new throttle body. And last weekend I noticed my center brake light was not working. Turned out not something simple like the bulb; instead the 20 year old sun-exposed plastic gadget which holds the fixture in the rear window, the plastic cracked, so the screw which is supposed to hold the wire fast to the bulb connector came loose. Next up, it’s time to do a valve clearance measurement, replace the fuel and air filter, the thermostat (did I mention the cooling system is starting to run cooler than it should?), and the oxygen sensor.

For me, none of these tasks are a big problem. I’m a happy camper DIY’er and have a place off the street to work and have another vehicle to use if the primary one becomes dysfunctional and up on blocks – so to speak – for a while. But if I only had one car which I had to depend on, and didn’t have time or space or inclination for DIY work, then those kind of problems would soon become show stoppers.

So my opinion, unless you are an inveterate DIY’er, good idea to sell your 17 year old car and purchase a 7 year old car.

Bing, metal is no fair as a comparison.
A material’s ability to transmit heat is a crucial part of comfort. A 100F metal slide has the ability to rapidly transmit the heat into your heiney. A 100F wooden surface does not transmit heat anywhere near as rapidly, so it feels much cooler. A cold park bench is also a good example: a 40F aluminum bench will suck the heat out of your heiney rapidly, so it feels bone-cold. A wooden bench at 40F is much more comfortable, because it transmits the heat far less rapidly.

The same is true of upholstery. The hide of the nauga (plastic) transmits heat more rapidly that the hide of the cow (leather). Thus, after sitting in the sun, black naugahide feels hotter than black leather.

Years ago NOVA did a special about (if I remember correctly) the space shuttle. The scientist in charge of the ceramic surface tiles on the Shuttle held a ceramic block in his hand that had such a poor ability to transfer heat that even after being heated to a few thousand degrees (it was glowing like a bulb filament) he was able to hold it safely on its corners (minimizing surface contact and away from its core). Ceramic in general is known for this characteristic. It takes forever to heat it up, but once hot it retains its heat for long periods of time.

Seats, whether in a ballpark or a car, are easy to modify to change their ability to feel hot or cold. Simply use a seat cushion or seat cover. Getting one in a light color makes them even better, because the actual temperature doesn’t get as hot.

I get the idea that a good substitute for black leather seats might be to hire four people to ride in your limo and sit in their laps. Or, am I reading too much into @Bing’s story ? Our imaginations run wild when you leave us hanging. ;=()

"I have to say that sure it will absorb more heat but when you sit on it it is not hot like a vinyl seat would be, and seems to cool quite a bit faster. In NY I don't think it would be a deal breaker"

I agree 100%.

I had medium beige leather upholstery in my previous car, and even with annual cleaning & conditioning (and NO kids in the car), the leather was noticeably darker/dirtier on the driver’s seat after a few years than the upholstery on the other seats. So, on my new car I chose black leather, rather than the light beige leather that was offered. And, what is the difference in summer comfort/discomfort? Absolutely none that I can perceive!

NJ gets just as hot & steamy in the summer as NY does, and I do quite a bit of hiking and power walking in the summer. When I return to the car after these treks in my shorts, I don’t suffer the “burned thigh” problem that I suffered years ago with vinyl upholstery.

So, while the laws of physics do dictate that a darker color will absorb more heat than a lighter color, I don’t feel any detectable problem with black leather in hot summer weather.

Drive a few different colored interiors in the south for a while and your doubts about the difference will be quelled. I guarantee it.

It’s not just a question of how hot the seat material feels to the skin, but how hot the whole interior of the car gets. A black interior will absolutely get hotter than a tan interior.

OK OK, I guess I just didn’t say what I meant very well so its gone now. Just meant that in my experience sitting on a dark leather seat after sitting in the hot sun, was not all that uncomfortable, not like vinyl would be.