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To fix or not to fix a car I plan on selling within the next 3-6 months

I have a 2003 Honda S2000, that has about 90K miles on it. I plan on selling the car to a private seller in the spring, and I do not intend to it trade-in, but I am conflicted as to whether or not I should fix what’s wrong with it.

The car runs great during normal driving but when I drive it hard, the clutch slips & gears are sometimes missed when shifting. The transmission could use to be gone through, but it’s not as bad as the clutch. If I do the clutch, then I will do the transmission at the same time.

The car comes from Honda with different size tires front and rear. I have 2 sets of wheels & tires, and in both sets, the front tires are in great shape, but the rear tires are worn out. The model tire has been discontinued, and is no longer available.

Other than that, the car is tip-top.

I figure it could cost between $1500-$2000 to do most of the work myself, and a lot more to have someone else do it.

Should I replace the clutch, re-fresh the transmission and install new tires before I sell it?


Kyle G

will you get your money back if you do the work or will it make a difference at all plus you r time

Replace the clutch and fix the transmission. Those will reduce the list of buyers to those that want a bargain. The bargain hunters will reduce your asking price by the cost to fix the transmission and clutch at a shop, plus extra money for their trouble.

Vehicles with problems like yours sell for less money than vehicle that don’t. It’s up to you but I agree with @jtsanders .

Being the owner of a Honda S2000 myself, I can comment with some authority. First off, the cars have held their values VERY well. Your car is likely worth more than you think. Check Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book for a value.

Anyone that will likely buy this car will subtract the cost of a clutch, transmission repair and tires from the offer, and maybe a bit more for the trouble and risk of what else may be wrong.

A clutch on this car will likely cost about $1800. I changed my own and it was a real pain. Transmissions on these cars are not a weak point so the clutch problem may be your only one. The trans can easily be checked when its out. If any issues are found a junkyard tranny may be the easiest, cheapest solution.

Tires: These cars EAT rear tires at a rate twice that of the fronts. The stock factory rear size is a 225/50/16 but the tire is really as large as a 245/45/16. Bigger rears are better on this car. It will fit with no problems and the car really needs a bit more traction at the rear. Buy the same brand as the fronts in a similar design and you should be OK. Call the Tirerack and talk to one of their salesman to see what is most similar to the front tires you already have. I would only buy 2 rears for the wheels you are most likely have on the car when you sell it.

Will you do labor or pay someone else? And replacing syncros or bearings in a trans is not easy. Never heard that sort of casual remark before. Nothing in a trans is easy or cheap

I have to agree with @Cavell

Repairing a manual transmission is 10 times more difficult than a regular brake job

Sounds like the OP did some racing or track days with the car? These might have been some pretty hard 90K miles. If the body and interior are in very good shape I’d get the clutch replaced and the tranny evaluated at that time. New tires on the back too. I wonder how many used junk yard trannys there are for this car, it might not be an easy find and could be pricey.

I suspect there will be almost no junk yard transmissions for this car, as it wasn’t too common

Better off fixing this transmission versus taking your chances with an unknown used transmission

@db4690 I just checked for transmissions. There are a bunch of them for about $1000-1300. These cars have pretty good transmissions but they do get wrecked because they are driven pretty hard. That leaves lots of spare parts for the rest of us.

The rear differential is a VERY different story… weak and problematic. Car-Parts shows ONE listing for an assembly.

If the OP can replace the clutch himself that would be worth it, check the trans when it’s out. Would make the sale of the car much faster, and at a price that would at least more than cover the cost of parts.


$1000-$1300 for a transmission sounds pretty good

However, if it’s already sitting on a shelf, how would you know what condition it’s in?

FWIW . . . if the transmission’s going to be removed anyways, it makes more sense . . . to me, at least . . . to pay somebody to repair my transmission versus taking a chance on an unknown used transmission, which may not be in better shape than mine

Thank you everyone for you comments!

I have ran track days, but I use a different set of tires when I do. As mustangman said, these cars are notorious for eating rear tires, even while running around town.

I would do the clutch myself, and pay someone to go through the tranny. I have found used ones for ~$800 online, plus shipping.

How much would a tranny shop charge to do an “inspection & repair as necessary”?


“Inspect” is one cost, but “repair as necessary” could be $50, $500, $2000, who knows? It would depend on the extent of damage, if any. I wonder how available internal parts are for your transmission.

I imagine synchros and bearings shouldn’t be a problem

I find myself wondering if once the clutch is changed the transmission “problems” (whatever they are) will disappear.

The OP might even find at that time that he likes the car again…


I’ve worked on a few big trucks where the clutch was fried and the truck was hard to shift into gear

After doing an entire clutch job (cable, disc, pressure plate, pilot bearing, resurfaced flywheel, throwout bearing and fork, etc.) the transmission was easy to shift into gear

@db4690, I’d check out a “shelf” tranny by turning the input shaft and shifting gears (its an internal rail shifter) and if it feels smooth on rotation and engagement, that’s a pretty good indicator. I know it doesn’t let you check the syncros but a low mileage example would give me good confidence its OK. It is warranteed by the yard so the labor is the risk.

If it were me, I tear down the original box myself and go through it but the OP isn’t confident in his abilities to do that. I can’t say how much a shop would charge to open it up and check.

BTW Kyle G, buy a performance replacement clutch with a bit more pressure plate load. The factory clutch pedal effort is quite low and the extra, say 20%, won’t be excessive. It will give you a little insurance for use with track tires. Stay away from aftermarket performance flywheels, they are way too light. You already have a lighter flywheel than the AP2 cars.