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What to buy

I am driving a Honda Civic 2002. Inherited it from my mother four years ago. It has original just under 50K miles. I am looking to sell it and get something a bit larger with more room and hopefully a smoother ride. I am on a budget so I am looking for something two to four years old with reasonably expected mileage. In reading various sites of user reviews and the NHTSA site on many makes and models, I get turned off by the numerous complaints, recalls and the like. I would like something durable and reliable. Is there such an animal?


You may not like my opinion . . .

Since you’re on a budget and the Civic has only 50K, I advise you to keep driving that

Many 2-4 year old cars will have way more miles than that, and the repair history may be a mystery

Civics are considered to be very reliable, provided you do the maintenance on time, and adjust the valve lash . . . even if the valves are quiet

If you sell it, you likely won’t get much, because it is still an old car

I think the Civic is worth more to you than to somebody else. It should have several good years left

Agree; if you are on a budget, keep the Civic. Keeping it running willl cost you less than most other vehicles, and surely less than something larger and more powerful.

Keep it would be my first option, too. But if you must change, get the latest Consumer Reports buyers guide, lots of info car reliability and used car recommendations.

Thanks for your posts. What you say makes sense.

Make sure the tires aren’t overinflated, or too worn. That can make the ride rougher.

Civics are a little rougher for the sake of Handling. I agree, if the body is rust free, keep it. If you are looking to buy regardless and want something bigger, like said, use CR buyers guide to get you started.
Best of luck !

I agree with the others, and I would keep the Civic. In the end the goal is getting from point A to B. Many people are under the thumb of a lot of car debt in the interests of things more extravagant than that.

Of course, you may decide to get something else. Perhaps the Civic doesn’t meet your needs well. If so, beware laying too much on what you can find online. The internet is such that a company could sell a million cars, and maybe 10 had problem “X.” But 5 of those people show up at a website and suddenly it looks like a “common problem.” So it will be hard to find any year/make/model that hasn’t collected some kinds of negative remarks out there in cyberspace.

Ditto, all the others.
When you talked about ride quality I instantly thought of tires.
Not only the current psi but also the age…yes, the age.
How old are those tires ?
Rubber loses elasticity over time and the exact same tire will feel different five years later.
In fact, Check the sidewalls for age and UV cracks…not the tread depth…plus the production date and replace if they’re old…disregard the tread depth. The date is the last of the twelve digit d.o.t. number embossed on only one sidewall , if you see only eight digits, look on the other side. It will be a combination of letters and numbers similar to this ; M33J-007X-4913. the last four being the week/year of production.
( clue ; I have a truck with just 71,000 miles on it. It is on its THIRD set of tires solely due to age, not miles…it’s a 79 )

Sell civic and buy accord for same money. If u buy right, u can than determine if bigger accord really rides smoother.

Tires are not that old. About 1-1/2 DOT date is 05/12. I think that it’s more about perhaps a stiffer suspension than the tires. Certainly I have to take into consideration on a 3 to 4 year old vehicle the maintenance history(if available) and current mileage. I am leaning more now to just keeping and maintaining the civic. It’s just that in a few years, it will have very little value for trade and I am not into financing.

You’re right, but you can use those next few years to save up for the next car. Depreciation on your car is pretty low right now, anyway.

Forget about the tradein value. A car is not an investment, it’s an expense. If you’re on a budget and you have a good performing reliable vehicle that’s paid for, the best option by far is to keep it. Maintain it and you’ll probably have it for far more than just a few more years. Whatever the length of time it lasts you, you’re better to save the money than to spend it in car payments.

Makes good sense to me Mountainbike.

I second the motion about keeping the Civic. Be sure that the maintenance is up to date including the timing belt. There is a time interval and a mileage interval when the timing belt should be changed. If the belt breaks, the engine is usually ruined. If the specified interval is 5 years or 50,000 miles, go by whichever comes first. If you drive 50,000 miles in 3 years, change the belt. If you have gone 5 years, but only 30,000 miles, change the belt. I don’t know the exact mileage or time interval, but your owner’s manual will give you the specifics.
If there are a few occasions where you need a bigger vehicle, you would be money ahead to just rent a larger vehicle for that occasion, but keep the Civic.
My wife had me help a family friend–a single woman in her late 60s–go car shopping last summer. She thought she wanted an Accord and we did go for a test drive. However, she also tried out a Civic and found it met her needs better. She is quite happy with the Civic. The Accord had a softer ride, but I preferred the ride of the Civic. For me, a firmer ride is more comfortable, particularly on a long trip.

Just fyi, I had the timing belt and water pump changed last year.

Sell civic and buy accord for same money. If u buy right, u can than determine if bigger accord really rides smoother.

I’ll have to disagree with you on that. The Accord sits just about as low as the Civic does and the road conditions will still be felt through the Accord. Maybe not as much as the Civic, but it’ll still feel rough going over potholes and such.

If you want something a bit bigger, sell the Civic yourself(you should have little trouble selling it), and use that towards your next car purchase. Selling it yourself will get you the most money, as the dealer will probably low ball you at $1000 and throw it on their budget car lot for $2995 or send it to auction.
Without an actual budget(you never did specify), we can’t give our best choices, but I’ll recommend the Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala, Mercury Sable, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Azera. These were mostly rental fleet cars and should be plentiful and inexpensive compared to their Toyota/Honda competition, and just as reliable


“Sell civic and buy accord for same money.”

The civic is old

The money from the sale of the civic would get OP a beat up accord with a lot of miles

that is my opinion . . .


Thanks for the information about the timing belt and water pump

It’s a no brainer at this point . . .

Keep the Civic

Get the other maintenance stuff up to date

Don’t forget the valve lash . . .

And you can easily drive the car another 5 years or so, while you save money for the next vehicle

Not much disagreement on this one. If you’re worried about losing trade-in value, don’t. It already has very little. Dealers just aren’t very interested in old cars, no matter what the condition. They’ll just sell it on to some used car dealer who does sell old cars.

You can almost certainly make more selling it yourself than trading it in because the Civic is a perennially popular car, especially with the young who will be less concerned about age than a dealer would be.

But for now, unless you have a compelling reason to change, keep it and enjoy all the cheap miles you’re putting on your well-depreciated car. When it finally needs more expensive repairs than the car is worth, you go shopping. Perhaps by then you’ll be able to afford something plusher.