Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

What to do with my current car and should I buy a new or used car?

I have a 2002 Honda Accord SE with 170,000 miles and a broken rear bumper. I still owe $4,500.00 dollars on my loan. I want to buy a new or used car for under $14,000.00. Should I repair the bumper? Should I trade in my Honda, donate it or sell it privately? I am looking at Hyndai, Honda, Toyota, Mazdas. I am 70 years old and drive about 20,000+ miles per year.


Even with a bad bumper…what will a Honda dealer give you in trade ? You can often never tell as they play with the retail price. If you still like Honda, you can’t go wrong.

Find a generic bumper (not a Honda bumper), and go to 3 places for estimates. I had the same thing happen, found a bumper for $44, had it painted and installed for another $200. I am afraid you will only get $7K tops, for a net of $2500. The '09 Civics and Corollas are starting at 18 and going for around 16, m/b a dealer that is hurting could get you into a car for under the 14 w/o the bumper repaired. Good luck.

Do “want” a new(er) car, or do you “need” a new(er) car? Because those are two different things. I would wait until you pay off your current car before looking for something else. The rear bumper isn’t a huge deal, a couple hundred bucks at most, far less than you owe on your current car.

Fix the bumper and keep the car until you pay it off. If it still runs well, keep it longer.

Depending on the state of brokenness, I might have a friend fix it with a sheet of aluminum and one inch long drywall screws. We’re talking crazy here but I have seen (and done) some bad repairs, but not to bumpers. Just one problem; that kind of repair will detract from the value of the car. I would recommend fixing the bumper and running the car to about 220,000 miles and then selling it.

I’ll go one better. Keep your car, pay it off and then start putting those payments into a savings account for your next car when your current car finally falls apart. You should have another 100,000 miles easy on it.

How did the bumper get broken? Were you rear-ended? If so, there may be more damage to the car than you know. Definitely, I would get the bumper fixed, taking the route Dave S suggested - get a used part at a “recycling facility”. If the bumper is the only problem I would definitely keep it for another 3 years or so, Honda’s are great cars I wish I could afford one – unless there are major problems besides the bumper, it should be fine. Have you kept up with the maintenance? Especially important things are timing belts and fuel filters.
If you were really rich I would say, sure take it into the dealer and trade it in on a new one, but since you had a loan, I’m assuming this is not the case.