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When do you know it’s time to get a new car? :Help:

Hello All,

I own a 2009 Honda Accord Lx-P, I purchased it used in 2010 and currently I have 160k miles on my car. The first 4-5 years my car was relatively problem free, I mostly changed the oil, brakes and fluids. I also made sure to complete regular maintenance.

In the last 2-3 years, I’ve spent THOUSANDS in repairs at the Honda dealership (I have yet to find a reliable mechanic in my area) everything from new spark plugs, new hoses, issues with my oil (my car makes loud reving sounds whenever I need an oil change, like clock work - and no one can figure out why) and now I need a new power steering rack and my car makes loud knocking sounds whenever I’m stopped at a light. I’ve been able to hold off on the power steering rack by keeping the power steering fluid topped off. Ugh.

Granted, I know that spending 2-3k in repairs is cheaper than spending 17k on another car but I’m afraid that I will continue to pour into my car and it will continue to be less reliable.

So, my question…when will I know it’s a good time to sell my car and get another one? FYI - my next car will be used but with low miles

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Did you not answer your own question? Don’t want to spend money on it, makes knocking sounds and you don’t have a mechanic you trust. Trading time is here.

Edit: I just noticed that you seem to be driving at least 20000 miles a year. That sounds like you need to find a new vehicle with warranty and you might even qualify for 0 % or at least a lower rate than a used vehicle loan.


Well when you don’t want to pay for repairs anymore, don’t like the car, or just want a new one. There is no magic answer. Other reasons are when the warranty runs out, or the spouse wants a new one. I have traded anywhere from 60,000 to 530,000, so anywhere in between is OK.

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You need to find a good independent shop to have the vehicle serviced.

Taking the vehicle to the dealer for the age/mileage of the vehicle is where you’re paying thru the nose.

My 1997 Accord with 210,000 miles is still going strong.



The PS rack is bad enough, but the knocking needs to be diagnosed before I’d render any judgment. If it’s bearing knock, you’ve got big problems. Diagnosing that is going to take an experienced shop.

Did you monitor your fluid levels between changes? If not, you may have allowed the oil to get too low, and that could be the cause of the knock.

It’s also possible that the knock is just a serp belt tensioner. Or something else peripheral to the engine. But an experienced mechanic needs to look at it.


Many people trade their cars at the 10 year mark, so you’d be doing the more or less normal thing if you followed that track too. From what you say in your post, I think that’s the best path for you. If you decide you want to continue w/this car, schedule a “general service” which is where the shop will put it on the lift and inspect its condition, go over any recent servicing paperwork, & decide what’s fine as it is, what needs immediate att’n, and what’s in between. A dealership shop isn’t the best place to get that done. Ask your friends, co-workers, fellow church-goers etc which shop they use to service their Asian cars, and from that list interview a few. Ask them some general questions about your car, to determine if they communicate well and are easy to work. Be sure to let the shop manager you choose know who it was that gave you the recommendation, that gives you a little leverage.


You may need valves adjusted. Honda’s owners manual says only if noisy - but anyone who knows engines will tell you tight valves don’t make noise but burn up - and noisy ones have too much clearance, so prevent optimum combustion.

I have adjusted the valves in my 1999 Civic every few years, at the same time as changing spark plugs at the recommended interval. Every time, several valves needed adjustment. The car has about 179,000 miles on it and runs very well. I attribute that to good design, good driving technique, and good maintenance.


Radiator hoses shouldn’t need replacement at such a low mileage. Dealers, especially honda dealers are known to recommend work that is not required. My 08 Honda CR-V shares the same engine and I’ve only spent 1/10 what you have paid and I have 170,000 miles. From what your saying about the dealer, it sounds like a misdiagnosis.

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Not necessarily…radiator hoses are made of rubber and degrade over time regardless of mileage. Also, comparing a CR-V to an Accord is more like comparing apples to oranges…it might be the same engine, but that’s where the similarities end. You’re looking at an SUV vs a sedan, different years, etc.

Frankly, you may have gotten lucky too. shows higher than average number of complaints with your year of CR-V compared to other years.

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The CR-V is basically a Civic with all wheel drive. It’s not really a stretch to compare a CR-V with an Accord. With CR-V you get a slightly modified Civic chassis/platform with the 4 cylinder accord powertrain (and AWD).

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Craig Fitzgerald, long-time CarTalk contributor, penned this story on when it’s time to part ways for BestRide: Wait, Wait Don’t Sell Me: How To Decide Whether To Keep Your Car


These are maintenance items. The plugs should have been done at 105k, along with a valve adjustment.

How frequently do you get oil changes?

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I also saw that ( my car makes loud reving sounds whenever I need an oil change ) statement . I think that I really don’t want to know what that means.


The simple answer (to me) is that it is time for a new car when the old one costs you more than a car payment a month to keep on the road (for most people). Revving sounds + Honda = transmission trouble???

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First, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that’s responded to my questions. I really appreciate your feedback and recommendations on next steps for my car.

To answer a few questions…

@bloody_knuckles My car was paid off a few years ago which has added to my uncertainty about getting another car. I would prefer not to have another car payment, but the on-going issues with my car has been one headache after the other. Every time I’m at the dealership, if it’s not an oil or fluid level change, I’m spending anywhere between $300 - $600 for something.

@shadowfax Yes, I got my spark plugs changed around 105-110K miles.

@shadowfax I get regular oil changes at a more frequent rate (maybe 3 or more times a year) because I’m on the road a lot. I’ve gone to two different Honda service centers and had the head technician drive my car to diagnosis the reving sound whenever an oil change is needed. I’ve received different answers and no solutions. One of the responses was, when the oil gets low, the system (I don’t know the correct terminology) is working overtime to move the oil to wherever it needs to go which causes the reving sound. (I hope that made sense)

@George_San_Jose1 @the_same_mountainbike @Tester I called a few shops this morning per recommendations from friends and will be going to ask questions today and tomorrow. One shop that only services Hondas and Acuras stated that it could be an issue with my serp belt, so we shall see.

No. that does not make any sense at all. But it does make me think you are not checking your oil level on a regular basis or changing oil at some kind of schedule.
I still think you should buy new, keep service up to date and drive it for as long as you can.


The oil shouldn’t get low between changes. That is a problem. If it leaks or burns oil, you need to check the level and add oil. You should try to never let it get more than a quart low.

I am wondering if you are starving your cam journals. I once went up to a thicker oil on a car with a worn engine. This was great until it got cold outside that fall. Then I started hearing “revving” sounds coming from the cam journals for about 30 seconds upon cold startup. Maybe you are getting so low on oil that you aren’t getting any to the cam journals.

When you hear the revving sounds, look at the tachometer. Do the RPMs increase or not? If they increase, I would be more concerned about the transmission. If not, you might be starving something of oil.

I would take this car to a good mechanic and pay them to check it out. See what they say then decide if you want to keep the car or not. If you are ready for a new one, this might be the time. If not, Hondas will go a LONG TIME if cared for. “If cared for” is the key phrase here and I am not sure if the oil has gotten low, etc.

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As cars age and gain high mileage, what used to be a repair becomes maintenance. I just sold a 2005 Accord EX V6. It had about 190,000 miles on it. Up to 150,000 miles, I just replaced fluids, filters, and the timing belt per Honda recommendations. Things started to go wrong after 150,000 miles. I replaced the hood struts because they didn’t hold the hood up anymore. I replaced the rear brake calipers because one seized. I consider both items maintenance due to high mileage. At the time, I was driving 25,000 miles per year, mostly commuting, and I needed a more reliable vehicle. If you prefer putting several hundred per month into car payments, then get a new car. I’m very happy that I did.

Get a second opinion on the rack, if leaking fluid is the only symptom it could be rusted out lines, if you live in the rust belt, but they can get pricey also

OP, to give you some perspective on the costs to keep older vehicles reliable & on the road, I own two vehicles, a 25 year old Corolla, and a 45 year old Ford truck. Combined they are driven about 10K miles per year. I budget $750/year (total for both) for repair and maintenance. That’s parts cost only, as I’m a diy’er and do most of the work myself. If I were budgeting for parts and labor with the work done at a good shop I’d up the ante to $2500 per year. Some years it would be less, some it would be more. But that’s about what it averages out to.

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