When to "bury"the car?

My Honda Accord is coming up on 18 years now. We bought it new in 1991. My husband used to drive it. Now

I have it and love it!

We changed the timing belt(mistakenly) at 60 some thousand miles it now has 150,000 miles.

Should I put 600 dollars into it to change the timing belt? The mechanic and my husband say no. But 5 years ago I was advised not to get the air conditioning fixed and here we are 5 years later. It has been trouble free-just routine maintenence.

A related question— at the end of last summer I noticed a couple of times that on extremly hot days it was not cooling quite as well after being parked in the hot sun and closed for several hours. Could this be related to the water pump which would also be replaced at the same time as the timing belt? I would like to keep this car, but need some more opinions. Margie

It is better to have a vehicle with known issues than one with unknown issues. 150k isn’t that many miles. I would get the work done and keep running it.

Why were you thinking about getting the A/C fixed 5 years ago?
Why does your mechanic think that you should not maintain your car?

$600 = a presumably reliable car for for another 150k. That’s probably cheaper than “burying” the car.

Your hubby and mechanic are giving strange advise. If the car is running trouble-free, get the belt changed. $600 is a small price compared to the cost of a replacement car or the engine damage that will result if this one breaks. This is an interference engine, and expensive damage will result if the belt breaks. Changing this belt is considered routine maintenance, like brakes, tires, and oil changes. Just the cost of ownership.

I have a 1988 Toyota Supra that is also running fairly trouble free. I did the timing belt at 240,000, which is it’s 4th replacement. The car is running so well, I’ll probably hit 300,000 with it, and need yet another belt. All the electronic ‘creature comforts’ still work well, and I have no reason to need to replace it as of right now.

Japanese cars completely re-wrote the book onhow long you should keep a car! We now have enough data to predict that a well-maintained Honda or Toyota car easliy go 300,000 miles without major engine, body and transmission work. In my town there is a guy who has an old Toyota Celica form the 80s with over 1.2 MILLION miles on it. The car runs great, although the paint is a little faded.

So I would spend the $600 on the timing belt and keep driving it! On the other hand, if this was a VW new beetle, or other troublesome car, we would advise you to ditch it. For instance, transmission work on a VW would cost at least $2000 and that would be just the beginning of many expensive repairs.

Many more years of happy motoring.

PS to above Post; that should read “timin belt” instaed of transmission.

Phewie! Only 150,000 miles? ‘Tain’t nuttin’. It’s got another 150,000 miles left in’er if y’all get that timing belt and water pump changed soonest. But, you really do need to act soon; because when the timing belt slips, it causes a very expensive ($1500 - $2,000) amount of damage to engine valves and, perhaps, pistons.

You can correct your post after you have posted. Click on the yellow pencil, next to the red flag, on your post block. Make your corrections, and click SAVE CHANGES. You can edit your post as often as you wish.
I just did it to this post. That’s why, below, you see the star and Updated time and date.

hellokit; thanks I had forgotten how to make corrections. Will do it correctly from now on!


Who is “We” of We now have enough data etc.? Keep in mind too that some repair work is affordable on a vehicle not needing a $600 timing belt change. I see occasional posts for other brands too that make it to a ripe old age.

Please show the data or post a reference to it.

The “We” is a general statement as to the vast amount of published data and long life information by various posters that 300,000 miles is now an accepted life esxpectancy for most Japanese cars.

In 1967 I started accumulating articles and data on long life of motor vehicles. At that time, 150,000 miles was an exception rather than the rule. Honda published a little magazine a few years ago with testemonies of happy owners who made their vehicles last a long time. I believe Toyota every now and then does the same thing.

Consumer Reports in 2007, October issue, did an article on high mileage cars; which ones were a good bet and how to make it happen. Good bets were:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Honda CRV
  3. Hondfa Element
  4. Lexus LS,ES
  5. Toyota 4Runner
  6. Toyota Highlander
  7. Toyota Land Cruiser
  8. Toyota Prius
  9. Toyota RAV4

Bad Bets were:

  1. BMW 7 series
  2. Infiniti QX56
  3. Most Jaguars
  4. Mercedes M Class (V8), SL
  5. Nissan Armada
  6. Nisan Titan
  7. Volkswagen Toureg
  8. Volvo CX90 (6 cyl)

My own opinion on this is that to ECONOMICALLY reach high mileage I would avoid any Merecedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Jaguar and most Volkswagens.

One little truck that lives a very long and econimcal life is the Ford Ranger, basically a Mazda design and very easy to maintain.

I think your math is off. If it runs another year or two, that’s easily worth $600.

why do you say you mistakenly changed the timing belt at 60k miles?
If you hadn’t changed it and the belt snapped on you, your opinion might be a little different from what it is now.
Price a new or used/rebuilt engine for your vehicle, then price the timing belt. If an engine is cheaper than the timing belt, let it go. It’ll snap eventually and you can get a different engine for it.

The timing belt replacement interval is 90,000 miles. It is due for the next one now.

Any car will last 300k miles Japanese, European or domestic just have deep pockets and a tough stomach and hopefully good luck on your side.

Expensive repairs after 7yrs/150k are common. For example the AC is shot and likely $1000+ to fix due to outdated system.

And, the timing belt maximum time change intervals is 8 years. The time of the previous timing belt change was likely 13 years ago; which makes it 'way past due.

The cooling issue might just be the thermostat, if it’s more then 4 years old.

My Accord is 21 years old with 218k miles. It’s on its 4th timing belt. The last one got oily from a leaky crankshaft seal and had to be replaced prematurely.

Andrew; we are referring to the DEPTH of those pockets. At 300,000 miles typical Europen cars have very high repair bills, like $3000 or so. On the other hand, a $1000 A/C repair on a US car at 300,000 would be a normal bill for US as well as Japanese cars.

A friend of mine had a 6 cylinder Mercedes (non-turbo), and a rebuilt engine for that car was $12,000 and that was 10 years ago! You can buy a rebuilt engine, if you ever need one, for a Ford Ranger or Honda Civic for a fraction of that.

The point we are trying to make is that Japanese cars have both long life by design and reasonable repair costs to enable you to keep the car for that long design life without going broke. Having said that, we have many posters who have put 300,000+ miles on a Ford Taurus since that car is resonably cheap to fix and has an average design life.

Elsewhere in these posts I state that a local guy here has a Celica with over a million miles on it. He is not going broke keeping it running. If it was an Audi, or Mercedes he would be spending mega-bucks yearly to keep it on the road at that mileage.

The last long term car I had was a rear drive Chevy Caprice. The life of its components was average, and cost moderate, the most expensive single repair bill was only $500, but I was due for and A/C overhaul and change to R134 at a quoted $950.

Since I make my living in reliability engineering, luck plays a very small part in decision-making. I bought a new Toyota in 2007 and full intend to kep this car for the next 20 years. The only “luck” part will be not to crash it or have it stolen.

That what I like to hear.

You can get some practice by returning to your previous post and correct “timin belt” and instaed

All said with a smirk on my face, Docnick.

If you are a reliablity engineer you understand still a subset of Toyota/Honda have unscheduled problems(likely 10%) initially and then this worsens with age/miles. While a Audi/MB have them too but maybe a (20-30%) of cars. Luck plays a large part if you hit the majority of cars that have no issues no matter what the brand.

Basically put the majority of cars out there for a given brand do not have problems fortunately. I concur the expense varies greatly brand to brand though.