Will the old car make it there and back?

My husband and I have a 2002 Sunfire and a 2009 Honda Civic. I am living near Albany NY and I need to go to visit my mother who is newly on dialysis in Antigonish NS, about a 17 hour drive one way. We took the old Sunfire in and asked a mechanic if it would be ok to take it. He fixed the brakes and muffler and said that the tires need to be replaced and aligned. My husband got the brakes and muffler done, but the tires and an alignment would bring the bill to $1200. The car is not worth that. My father and uncle said that the 2002 Sunfires were looooooong lasting work horses. The Sunfire has 150,000 miles on it. My husband said if we spend the extra money the tranmission may go in six months. The 2009 Honda has 43,000 miles on it, but I hate putting all those miles on the newer one, thinking the Sunfire will last a couple more years. My husband uses it now for going back and forth to work. I don’t know. I am wondering if anyone here has heard that the 2002 Sunfire was such a great car. We never had any problems with it. Thank you for any opinions

It’s your call, but I’d much rather take the Civic. Don’t you want a car that’s quite a bit more reliable for a trip like this? Adding under 2,000 highway miles really isn’t a very big deal.

What is wrong with putting miles on a car? I thought that was why cars were made–to take people place. Make certain that the maintenance is up-to-date on the Honda and drive it. These will be highway miles which are easy miles for a car.

I’d take the Civic. I mean, you bought it to drive, not just sit there and look purty, right?

I think you’d be money ahead taking the Civic. If the Sunfire breaks down, who’s going to fix it for you? You’ll be in no position to bargain. You’ll have to pay what whoever you find charges. And the towing charges. And if it takes 5 days for the mechanic to get the part neede to fix this car, you’ll be in a strange town with nothing to do, paying 5 days of motel and eating at restaurants. If you want to take the Sunbeam, all the routine maintenance should be brought up to date, including the tires and the alignment.

Ok, so what would I do if I were in your situtation? I am known in these parts for trying to squeeze the most from my dollar … lol … and both of my cars are 20 years old or older … so whenever I go on a long driving trip, like I drive once or twice a year between San Francisco and Denver or distances similar, me, I drive a rental car. Rental cars – if you plan in advance – are really cheap! A few years ago I got one from Avis for $125/week, unlimited miles. Besides the rental fee, the only thing I pay is gas. And these rental cars are practically new. They have to be very reliable, and well maintained, b/c if they break down on the road, that’s a big expense to the rental company. Now a days $125/week may be harder to find, but $250/week is probably possible. The prices vary by a large amount depending on which company has excess cars, the location of the agency you use (airports are usually more expensive), and the day of the week you want to pick it up. I usually get the best price if I start the rental week on a Saturday or Sunday, and if I use the Avis agency located at my local Sears store, and if I reserve at least 2 weeks in advance, something cheaper if you reserve a month in advance. It takes some patience to call all the vendors, asking them the pricing info varies depending upon when you want the car, etc, but finding the cheapest rental car is usually worth the time it takes. And with a rental car you’ll be certain you can focus your att’n on why you are going, no whether you will get there on time.

My vote is for the Civic. A couple or three thousand extra miles from this trip is not going to matter in the long run.

It’s not a matter of the Sunfire being or not being a great car. It’s 12 years old with high miles and anything can happen. If the fuel pump was to drop dead for instance the cost of repairing that on the road would be far more than the value of the miles accumulated on the Honda.

You can wear it out in 10 years or rust it out in 12. If you want it to rust out cancel the insurance and plant flowers in it.

My granddaughter recently faced the same dilema. Wether to take a 2 year old car or a 10 year old one on a 2 thousand mile round trip. Her and her fiance decided to take the old one to save the miles on the new one. Yes I know, but they are young and thus foolish and they didn’t consult me. The old car went in the shop and was checked over and many things replaced.
Halfway through the first leg of the trip it blew an alternator, had to be towed off a limited access highway where you have no choice of towing company. The result, 2 1/2 days lost $830 in repairs and towing. Take the Civic.

Yep take the Civic. Cars are made to be driven. Tires are one of the most likely things to fail on a car so unless you are willing to put tires on, no question.

Take the Civic. The Sunfire may make the trip there and back with no problem but then again…it may not.

If the Sunfire is OK then take it. If it needs tires, get them. The trip to NS isn’t going to put much wear on tires, so if they have tread above the wear bars (legal limit for tread depth) then the trip won’t wear them that much. Alignment should be done whether you take the Sunfire on the trip or not.

This really isn’t that big a decision. If you aren’t willing to put the money into the Sunfire to make it a safe car, then you not should take it on this trip. In fact, you shouldn’t take it to the local grocery store. After 150K miles the transmission might fail, but it might go on for another 100K miles. If you’ve never changed the transmission fluid in those 150K miles then that’s not good, and perhaps the Honda is the way to go.

17 hours is 1000 to 1500 miles. So you are talking about 2000 to 3000 miles round trip. If the car can’t handle this trip perhaps it should be junked. Highway miles are easy miles, so what’s the worry? The Sunfire wasn’t a pretty car, or a fancy car, but it did come with basically old school American Iron parts. Over time the Sunfire held up well compared to many other cars of the same age.

Check out the cost of renting a car. When I want to drive a long way in a short time, I often rent a car. You can find decent rates through Costco, if you are a member, or Orbitz.com or Priceline.com. I’ve found that paying for a rental is often cheaper than putting a lot of miles on your car. The wear is on the rental company, and you get a nearly new car to use.

The cars age doesn’t matter, stuff can go wrong even on a new one. Just because things might fail is no reason to scrap the car. The car may not be worth $1,200 to a dealer if he’s buying but he’d sell it for $2,500 if there was a buyer. Book values shouldn’t influence your decision. If you already spent $700 to keep driving it, why stop there?

if you plan your husband driving it for a couple more years, in Albany s weather, I think he would appreciate safe tires.

While I agree that stuff can go wrong with a newer car, the probability of a part failing is less. In this case, I think the chances of the 2009 Honda having something fail that disables the car on the trip are much less than that of the 2002 Sunfire.

I think either car would make it but I would take the Civic. I once took a 7000 miles 3 week holiday trip with a 11 year old Buick with 100,000 miles on it pulling a camper. We had one small repair, a spark plug wire. Albany to Nova Scotia should be a very pleasant trip.

Absolutely take the Civic. It’s a no-brainer. I use my '89 car around town but take the newer, better one for longer trips. That Civic won’t put on any (material) wear from a moderate trip like that. The Civic should be good for 300,000 miles so don’t worry about a couple thousand miles. This is a good reason to have a newer reliable car - to take it on longer trips.

It’s a long drive. Take the one you like most. I’d hate to be uncomfortable for a three day drive. I’ll bet it’s the Civic anyway.

Another vote for the Civic.

As with any car new old or a rental anything could go wrong…A few years ago we rented a caravan with only 3k on it…We drove it 10 miles to the home and loaded it up the night before, for a trip from FL to NJ. We left the next morning and got 3 miles down the road and the van stalled…Started it back up and was missing like crazy with the check engine light flashing…

Nursed it back home and called the rental agency…the local agency did not have another van available so they had to bring one in from Orlando Airport 30 miles away…so we had to unload everything and waited 2 hours for the replacement and then reload…When the tow truck driver came he had a hard time getting it out into the street to load on the flatbed as our driveway is very steep. I had to keep it to the floor just to get up the driveway.

Sounded it was running on 3 cylinders, black smoke from the tailpipe and mini backfires.

At least with a rental they will deliver you a replacement vehicle and you will not be under the hands of a greedy mechanic who knows you are out of state and that you will pay anything to get your car fixed.