/ 1500 to repair car or spend on a used car, is so which?

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Jimbo W on 21 Nov 2012
Our 1999 1.4L petrol 5 door honda civic bought for 2500 in 2005 has taken us from 43k miles to 198k miles. Its been a worthy car that until recently has cost us very little. Over the last three months issues have arisen. We have a patch that is working on the oil sump. The suspension probably needs dealt with as it is low. The central locking is broken, not sure why. There is some rust appearing and somehow from somewhere.. ..can't work out where, there is water getting into the foot well on the left hand side.

We need a car to get to work etc, and do quite long distances frequently. We have little more than 1500 at our disposal. What should we do, go with better the devil you know, and patch our car as best we can (how much does suspension cost) or find a used car for the same money. The key attributes for us are reliability, esp into higher mileage (as we believe in the ecology of driving cars into the ground), and as good an mpg as can be achievable.

Help and advice is greatly appreciated from those who are in the know or have had to make similar decisions!
butteredfrog - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

There is no such thing as a cheap car at the moment. The scrapage allowance and high scrap values have put paid to that. You will be lucky to find anything much newer for 1500 (probably around 100,000K on the clock too)

On that budget keep your eyes peeled for a Peugeot 405, half the worlds taxi drivers ca't be wrong.
thebrookster on 21 Nov 2012
A rule of thumb I use with all modern cars: Never spend more than the value of the car in repairs during a year.

I don't know of hand, but I would not reckon on your civic making more than a grand at most, so I would not bother spending that mush on it. Once these problems start, they keep coming, and if you take the attitude of spend 1500 now and keep it, chances are more will go wrong not that far down the line. Particularly with the mileage you have done!! If you can repair for significantly less than value, then do it.

Maybe look at how hard it is to do the work yourself? If you don't know how, learn! Running a car into the ground is all very well, but a few basic mechaniccy skills will go a long way to prolonging the life. Sump pan - scrappy will charge peanuts, suspension - 300 for parts (new!!), central locking - don't bother, they are nigh on impossible to fix properly at that age. Leaks - hah, how long is a piece of string. Footwell, check the door rubbers for cracks etc, a small gap will leak appallingly.

Personally, at 25k miles a year roughly, I would maybe think about replacing. Use this one as part-ex to increase, with MOT I would have thought you might push the budget up to maybe 2k, you should be able to pick something reasonably tidy up. Reason is, as your engine gets older (and 200k is a lot on an engine) your mpg will drop, due to wear on the engine. As you have already noticed, parts will begin to fail, you are starting on the downhill slope IMO.
Blue Straggler - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Do some maths. I don't know when in 2005 you bought this but let's say it was at the start of 2005 i.e. 7.9 years ago. You have done 155k miles in that time so your annual mileage is 19.6k. You have 1500. Will these repairs come in at less than 1500? Does this type of Civic typically run to much more than 200k miles (search Honda forums etc).

I am not in the know but have had to make similar decisions a few times, and though it's bee a bit guy wrenching a couple of times, the right decision has always been to bin it. My eco conscience is assuaged by the notion that I either HAVE run the thing into the ground, or that a smart buyer will fix it up and make it a runner.

My instinct is that a 1.4l engine is not built to last much longer than what you have, so you could splash out on the suspension only to have the head gasket or timing belt or something simply kill the engine outright in February. I've had suspension done on a 1.6 Polo Saloon a fair few years back, it was about 300 (front only). Live with the rust. Live with the non-operating central locking. But worry about the clutch, clutch plate, gearbox, engine, exhaust...

I bought a 2000 Vectra 1.8LS for 675 in June with 124k on the clock, it needed two new tyres almost immediately (I knew this when buying) so that was 130, and the back box went (120) plus needed some rewiring on an injector that had been poorly fixed prior to sale (62). So, less than a grand and I have a 70k mileage "head start" and a few things all spick and span. I'll run this one into the ground as usual, I think! But that should be some food for thought, I hope (getting 37-39 mpg, same as on my previous 1.4 Astra despite the bigger engine and bigger car!)
Blue Straggler - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to thebrookster:

> Use this one as part-ex to increase

Yes I didn't even think of that. Frankly the Civic sounds ready for the scrap heap or sell as "spares and repair" for maybe 150, but a part-ex should get you a discount off the next car that is greater than 150 and just make the whole process a bit smoother (if buying something from a dealer).
When I say "ready for the scrap heap", I mean simply that no private buyer would touch it with that mileage, as opposed to specifically slagging off the OP's car that I haven't seen! Again stop and think - if you saw an ad for your car for, I dunno, 400, would you even go to view it?

Hope that helps!
Blue Straggler - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> we believe in the ecology of driving cars into the ground

However, your OP suggests that you are not sure WHEN to declare that you've run it into the ground! I think people have clocked a million miles on 1980s Mercedes diesel saloons, but what this really entailed in terms of "Trigger's broom" replacements, I couldn't say! I understand the whole thing of not wanting to dump body shells into scrappy graveyards (essentially landfill) but how many replacement engines do you want to go through (as an extreme example)?
Ciro - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> can't work out where, there is water getting into the foot well on the left hand side.

does it have air con?

I wouldn't spend money on a car with 200k on the clock and multiple faults, likely something else costly will go wrong not too far down the line.

My 2003 citroen c5 diesel estate cost not much more than your budget (1800) in January, with 120k on the clock and FSH. It's been a great motorway car and all that's gone wrong in the 12k I've done so far was an airflow meter in the turbo that packed in.

For long distances, I don't think anything that doesn't carry a premium price tag comes close to the citroens for comfort, and although the suspension used to get costly around the 100k mark (my old xantia cost me a fortune before someone stole it), the hydractive III is supposedly good for 200k (here's hoping!)
johnj on 21 Nov 2012 - 188.29.103.188.threembb.co.uk
In reply to Jimbo W:

Hello I did a bit of research into this recently, and i stating looking at the resale values of the cars with the 1.9 vag group tdi motor in them, you can see there are many of these for sale from anything upto 2000 quid with up to 240-250k on the clock. And you can get something like a Octavia either saloon or estate from 1000-1500 about the same age as yours well looked after with FSH or a bit newer with about 140k on the clock, so lots of miles in them boxes. Alternatively you could go the other way, use your 1500 plus car as deposit and get a modern lease car or HP, and as long as you meet monthly payment you get trouble free motoring.

If it was me I'd probably get your old motor fixed, would would cost a lot less the 1500, as 250 to 300k out of a modern vehicle is realistic especially honda as they do make well put together vehicles.

As with any motor, cost of owner ship can be broken down into a very simple equation, which is you need to pay x amount of cash for x amount of miles per year, all the rest is just badges and style.

I work in the automotive industry as a design engineer

HTH
Ben Sharp - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: How long till your MOT? Sounds like the problems aren't too severe, sump is cheap and easily replaced, keep an eye out for cheap suspension parts on ebay but I wouldn't lose any sleep over it being too low, just makes you cooler with the kids. Leave the central locking and leakage.

My normal instinct is to just keep on repairing but it sounds like it might be time to lose it before your MOT. If you've put around 150k on the clock and not had much repair costs they really will be waiting round the corner.
jkarran - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

None of what you've described sounds too serious so long as the rust isn't structural or can be patched. You can probably eke another year or two out of it pretty cheaply. Low suspension is likely to be broken or tired springs (only broken is an MOT problem unless it's dragging on the floor), springs are cheap and pair will take maybe 2-4hr to change with the right tools on hand.

jk
Timmd on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:My parents' local garage likes thier 96 P reg diesel Audi A6 estate for it's reliability. My dad doesn't beause he'd like a nice shiny new car, but it keeps pottering along without any major fault.

You can pick them up for about 600. Possibly rather a gamble though.
aldo56 - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: 198k is an awful lot on a Civic, not unmanagable but you don't sound like your going to be fixing your own car. I'd get shot of it for as much as you can get and buy something for 1500. Rust on a Civic tends to be terminal, especially if it's around the sills and rear quarters.

You'll easily pick up a economical diesel for that mone. I'd be looking at Golf's or something VAG related personally but that's obviously up to you!

Actually, now i'm thinking Volvo. They're exceedingly cheap and do outragous millages with little money being spent on them.

Eric9Points - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) How long till your MOT? Sounds like the problems aren't too severe,

Hmmm, my impression was that the car is starting to rust and if that's the case then it's probably terminally ill. I've always thought you get about 140K miles out of a car before it's knackered so nearly 200K is very good.

Maybe ask a garage to have a good look for rust and other serious problems before trying to repair something that's going to fail the next MOT in a terminal manner.


Timmd on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to aldo56:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) 198k is an awful lot on a Civic, not unmanagable but you don't sound like your going to be fixing your own car. I'd get shot of it for as much as you can get and buy something for 1500. Rust on a Civic tends to be terminal, especially if it's around the sills and rear quarters.
>
> You'll easily pick up a economical diesel for that mone. I'd be looking at Golf's or something VAG related personally but that's obviously up to you!

I have my eye on my dad's Audi if I can pass and afford to run it before he wants to sell it.
Lord of Starkness - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

I sold my 53 plate Skoda Octavia Estate 1.9tdi at the end of August for 1900. It had 93k on the clock, and full service history as I'd had it from new.

There are some bargains out there - but finding a Skoda with a similar mileage is a bit like finding hens teeth. Most are snapped up by the taxi trade - which tells you something about the reliability!
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AndyE9 on 22 Nov 2012
hi , I have experienced this car stress much to often.

ok if money is tight , and lets face it it is for most people , I would look at making a few minimal repairs , wouldn't worry about none essential repairs such as the central locking , and a bit of rust .. as long as she gets through the mot with it , not a prob.. the suspension that can be fixed at home without to many problems , and you can buy second hand parts from ebay ..

that would be my first step , that way keeping yourself on the road for less , then if you feel that you need/ or would like a new car then you might be able to give yourself some extra time to save up a little more ..

there are good cars out there for your 1500 , you are more likely to find a lower mileage large engine car , than a small car .. this is because lot of people are downgrading ..

good luck . .

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