Longtime lurker on TTAC that’s coming out of the woodwork. Love your columns and thanks for your time. I’ve got a 99 Civic with 199000 km (124000 miles) that needs new rear trailing arm bushings on both sides. I’m looking at about $500 to get them replaced.
Now here’s the rub. I can afford the repair but I can also afford to buy a new car too. But I really like my car. It’s cheap, cheerful, fun to drive and utterly reliable. Even the bushings, from what I gather, were close to the end of their useful life. I’m sure the awful Toronto roads didn’t help though. It has been religiously maintained according Honda’s maintenance schedule and the brakes were done within last year. The other thing you and fellow TTAC readers should know is that there’s a crack in catalytic converter and the fuel & brake lines are rusted & corroded. They are areas of concern but have been so for several years now. I’m not too worried about them but when one of them does go, that’s the absolute end of the car for me.
If I buy, I’m looking at a 2013 Mazda3 hatchback (Yes, I don’t mind the big goofy smile). I know they’re great cars for the money and well within my budget, especially considering dealers ought to blowing them out with the 3rd gen coming to their lots in the next few months.
Is the Civic worth keeping or am I just being a sentimental fool?
I don’t see why a bad catalytic convertor is “the absolute end of the car” for you. The replacement (and installation at a local muffler shop) is a fraction of the cost of a new Mazda’s monthly payment. Ditto brake/fuel lines. Old cars get old, especially on brutally rough urban streets and salty-cold weather. That’s life.
It is the classic quandary…do you own the car, or does the car own you?
At what point do you go from a warranty-laden, Ain’t Got a Care in the World motoring attitude to…ZOMG WHAT’S BREAKING NEXT AND AM I GETTING HOSED ON THE FIX? I’ve made quite the name for myself being the latter of that statement, but I understand the frustration. And the tiring weekends when you could be doing something else. Anything else: it is, on occasion, a colossal resource hog in one’s life.
Would I have it any other way? Hell no, but I also have a new(ish) truck with a decent warranty that happily gets me to work. Taking the Civic’s sentimentality out of the equation (i.e. have you looked at the new Civic?), can you live with one car of moderate reliability? I’d sell when the Ontario winters finally put holes in the Civic’s floorboards, but that’s by no means the right answer.
Off to you, Best and Brightest.
And by the way, I’m running low on the Piston Slap reserves of user-submitted questions, so read what’s below and help the TTAC community out.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.