By on December 30, 2013

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev!

I submitted a question last year about which SUV/CUV we should buy to replace my wife’s 2005 Odyssey.  I admit that I may have embellished my description of some of her thoughts and feedback during that process when I submitted my question the last time–mostly in the spirit of satire.  Well, some of the B&B didn’t catch on to that and they ended up flaming her pretty badly.  I was so excited to see your response that I showed the post to her before reading through the comments. She’s more thorough than me and did continue on into the comments.

To make a long story short, it wasn’t pretty for me.  

Fortunately, we’re still married and we replaced the Ody with a 2013 Highlander Limited, initially Steve Lang’s suggestion, and seconded by several commenters.  She’s had it now since March and is generally pretty happy with it.

Since my experience went so well the last time (/sarcasm), I thought I’d submit another one related to my 2001 Honda Accord EX 4 cyl. with 122,000 miles.

I can’t really say anything bad about it.  Sure, it’s on its 3rd transmission, but two of those failures were within months of each other, and since the last one was put in about 7-8 years ago, I’ve not had any problems.  It’s in fine shape cosmetically with no rust, though the alloy wheels are starting to get a bit rough.  At my last oil change, my mechanic said everything looks really good underneath and in the engine compartment and he expects it will live a long time.  The inside is clean, though some of the rubberized plastic on the center console is getting a bit sticky due to UV exposure.  Basically, nothing is wrong with it, and I don’t expect any expensive repairs any time soon.  The only other part that’s needed replacement was the timing belt at 100K.

I use the car mainly as a commuter (13 miles one-way on country back roads through the corn fields) and errand runner around town.  It might take 1-2 longer trips per year (< 400 miles), but that’s rare.  It gets driven much less in the summer since I bought a motorcycle for getting back and forth to work.

Obviously, I don’t need to replace the car for any reason, other than I’ve been driving it for 12 years and am in the mood for a change.  I saw the new Accord, and really liked the looks of it.  That got me thinking about new cars in general.  I don’t honestly know what I would replace it with.  Lots of vehicles on the wish list (Ram 1500, Mustang GT, Mazda 6, Honda Accord, Chrysler 300 V-8, Jeep Grand Cherokee), but that’s not really at the heart of this question.  It’s more about whether I should keep it or move on.

I’m generally a keeper (obviously), and find pleasure in not wasting, whether it’s money, energy, time, etc.  There’s something I enjoy about hanging on to something that has plenty of life left in it.  As long as the thing doesn’t look like a complete hooptie, I enjoy it.  My 9 year-old son is also quite fond of the car and has informed me that he wants it when he turns 16.  Also, considering the way in which I use, it, there’s really no need for another vehicle (though there are plenty of days I dream about how easy that home project would be with a pick-up).

On the other hand…

It seems like cars have come so far in the last 12 years, and I wouldn’t mind enjoying some of the comfort and convenience features that can now be had.  I really am a bit of gear head at heart, and I do tire of constantly reading about (and lusting after) new cars, but doing nothing about it.  As much as I enjoy being a keeper, there is part of me that says “to heck with it, just get that rear-drive car with the manual transmission and V8 that you’ve always wanted!”

Sajeev, I’m conflicted.  What is a man to do?

Sincerely,
Matt

P.S.  I’m pretty sure a panther will not scratch that itch…sorry.

Sajeev answers:

Pro Tip: consider a heavily depreciated Ford Econoline conversion van instead of Panther Love if you put words in your wife’s mouth again…cuz you’ll be sleepin’ in the street, son! 

I don’t recall my previous suggestions, it’s impossible to Google considering the number of cringe-worthy instances when a reader gives an incorrect elaboration on/assumption of the needs of one’s spouse.  (Never mind, the B&B found it, thanks!) And, with your marriage in mind, I can’t tell you to repress/take action on your lust for a newer, more tech savvy, more exciting machine.  Because your Accord sounds like a peach and we got bigger problems in life.

I consider you to be a lucky man to be in such a position. My advice?

  1. Test Drive any car you might possibly want, within the confines of your budget and future expenses.  You know, things like the kid’s college tuition, a new roof, divorce lawyer, etc.
  2. Rent something with all the toys/gadgets for a week.
  3. Ask your wife and do whatever she says.
  4. Get an Executive Decision Maker and run with it.
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Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 
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90 Comments on “Piston Slap: In Accordance with Wants and Needs...”


  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    Me? I think you should keep the Accord. It would undoubtedly get you a couple of thousand bucks toward your next ride, but if you get one that isn’t going to be all that much in the scheme of things. Besides, having a stone-reliable sedan as a backup makes it much easier to buy the real radical toy of your dreams.

    Also, I may have a tip for relieving yourself of the stickiness of your interior trim:

    1) Use a lint-free fabric rag strong enough to resist the stickiness. Paper towels or wash rags will just aggravate the cleaning problem.

    2) Use a strong bleach-based cleaner — sparingly — to clean off any accumulated grime and prepare the sticky rubber trim for its finish coat. Don’t get grossed out by all the goo you pick up on the soon-to-be-junk rag, and be sure to wipe the residue from the bleach cleaner off with a second, water-damped and soon-to-be-junk rag.

    3) As much as I generally don’t like it, get a spray bottle of genuine Armor-All and apply the living sh!t out of it on the trim. A shiny coat of Armor-All on that trim will protect it and reduce the overall stickiness of it, provided you get it really clean during steps 1 and 2. If you don’t, it’ll only aggravate the situation, not fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      I would follow jrhmobile’s thinking, just take it a few steps further.

      ONE – DETAILING
      Take the car to a professional detailer.
      Have them detail the inside and outside.
      It is amazing how good that can make you feel about a car!
      It’s NEW all over again!

      TWO – WHEELS/TIRES
      Go to: http://www.tirerack.com/index.jsp
      (TireRack)
      Punch in your vehicle information and then select “wheels”.
      Look at the size tires you have now. Then “Plus” size the rims one inch larger from what you have today. They give you a link with each wheel you select to find the recommended tire size to fit your car.
      Consider a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S.
      Better yet, get a set of Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2 for spring through fall and run a set of separate snow tires on the old rims for winter.
      That should cost you around $1200 shipped to your door ready to install.
      You will be amazed how much more fun your drive will become. Go “plus” 2 inches if your local roads are not pot holed.

      THREE – TUNES
      Install a nice stereo system

      That should take care of old syndrome versus new for the next few years. During that time research your sports car replacement!
      Yay on the Mustang!

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Definitely disagree on the Pilot A/S. Outside of the cheap Chinese crap, these are probably the worst tires I have experience with. I get more customer complaints that are caused by these tires than any other. They cause tire pulls. The tread wears strangely and fall apart. They are noisy. The performance isn’t very good for the price. And like all other Michelins, they dry rot in about 4 years. There are many tires, that are more affordable, and better in just about every metric.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        +1 on detailing and new wheels and tires.

        In addition, I bet you can pick up a nice set of used 4 lug wheels for a 6th generation 4 cylinder Accord pretty easy. The 5th generation Accords and the oldest 6th generation ones are headed to the crusher and the newer Hondas use 5 lug wheels. Considering the lack of sound insulation in this car, I’d look for relatively quiet tires.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Oh that one was a goodie:

    “The replacement probably has to be new. Wifey hates used cars…something about having to deal with other people’s problems and dirt. She claims she’s open to the CPO route, but usually she finds something wrong. Seems like many of these off-lease cars were formerly smokers’ cars, and she’s insanely sensitive to any odors, even after intensive detailing. Fortunately, she’s not affected by the toxic gasses leeching out of the plastic on brand-new vehicles. But I digress.

    “90% of the time she’s using it for normal soccer mom duties, hauling our little ones aged 5 and 7. It has to be an SUV/CUV. My love has always wanted a truck and has been denied her whole life, so the idea of a jacked-up station wagon appeals to her very much. And please, 4WD/AWD only—apparently it’s necessary for all those 2-3 in snowfalls Chicago is famous for. Towing isn’t much of an issue, since there are no 10,000 pound boats to tow in my future, for now.”

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/new-or-used-a-truck-for-my-love/

  • avatar
    kosmo

    If the budget allows, life is too short to drive 13 year old cars. 12 year old is OK, though!

    Once you get done with the fantasy cars that won’t work (and I hear you on the Mustang GT, buddy) add the Mazda CX-5 with the 2.5L engine to your list.

    You’re in no hurry. Drive lots of cars, it’s fun if you let your sales guy know up front that you intend this to be fun, and take a few months. Don’t go on the busiest days.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      The usefulness of an older car (that you’ve had since new) will never be properly compensated in any transaction. Keep it; don’t EVER trade in. You will regret it in seven years when Junior wraps your 7-year old dream car around a tree.

      Seriously, find yourself a nice car or trucklet that you like, buy it outright, and keep the old car around. It costs you nothing other than minimal insurance and registration, you can spread miles over three cars. And when one car goes in for repair, inspection, etc., you can leave it there and come back to get it when you feel like it!

      A 16-year old sibling totalled 4 cars in 7 years. These things happen…

      • 0 avatar
        DrSandman

        Oh, and second the CX-5 (friend’s car) and Jeep Grand Cherokee (wife’s car) as just inherently good cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Dweller on the Threshold

        “The usefulness of an older car (that you’ve had since new) will never be properly compensated in any transaction.”

        Not so sure this is true about a 4 cyl, 6th gen. Accord. The legend of their reliability is such that you have an item for which the used car market is prepared to overpay (if you will allow me to define “overpay” in comparison to similarly situated other used cars of nearly identical functionality).

        I actually think the value to the owner of this sort of older Accord is about par with other similar used cars. But the market thinks these things are just super-duper.

        If you can afford to keep it up, great. But the thing is dated and does have likely very good marketability. I say test the waters and be ready to capture that excess value with a shockingly high OBO Craigslist ad.

        I don’t think a new Accord is where you want to go, but that’s a different problem.

        • 0 avatar
          DrSandman

          Hmmm. You’re right. Should not have used “Never”.

          I personally have just always regretted getting rid of a car when I was not forced to by financial circumstances.

          Buy low & sell high, then.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        You will regret it in seven years when Junior wraps your 7-year old dream car around a tree.

        Give him the beater and then you can drive behind his herse in your dream car.

        Wouldn’t you want the most inexperienced driver in the safest car?

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I believe a 2001 Accord is still a reasonably safe car tbh, even if the number of airbags have increased a lot since then. If it’s a 4cylinder it’s not the most likely car to end up wrapped around a three, I prefer to have unexperienced drivers driving the slowest cars available at all times :P

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      I’ve been thinking about the CX-5. I know for certain that it’s not going to be a Chrylser 300C. I had one the other day as a rental. Drove great, even with the 3.6 Pentastar. But I hated the pillbox visibility. My kids couldn’t even see out the windows. And the trunk was way too small for a car that size.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    People get new vehicles for various legimate reasons: their life situation changes (a long commute for a new job, for example), or for economic reasons (replacing a gas-guzzler/garage-queen with something more efficient/reliable), or because of safety or utlity concerns (a new baby). That said, it’s almost always more economically prudent to keep an older car on the road as long as it meets your needs. The fiscal curmudgeons that regularly post here will painfully remind you of that.

    But if you are an automotive enthusiast (and I have no idea if you are), you tend to look at these things a little differently. If we are lucky, we have driving careers than will span 60 to 65 years at the most. If I buy a reliable but boring Honda Civic every 20 years, I will look back at all the money I saved, but will feel my interest in cars and their related technology will have passed me by. For the appliance point-a-to-point-b crowd, this may be perfectly acceptable. More power to them, but that is not me.

    It sounds like you might have the stirrings of automotive passion with a desire for a V8 rear-wheel drive manual transmission car. Your Accord has served you well for twelve years. That’s a very reasonable life span for a car. As long as you have the financial means (you are religiously putting away money for retirement and your kid’s education as a top priority), then the time is indeed right to find something fulfill your dream.

    Chysler, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford, and GM make all kinds of interesting cars that can be considered in this category, particularly if you might consider a 6 as well. Manual transmissions do make it a little more challenging and you might have to place a factory order as dealers are reluctant to stock them these days. But finding a Mustang GT or Dodge Challenger configured that way will be a bit easier.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Bravo. Great post. I probably will switch out cars every 3 to 5 years until I can’t drive anymore. I just love cars.

      I don’t understand the person who buys one brand / one model of car and the newer version of it over and over, then proceeds to tell me how it is the best, even though they have never seen the inside of a competitor’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Years ago driving a car into the ground was the lowest cost option but with modern cars that just isn’t the case anymore. This car needs to be got rid of now if the goal is to minimize costs. Buying a 2-3 year old car and keeping it for 2-3 years is the cheap option now. The idea is to get rid of it before it needs a $1000+ service, $600 worth of tires, or other big $ outlay that doesn’t add to the resale value of the car.

  • avatar
    vvk

    13 mile commute… Nissan Leaf? Focus Electric? BMW i3?

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Wait a minute, the all great and CR darling Honda Accord has had 3 transmissions and everyone tells me my Audi is unreliable?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      When it comes to Hondas transmissions don’t count.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        But only the ones covered under warranty don’t count, and guaranteed replacements that had to be replaced under warranty soon after installation also don’t count, so technically, Matt’s still on his first transmission!

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          Honda screwed up big time on the design of some of their automatic transmissions, but they extended the warranty period and ate the cost of replacing lots of them. They also deserve criticism for the built-in not replaceable transmission filter and their unique, expensive but not that robust automatic transmission fluid. Fluid changes every two years and an external filter in the cooling line help.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Fred, your Audi would be unreliable if a Honda had needed six transmissions. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      I’ve pretty much given up trying to make the point that VAG has made steady progress in regards to improving long term reliability as per Consumer Reports and JD Powers over the past seven years. I get accused of being a “VW apologist” or “fanboy” and then inevitably have to endure a sad tale about a late 90s/early 00s Passat/New Beetle/Jetta/Golf that done them wrong and they will never forgive VW for. As they say, haters gonna hate.

      I have two VWs and three Hondas in my garage right now. One of the Hondas and one VW have been flawless — not one single issue. The other VW and one Honda have had exactly one mechanical failure each over six years. The last Honda is 15 years old and it’s had numerous issues in the past two years, but I expect that for a car of such age and mileage. As Michael Karesh keeps pointing out, all cars nowadays are remarkably reliable and the spread of ratings means a difference of one mechanical issue a year for the least reliable ones, on average, to once every two years for the brands at the top of the ratings.

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskerDaVinci

        I went with a friend to help him shop for VW’s a few months ago. I was surprised at how many of the cars had dead pixels, sometimes entire rows of them, on the various displays. We’re talking new cars too, not poorly maintained, used up crap fests.

        I also maintain that VAG has improved reliability in many ways, but in other ways they still seem to be way behind. Dead pixels are very strange and borderline unacceptable in large numbers. An entire row is just ridiculous when it came off the truck last week haha.

        • 0 avatar

          I went with a check in hand to buy a Golf TDI and left empty handed due to the dealership wanting to up-sell me a Passat. Out of 5 of the local VW Dealerships (within 300 mile radius) none were worth my time. If it is that hard to buy one, how hard is it to get service done?

          VAG truly is a nightmare.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Old Honda autos are POS glassboxes. Manuals are bulletproof until modded.

    • 0 avatar
      salguod

      That era Honda automatics were flawed, though that usually applies more to the V6 models. Find a long time owner of a late 90s through mid 2000s Accord, Odyssey or TL that hasn’t had a transmission replacement and you’ll find a lucky man. No one I know has been so lucky. My ’99 Odyssey needed new transmissions at 40K and 125K, both paid for by Honda.

      Honda recognized the flaw (something to do with a gear not getting proper oiling) and extended the trans warranty to 100K. Many owners, like myself, got good will coverage well past that.

      • 0 avatar
        schen72

        My 1999 TL (purchased new) currently has 245,000 miles and is on its original transmission. It’s the 4speed.

        • 0 avatar
          salguod

          You are a lucky man. I can think of at least 8 different friends’ Accords, TLs and Odysseys of that era (V6, 4 speed auto) that have had transmission issues.

          My Odyssey was the best vehicle I’ve owned, aside from the transmission troubles.

  • avatar
    redav

    “To make a long story short, it wasn’t pretty for me.”

    I think he might be exaggerating a bit about that.

  • avatar
    kenc42

    OK, I feel uniquely qualified to answer this question because this time last year I was in a very similar spot.

    I have a 02 accord ex with leather, it is currently nearing 250k, but I have a manual transmission and the only thing I have ever done to the car is maintenance.

    I was ready to junk the car and get something new, its noisy, I have to connect my phone to the radio using one of those tape things, half the speakers are blown, I hated it.

    Instead I went to consumer reports and found the best priced tires that were rated at the lowest db and had them put on. Then I got an alpine bluethooth head unit and 4 infinity speakers. I think it was about $1300 for tires and stereo stuff (I also put in an inline amp and a controller so I could keep using the steering wheel controls).

    Its amazing, the car is quiet, Ive got better technology then most new cars, and mine actually works.

    I plan to take the car to at least 300k because it still gets 30 MPG constantly and only costs me about 1 service visit a year.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I wonder how many people are driving cars they think are on their last legs, when all they need is new tires? Add filter and fluid changes and detailing, and they might not recognize the car!

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      You, sir, are my hero.

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      I was actually considering this approach recently. Spent some time over at Crutchfield pricing out audio options. It’s definitely a viable option, and would probably get me a few more years of enjoyment out of the car. But eventually, I’ll have to part with the Accord (I’m a keeper, but not one of those guys that drives a ’69 Dart until the day I die). I just have to decide when to cut the cord.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Two suggestions. Tell shorter stories, I don’t have all day to read this. The second, as always, the answer is a used Lexus.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Since you didn’t read the whole thing but decided to post your recommendation anyway, he desires a rear wheel drive V8 with manual transmission. Not too many used Lexi fill that requirement, as in none.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      You forgot option 3: keep the Accord (for now) and get a used Miata (or similar) for fun.

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      Probably long-winded, yes. But I’m just a common schmuck, which is why I’m sending an email to an advice column and not authoring a column here at TTAC.

      I can most certainly confirm LeeK’s sentiments: the answer is definitely not a used Lexus. I’d be looking for something with more excitement, not less.

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        Obviously another case where irreverence just doesn’t translate across the medium. I am chastened by the responses!

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Next time, remember to put /sarc at the end, whether you’re attempting sarcasm, cynicism, hyperbole, or humor of any stripe. As the recently departed Peter O’Toole said in “My Favorite Year”, “Dying is easy. Humor is hard.”

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Would a G37 tickle your fancy? You could still get a RWD sedan/stick, and while it’s no V8, it still pumps a good 300+ HP.

        I wish I could recommend a Pontiac G8 GXP, but their prices still haven’t come down to reality, especially for a car discontinued almost 5 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskerDaVinci

      A used Lexus isn’t the answer for people who want a car with excitement. Not really in many ways anymore, quality is iffy, safety is iffy, reliability is iffy, etc. They aren’t the best anymore. I love luxury cars, and Lexus is never the answer for me, nor for many people I know.

      If you’re going to take the time out of your day to make a recommendation, at least see what they’re looking for so that your suggestion can be in ballpark, instead of coming across like an incredibly biased person :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Where is quality, safety, and reliability at these days in the luxo arena in your opinion? If I was going to pony up the dough for a so called luxury car Lexus would be the first I would visit due to the durability of past models, I’m surprised to hear otherwise.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Keep the Accord and buy the car you want. Look, you sound like someone who enjoys cars. Your time on this earth is limited. When the bell tolls for thee, make sure that you’ve done those things which give you joy (of course I’m not speaking of things that are illegal or immoral).

    There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting a new car. You’re in a position financially to do it so I don’t see the problem.

    The S550 Mustang looks like a keeper. Reserve a space in your garage.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    If you have the means, bail on the Accord and look for a newer car with a manual RWD V8.

    You got some cash? 06 LS2 CTS-V
    You got a LOT of cash? Gen II CTS-V Sedan w/ Manual

    Also: G8 GXP, BMW 550i / 545i (E60) if you are brave, etc.

    If there is a will, there is a way.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I think the wheels, tires and tunes idea is great. Even if you still decide to off-load the old beast, your ride will be front line ready to trade or sell. It will pay you back, regardless of the final outcome.

  • avatar
    Reino

    You can definitely keep a 13 year old car if its styling has aged well, but 6th gen Accords have not. Their style looks obviously ‘old’ on the road. The 7th gen–on the other hand–still looks pretty good, so I plan to keep mine for a while. But once modern styling makes it look outdated, I’ll get rid of it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …I can’t really say anything bad about it. Sure, it’s on its 3rd transmission, but two of those failures were within months of each other, and since the last one was put in about 7-8 years ago, I’ve not had any problems…

    /facepalm

    Three trannies in 110K miles and 12 years but there is nothing to complain about. The confrimational bias of car owners (guilty as charged, admit I’m throwing rocks in a glass house) is just stunning to me.

    This just isn’t a rational view and goes back to the old saying, “when it runs it’s a great car!”

    • 0 avatar
      Dweller on the Threshold

      Precisely right. But the excuse-making that Accord-lovers indulge in is a phenomenon that the OP can use to exploit the market value, which is out of whack with value to the owner.

      See my post above, and the comments here tend to illustrate my point.

      People will pay too much to acquire these things. But their real value to their owners is nothing special.

      Sell it.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Statistically it is a reasonably ‘cheap’ car to own, and it was still reasonably lightweight and had a decent suspension back then. With people being more and more obsessed with style, power and fashion, the fact that an ‘ugly(or at least boring)’ and ‘slow’ car like the 6th gen Accord is ‘overpriced’ is most likely for completely rational reasons. I’m not a huge fan of the car itself, but I think it’s a ‘better’ choice than many other 12-13 year old sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      aycaramba

      Disclaimer: I’m the author.

      I’m not quite sure that basing a buy/sell decision on 7-8 years of flawless performance is an irrational view. I’ve managed about 90,000 miles on the current tranny. Sure, there’s always the question about whether this one will fail, but I’d say its reliability has been acceptable at this point.

      Now, back when the tranny was failing, there was plenty to complain about. But I was also under warranty back then, so I had incentive to just stick with the car through its extended 7-year/100K mile transmission warranty.

      Honestly though, since then, nothing has really gone wrong with it. The thing has been dead reliable and durable, and that’s what makes the decision so difficult for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Dweller on the Threshold

        Dude. The fact that it’s working OK right now is the very key to selling it. Makes no sense whatsoever to enter the market when the car has a serious problem (tires and battery excepted — replace those if you need to).

        I just think your end game is too far into the future for a car of this age. Let someone else crucify it to the last breath. You’ve already made clear that you don’t have to be that guy. Why would you want to be that guy?

        I get it — you want to milk all the value you can. But that can be done more than one way — you can milk it dry yourself, true, or you can use the market to gain that value through sale.

        Just be sure to ask way too much for it.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          Well, as someone who always thinks I’m a keeper when I buy a car, then replace them out of boredom after 18months, it does make sense to ‘milk it’ while it’s still working fine. But how many other cars are there to choose from in todays market that are reasonably fun and reliable?(genuine question, not retorical)

        • 0 avatar
          aycaramba

          This is a valid point. But I’m not sure I would characterize my actions as having much of a strategy. I honestly haven’t thought that much about it.

          Basically:
          1) The loan has been paid off for 10 years
          2) It’s working fine, and I’m willing to bet that it will continue to do so with no major expenses for the next 2-3 years.
          3) It rides well, it cheap to operate and meets my needs very well
          4) If it blows up and I can only sell it for scrap, it won’t ruin me financially
          5) I like the car, but am bored with it
          6) If I replace it, I know that the excitement won’t last

          So yeah, selling now–especially if I can get someone to overpay a bit for it is probably a good strategy. But the more I think about it, maybe I’ll just keep it and get something fun for the summer. Or maybe a better motorcyle.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            See, for me, a keeper would have to be a particularly nice car that I know would look good in ten or fifteen years and would still be running. An 2007 Lexus LS 460 would be a prime candidate. Lexuses hold up really well. A friend of ours bought a new Lexus GX 470 back in 2004, and it’s in wonderful condition…and the leather still exudes a nice smell. If I wanted to be daring, I might also consider hanging onto something like a 2004-09 Jaguar XJ.

          • 0 avatar
            Dweller on the Threshold

            “So yeah, selling now–especially if I can get someone to overpay a bit for it is probably a good strategy. But the more I think about it, maybe I’ll just keep it….”

            Well, that is permitted. But it reminds me why I normally charge for my advice.

            Now go check out miata.net.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Disclaimer: I’m the guy who was in a similar situation with my beater Saturn a few weeks back. I put a trans in it and I will probably to continue to dump money into it until it becomes economically non-viable, avgs 30mpg at the moment 70/30 hwy/city.

        I may have some insight on this to share aside from the Saturn. I have a co-worker who until three weeks ago had pristine 01 Accord LX I4/auto bought new and garaged its whole life. Somehow it recently developed an exhaust leak and had always had odd OBDII issues every inspection and a cat was recommended by the Honda dealer (but it always passed so he ignored it). Cost to do the exhaust and cat was estimated at $1,000. He buys his wife a new Oddy and takes her 03 as his DD, but rejects their trade offer of $1250 on the 01 Accord and wants to sell it outright. I shopped it around in the neighborhood of the KBB value of $1800 at two of the lots I know, no takers with the repairs and I was told even if there were no repairs needed there wasn’t much money to be made there and they still were not interested around this price. So I call up my good friend in Butler Co. where inexplicably people are Honda freaks and there is no emissions testing. First question: “Well is it a stick?”. Evidently even the Hondaphiles aren’t too interested if its an automatic. He said with a stick he’d buy it himself for kicks but as an auto with repairs, he could get $800-900 tops, leaving price margin for new de-catted exaust and put $2500 on it retail. I have to be honest I was shocked by this I thought everyone and their mother would be all over clean one owner Jap-scrap but the times they have changed. My co-worker ended up dumping it on a BHPH lot for $1600 after his guy did something to it to temporarily drown out the loud exhaust noise.

        The lesson I learned is although my POS looks like a $500 car, evidently even much nicer condition and higher models of the period really do not go for much more, so unless you’re in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia where junkyard grade cars still go for low four figures, run yours into the ground because you’re not going to get much out of it in trade or CL sale.

        Additional: I feel you on the “looking for a change” vibe, but old auto Accord to new auto Accord really itsn’t going to be that much different in the grand scheme of things. Transverse I4 FWD is pretty much as generic as it gets from the look and feel standpoint. If you said “well I need a truck”, or “I need a people mover” or “I’ve always wanted a fast car/small roadster” I would understand. But old bland to new bland doesn’t make as much sense to me as buying a car of a different type for a specific reason. Only in the dollars and sense department does it make sense in my mind to buy a newer version of the same car.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Calculate exactly how much replacing the Accord with a newer car (TSX 2007′ish, MT, buy on cars condition, not mileage, it’s still a Honda) would cost you, then start using that money on your current car to modernize and improve it. Having it detailed has been recommended before, and I’ll +1 that. Your son is gonna love it to bits a few years from now, and you don’t need to get into an argument with him like you did with your wife the last time you asked us for advice…

  • avatar
    deanst

    Get an old/ interesting/ impractical car and keep the accord. Something like an old sc300 – and you can use the accord when the other car is not practical / needing repairs etc.

    I find looking/thinking about a new car more interesting than driving the new car – after the initial thrill wears off. I’m a keeper too, so you quickly come to the realization that your new car will be kept for 10 plus years, and you won’t be buying another new car anytime soon. Much more fun to have an old or expensive car, knowing you can justify a new car at any time!

    The best reason to sell the accord is if you have kids- your wife will soon ban the kids from driving in your old jalopy.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskerDaVinci

      Newer cars don’t really turn into jalopies if maintained. I’ve always heard safety cited as why people ban their kids from driving a parent’s older car. But an 01 Accord is actually quite safe, even by today’s standards. It’ll still be safe when their son turns 16. An 01 Accord is a lot different than almost anything that most would call a jalopy today.

      As long as they keep it mechanically sound, it’d be fine. No reason to bury it before it’s dead.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    13 mile commute? Mustang V-6 with 300 HP for around 23K.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    There is inherent value in a paid-for Accord that is nowhere near the end of its useful life; however it sounds to me like you’ve got a dream for something else, something more performance-oriented. And sometimes the pleasure of driving something you love and can comfortably afford will outweigh the pleasure of being frugal and not having a car note. If you keep the Accord and the Highlander, you’ll have plenty of room to get something impractical…like a Mustang GT. And those seem to be pretty preservable, too, so that could start the next chapter of your “twelve-year-old keeper” book.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I had a 2001 Volvo S60 since new, and sold it with 112k on the clock for much the same reasons. It was a bit nicer than an EX Accord, but only a NA 5 cylinder, and got good mileage. Still, you are only on this earth a short time, and if it causes you no financial hardship (don’t be stupid with your money), then upgrade. You didn’t mention finances, but I look at it this way, if you can upgrade and pay cash, do it. If you can upgrade on a short 1-2 year near zero interest loan, probably do it. If you need a 5 year loan with real interest, don’t do it.

    Definitely consider CPO, which may allow you to fit a more enjoyable vehicle (Tacoma given your thoughts on pickups) into the budget. I wouldn’t worry about your son. I wouldn’t give my 16 year old a 20 year old car of debatable reliability. You can buy a newer civic (but maybe 10 years old) in 7 years.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    I’m confused as to why your car needed a new trans? Anyways I digress, from your drivig habits, it appears you don’t need a need a car. I do think you want a new car and are bored of the Accord. Financially if you can swing it, get a new car and something that will keep you indulged. Most appliance-esque cars do get boring to most as time progresses. I think you should keep the Accord until repairs get too pricey and then buy a new car.

    Also regarding your interior UV damage and rims, I’ve had 13 year old cars with perfect interiors and rims (sans curb rash). Id suggest you check out some detailing forums or get it detailed. Try a diluted solution of APC to clean your dash and that will remove all the grime and some UV damage. Then follow up with a GOOD interior cleaner such as 303 aerospace protectant, Meguairs or Mothers that contains UV protectants and aren’t shiny like Armor All…

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Early 2000′s Hondas were notorious for glass transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not an expert on the subject but Honda offered two auto transmissions in the period, a 4spd in I4 and V6 until 1999, and then a 5spd in V6 only from 2000 onward to its redesign in 2004. The 5spd is the more problematic of the two.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Hemi, Honda automatic transmissions use gears that look like a manual instead of the usual planetary gears in an automatic. Simple, but the clutches are smaller diameter with less surface area. As cars got bigger and heavier and engines got more powerful, the design wasn’t up to the task. They also had some problems getting enough fluid to some of the gears. More heat causes the automatic transmission fluid to break down faster. Degraded ATF and wear particles clog up the internal filter causing reduced fluid flow and even more heat and wear. Eventually the transmission fails.

  • avatar

    And if you knew you’d be dead in two years, then what? Drive the old one because what’s the point, or buy a GT500 because you might as well?
    There’s a balance in life that has to be maintained. You could keep a car going forever (wiki: Cuba Chevrolet), but at some point life has to be enjoyed. Variety and all that. I like change; you learn from change. A refrigerator is to be used; not enjoyed. Keep it as long as it’ll go. A car is be enjoyed while being used. And if you hang out on TTAC, then I’ll assume you’re similar.

    If the love is gone, sell it. Find a new love. Enjoy the change; you’ve probably earned it.

  • avatar
    Loser

    Go and drive all the vehicles that interest you. You may find one that you “can’t live without” or find that none really do anything for you. Nothing to lose by shopping, might decide to just keep the Honda after weighing your options. You won’t know until you look. Life is too short, enjoy it.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Good advice. I test drove the new Accord when thinking about replacing my 540. The idea was a cheap, practical car that would remain cheap to run as it aged. I decided it was boring and couldn’t see myself paying $24k for it. I did replace the 540, but with an old 3-series.

      Buy what you like, so long as it fits your budget. Maybe you will find a must-have new car, but it is just as likely that you don’t think any are worth the money.

      Speaking of 540s, you could try an E39. Just be sure to find a reliable mechanic. Maybe hang on to the Accord as a backup in that case.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    Go shop around for whatever your dream car may be. Buy said dream car but keep the Accord around for a backup vehicle, just use it once a week for your commute to keep the battery good, gas fresh etc. If it blows up, so be it, you scrap it or sell it then. If it lasts, it will be a boring, albeit relatively safe and reliable, appliance for you kids to learn to drive with (I wish I had a 10 year old, hell a 20 year old Accord vs the Chevy Metro I learned on).

    In the meantime, live it up with the your dream car, one commute at a time.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    If the car in question were a GM or Chrysler, most of you guys would be screaming about what kind of steaming pile of crap the car is because it’s on it’s third transmission. But it’s a Honda, so therefore it must have been engineered to fail on purpose.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I was in a similar situation with a 2004 TL that I bought new. Nothing was wrong with it, but 9 years is a long time. At the 7-year mark, I went with a nice set of +1 wheels, Potenzas, and an ipod hookup, but the itch for a V8 returned. The TL was a great car, but I was shocked at how much it fetched on craigslist (it was a stick).

    If you’re really on the fence, put it up for sale for stupid money and see if anybody cares… just be prepared to rent something for a few weeks while you find your next car.

  • avatar
    AllThumbs

    How about this plan?

    1) Buy the best car you can for $1000 on craigslist (by “best” I mean the one you want most that is inspected and sounds reasonably reliable). Put $1500 in the search field and assume you’ll find something you like for $1000 or less. (It works if you’re patient. I’ve bought four cars under $2500 in the past three years and still have them all.)

    2) Sell your car. I imagine you’d get $2000 for it easily in Chicago right now.

    3) Drive your “new” not-so-great-but-interesting-to-you car until you decide what to do.

    Maybe you sell it and buy a brand new car. Maybe you sell it and buy another cheapo. Either way, you maximize the value of the car you’re n longer in love with, give yourself a driver, and buy some time with $1000 saved.


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