Piston Slap: Relationship Advice, Accord Vs. Panther Love?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Scott writes:

I am a regular TTAC reader and have a question that I hope you can shed some light on. Currently my wife and I own a 2004 Accord with about 100,000 miles and in good shape and a 1993 Grand Marquis with about 90,000 miles which is also in good shape for its age – according to my mechanic we can get at least two more years with basic maintenance. I commute to work in the G. Marquis every day about 50 miles round trip and my wife put 15-20,000 miles per year on the Accord for her job (her Gas is reimbursed at 50 cents / mile).

My wife wants a new car (SUV-we’re thinking FLEX) and I would get the Accord thinking we move up in fleet reliability with more room to tote around a toddler, a large dog, and related items. The Accord has trade in value ($8,500 – $9,500 according to KBB) and the G. Marquis does not ($875-$1,100 according to KBB).

I think it makes more sense to keep the Grand Marquis as long as we can and trade in the Honda considering its value. My wife disagrees. What do you think?

Sajeev Answers:

Your wife probably hates your car. Which obviously breaks my heart.

And takes me down memory lane: years ago I told my girlfriend that I’d love her far more if she bought a new Mercury Grand Marquis (MGM) for the same price as the compacts she wanted. And since she restricted herself to USA-only brands, she wasn’t looking at the fun, refined and cheerful little shitboxes! I forced her to sit in an ice blue MGM, looking ready to knee me in the crotch. Needless to say, Panther Love foretold of a short and painful relationship that time ‘round.

So anyway…your lady needs to wake up and smell the Panther Love. If not for Love, for Money.

Panther’s are not terribly valuable on public perception alone, justified and otherwise. Their resale isn’t great in the dealer trade-in market, either. Craigslist will get you a few more bucks, but the Accord is the one for the money. And who knows, you might be one of the “lucky” folks with a grenaded Honda transaxle, especially if this is a V6 model. Not that an early 90’s MGM is the symbol of mechanical perfection, but worn valve seals (at well over 100k) and any other malady that comes from old age is probably no big thang. That’s mostly because I trust your assessment, and the word of your local wrench.

So if I can trust you, why can’t your wife? Did I just go there?

Because that’s what I would throw back at her, to see if she’s gonna play ball. I just think she wants to keep the Accord over the MGM, dollar saving be damned. Considering your next ride will be very similar to the configuration/layout of the Honda, the MGM is both a better value and a fantastic way to spice up the action in your garage. Provided your wife is more automotively-forgiving than my ex.

If that’s what you really want. Back to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Wstarvingteacher Wstarvingteacher on Sep 28, 2011

    Nothing says crapshoot quite like guessing which used car is going to crap out first. If you go as your wife says there isn't any need for analysis. Just do as she says. If you do what you want, you need to hope you are right. If she holds a grudge you need another type of counselor. As for the cars, I have had a lemon honda and a great 86 TC. The towne car lasted 280,000 miles and was still running great when we traded on something else. It didn't look like an old car. It nickeled and dimed on small stuff but I think the 5.0 was about as highly developed when they quit making it as an engine could be. The overdrive automatic was still original and not slipping. Same running gear as an F150, I suppose. You can't go back but I sure wouldn't mind seeing it in my driveway again. Nobody has a better clue than you do as to what you need to do. I wish you luck

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Sep 29, 2011

      If they are similar cars then yes it's a crap shoot, but comparing a GM to an Accord and it's easy to know that the GM will go twice as far for half the repair and maintenance cost of an Accord.

  • Thornmark Thornmark on Sep 29, 2011

    Panther transmissions are the worst. Rented a Panther in Naples last year and the transmission blewup on the highway. I didn't notice the white smoke out the back. The policeman who picked me up said that their transmissions lasted only 50,000 miles and that were happy to see the Panthers' demise. In the long run, the Accord will cost less to own, which is why it's worth so much more afterall.

  • Aja8888 Folks, this car is big enough to live in. Dual deal: house and car for $7 large.
  • Astigmatism I don't think tax credits will put me in this league, but if I could swing it, I would 1000% go for a restomod EV Grand Wagoneer: https://www.thedrive.com/news/you-can-buy-an-electric-80s-jeep-grand-wagoneer-for-295000
  • FreedMike I like the looks of the Z, but I'd take the Mustang. V8s are a disappearing breed.
  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
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