By on June 2, 2015

 

Civic_Pride_Delche

Baby Don’t Hurt Me. (photo courtesy: OP)

Chris writes:

Hello Sajeev,

Like many of the people who write to you, I am having trouble deciding if I should keep my current car or trade it in for a new one.

I currently own a 2010 Honda Civic EX-L with 140,000 miles. It has been the single most reliable car I have ever owned. I keep it meticulously maintained and generally change its oil every 6 to 8 weeks. Otherwise, I have only paid for a set of brakes and new tires.

A week ago, I test drove a brand new Honda Accord Touring and fell in love. The dealership has offered me an excellent deal that includes trading in my Civic. My dilemma is that I feel an allegiance to the Civic. The car has the soul of a toaster and is not exciting to drive, but like a trusty horse, it gets me everywhere I want to go without any complaints. The Civic will eventually need repairs as it approaches 200K but I feel like I would be letting it down by trading it away. On the other hand, I can easily afford the payments for the Accord, but I generally try to avoid debt.

What should I do Sajeev? Should I cut the Civic loose and replace it or keep on driving until she can carry me no more?

Sajeev answers:

Define that moment you “fell in love” with the new Accord.  Love can be fleeting and loyalties/commitments break shortly afterwards.

Also consider the information given after that statement of love. I question your resolve: you feel like you’re letting down your Civic? You generally try to avoid debt?

No way are you in the game for a new car. Considering the mileage and your (rather aggressive) maintenance routine, the Civic is worth more to you than anyone else. Keep it until the repairs cost more than its value on the open market…or to you. Right now big-ticket repairs like transmissions, rust damage, blown head gasket, etc. are the only reasons you’ll change your course.

If that resonates with you, run with it.

[Photo courtesy of reader]

Send your queries to [email protected]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: Dear Honda, What is Love?...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “No way are you in the game for a new car.”

    This. If Chris is as prudent and meticulous as he sounds, he’ll have permanent regrets about “wasting” the remaining life in that Civic. I think his question is 60K miles premature.

    And I too anthropomorphize my cars and feel a personal debt for all the cumulative effort and genius that gives us Hondas. They’re manifesting the cultural soul of their makers.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      60K – I think more 110K premature. Should be no reason give the aggressive maintenance and I’m guessing mostly highway miles at speed that the Civic won’t see 250K miles without major issues – that’s about 4 more years before it’s ready for a second home.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Good point on the highway mileage. How else can you rack up close to 36,000 miles a year? That comes to 3,000 miles a month, so 6-8 week oil changes at 5k-6k miles isn’t all that aggressive.

        One thing I noticed about my high highway mileage cars is that tires, suspension bits, and transmission fluid need to be monitored more closely than oil. Running highway speeds in hot weather without a transmission intercooler can really bite.

        OTOH, the one car I regret selling had the most character, and the most reliable car I had, for the longest time, made me as sentimental for it as an old jockstrap the last few years I owned it.

    • 0 avatar
      Giltibo

      A month or two ago, I fell in love too! With a younger version of my present mount (A San Marino Red Accord Coupe K24 5MT – 142 000km as of now).

      I was offered also a good amount for my trade-in…

      Then I thought to myself: What does my mount need to feel almost as new?

      The answer I came up with was the following: A set of new tires, a brake job, a lightbulb in the left fog light, and a detailing.

      The car has been (boringly) reliable, spins like a top, and does not show a single sign of needing any major repair anytime soon.

      So I’m gonna keep my dear Marilyn for another coupe years, if I can!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Even if you do love the current Accord, it should still exist in its current form when you roll over 200k, assuming you continue to rack up miles at your current rate. Can you wait an extra couple years to make essentially the same deal you have planned for now? I won’t say that’s the best decision to make, but it at least seems like a question to ask yourself.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I drove a 1990 Civic LX sedan for 17 years and 250,000 miles, and the only reason I got rid of it was because, as Sajeev mentioned, forthcoming repairs due to normal wear and tear would exceed the value of the vehicle. Even though the Honda had a fairly rough life (bashing around construction sites and hauling engineering equipment), the car was extremely reliable despite the fact that I didn’t maintain it as meticulously as Chris’ maintenance routine. Nothing broke or fell off.

    I agree with Sajeev. Chris should keep the Civic as long as there is love for it. The Accord will still be around in one form or another when it comes time for a trade.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I always liked the 88-91 (last of the “square” ones) more than the 92 and later (first “jelly bean” ones). Not just because of the styling (although the flat roof in the older ones made for more useable interior room) but more because I liked the earlier engine. The 92 had more horsepower but harsher mechanical noise (from higher valve lift, I suspect) and they seemed to need to rev a bit higher in city driving. The 91 and earlier 1.5L engine purred at idle and drove nicer.

      JMHO

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        As the former owner of a D15B2 equipped, automatic (sob) Civic Wagon in high school, I was always scheming on at least upgrading my poor little 92hp 1.5L to sequential fuel injection by way of installing the intake manifold and injectors (and associated wiring) onto my lowly throttle body injected beast, not to mention a manual transmission swap. I hated the lag in the accelerator pedal which I always assumed was inherent to the method of fuel delivery. It was a sewing machine smooth motor, to give credit where it was due. My friend with a ’95 Corolla with the ‘big block’ 1.8L could easily walk me from a light, as could another friend with a ’98 Sentra with the venerable GA16DE 1.6L. All of the cars were automatics…(wish I had an emoticon for a facepalm right now).

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I’d definitely sell the Civic. My inclination generally is to not push my luck. If I got 140,000 trouble-free miles, I’d mostly be amazed, but I’d also worry that an eventual large failure would require substantial money to set right (before selling it). I’d rather avoid that dilemma. Finally and more importantly, the new Accord would have all the latest safety equipment missing in the Civic. If it’s no economic burden, I’d say go while the going’s good.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      That’s a good argument and it’s my general orientation, too, but this *is* a Honda. I don’t think expecting 200K with constant, fastidious maintenance is much of a gamble.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It’s a 2010 Honda – so toward the end of the prior generation. That is generally going to be bullet proof by that point. Safety gear hasn’t moved THAT far since 2010 and the Civic was already a safe cage to drive.

      Basically what they’re missing is the backup camera (unless optioned) which isn’t a huge issue in the Civic (you can actually see out the back window) and maybe stability control. It also might not do as well in the aggressive IIHS offset crash test. That’s about it.

      Airbags are airbags (oh wait, Claymore mine in the steering wheel likely), the fundamental brakes and suspension haven’t changed, nor many of the chassis hard points.

      There is only a handful of 2010 vehicles you could buy that would be a big question mark at 140K miles. For most, this is well worn in – the AC was always wonky on the Civics when new, that’s the only big expensive failure I could see.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yes, that Takata recall seems to be expanding. Don’t know how late into the 8th-Gens it goes.

        • 0 avatar
          Giltibo

          The Takata recall does not extend into the 8th Generation. 01-05 only. The driver side airbag in the 8-9th Gen. is made by Autoliv. (Takata makes the SCABs and Passenger / Seat Airbags, as well as the seatbelts)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    YOLO. The Civic doesn’t have feelings. Trade up and enjoy your new wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      This. It is a car, not a spouse. The Accord is designed to be a better car than the Civic in virtually every way. Plus, the OP will get a great price on the Civic if he/she sells it on their own and that will go a long way toward the cost of the new Accord.

      As in many things once you fall in love with the new it is hard to go back to the old. Since it is just a car, trade up and be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Agreed. Depending on where you are, that Civic could still be worth quite a bit, and will be no problem selling on your own. Use what value it has left to acquire a new ride.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Hell, dealer trade in on a 140K 2010 Civic EX-L is $6,600, because the trade knows its still as likely to have mechanical issues as a 40K mile something else. The only pressure I’m feeling to trade any of our Hondas is the ominous expectation of turdocharged engines.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          “The only pressure I’m feeling to trade any of our Hondas is the ominous expectation of ** turd- **ocharged engines.”

          I see what you did there! ;-)

          Agreed! If Honda drops the Accord V6 for the 10th-Gen, hopefully I’ll find out early enough to trade my 2013 Touring on a 2017 model. If not, I hope to almighty hell that the Hybrid model will be able to pull like the V6 without compromises which exist now: loss of trunk space due to battery packaging, and loss of foglights due to air intakes for the cooling system for the Hybrid motor and electronics being placed where they normally would be.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      What does his love for owls have to do with this purchase decision, though?

      (“You Obviously Love Owls”)

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    *sigh* Even this 2010, look at that beautiful low cowl and open view of the road ahead.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      That is one feature of my 1990 Civic that I truly loved – low dash and cowl, low beltlines, and thin pillars all around. Visibility was great.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yep, this was actually a major factor in my choosing my 2012 Civic over any number of other compacts. Yes the dash is insanely deep, but it is also very low and does not protrude into passenger space. That, combined with the minimalist center console gives an unparalleled feeling of space, not to mention room to splay legs out on long drives.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        The current average height for Japanese males is still only 5’7-1/2″. But for decades Honda has provided us big gaijin with roomy, airy small cars. Talk about knowing your market!

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          With tiny little uncomfortable seats. No thanks.

          I say if you want and can afford a new car, buy a new car. You can’t take it with you.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Have a seat in my Civic Krhodes1, you’ll be surprised. I wasn’t expecting it when I bought it, but the seat size in terms of a) cushion length b) cushion width and c) seatback width is very accommodating to a broad shouldered 5’11” me. In fact the front seats in my gf’s 2012 Camry are narrower both top and bottom. These same Civic seats look to be in the CRV and Accord, and that’s a good thing. Not sure what the earlier 8th gen Civic seats are like, maybe sportyaccordy or the OP can chime in.

            But yes the seats in my parents 2007 Fit are dreadful for anyone over 5’9″ IMO: really short seat cushions and an awkward pedal angle leaves my legs in constant tension. Subarus are also notorious for short seat cushions.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The most comfortable seats of any car I’ve ever owned were the seats of my 2004 TSX. I’m 5’10” and was around 170 at the time I owned that car (sadly a bit more now).

            My 1988 Accord had uncomfortable seats, but things have changed.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “But for decades Honda has provided us big gaijin with roomy, airy small cars. Talk about knowing your market!”

          Funny the so called domestic automakers don’t know theirs.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Yeah, seems theyve screwed up the full size truck market, no wonder sales are tumbling and F-150s sit on lots for 160 days.

            Oh wait, the opposite is true, they rule the biggest part of their so-called domestic so-called market. Average lot time for an F-150? 20 days. Camry? Years if you dont count glueing on new facias.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    6-8 week oil changes?! What sort of astronomical mileage are you putting on during such a time period? I don’t know about the 8th gen Civics, but my 2012 has an oil life monitor that has a fairly sophisticated algorithm for calculating oil life, and generally prompts me at the 8-9k mark, at which point the oil still looks decent color wise and the level is at the full mark.

    Happy to hear about your trouble-free motoring, this is the bedrock of Honda’s popularity. When you say you’ve only needed brakes and tires, did you do the 100k mile maintenance that has the plugs, coolant, and (I think) the serpentine belt replaced? R18 is a timing chain motor and with your crazy frequent oil changes I’m not worried about its condition in the least. Another question is transmission maintenance. EX-Ls only came in automatic right? if so a drain and fill is definitely in order at this point.

    If you don’t like debt, keep on keeping on with the Civic, maybe take it to a good Honda specialist to have them give you a run-down on what future expenses might be in your future (wear stuff like shocks or CV boots, etc).

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Via basic math I’d say 5k miles which is about normal…
      I also really like the accord (but in manual sport version) and am struggling with the decision to keep my mazda3 that just clicked over to 100k miles vs trade up to a larger more comfortable car that actually gets better gas mileage…

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Roughly 5.5 years old (unless bought at the very end of the model year) so 25K miles/year or 500 miles/week. So he’s changing the oil after every 3000 or 4000 miles.

        That’s an additional $300/year in running costs, assuming he’s paying someone else to do it and fill it with dino oil.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Are modern cars supposed to go more than the 3-5K miles on an oil change? I do mine at between 3 and 4k, but it’s because the oil sits in there so long between changes.

          (33 miles driven each week for work commute.)

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey, a short commute is what is considered ‘severe use’ by manufacturers believe it or not, especially in a place where it gets cold in the winter. Short oil change intervals are a very good idea under those circumstances IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Also a very good point! I always look at the severe use chart in the owner’s manual.

    • 0 avatar
      delche

      Op here. I’ve always had the car serviced at a Honda dealership so all appropriate work was done at the required intervals. As for the mileage, I’ve had 110 and 65 mile round trip commutes during my ownership. I also put on close to 400 miles on the weekends. The miles have started to drop on the weekends now that we use my wife’s new Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    What’s the payment on the new Accord? $300/month? You’re averaging about 30,000 miles per year. Save that monthly payment, drive the Civic for 3 or 4 more years, and then look at your bank account. Then ask yourself, which do I like more? Seeing all those zeros in there, or the thought of a shiny new steel box around my butt every day?

    My guess is you’ll appreciate the zeros more, but hey, if you don’t, it’s easy enough to trade zeros for steel.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      This. Being car note free is glorious. Ride it until the wheels fall off.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      I agree with the put cash aside for a new ride, but 140 K is a lot of seat time for a 2010, if you fell in love with the accord buy it, sell the civic to someone who will love it like you, yes saving the cash each month is great but the accord is a better ride than the civic and at 30K a year , your butt may just want a better ride. y

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Keep the car, you won’t get much for it. But while you have it, keep an eye out on the new Accords when they come out each model year. If you see changes that you don’t like, get your Accord at a closeout price. If you like the changes, keep on driving the Civic until it’s used up, then go get your Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Solid advice. If you’re really debt-adverse, start putting that would-be car payment in the bank. That Civic will last a long time (you’re keeping up on the tranny fluid too, right?), when you’re ready to let it go you’ll have a nice nut to put down on its successor.

  • avatar
    PhilMills

    6-8 week oil change cycles aren’t actually that crazy for him.

    As a 2010, let’s figure he’s got 48 months in the car (probably a bit low, but the math is easy). At 140k, that’s 35k a year or almost 300/month. So 6-8 weeks could easily be 5k miles, which doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yeah not as crazy as I initially thought, but it sounds like a lot of that is highway mileage (the only way I can imagine putting those kinds of miles on a car that quickly). That is a best case scenario for oil life, so I’d say 10k changes would be more than safe. Save yourself $30+ every 8 weeks, with no detriment to engine life. But hey if its gotten you to 140k and you like the peace of mind, keep doing what you’re doing, it obviously works.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      5k highway miles on a quality synthetic is pouring money out the drain plug. I’d let the oil life monitor do its job, or at least do it once as a baseline figure and then change it 10-20% earlier.

      This car sounds like a total keeper that should have 250k in it no problem given how well it’s treated. I’d take the next four years of payments on an Accord and sock it away in my nest egg.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “5k highway miles on a quality synthetic is pouring money out the drain plug.”

        Probably, but there are worse things to waste money on. I like buying high mileage used cars with stacks of receipts from a meticulous previous owner. Opening the engines on those vehicles versus ones with the same mileage where only the basic required maintenance was done is eye opening. The ones still looking like new at 150k+ miles are the ones where the owners go beyond the minimum.

        One major reason is that oil life algorithms often get long enough where the engine consumes a significant amount of oil under normal use. Since practically no one checks their oil level anymore, many vehicles are run a quart or more low for long periods of time.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          This is true, and I think a driving factor may be the water-thin 0W-20 synthetic being specified these days on a lot of cars, it’s just that much easier to lose. If I do a lot of high speed (75-80 mph) highway driving in the summer in my Civic, the oil level goes from full to about halfway on the stick over the course of 8k miles. Not bad I suppose, but my 19 year old 4Runner on a steady diet of semi-synthetic Castrol 5w30 uses ZERO oil between 6k changes, even when I drove it on a long summer trip to North Carolina, up and over the Appalachians twice in the middle of June, as well as occasional towing.

          • 0 avatar
            EvilEdHarris

            It is true that the newer engines which specify the 0W-20 oil do tend to consume oil compared to engines from 5 or 10 years ago. I think that the reduced friction on the piston rings is equally to blame as much as the change from the normal 5W-30 to 0W-20 motor oil.

            My 2013 Tacoma with the 1GR-FE 4.0 has 75K on it already and I change the oil every 5K miles (even though it still looks clean) because I do some towing with it and I intend to keep the truck for 300K miles. And like Danio said there is a difference between an excessively and minimally maintained engine when they are opened up. So far the Taco does not burn a drop between changes… but then again it uses 5W-30 and has an older engine design with the standard piston rings (not low friction).

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yeah, but who said anything about synthetic?

        If I was driving a Civic 35kmi/yr, I wouldn’t be putting synthetic in it either, I’d just change the oil every other month, like he is.

        That engine and use pattern hardly needs synthetic oil, realistically.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Lots of folks lease Accords for 3 yrs/36K miles. Drive your Civic for three more years, then buy an off-lease 2015 Accord Touring. You’ll save ~35% vs. buying the Accord new, you’ll still have a low-mileage Honda that will serve you well for years to come, and you’ll feel better for “using up” more of the Civic’s service life.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Incidentally a colleague at work has the very same EX-L with 120K and is having transmission issues as we speak so if you have gone 140K without servicing this unit you may in for a big repair bill before long. But I assume by meticulously maintained that was already done so it should be okay for a while yet. I’m very curious what the Honda dealer tells my friend at work about his transmission which has developed a lazy reverse and sometimes slips badly when taking off from a stop light. He had is serviced a few months back but that didn’t cure the problem so I think it’s an internal problem.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If it’s got the problem already (since it clearly wasn’t just clogged filter) and they serviced it by changing the fluid, it’ll probably get worse, as that new fluid acts as detergent.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    While you keep your car, set aside those monthly payments you would have made and you will be in better shape when the time comes to trade the car in. Or use the money set aside for a new engine/transmission/whatever broke.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Arguments for keeping the Civic: It’s far from being worn out. Short of structural rust damage, maintenance is cheaper than car payments. That includes major repairs like engines and transmissions. The difficulty with replacing a well-maintained older car, when repairs cost more than its value, is finding one that has been maintained as well. If you keep making “car payments” to your savings account after the Civic has been paid off, you won’t need a loan for your next car.

    Arguments for buying the Accord: If you really can afford it, why not? By “afford”, I mean that you have no debts other than a home mortgage and a credit card bill which you pay in full each month and you are saving the maximum for your IRA and 401k. When you reach retirement age, it’s wonderful to do what you want without worrying about money.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Don’t forget to cap out your annual Roth IRA every year too. No income tax on interest earned! And your HSA, if you have one, and if you don’t, why not? Remember that medical expenses are the major source of financial distress in retirement.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Some places now offer Roth 401ks, but if you max out a pre-tax 401k vs an after tax Roth, you can use the tax savings to fully fund your Roth IRA and have a double hedge.

        The no withdrawal tax on Roths is nice, but you want some money to pull out to fill up the lower tax brackets and then have the Roth available for the higher tax brackets. For example, if your marginal rate is 33% now and you’ll be in a 25% tax bracket in retirement (and assuming tax brackets are unchanged), putting pre-tax 401k money away now and pulling it out at a 25% rate later is a net win. The Roth then can be used for withdrawals that would kick you into a higher tax bracket. Or so says my finance tzarina.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          A couple of points:

          1) I dislike intensely the limitations on investment choices in an employer-sponsored 401k, but it’s unavoidable. Since you pay tax on the principal put into a Roth, I see no reason to do Roths through my employer. I buy the Roth contributions myself.

          2) I was not suggesting that Roth should replace 401k but rather that a balanced strategy would contain elements of:

          – Roth
          – 401k
          – HSA
          – investments that are neither Roth or 401k.

          3) But to the original point, the OP is asking whether it’s a good idea to replace a perfectly good though high mileage car just for fun, and I was saying that once you have all your saving plans maxed out to the govt limits, then do whatever you want. I believe that the wise thing to do is to max out your 401k, Roth, and HSA before you start getting into large, purely discretionary expenditures. (Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you do it differently.)

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Looks like you do a lot of driving 30K+/year. You’ll enjoy driving the Accord more than the Civic, so if the deal is excellent as you say, do it. The Civic is on the back nine and you will start looking at repair bills.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I have an 09 Civic. Maybe they tune things differently for the auto versions, but I have a 5MT EX and it is pretty fun to drive for what it is. I enjoy driving it more than my 350Z, because by comparison all the controls are excellent and more than make up for the lost HP, grip and balance on my daily commute.

    I do know the feeling of getting bored with a car though and sometimes the only scratch for that itch is a new ride. For me, I usually make that fix with mods. But the Accord’s more spacious + higher quality interior and overall higher level of refinement can’t be replicated in the Civic. So if that is the draw, he should move up. However, based on his mileage, it would only be a 2 year wait, at which time as someone suggested he can pick up a well maintained off-lease Accord wagon for a healthy discount and kept the Civic through its rated usable life.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Have you changed any other fluids other than oil? If the answer is no, then bye bye especially in light of your roughly 28,000 miles/year commute.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    There are also a few intangibles to take into consideration. Assuming you are putting 30-35K miles a year on your car, that is a lot of opportunity to be involved in an accident. Would you feel better/safer in a 5-6 year newer car that is up a class in size? Would you be more comfortable in the Accord? Also, you could run the numbers on the value of your current car/mileage versus what it would be worth in two to three years with an additional 60-80K miles. Sometimes you hit the sweet spot where you have gotten the most out of a car without repairs at the same time it is at its most value as a trade in or private sell. You could be there now.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Lesson 1: From love to hate the distance is short. If tomorrow your car will start to disintegrate and give you more troubles than anything else you will hate it.

    Lesson 2: Selling car on anticipated troubles is not smart. “My life was full of misfortunes non of which ever occurred”. It is almost always more cost effective to spend $300 for repair than $25,000 on the new car. Because this $300 will make you go another 15K miles. answer this: what 15K miles will do to your $25K car?

    Lesson 3: Don’t be loyal to things. Things are designed to help you. They don’t feel you. They can’t take care of you if you’re sick. Use them and then lose them. Feel no pain. Be loyal only to people who really cares.

    Lesson 4. At 150K it is probably too late to get a good trade. At this point, if the car is reliable, it makes monetary sense to keep it to the end. the fact that you got good deal at Honda means nothing. Anyone can get a great deal at Honda if only wants to. As a matter of fact, you can tell them how much you will pay and if they are not happy – walk out. They will be asking you back. Honda is a mass-seller. They will make more in dealer intensives if they push another one out.

    Lesson 5: Change is good. Routines are mentally exhausting. And having same car for long time is like doing same thing over and over again. Changing routines is a great psychological move. But in your case you only have it for 5-6 years. So don’t whine. You can go longer. Make a hard-break point. Lets say, 200K miles, or 8 years – you selling it. Sell it privately then, to maximize your money. Honda will always give you a great deal. It is attrition over there for dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Lesson 3: Don’t be loyal to things. Things are designed to help you. They don’t feel you. They can’t take care of you if you’re sick. Use them and then lose them. Feel no pain. Be loyal only to people who really cares [sic]”

      Wise.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Don’t be loyal to things- I liked that as well.

        Regarding Lesson 4, the Civic probably has a low trade value at a dealership, but a much higher value as a private party sale. I sold my last vehicle for 2x the CarMax trade value within 48 hours of listing to the first person who looked.

        Get the Civic detailed, take lots of pictures, put it on Craigslist. It will be gone pronto.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree with your advice and will add always sell things private party unless you have junk. Always give the dealer junk because they will NEVER give you fair trade, sell something that runs.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I would say, always give junk to a dealer because they will wholesale it and no one will come after you with the gun.

  • avatar
    TW5

    To quote the automotive philosopher Drake: No new car. Now new car. No new car. No No New.

    If you have a bulletproof car, don’t trade it for a new-fangled infatuation. At best, you’ll be slightly happier, and you’ll have debt or a dent in your bank account.

    If you have to throw some money away, keep the Civic, lease something absurd and impractical, when the lease expires trade/sell the Civic and get the Accord you want. It’s a waste of money, but you’re much better off.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    It is only five years old. Drive it for another 3-5 years and start put away money monthly so you can buy the next car for cash.

    I did that five years ago when I bought my car cash and it is now nine years old. I have more than 25000usd in funds, stocks and cash saved during this time but are now to tight to change to another car hahaha! But the car has only 75000 miles and still runs beautifully without issues despite being a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I would say in this case, go for the Accord. They really are a much nicer car than a Civic. My father in law had the Civic in the photo, four door etc. Had that tiny steering wheel an all, man was that car loud on the highway.

    Based on your mileage, I am going with the lots of highway time assumption. The Accord will change your life and I would bet that it becomes your new most loved vehicle ever.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      NVH is definitely an endemic Civic (and across the board Honda) issue. My 2012 is a bad offender, even after replacing the OE LRR tires. But I guess it’s inevitable when a car as roomy as this only weighs 2650lb! But boy, I think 50lb of wheel arch insulation would pay big dividends. I was surprised to see that my Civic has double door seals both front and back, my guess is that the engineers saw that as a cost/weight effective investment to combat noise somewhat. But are those felt wheel well liners that pricey and heavy? I’ll have to look at the hastily redesigned 2013+ cars to see what they have in place, as apparently the NVH was addressed to some degree.

      • 0 avatar
        Minnesota Nice

        I’ve owned a 2006 Civic Si, a 2010 EX-L sedan, a 2012 Si coupe, and a 2013 Si sedan.

        The 2012 was a disaster. I traded my 2010 in after I missed the lost power from the Si for a 2012 and any love I had for the car quickly turned to hate. The interior was a sea of cheap, hard, hollow plastics that expanded when you shut the glovebox, a headliner made of what I can only assume to be felt and cartboard, the handling prowess of a minivan, and the worst road/wind noise of any vehicle I’ve ever owned.

        The wind noise alone on the 2012 was enough for me to drop it for a 2013 (any ‘loss’ from an upside down trade in was mitigated by Honda covering the difference, as I made such a scene). The 2013 is immeasurably better and was the car it should have been all along.

        The road noise is significantly less in the 2013+ models (thicker front glass, under dash insulation, and in wheel wells), the dash is extremely high quality and fits together exceptionally well – no squeaks or rattles, and the headliner is actually back to being a woven thick fabric rather than a piece of cardboard taken from a box the parts were shipped to the factory in).

        The 2012 Civic gets absolutely zero love for me. It was the worst car I’ve ever owned and it taught me a valuable lesson about looking past first impressions. Given the choice between a 2006 Civic Si and a 2012 Civic Si, I’d take a high mileage 2006 any day of the week.

        That’s not to say it’s a bad car generally speaking, as I know plenty of owners who don’t care, but Honda really screwed it up. Bad. A new model should improve upon the old, and the 2012 did none of that – the design language was a huge step back compared to the outgoing model, and the fit and finish was well below the model it replaced.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    Never Love Anything That Can’t Love You Back.

  • avatar
    NeinNeinNein

    We had one of these, a hybrid Civic.
    What a horrific, gutless tin can. The seats suck–period.
    The paint, already peeling–like man Hondas do.
    You get what you pay for.
    Some people like cheap, A to B motoring. If thats the case–this is a perfect car.
    Id rather drive our old Jetta wagon 1.8T or our current Audi A4.
    They’ve been relatively trouble free…..the issues have all been reasonable to fix easily or fixed myself.
    Parts online are as cheap as Japanese parts bought at a store–plus the help found online on the Audi/VW forums clearly show how to fix most anything.
    I know, I know—they’re terrible right? Cost a fortune to fix?
    Check the local motorwways and freeways—how many Mark IV VW’s do you see?
    Yeah, tons of Jettas, Golf’s and Passats—those people driving those old cars must either be fixing them or be rich to afford their constant issues. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah right.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Check the local motorwways and freeways—how many Mark IV VW’s do you see?” I see quite a few…on the side of said freeway ;p

      I jest of course but to come on here calling Hondas crap when you’ve owned some of the most notoriously awfully built cars in recent memory is just silly.

      “Parts online are as cheap as Japanese parts bought at a store–plus the help found online on the Audi/VW forums clearly show how to fix most anything.”

      In that same way, parts online for most common Japanese cars cost a pittance, and the forum support is the equal of anything else. I’d argue that Japanese cars tend to be more straightforward to work on with fewer sizes of fasteners to deal with and less overthinking in the design, but among older vehicles the European ones tend to corrode less so there’s less use of torches to get things apart.

      I hear you on the paint, an issue across the board with Asian vehicles these days and modern paint formulations. My gf’s 2012 Camry hood has had numerous stone chips go straight through the paint and past the galvanization. Not so on my much older 4Runner.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    I have an ’86 MR2, whose first engine died at 471K miles (corroded freeze plugs and blown head gasket), and whose second engine had a head gasket failure and then a crankshaft bearing died, at 533K miles.

    The car still thrilled me every time I got it back after repairs and driving my truck, but the bearing failure was too much — I don’t think I can rely on it for cross country road trips any more. But the costs didn’t bother me, much, because new car payments and insurance match them pretty quickly.

    It’s hard to tell what Chris means when he says he fell in love with the new car. Chris has to decide which he loves more. I know my case; the MR2 always won out. I’d buy a new one if they still made them. But they don’t, and it’s not reliable enough now for long road trips, so I have to move on. Luckily the mechanic who has worked on it wants it, so I don’t have to consign it to pick-n-pull. Maybe Chris has a friend who he knows can take care of it.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Keep it. It’s a well-maintained Honda. 200k miles should be easy as long as he kept up on the other maintenance items noted in other posts like trans fluid, timing belt (if it has one), etc. Maintain it by the book. The oil change every 6-8 weeks is aggressive considering it’s probably mostly highway miles he’s putting on. People are noting he’s wasting a bunch of money doing that, but it’s still much cheaper than a new car payment. Just make sure the drain plug is tight! I checked mine every time before I started it after the oil change, & found it loose one time. I had three Honda Preludes, maintained them by the book, & had few problems:
    ’86 Si, ran it to 195k miles
    ’91 Si, ran it to 199k miles
    ’97 base, ran it to 175k miles

    I’m a huge fan of no car payments. I’m 46 & have never had one, either by picking up used cars cheap from my parents or having company cars. Sock that money away into the bank, or max out your 401(k) at work. You will need it for retirement health care. Also, drop the collision insurance & just carry PL/PD for further savings over a new car. If you get into an accident, chances are the repair costs will far outweigh the remaining value anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Minnesota Nice

      At what point is it generally wise to change your insurance policy to reflect that? I’ve never owned an old enough car to justify lower coverage, but it’d be helpful knowledge for the future.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Any rational thinker will tell you to keep the Civic.

    I would only trade up if I had wanted an Accord all my life, and now it’s finally within reach, and I know I would regret not buying an Accord.

    I don’t know a single person that feels that way about an Accord, but what about a BMW M3, the dream car of all bro’s? That’s something worth saving for.

    As an enthusiast, I cannot justify trading in something that is reliable, runs well and is generally safe. I’ve been toying with going in the opposite direction–trading my perfectly fine, super-reliable Accord for a newer Civic Si.

    It would be nice to have a more entertaining car on my commute, but the dollars cannot be justified and I already have weekend wheels to do the dream-car role playing.

    IMHO: Accord is a nice car, but keep the Civic and aim higher.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    Here’s my 2 cents. Now that you think you’ve found love, go sleep around.

    Test drive no less than 20 or 30 cars this year. Go fast and small, go slow and big, and find out what constitutes love.

    When you’re done, you’ll have an appreciation of what you like while having fun doing nothing so. If it’s still the Accord, great.

    Oh, and if auto enthusiasts are to believed, you can’t find true love without getting an STD.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I had a Civic coupe way back and loved it- still miss it! I have a feeling you’ll love your Civic more than a new Accord. Keep the Civic!!! You’re going to get a maintenance-free car beyond 200K or even 300K. Keep it and save your cash.

  • avatar
    delche

    Chris here. I agree with your advice. I’ve been testing other cars and

  • avatar
    delche

    Chris here. I really appreciate the thoughtful comments. In the time since I submitted this question I’ve had the pleasure of testing other vehicles and I believe my love for the Accord has dwindled. It’s still a very nice automobile but I think I’m still on the prowl. I think I’ll hold onto the civic for the time being with the comfort knowing that I’ve got enough stashed to either repair or replace her if needed.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Did Honda have the 00s Civic transmission issues sorted out by 2010? I know I see a lot of 02+ Civics with bad trans going for cheap, most less than 200k. Ive read reports online before but dont recall when (or if?) the issue was resolved.

    Id consider trading in. Im usually one for keeping a car until its used up, but the newer Accord is a much nicer and more substantial car than your Civic, with a low penalty in mpg (4cyl) considering. Its worth the upgrade IMO.

    Id at least look up reported trans failures in Civics to see if its been happening in your model/year, assuming you have an automatic, before deciding to keep it.

  • avatar
    arcuri

    Put the money in the bank. I have a 2000 Protege LX automatic,with 311,000 miles ! Bought her brand new. Replaced the radiator, alternator, drivers side window regulator, front passenger side caliper A /C radiator fan , and a cam position sensor after 250,000 miles. A/C is still cold, however the compressor has started to make some grinding noise. Threw on some Michelins that are one size taller. Rides better. Honda cars are better engineered than Mazdas.
    Your Civic will last as long. Change the timing belt and transmission fluid religiously .

  • avatar
    baconpope

    If the dealer is giving you a good deal for the Civic, you are getting a lousy deal on the Accord. Nonetheless, get out of the Civic any way you can. Statistics–not hype or false praise–say the Civic is 20K overdue for a major, likely mechanical, repair.

  • avatar
    BC

    Why the repair anxiety? Hondas rarely break and when they do they aren’t that expensive to fix. Event at 250k miles, the car will be much cheaper to keep on the road than a new car payment. And now, this car is in its prime. The $/mile operating cost including depreciation will never be better. You have no interest payment. Keep the car. Save the money and buy something to tool around in on the weekend or whatever floats your boat.

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    Ya know…
    Time passes. Even just a few years ago I would be in the keep the civic camp, but as the number in front of my age approaches 60 perspectives change.

    Why did you get into the Accord touring – the 6 cyl top of the Honda line semi luxury car? Answer that one for yourself.

    You drive 28-35K a year so you will be needing a new car in 3 years tops.

    You decide what other places you want to keep the money – a second house, a Roth, a trip to Europe or wherever.

    If you and your partner agree on the new car just buy it and enjoy it.

    You could keep the civic for the work car and keep the accord for family, or not, whatever works. If you want and can afford a new toy and the Accord maximizes your personal utility why not?

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