To fix or not to fix....

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To fix or not to fix....

Postby kirik » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:14 pm

Recently I got a new job that pays a hell of a lot more than the old one. I'm finally in a position where I will be able to consider buying a car within a year, but I also want to save up to buy a place.

According to my mechanic:
- Brakes need replacing some time this summer, it's been a while so it's about time. (Max $400 to $500 depending on parts needed)
- A/C is dead due to a busted compressor, fixing it won't be cheap but it's not difficult. ($700 to $1200 depending on aftermarket or factory parts)
- Clutch should start to show signs of wear. I have no idea what a worn clutch feels like. (In the neighborhood of $1000)

Those are just the main mechanical things that need fixing. Other items are mostly cosmetic and can be ignored.

Being that this is an old car with high mileage (238000 Km), I'm stuck on whether I should invest the money and drive the hell out of the car for a few more years or just fix the brakes and get something new in the near future (within a year).

Advice on this would be much appreciated.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby ATLien » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:16 am

Hope you have a friend like me that is great DIY with cars. Let's assume so.

RockAuto.com has great online prices. There is also amazon and ebay (but ebay best for used parts - you want all new/remanufactured esp the A/C)

Ballpark prices in USD... depends on the car.

Brakes. Pads/Shoes 2 x $25. Rotors/Drums 4 x $50. Flush the fluid (1 QT of brake fluid)

Clutch Set $200. throwout bearing, clutch disc, pressure plate. resurface the flywheel ($40) at an auto machine shop. If this is a FWD, do not put your friend thru hell and ask him to do it. RWD isn't that bad.

A/C. Need a vacuum pump, air compressor is helpful for blowing it out after the flush. $30 refrigerant flush kit (aerosol can or fluid you push with air compressor). DON'T skip flushing it. O-Ring kit $15. Compressor $250. Orifice $10. Recommend removing all the lines and flushing it outside the car and replacing o-rings. Bad compressor -- REPLACE the condenser $100 (in front of the radiator) or you will kill your new compressor with debris. Evaporator is usually hell to get to so just disconnect the lines in the engine compartment and flush/reverse-flush it. If the evaporator is easy to get to replace it $70. Compressor $200. Refrigerant $30

Check your engine compression before you invest that much money.

This is a lot of work, and I wouldn't do this to a friend's car without being paid at least $250 for all.


I drove my last car 16 years and 350km (215k miles). Did an A/C job myself (compressor front seal failed) about 2 years before I retired it (didn't replace the evap) and it was COOOLLLLLDD like a new car. Had I bought a used car, it would have been the newest model Honda Civic I could find with average mileage for $5000 to $6000 USD.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby EddieS » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:18 am

What is the make and model of the car?
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby kirik » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:59 am

06 Honda Civic.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby The Shadow » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:32 am

kirik wrote:06 Honda Civic.


I'd be dumping it and trading up on a good USED newer car at that mileage. Chances are your timing chains and/or camshafts are going to go at that mileage unless it was well taken care of using full synthetic motor oils for its entire life.

Brakes are easy to replace if you have the know-how and the tools, but A/C work like a blown compressor takes much more time, and to do it legally you have to recycle the R-134a Freon (the gas that transfers the heat). Clutches are no big deal, but thing is you need to get the car way off the ground with a lift or hoist, which most people dont have, so that you can drop the trans-axle out and replace the clutch, clutch bearing and maybe even the flywheel as well.

Might even need new CV joints/axles too, if there are any leaks, clacking or sloppy movement. Too, at that age your fuel pump located in the fuel tank is going to be on its last legs, and it gonna be about $700 to replace it in an auto shop.

The older cars with rear wheel drive were much easier to work on then a traverse FWD motor that is in most cars these days. Hell I could swap out a water pump on a RWD GM V8 or Inline 6 Cylinder motor in under an hour easy, back in the day. Now you have to pull off the right wheel, fender inlay and other things to put a water pump and a new serpentine
belt on a transverse motor, which all but high performance rear wheel drive cars, and full sized pickup trucks come with, nowadays.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby The Signal » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:33 am

I'm with The Shadow; 238k is a lot of miles. Even if the car still runs great by all observable measures, that's an engine that's ready to go bye-bye soon. Civics and Accords have insane resale values, btw, so if you make the necessary repairs on it to make it sellable, you should do alright.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby Morgu » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:21 pm

Replace it.

Buy a used car in good condition, and then start saving money like Scrooge McDuck. You don't want to wait on the current car, then have it die on the highway. Yes, your car will die on the highway. It's an unspoken rule of cars. Then you will be in an even worse place for buying a car or repairing one. Since you will not be in a position to say "no" to either mechanic, or car salesman.

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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby ATLien » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:40 am

Keep in mind he said 238000 Km. That's just 145k miles.
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby kirik » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:17 pm

Sounds like it might be a definite situation where i should plan for the worst. Having said that, I understand that lightly used is the better decision financial decision, but the new toy draw is strong. Thanks for the advice!
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby Pointerman » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:08 pm

Even for you younger guys, youtube is your friend. Find a video about it, buy the tools and the parts and fix it yourself.

Car work isn't hard but it is a little knuckle breaking. Take a weekend, learn and fix it yourself. You will learn a new skill and feel good about saving that money.

Just my $0.02....
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Re: To fix or not to fix....

Postby The Signal » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:37 pm

ATLien wrote:Keep in mind he said 238000 Km. That's just 145k miles.

Good catch. That's still a lot, but for a Civic it might not be quittin' time just yet.
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