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I would deeply appreciate your advice, Should I sell or repair my 1999 Honda CRV?

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May 3, 2013, 12:03 AM

Post #1 of 3 (1396 views)
I would deeply appreciate your advice, Should I sell or repair my 1999 Honda CRV? Sign In

Dear Forum Members, This is my first time ever posting in a car forum and I respectfully apologize if I posted in the wrong area. I was not sure where to ask this question. I am feeling very anxious and am sincerely desperate for your advice. I want to make the best decision and I don't know what to do as I have no expertise in the area. I want to thank you in advance for reading this and I value each persons wisdom, time, efforts and opinion. Background:I am a single female, never married, no children in my later 40's. I have worked at a Community College in Southern CA for 13 years and am passionate about helping youth complete their education. Here is my situation. I have a 1999 Honda CRV, 2.0L 4 Cyn, 191,000 miles. It has performed wonderfully, but it is showing its age. I replaced the timing belt about 10,000 miles ago and replaced most of the hoses. I have replaced a water pump and radiator. Recently I replaced front the tie rods and joints. I just found out I need to replace the 02 sensor. The starter grinds occasionally. I think the front power window motor is going out, it seems like the when the engine is going uphill the transmission RPM's rev up and don't shift into a lower gear as quickly as normal. This worries me. It seems like my whole car is getting ready to go bit by bit. Here is why I am so worried. My 81 Mother has Dementia. I moved her into a mobile home with me to take car of her. My wheels are also her transportation! I have about 20,000 of credit card debit (Stupid I knowUnsure) I obtained this because I put things on the credit card to help Mom with the move and make the mobile home better to live in (should not have done this). I also have about 27,000 of college debt. My credit is not great. I lost the threads when my Mom was diagnosed. Here is my question: I am afraid that I will go under financially if I buy a new car. Although I can do it, I don't know if it is smart financially. I am VERY afraid to take on more debt. I spend about $75 to$100 a month renting cars to see my 3 young nephews who live 2 hours away. I have worked hard to save about $1,000 for repairs. It is stressful driving around the car as I feel like it is going to give out.(Am I unduly nervous?) I am horrified at how much used cars cost with high miles. I cannot buy one from a private seller as I have to have a loan from a car dealer due to fair credit. Should I buy a new car because by the time I keep fixing my car the money spent will "even" out? The new cars tend to not be much more than used at this time. I keep my cars for years and drive them in the ground. I have always had a Honda. Although it does not sound like it (I am just worried) if you think it is smarter, I would prefer to keep the Honda until I pay off the majority of my debt, but I just don't know if that is being stupid (Penny wise and pound foolish) Every time my car makes a new odd noise, I wonder if I am being dumb and my car is going to stop on a scary road? Driving such an old car does stress me out. It is also such a huge hassle to rent a car on weekends. My mechanic said to not drive my car the two hours to my brothers house (not reliable enough...okay around town) Additionally Enterprise Rental Car only runs the $9.99 a day on weekends during the fall and spring. In Summer they will jack up the rates. Am I going to pour money into my car and end up with an expensive 14 year old vehicle and still no new car? Or am I going to get ahead financially sticking with my Honda? If you all think it will be a smarter move to keep fixing my car and get out of debt sooner, I will do that. I want to do the smart thing. As you can tell I am very conflicted! I am blessed with a very honest, wonderful mechanic. He is not the cheapest, but he deserves every cent. He is in 50''s and runs a small one man shop. HELP!! THANK YOU AGAIN IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ADVICE. With sincere appreciation, Anne

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 3, 2013, 2:35 AM

Post #2 of 3 (1361 views)
Re: I would deeply appreciate your advice, Should I sell or repair my 1999 Honda CRV? Sign In

Anne: Can appreciate the strain. We are not here for personal advice but finances do come into play with cars all the time. Consider transportation as very high on the priority list if you must (not public transportation for example) an alternative we need vehicles.

Non automotive and off base on my part is to get your financial situation in order. Know that most new car and many used car (some good stuff) will finance anyone but you lose that car fast for lack of payments! Then you have nothing - right?

Can you afford and you listed out some items that may cost some more bucks those repairs to make this dependable. The grinding starter might get pricey, not just the starter possible but the gear on trans requires removing trans to fix if that's it.

What specifically was the reason your mechanic said this car is unfit for more than around town driving? Easy on the run on writing as that's hard to follow for me anyway but the starter would be my concern out of all you wrote.

So far taking in your situation I'd fix it. The $$ spent on renting cars could go towards repairs on what you have. Any vehicle can throw surprise expenses up to catastrophic expense exceeding any possible reason to fix vs bail out.

The good used car market is expensive right now and think it will continue. New is easier but at the risk of losing more as said and the car with any vehicle.

It's non automotive but you need to get out of credit card debt. You should see on those bills you are paying up front interest if not paid off making anything that much more costly.

Cut out all non mandatory expenses - silly things like buying coffee at a place rather than make your own at home, cable TV -- just some examples folks don't realise add up fast. That advice you didn't ask for but I see what people do out there. You'll be of no help to your Mother if you don't fix your own situation.

Again and so far I say fix the car. Keep up with ordinary maintenance. Drive as gently as possible anyway.

Old sayings - "A penny saved is a penny earned" and just think about just one thing I'll say. You (meaning people) don't always realise that making or saving even $20 bucks a week is ~ $1,000 per year!

See what other say or saw in your post that I may have missed. Good luck,


Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

May 3, 2013, 2:06 PM

Post #3 of 3 (1332 views)
Re: I would deeply appreciate your advice, Should I sell or repair my 1999 Honda CRV? Sign In

I'm glad you have found a good mechanic, I also would wonder why he thinks you shouldn't drive it out of town. The O2 sensor and window issue aren't major things, and would go out on any used vehicle. The grind in the starter could indicate a bit of flexplate ring gear damage, which would require pulling the trans to replace. You'd want to get it diagnosed. Is this mechanic a transmission specialist? Not all are, as its a lot of expensive tools and most shops farm out that type of thing. You may want a trans shop to do a diagnostic on that issue for you. You don't have to do the repairs, just pay for the diagnostic to see where you are at.

With the load of debt you have already at $47,000 which is all gaining interest every day, and sub-prime credit, every lender that would deal with you on a car would hit you hard with the interest. You live in a trailer, not a regular house so its not a valuable property to secure a lower rate with like a home equity credit line would be. Say you went and got a new Honda for $30,000 or so. By the time you throw in taxes, plates, fees, full-coverage insurance etc. you're rolling out of the door closer to $35,000 making your total interest-accruing debt to $87,000. Throw in a rather modest income that isn't likely to get much in the way of a raise and you'll be barely treading water paying just the interest. On top of the interest you lose to the bank for the car payment, it is a payment that takes away money that could try to pay off the credit cards and student loans, which allows them to accrue even higher amounts of interest. See what I mean? By the time you're done paying the thing off and can try to pay more on your other debts, its off warranty and into its parts-consuming period so you'll be back into the same boat once again.

A 99 isn't that old. My 95 Suburban still runs like a champ on the original engine with 270,000 on it. I paid cash for it 4 years ago and have no plans to buy anything new anytime soon.

If you get a different used car, you might be buying someone else's headache and it will still need work either immediately or shortly after purchase.

You need to get the full picture of the repairs this needs to be safe and reliable, as well as any noticed items that may not need attention now but will in the somewhat near future. Base your decision off of that. I know you don't have rust issues since you're in Cali, but the rest of the vehicle should get a good lookover to decide if it is worth fixing.

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