1993 Honda Accord time to sell my car?

Tiny
KAMMEL
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 HONDA ACCORD
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 192,000 MILES
Hi, I'm wondering if it's time to sell my car that I reeeally don't want to sell. It is a 1993 Honda Accord WAGON LX. I have had it for 3 years, and it only had one owner before me, an old lady in MA. The problem is, It has considerable rust problems in some key places.

Basically, the car needs a new exhaust from the flexpipe back, converter included, and a new oil pan and front springs/struts. Overall, the car runs great, and looks great on the interior and exterior, but I recently had a guy at a shop tell me that now that I have the car down south (memphis, TN) that the rust problems will get worse because of the humidity.

I can't really afford to buy a new (used) car just yet, but I'm wondering if all of the repairs are worth it. Any advice? Thanks so much
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 10:48 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
People in that area are not used to seeing rust, but up here in Wisconsin, the road salt capital of the world, rust appears in the first two years. The parts you mentioned are normal items. Even a rusty oil pan isn't that big of a deal. Certainly a lot less costly than a different car. Humidity isn't going to do anything to your car that it won't do to a different car.

I've been to salvage yards in Nashville, Memphis, and other nearby states. None of the cars had rust, so humidity was not a factor. Quite a treat compared to what I'm used to.

Caradiodoc
caradiodoc
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 11:03 AM
Tiny
KAMMEL
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I'm told that because it is already rusted (the car is from massachusetts) it will get worse faster here because of the water in the air. You don't think it will be any worse down here than anywhere else? There are a few spots of rust on the exterior that might get worse. Thanks again!
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 11:38 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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I heard a story years ago from a former coworker who went to Washington from Wisconsin. He needed a new muffler installed so he went to Midas out there. The guys refused to work on the car because of the rust. What they were referring to was the minor surface rust on the bottom of the gas tank! They had never seen that before. That rust occurs on every car here and means nothing.

What we HAVE heard about Tennesse and further south is cars do not rust out because the heat dries cars out. If humidity was indeed a problem, how do you explain cars not rusting away in a rain storm? I think you ran into someone who has never lived in the salt belt. Since they haven't had the experience of working on really rusty cars, they are scarring you needlessly.

I have holes rusted in the floor and body of my rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan that have been there for over ten years. This van has been on three cross-country trips in the last two years. I trust it more than my newer vehicles. I don't care what it looks like, but I bet if you compared my van to your car, you would find you have nothing to worry about. If you like your car, keep on handling the normal repairs and maintenance. Even if humidity was a problem, your car is going to rust a lot slower than if it was still running around in MA.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 12:00 PM
Tiny
KAMMEL
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That's what I told them. I said hey, everyone in NY is a mechanic, and not one of them was scared of that rust. I feel like it's better off here than up north.

I guess my point is in the question that I'm trying to figure if it is worth replacing the exhaust, the front suspension, and the oil pan, (which right now would cost more than the car is worth) and keep it s few more years, or if I should sell it now while it is in good cosmetic shape.

The repairs are, so far in the estimates I have from different shops: exhaust from the flexpipe back=$500, front springs and struts=$600 (4 different places have given me this quote) and oil pan=$330. I might be able to do the oil pan on my own, I heard it isn't too difficult.
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 1:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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I can offer two suggestions. When I worked in the tv / vcr repair business, my very reputable boss had this advice for people thinking of trading in their old tv on a new one. "A good working tv might be worth $100.00 towards a new one, but a broken tv that needs $100.00 worth of repairs before it can be resold might still be worth $75.00 on trade". In other words, if you keep it until something major goes wrong with it, you won't necessarily loose as much in trade-in value as the cost of repairs. Now, that was between 15 and 35 years ago when new tvs cost $500.00 to $800.00 dollars and were not remote-controlled. But the same logic applies to cars. The exception would be if you plan on selling it yourself through classified ads or posters. The buyer will want a car without problems. But if you trade it in at a dealer, they expect stuff is going to need to be fixed and that is already factored in to the price they offer you for your car. As with those old tvs, you aren't going to get much more for trade-in value if you fix everything possible, and then trade it in.

Another way to look at it is to forget about the car's current value. I argue this point with my cousin all the time. If your car needs $1000.00 worth of repairs, what difference does it make if the car is worth $100.00 or $10,000.00? The value is only important if you are trying to sell it. If the alternative is buying a different car, are you better off with monthly car payments that will total much more than those repairs? The car you buy could also need repairs in the next few months or years, so why not spend your repair money on a car that is paid for, you like, and you trust?

What if you had to spend only $200.00 on repairs? Would your car be worth it? Sure. What if you had to do that again in two months? Is your car worth it? Of course. What if you spent $1000.00 of various repairs and maintenance in the course of a year? Wouldn't bat an eye. Now, ... What if you had to pay for all of those repairs at once, and that took care of it for the rest of the year? The time to be concerned is when it appears likely there will be more of those $1000.00 repairs popping up on a regular basis.

The second piece of wisdom would be to seek out a local community college with an Automotive program. I taught this for nine years, and we were always looking for live work. Our students were well supervised and had training and worked on school-owned practice cars long before they were allowed to work on customers' cars. We charged $10.00 per hour to fund our "breakage" account in case we damaged something. The two drawbacks to this are you may be limited to a very specific time of the year certain work can be done, and a two-hour repair might take two weeks to get your car back. During that time, you're walking, taking the bus, or renting a different car.

We taught the Suspension and Alignment class once per year, for eight weeks. The first two or three weeks we covered theory and practice. That left about six weeks that our shop was in competition with the shops in the area that might hire our graduates. They understood our need for real work, so they didn't complain, but that's why we stuck to our schedule. We would not do brake repairs during the 8-week Electrical class, for example.

The reason a simple repair can take so long is there might be a point in the middle of the job when we have to cover something important in the classroom, or I might call everyone over to someone's project for an impromptu demonstration. All other work stops during those times. At other times, you might get your car back very quickly. As an example, we only had three alignment computers that had to be shared by 16 kids. It was important to get those jobs done so the rest of the students got their experience with that equipment. Still, a two-hour alignment could take them the full four-hour class day.

The advantage to our system was you were charged 10 bucks per hour for the time specified for that job so a two-hour job would cost you 20 bucks even if it took us a week to get it done. That way, the students don't rush and risk making mistakes. There was also no penalty if they had to do it over to do it right.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, April 12th, 2010 AT 2:49 PM

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