Engines stalled while driving

  • 1999 HONDA CRV
  • 2.0L
  • V6
  • AWD
  • 189,000 MILES

I have a 1999 Honda CR-V w/189,000 miles on it. Stalled on freeway at 65 mph, all dash lights came on, car died and I coasted to roadside. Towed to shop-says timing belt broken. Last Thursday I was driving on freeway at 65 mph, car made a whirling noise under hood and then suddenly all dash lights came on, car died and I coasted to roadside. Had AAA tow it to a shop where they asked me if I tried to turn it over since it died. I said I did once or twice but it didn't start. They said that I had a broken timing belt and since I have an interference engine, they were almost certain that the valves were bent and possibly the pistons were shot as well. They said for 2-1/2 hrs work (around $279.00), they could 'scope' the lower part of the engine where the pistons were, to see if they were bad. If they were bad, along with bent valves, it would cost me approx. $2000 - $2500 for them to repair. I am a female, working a part time job, have no cash to do this and my guy friends I asked told me that I should not sink that much money into repairing a vehicle this old.A couple of friends offered to lend me some money, but I am really torn about what to do. I also do not qualify for any decent new car loan and even if I did, I cannot make car payments right now as money is SO TIGHT. I wrote up and ran an ad on Craig's List today, telling what's wrong with the car, asking $1000 for it. I got responses from 10 guys within the first two hours stating they have cash in hand and would buy it right now. I was thinking I could invite them all over to the repair shop and do a sort of lottery---whoever's name I drew first would get to buy the car. What would you advise about the whole thing? P.S. I have no spare car to drive and am depending upon the mercy of friends for rides and to borrow their car. I am a professional with a great college degree and was making good money in the corporate world for 25 years. During this economic turn-down I lost my job, as losing my home, was in a serious car accident and have had to change careers, and now my car has blown up. I have no family and am not married, nor did I have children. Thank you, Linda.

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Sunday, June 14th, 2015 AT 11:10 AM

1 Reply


Haven't you heard from the left-wing news media, ... The economy is great? I've been unemployed for almost seven years, and I'm loving it. Why should I look for a job when the government took 51 percent of my paycheck, then they said I wasn't paying my fair share? Oh well, after working two and three jobs at a time for many years, I'm living on savings. Luckily I don't want taxpayers or the government taking care of me.

Now, onto your car, I don't consider a '99 model "old". My daily driver is a rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan. It has only one computer. That's for the engine. I have a few newer cars but I refuse to own anything new enough to have unnecessary, unreliable, expensive computers to do things we never needed them for before. If you trade for something newer, you better plan on having enough dollars saved up for one or two $800.00 repairs per year. I saw the bills every week from my students, usually those who were driving GM cars.

The price you were quoted for the valve repair is pretty reasonable. It isn't common for the pistons to be damaged, so to start with, lets assume they're okay until we learn differently. There is a reason too that ten people answered your add so quickly. They know the car is worth a lot more as is, and it needs a common repair. Cars of all brands develop leaking cylinder head gaskets, and that is the repair yours is going to get, (even though they aren't leaking), along with replacing the bent valves.

If you look at this from a simple math standpoint, for $2500.00 you'll be driving your car again. If you sell it and get $1000.00, you'll be walking. Suppose you buy a used car for $5000.00. You're $4000.00 in the hole and you have a car that could develop the same problem very soon. If your car has made you happy in the past, as my minivan has, why give up on it when it needs a repair, and trade for anything that is full of unknowns and will surely cost more for repairs in the future?

Some people will say you shouldn't stick this much money into a car this age, but if you read through these forums, you'll see people are spending just as much and more on cars that are just a few years old. You could have a $2500.00 repair on a '99 model, or a $2500.00 repair on a car you're also making monthly payments on. It's a $2500.00 repair regardless what the car is valued at.

If you DO decide to trade for a different car, you'll usually get a better deal trading the old one in at the dealership where you buy the new one. They expect the trade-ins to have problems and need repairs, so it's of no concern to them that yours needs this repair. I will never own a car with an interference engine either, just because of what you're going through right now. I use the Rock Auto web site for reference quite a bit. If you look up the "Timing Belt" or "Timing Component Kit" for the car model and engine size you're considering, it will list if it's an interference engine.

If you keep your car and have it repaired, (my vote), be aware that every manufacturer has a recommended interval to have the timing belt replaced before it breaks. In the '80s, Honda recommended every 75,000 miles, and they commonly broke at 65,000 miles!

For my final comment, this is for the people who scoff at my hatred of new cars. For around 80 years we had a horn button what turned on a ten-dollar relay that turned on the horns, and we all thought that worked just fine. Today, thanks to the great and wondrous innovators at Ford, we have a horn button that sends a signal to the most complicated computer on the car, the instrument cluster. That decodes the signal, then sends a digital signal to the "FEM", the Front Electronic Module. That one interprets the signal, then turns on the horn relay. Yup, two computers involved in blowing the horn!

Most vehicles have a computer module in every door now. What problem did they find a solution for? Sure we have power windows that go all the way down or all the way up when you just tap the switch, but I have power windows too. The only difference is I'm smart enough to know how to hold the switch until the window gets to where I want it to be.

We can't be bothered to put forth the effort to stick a key in the lock cylinder to unlock the door? C'mon, engineers. Stop forcing us to buy useless toys and gimmicks. I wish they would justify keeping their jobs by designing a car that wouldn't leave us sitting on the side of the road! Lotta good a computer-controlled transmission does when you're walking.

Sorry to get off-track, but hopefully you'll understand why I'd rather you keep your car and have it repaired. Mine has over double the mileage and it's very rusty. If yours is not very rusty and there's no other known problems about to occur, why gamble on an unknown car that is going to cost more?

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Sunday, June 14th, 2015 AT 9:09 PM

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