How to check out older car? Which car to keep?

My 1992 Honda Accord got stolen. I waited a week, then bought a 2001 Honda Civic. They found my car the next day. Now I'm trying to decide which one to keep and I would like to ask people's opinions on this.
I think my old Accord is fine, they didn’t damage the car much. They only stole items in the car and in the trunk, my laptop, iPod, etc. They damaged the trunk opener, on the lower, front floor, it was locked, so they destroyed it and pulled the cable to get into the trunk. The windows are not broken, the igntion is not damaged, tires and all parts are still there. I think these theives stole the car to get the laptop and items in the trunk.
I like my new Civic, but it costs too much. I think I want to keep my old car and sell the new car. I'm trying to think thru this and make a decision on which one to keep.
My Accord has 400,000 miles, but it's working fine, passed smog 6 months ago and I can't see or hear any problems. (other than a dent or 2)
Question: I'd like to ask what could be checked in a car with 400,000 miles, to do what we can to make sure the motor is still working fine. Should I do a compression check, on all cylinders? I'm concerned that the oil pump may be going out. I’ve had low oil pressure a few times, then it went away. Can the oil pump be checked? What else, for the main engine, could be checked? What could go wrong?
I know 400,000 miles is a lot, but it could last another 100,000 and it's not a good time to spend all my savings on a car, when I never know if I could get laid off.
I’m not so concerned about "accessories" going out (power steering, alternator, etc) because they can be replaced at reasonable cost.
What would be your advice on what I should have a mechanic check to ensure the motor is currently working normally and hopefully would continue to purr.
Thank you,
Kevin
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Kevin wrote:

400k miles is the most you can reasonably expect without major systems failures. In fact, it's nearly double what you should reasonably have expected. You've already saved enough to pay for that Civic.
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Leftie wrote:

are you familiar with high mileage hondas at all? [rhetorical]

bottom line - it depends on whether he's competent at diy repair and has an appetite for such. you don't consider those points. you also don't consider that the macpherson civic doesn't handle as well as the wishbone accord. personally, i'd rank that right up there as a safety consideration in favor of the accord.
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jim beam wrote:

Rhetorical or not, I have some knowledge of high mileage vehicles - Volvos, Toyotas, and I kept a Civic Si for 23 years. It only had 146k on it when I sold it, but age matters as much as mileage. Unfortunately, this guy's Accord is both extremely high mileage *and* old. A few vehicles do get past the half-million mark, but very few of them are on the original internals. Fewer still have the original accessory drives. His odds of getting another 100k miles without a major overhaul are about the same as they are of winning a brand new car by entering a few drawings.
(...)
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Leftie wrote:

get some high mileage honda experience, then get back to us. thanks.
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jim beam wrote:

You folks must be keeping those half-million mile Hondas a Big Secret, huh? I mean the ones with no rebuilds, still running the original accessory drives.
Ah, usenet...
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Leftie wrote:

no guy, you're the one that choosing to remain ignorant. a high mileage honda is no big deal - in fact, it's routine. and replacing an alternator every 150k miles is no big deal either. although i have to confess why that's a judgment criteria for a honda but not detroit garbage that doesn't last even half as long is where you're losing me.
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No, he isn't losing you. You were lost a long time ago. You conveniently choose to ignore what you don't want to see and cling to that which you do want to see. Day after day after day in this very newsgroup I see post after post after post detailing Honda problems. Main relays, timing belts, oil pumps, cv axles, and these are in Hondas that do NOT have millions of miles on them. While Honda builds a very fine automobile and they are above average in most areas - they are NOT the super cars you try to make them out to be. They have their problem, multitudinous in nature judging from what I read here. So pull your head out and stop trying to aggrandize Honda and depreciate all others. It just makes you sound stupid.
DaveD

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Dave D wrote:

so, let's hear your analysis of comparable chevy, ford and chrysler vehicles, their componentry and longevity. thanks.
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Ok you asked for it...I have and 82 F250 300I6 with 180,000. Had to rebuild the carb, finis. 94 F250 7.3L 165,000 miles. Had to replace injectors... 79 IH Scout II 195,000miles. pinion seal. Just what I have now without delving too deep into my long term memory. I will mention that my 83 Civic had about 150k on it when it threw a rod. Not the car's fault, the driver was negligent about the oil level. It went through two teen age boys also. 85 Honda Civic 105k and had to replace the motor. Although, I have serious doubts as to the validity of the diagnosis that resulted in the engine swap. All verhicles, Hondas included, have had wheel seals, axle seals, cv joints replaced several times. Just one of the benefits of having a car/truck in Alaska...
DaveD
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Dave D wrote:

selective memory! love it. i "remember" my first car. million miles, original engine, the gas tank filled up every 30 miles with 150 octane and i sold it to the local hot rodders.

yeah, inability to run with oil means the car was real crap and that qualifies you to criticize all hondas forever.

wow, pretzel logic - how convincing!
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As usual - you jump to a conclusion based on absolutely nothing. YOUR memory may be selective but I still own and drive the above mentioned vehicles. So don't tell me about selective memory when you know not about which you speak.

Once again you leap to a conclusion, read only the parts of my post that suits you and reply with an assinine statement. I did not say that Hondas were crap, as a matter of fact I stated that they were above average vehicles but not the "supercars" you constantly try to prove. Whom are you trying to convince? Yourself perhaps.

Now this is a very intelligent, thoughtful statement. It shows me exactly how deep your thought processes run and the level at which you think.
DaveD
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In the UK, we have a consumer magazine that is advert and bias free, it makes clear that the most reliable cars are Honda, followed very closely by Toyota. Merkin cars are at the bottom of the list.
--
Clive

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On 5/8/2009 10:15 PM Kevin spake these words of knowledge:

Kevin, I would not keep the old car if it cost me any money at all (other than ordinary maintenance) at this point. Oil pressure dropping, the general worn quality of the vehicle means potential breakdown.
On the other hand, it very well could go another 100,000 miles. Personally, I have found that when I am forced in to spending money (as you thought you were the day before you got your old car back) it usually winds up being money well-spent.
I would keep the new car. In either event, congratulations on your car running that long. You must have done a fine job with maintenance.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
--
"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got
it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it
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[Applause]
A few questions: How much did you pay for the 2001 Civic? How much rust on the 92 Accord? What miles per gallon are you getting on the 92 Accord? This by itself is a decent indicator of how it is running. Though since you are passing smog, I am optimistic about the MPG.
Is your Accord auto or manual? LX, EX?
Depending on the answers above, you may indeed want to do a compression check. Harbor Freight sells an oil pressure check gage with numerous fittings for $20; less fittings for $10. The shop manual has a half-page description of the test you can do to check oil pressure, and then two pages of steps to remove and inspect the oil pump. If you care for junkyards, I expect you can easily find an OEM oil pump with much less mileage for $20 or so. My local yard sells them for $14.
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Kevin wrote:

how much do you like fixing stuff yourself? hondas are designed to be easily maintainable and require very few special tools. you can probably build a very decent tool kit and maintain this vehicle for some considerable time on the same money as you'll be losing on depreciation of the civic. and that civic doesn't handle as well.
as for the engine, if it works ok, doesn't burn too much oil and passes smog, it'll probably keep on running. honda engines are incredibly well designed and work excellently provided you don't cook them by waiting for the radiator to crack and lose coolant. if there is one piece of preventive maintenance that you need to keep an eye on, cracking of the plastic radiator is it.
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Although I do have to say, it seems that with Honda, if the part costs 60 cents, it takes 6 hours to do the work. If you can do the work in 10 minutes, the part costs $600.
Or have I just had bad luck?

Honda 4 cylinder auto engines are absolute jewels. Hook it to a manual tranny and have a car that'll run until you die.
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Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

i think you're just still pissed about your cabin filter. what they don't need, unless you have a vtec head, is any special tools for the engine except the pulley holder. that's most unusual. same for a lot of the suspension/transmission stuff. you need some know-how, but that's not the same thing.

the auto transmissions on the older hondas aren't too bad either.
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No, I've said this for many years.
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My experience is that age makes more of a difference to today's imports from the land of the rising sun than mileage does. I.e., look for things like rust, or deteriorating rubber in the suspension etc.
On the other side, the insurance for the new car is going to be more than that for the oldie, and if you live somewhere where they have property tax for cars, same thing.
Then there's the issue of whether the predictably greater reliability of the new car makes a difference, or is it ok if your car has to spend a day or two in the shop every once in a while.
And finally, which car do you like better?
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