Is it time to get rid of my 91 Accord?

No major problems that I'm aware of, except for some pretty bad rust around the wheel wells. It only has 118,000 miles but that's almost all NYC driving. I only put around 6,000 miles per year.
But I'm pretty inept at doing repairs on it so I end up paying whenever anything goes wrong. That seems to run around $800 per year or so. Engine and transmission (4 cyl) seem to be pretty good.
Now it needs new tires. Not a huge expense, but in theory maybe it's time to just lease something - I see that I can lease a new Civic for $100 a month with nothing down? I don't have that ad handy but I'm sure it's BS.
Maybe I should just have my old Accord given a new paint job? But that's around $1000 for a decent job.
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dgk wrote:

My thought is how far from NYC do you drive? If primarily in perhaps a 25 - 50 mile radius, I'd likely keep driving it. If it breaks down, you are still relatively close to home. Biggest cost will probably be a transmission (that's when I'd likely dump it), but it should last a lot longer than 118k. Most everything else is probably manageable.
I'm also assuming there is still life on the timing belt as that's a relatively high cost to change out for just another 10-20k miles. Of course with a 20-year old car, there is always a potential for fatigue on all hoses (including brake lines), belts, ball joints, shocks, etc that could be collectively be quite expensive relative to your relatively low mileage. If all original, it may be time to beat the potential replacement costs, but if replaced in recent years, there should potentially be many more miles at a reasonable cost basis.
If there is an occasional need to a longer drive, an occasional rental will be a lot cheaper than maintaining a late model car.
Cost of insurance & taxes on a new car likely exceeds any repair costs and since your car is essentially fully depreciated, cost is just gas plus repairs. Can't get much cheaper than that, even if you pay someone else to do the repairs.
IMO, there are very few reasons to lease outside of perhaps tax deductions & ease of disposal via business leasing. If it was a Detroit based vehicle, there would be no doubt in my mind to dump it, but a Honda has the potential to last many more years, depending on how well it's been maintained.
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I like that year Accord. Those cars a built tough you have at least another 200,000 miles to go.
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I sold my '92 Accord with 176K and it was still running fine. No transmission or engine problems. I sold it to some friends that wanted it for their daughter. Several months ago, she did the 200K checks and had the AC recharged. Still going.
With the age of your car, I'd change the timing belt to be safe, and then keep driving it. Plus it's smaller than the new Accords...about the same size as the Civic. NYC parking?!
Enjoy!!
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wrote:

Ok, consensus is to run it into the ground. I did a timing belt a few years back I think. It could only have been done at one of three places so I'll check them and see.
Now, since it looks like crap, maybe a paint job? Thing is, I understand that cheap paint jobs are, well, cheap. A good one would likely be more than the car is worth. Did I mention that it looks like crap?
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dgk wrote:

It's NYC :)
Actually, a good paint job will probably be more than the car is worth. It's one thing to put in an expected $500 - $1K /yr in repairs / maintenance, but $1k for a paint job will likely put costs over the top.
Does the air work fine (another high cost for debatable repair)? If not (coupled with the reported cosmetic condition) - I'd say minimize the cost and start over, believing there will be some potentially costly fatigue repairs in the next few years. Much depends on whether there have been systematic repairs or if everything is primarily original. Shocks, ball joints, alternator, pollution devices, etc don't run forever. If none have been replaced, all may start failing over the next few years / 10k-15k miles. Obviously, NYC driving can be harsh.
I'm going through a similar thought process, but in my case, it's approaching 200k miles (mostly highway) with a 2000 model that's still decent cosmetically. Next year, I'll have to decide if its worth $1k+ for tuneup/water pump/timing belt plus fluid changes, etc or just run it til the timing belt breaks down.
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You can have the car painted at Maaco for $395
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On Fri, 10 Sep 2010 10:08:13 -0500, Airport Shuttle

I read somewhere that you end up getting something worth less than that. Let's check:
http://www.my3cents.com/productReview.cgi?compidW6&product=Paint+job
Oh, that looks bad. Easily the worst online reviews that I've EVER seen. This one though is much more typical, some negative, some positive - which is what I would expect for a franchise:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/maaco-auto-painting-and-bodyworks-sunnyvale
On the other hand, I live not far from a lot of junkyards and autobody shops (right next to the new Mets stadium - Citifield) and many of them do painting so maybe I should find out what Maaco charges and compare. For $400 I would probably do the paint job just so it doesn't look like I'm driving a wreck.
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On 09/10/10 11:08, Airport Shuttle wrote:

And for that price they'll scrape off the bigger bugs before spraying.
:)
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dgk wrote:

Your big issue is rust and that ain't cheap to fix. Also, it's often impractical at times.
If it were me, I'd buy a similar '91 from out of the rust belt and use your car for parts.
JT
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On Sat, 25 Sep 2010 09:24:37 -0600, Grumpy AuContraire

The rust looks ugly although I could at least make it look better. But it doesn't seem to have any safety consideration; I'm not ready to stop the car by putting my feet through the floor. Nah, I'm not handy enough with cars to be pulling parts from one car to put in another, and where would I keep a junk car?
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