96 Camry vs 94 Civic. What would you do?

I need to make a decision and would like some educated advice.
I have a '96 Camry, 4 cyl. that has given me great service since I
bought it new. 140,000 miles. I have taken great care of the car but over the past year have invested a bit of money on normal maintenance issues like timing belt, water pump, trans flush, etc. Now the car has a starter that is going and the front end of the exhaust system needs to be replaced total $700.
I also LEASE a '04 Civic EX that ends in 3months. The car has 40,000 miles and I can purchase it at the end for $10,000. It also has been relatively problem free.
My question is.....do I invest money into the Camry, dumping the Civic at lease end and drive the Camry as long as I can ultimately replacing with a new vehicle in a year or so..... or get rid of the Camry now and buy the Civic at lease end?
* Please understand that I do not do any car repairs myself and use my local mechanic who is fairly honest and moderately capable.
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 06:13:53 -0700, seagar wrote:

http://www.kbb.com
and, for comparison,
www.http://www.nadaguides.com
have a look at what the Civic is worth. Without looking, I bet it's more than $10,000. In this case, I think the lease worked in your favor...depending how much up-front you had to pay and what your monthly payments were.
But, according to an Accounting principle, what you've already paid are Sunk Costs. Forget them and focus on the $10,000. You can't get the other money back.
OTOH, a Camry with 140,000 has another 100,000 in it if it has been maintained correctly.
I have multiple cars. I have one new car, and a really good, dependable '89 Mazda in very good shape. I drive the Mazda in the snow and ice, the Scion the rest of the time, and this weekend I'm pulling my Supra out of the garage...the Supra and the Mazda get the majority of the mileage, so the Scion will hold it's value for a LONG time! ;)
$700 is nothing. What's wrong with the starter? I'm willing to bet the contacts are wearing, and replacing them, although a pain (yanking the starter, replacing the contacts, replacing the starter) can be done for <$30/40 by you, maybe <$75 by someone who knows what he's doing!
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Hachiroku....thanks for your great response. You're right about the Civic I think the lease has worked in my favor. I paid $1000 up front and payments of 190/month over 3 years w/15,000 miles per year. I believe the Civic prices have escalated over this time frame placing me in a good position. According to edmunds.com the civic has a street value of 13,350.
My mechanic feels the Camry should get me another 70,000 miles and feels I should keep it. I know there is know way of knowing for sure, but I'm just wondering at what cost will it be to get those 70,000 miles, i.e. will it start to "nickle and dime" me to death. My mechanic I'm sure has my best interest at heart, but will make more money with me keeping an older vehicle vs. me replacing with new.
After reading over these groups it seems that you are probably correct about the starter contacts being the culprit, however, my mechanic just feels it's way easier to replace it for $200.
Unfortunately I am terrible with auto repairs. I can fix/replace anything around the house, but nothing with a motor.
I'm a bit confused with your reply in that you point out strong positive points for both vehicles. Do you feel I should keep both? I would don't want to own more than one vehicle at a time given insurance, maintenance, and room for storing an extra vehicle.
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 11:39:54 -0700, seagar wrote:

The usual things, brakes, oil changes, etc. If it needs >$700 or so (the next time!) sell it. It will still get a fair price!

I'm absolutely the opposite! Cars and computers are cool, wood and glass is a pain in the...neck!

The Camry obviously is a larger car with (probably) a plusher ride. The Civic is a smaller, commuter car that gets good economy and is easy to drive. Both are expensive to maintain if you have to pay somebody!
Both are great cars. I had it the opposite: I bought an Accord in '88 for my wife, and I had an '85 Corolla GTS coupe for myself. Both were GREAT cars. When I go looking for a New car, I go to Toyota and Honda. That's it! You probably have two of the best cars on the road.
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10,000 for the civic? still under warranty? please note that you also have to change the timing belts and drain/replace fluids at 50,000 miles so add that on your budget.
If I were you, with 10k and if trade-in your Camry you can get a new car. On the new cars out there I think the mitsubishi lancer looks nice. just my opinion
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 19:34:12 -0700, EdV wrote:

Mitsubishi's aren't too swift. Lots of head problems.
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Not swift, yes, engine size alone, the lancer only has 2.0L while the Scion has 2.4L and mazda3 has 2.3. But the lancer evolution is a different story, BBC topgear UK ranks evolution higher than its european counterparts. Civic was not bad too, it ranked better in the hatchback category against the mini and volkswagen gti. They gave good reviews on the lexus. Its nice to see japanese cars dominating the european reviews. I'm not even sure if topgear tried to drive the corollas & camry oh yeah they only compare the lexus against the audis, bmw, mercedes.
Lots of head problems? Maybe, well whats new? the toyotas have the 6 spd transmisson flares and DBW hesistation.
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I just wish I could find a mechanic that could diagnose starter motor faults without lifting the bonnet(sorry , hood)I'd employ 6 today.....Yes MAY BE solenoid contact set, but could also be,poling out ,worn bushes causing armature clash,slipping/stuck drive,cable high resistance,sol relay,bad block earth,bad batt active/ earth.....etc etc....Simple, if you like the car keep it and spend the money,but do take the advise of your mechanic, afterall he's the one with the onsite diagnosis ability ,and the TRAINING.$200,CHEAP. dave
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Yep, the labor alone to pull out the starter, play with the contacts, and replace will probably dominate the cost. That's where the do-it- yourself route can save you $$$. That is, if you have the time, patience, are moderately good with tools [not a klutz!], and have good references (Haynes, and the factory service manuals at http://www.turboninjas.com/camry ).
Who was it on these groups who said something along the lines of, if he won the lottery, Screw this bucket of bolts... WHERE'S MY LIMO?

Well that answers my first paragraph above then... ;-p
I've got a baseboard job to do in my house, that I started over 1 year ago - still only, oh, 1/3 done. Working on the car is just so much more fun... Oh, and I have to finish painting the walls too. Maybe sometime next decade... ;-)

One can run all sorts of economic analyses... but answer this... which one do you Just Like More? Then take it from there... efficiency isn't everything in life, you know.
Regards,
Michael
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seagar wrote:

You've apparently reached the point where the Camry will no longer be problem-free. Expect to replace the radiator, and mabe the fuel pump (or tank). If I could afford either, I'd find a good home for the Camry and keep the Civic.
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