So, the missus and I have a 1998 Honda Civic that has done yeoman service for us since we bought it in 2008. It had 131K miles on it then, and has just ticked over 200K.
But over the last year we’ve begun to have problems. It began to run rough last March, and the Check Engine light came on. We took it in, and ended up spending over a thousand bucks for a full valve job. The same thing happened again six months later, and it was fixed under warranty by the garage, who told us that the machine shop had screwed up the machining on the valve guides the first time around.
Then yesterday it stalled a couple of times, and the light came on again. I took it in, and basically they said that the trouble is now deeper in the engine, in the pistons, rings, etc., and that it’s now essentially a choice between a complete engine overhaul, or a replacement engine. They said that a replacement (used) engine would probably be both cheaper and more reliable than the overhaul. They estimated a total cost, including replacement engine and labor, of somewhere around $2000-2500.
Now we have to decide whether it’s worth doing that, or whether we should just bite the bullet and get another car. We can’t afford a new car, and even a used car would really stretch the budget right now. We’re still paying off student loans, and my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer just over a year ago and her operation and radiation left us (despite our decent health insurance) with medical bills of over $10,000 (her health is now fine).
So, does anyone have any advice on the best course of action here? I’m willing to spend the money for a replacement engine if it will, indeed, keep the car going strong, but if it’s just a case of throwing good money after bad, i’d prefer to just go out and get a new (used) car, even if it stretches the budget a bit thin.
I’m mainly interested in advice from people who can say something useful about the mechanical issue, in terms of the car’s longevity etc., but if you have other advice, i’d be happy to hear it.