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Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? #5193756 08/22/19 10:48 AM
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Kurtatron Offline OP
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As some of you may remember, I lost my 1999 Toyota Solara to an accident last week. I really liked that car. The car I got to replace it is not inspiring much confidence. It’s a 2001 Honda Civic. It was a 1 owner car but then sat for 2 years. It was owned for 5 months by a stationed military individual, then sold to me. I have never owned a Honda, so this is my first Honda experience. I’ve heard good things about them.

I was attracted to this car because the miles were low at 103k and the mostly 1 owner history of the car. But there are quite a few problems with the car.

It leaks oil profusely. (Sat too long?)
Rear wheel bearings are making whirring sounds
The gas gauge is super inaccurate.
The speedometer cuts out randomly
There’s a lot of worn bushing noises going over bumps.
Some door locks/windows aren’t working.

Is Honda just not as good as Toyota? My 1999 Toyota had far fewer issues in the 3+ years I owned it, and it had twice the miles. Or is this maybe an issue with a car sitting for 2 years? I got it for $2800. If I fix all these nagging issues, will it be able to 200k? The transmission is one of the best I’ve driven. I have heard that Honda makes good manual transmissions. The engine also seems fine.

Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193768 08/22/19 11:03 AM
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14Accent Offline
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You way overpaid. I wish I could add more, but that's really what it comes down to. Low miles or not, it wasn't a good deal.


2013 Chevrolet Volt - Saves enough in fuel to pay for itself!

2003 Cadillac Seville STS - The winter "beater", it uses the Volt's fuel
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193778 08/22/19 11:11 AM
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Powerglide Offline
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With a 5 speed, that's a $2500 car at best-if EVERTHING works, runs and drives as designed. The way you describe it-$1000-$1200. Sorry man.

Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193779 08/22/19 11:11 AM
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KrisZ Offline
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These Honda 1.7L apparently have head gasket issues. So even if you do fix the leaks and bushings, expect that as well down the road, and if it sat, sooner rather than later.


2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 31k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 171k miles
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193784 08/22/19 11:15 AM
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exranger06 Offline
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Hondas are every bit as good as Toyota IMO. Most, if not all of those issues were NOT caused by sitting, though. Those things can fixed cheaply if you can do it yourself, expensive to have someone else do them. Pretty much any car will do 200k if maintained well. Did the previous owner change the timing belt? If not, it's due. Add that to your list of things to replace. I agree that you paid about twice as much as you should have.


2006 Ford Ranger Sport
1992 Honda Accord EX
2013 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD
1994 Ford Bronco XLT (project)
2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV (wife's)
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193785 08/22/19 11:16 AM
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AZjeff Offline
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You could easily double what you have in the car if you can't do all the work yourself. No way can you make brand judgement on 20 year old cars with 100k or 200k miles.


86 Samurai 1.3 leftovers
14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP
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The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with someone else's life. - Frank Zappa

Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193788 08/22/19 11:22 AM
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supton Offline
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Sorry man, it sounds like you got a lemon. Used car buying is like that--that's why cars depreciate the way they do. They become a gamble. Heck even the best car could be running great and then toss a transmission. Even new cars can do that...

Unless if you want to walk away and try again I'd suggest digging in and fixing issues. I'd fix the oil leak and wheel bearings and go from there. No reason it can't go further, assuming it isn't a rust buggy. Spread the repairs out if need be. Cars cost money.

Wife had an '01 and we considered it a lemon, but we traded it (albeit with dead a/c) after 10 years and I think 176k on the clock. Front wheel bearings, cat back on the exhaust, air filter box and oil pan (it had rusted or so the dealer said). And frequent a/c repairs (the big reason for it to go away).


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193798 08/22/19 11:28 AM
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Kurtatron Offline OP
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Sad face. Feedback suggests I made a mistake on this purchase. Uhg. Well, with all that in mind, I guess I shouldn’t fix the amenities on this car. I was thinking if this car could last a few years, I may as well fix the doors, windows, cosmetic issues, but if what you guys are saying is right, I should just do the bare minimum mechanical work. Timing belt, bearings, and suspension work and drive it till it dies. What’s up with that? All my Toyota’s have made excellent old beater cars...

Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193800 08/22/19 11:31 AM
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Quattro Pete Offline
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Originally Posted by Kurtatron
What’s up with that? All my Toyota’s have made excellent old beater cars...

Luck of the draw. Don't base your opinion on a sample of one.

It seems like you rushed into this car without seeking BITOG's opinion. Maybe we would have steered you away from it. Maybe you had no time because you needed another car fast and/or was afraid someone else was going to snatch the car while you were getting second opinions. Such is the risk you take.

Don't waste your money fixing cosmetics on a nearly 20-year-old car that's not worth much. Focus on the mechanicals.


2002 530i   2015 Q5 3.0T   2018 Charger SRT
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193809 08/22/19 11:34 AM
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geeman789 Offline
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The car is 18 years old. Did you get it inspected before you bought it ?


2011 SUBARU Impreza 5-door manual / 2016 HONDA Pilot / 2011 MAZDA 2 auto
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193814 08/22/19 11:39 AM
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exranger06 Offline
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Fix the important mechanical stuff right now. The doors and windows probably don't work due to a corroded or broken wire somewhere. In that case, it would cost basically nothing to fix if you do it yourself. So you might as well look into that (IF you're fixing it yourself). If it turns out you need to buy a window motor or other parts, then hold off for now. But you'll at least have a diagnosis by then. You WILL NEED wiring diagrams to fix those. You can find them for free online.

Get the major mechanical stuff sorted now and drive it a while. Give the car time to prove itself to you. It could run for a long time with no more problems. If more issues keep popping up, then cut your losses and dump it.


2006 Ford Ranger Sport
1992 Honda Accord EX
2013 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD
1994 Ford Bronco XLT (project)
2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV (wife's)
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193820 08/22/19 11:46 AM
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mk378 Offline
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The 2001 was one of the worst Civics. At least you did not get an automatic one.

The worst thing from sitting around is that the brake rotors and calipers will rust up.

Leaks oil from where?

Broken wires between the driver's door and the rest of the car are a common reason for power windows to not work. This can affect any of the windows even when you use the local button on its door. Open the driver's door and wiggle the wires while pressing the window button.

Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193828 08/22/19 11:59 AM
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Dave9 Offline
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?? "It was owned for 5 months by a stationed military individual", yet is a 2001. Your idea of 1 owner and mine are quite different.

Further, how can it have sat for two years? If the last owner had it for 5 months, then it had to have been driven to get from the prior owner to that owner? No yes maybe, unless it was towed there because it didn't run?

I do think you overpaid given the list of problems, BUT if you DIY the repairs you can have this back to a good state, possibly costing only a few hundred dollars out of pocket, depending on where the oil leak is. The rest of the issues are more or less $100 repairs if you DIY and use quality aftermarket parts instead of getting gouged by a Honda dealer for OEM parts.

The main question I have is, if you weren't willing and accepting to tackle these problems, why buy the vehicle? Surely you tested it before purchase and noticed most if not all these things?

I suppose the answer is yes, you messed up paying over $800 for that age of Civic with so many problems, and that's $800 to someone who likes that generation of Civics. Even $800 seems high for Detroit. I liked your gen of Solara a lot more than those. Now it is up to you to decide how much you would like it if it didn't have these problems, whether to sell it and cut your losses or make this a project vehicle.

Project vehicles aren't all bad. Anything you replace with a quality part, may never need replaced again just to get it to 200K mi, but the oil leak... you really ought to focus on that first to decide if it's a keeper or not.



Last edited by Dave9; 08/22/19 12:03 PM.
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193835 08/22/19 12:13 PM
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supton Offline
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Originally Posted by Kurtatron
Sad face. Feedback suggests I made a mistake on this purchase. Uhg. Well, with all that in mind, I guess I shouldn’t fix the amenities on this car. I was thinking if this car could last a few years, I may as well fix the doors, windows, cosmetic issues, but if what you guys are saying is right, I should just do the bare minimum mechanical work. Timing belt, bearings, and suspension work and drive it till it dies. What’s up with that? All my Toyota’s have made excellent old beater cars...

It's a twenty year old appliance, let's face it, unless if it has a wicked following it's a twenty year old car that only "deserves" the minimum amount to keep it going--and when the stack of repairs required exceeds value, kick it down the line. Well, when the required repairs exceeds what it'd cost to replace with something better, at least.

Luck of the draw. Honestly, perhaps you'll sink a bit of money and time into this, and then it might just love you back and reward you with 10 years and a few hundred thousand.

All my beater vehicles over the years were excellent vehicles to beat on, regardless of its shape.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Did I mess up getting a civic that sat? [Re: Kurtatron] #5193838 08/22/19 12:16 PM
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Kurtatron Offline OP
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I can do all the diy work myself, which I intend on doing. I will do the timing belt, water pump, thermostat, rear wheel bearings, and the stabilizer bar bushings. But I think after reading more about the D17A1 engine, I’m just going to neglect the things like doors, windows, and gauges. I don’t trust this engine’s trouble with head gaskets to want to put much more time than the basics. Oh well, mistakes are made. If I can get at least 2 years before a head gasket blows, I guess it wouldn’t be a total loss.

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