OH MY GOD, my relatives are annoying me with this car thing
They keep saying buy a car with less miles. My grandpa keeps saying I should buy an american or korean car. I just want a CIVIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm not going to pay crazy money for a low mileage civic. They are capitalizing on my altima since it was a low mileage car that I should get an almost new car so it will be problem free. Nissan is a POS, it doesn't compare nothing to the civic. They don't understand that even a 10 year old civic is reliable. It's ****ing annoying!!!!!!!!!
If it's your money then I don't see what the issue is. If you are borrowing/being given money, I don't see why they would want to pay more for a newer car. Unless they're thinking same amount of $$ for a newer but less reliable car, in which case I can understand your frustration. Consumer Reports would be a good source of information that you can show them. The auto buying guide (available at any large book store) has all kinds of reliability ratings for used cars going back 6-8 years. Who knows, you might even find some less expensive but good options in there that you hadn't thought of.
I'll be the first to admit...I'm CONSTANTLY working on my two Civics. But mostly it's either necessary maintenance or me just fooling around for the hell of it. I'll guess that I've had the engine/tranny out of each one of my cars AT LEAST once a year.
If you buy an older Civic, unless the previous owner can prove it, I would personally do the following:
New timing belt
New timing belt tensioner
New water pump
New AC belt (if present)
New PS belt (if present)
New engine oil/filter/drain plug washer
New tranny fluid (auto) or oil (manual)
New spark plugs
New spark plug wires
New distributor cap
New rotor button
New distributor o-ring
New valve cover gasket set
Flush the coolant system
Replace all vacuum hoses
Replace all coolant hoses
Replace all soft ATF lines (if auto)
New fuel filter
New brake pads (insped and replace as necessary)
New rotors (turn or replace)
New axles (inspect and replace as necessary)
Seafoam the engine
I know it's a lot of money, but if you go ahead and take care of all this up front, you won't have to worry about it later. If I wasn't a tinkerer, I bet I could do all of the above and drive my car for quite a while worry free. You could go even further and replace the clutch kit (if manual), the crank seal, the rear main seal, and the oil pan gasket.
Compaq888: I don't know what to tell you about the relative's. I know in my experience, a Honda is a much.... more reliable car than anything else I've ever owned. I bought an 87 when it had 150,000 miles on it and I basically did what Dax recommended, largely because one of my daughter's was going to be in Utah, going to school and I wanted her to have something economical and reliable, for traveling back and forth as well as while she was their. At 155,000 miles, the motor used no oil, none. I put in replacement, stock, rod bearins and main bearings, as well, since it was mostly a matter of pulling the pan. The rod's and main bearing tolerances were around 3/1000 of an inch when I replaced them and they were about 1.5-2.0/1000 afterwards. I've rebuilt american engines and they are 3/1000 when they have been turned and that sort of stuff. Honda parts typically cost more than american cars, but I highly prefer not having to work on it again, for a very long period of time.
The only reason the 87 became much of an issue is because my daughter drove it home from Utah to California, drove it all summer, back and forth to her job at summer camp and then left to go drive back to school, without having changed the oil, since the following year and without having checked it, since it didn't use oil. The car lasted until Mesquite, which is about 400 miles of hard, very hot driving, before the camshaft got warm enough at the last bearing, for it the cam pully to torque the camshaft in two. When I finally got to it, I think it had gotten so low that their wasn't enough oil to get to the last bearing on the cam and because it was being driven so steady, in the heat, the camshaft gave up.
However, when I got it apart, the rod and main bearings did not show any significant or substantial wear, even though the check engine light did not come on, indicating a oil pressure problem.
The car has about 225,000 on it, now and the block, pistons and crank are all from the original car. I put new ring's, rod bearing's and main bearing's back into it, got a replacement head and put it back together.
The problem is that people like your family, can't believe something could last that long because no car they ever drove could have been driven even remotely close to that long.
Additionally, if you get a CX or something with a very tall set of gear's, so the motor is only turning about 2,000rpm on the highway, I believe that the engine just does not wear that much.
From my perspective, I would purchase a CX that looks to have been taken reasonable care of, physically and do the things DAX suggested. If you do, I think you'll have something which will be a dependable vehicle all the time your in College. Only thing is that if you take it to the track it ain't going to set any track record's, which is Ok, if your driving it primarily for transportation, I think.