Latest Reader Question: Keep it or Sell it? (May 3, 2018)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Kenny asks: I’m a fellow Libertarian and found you out through my regular listening of the Tom Woods Show. I really do appreciate what you have to say about cars in relation to liberty! So, I own a 2000 Honda Accord EX with a V6 engine.  It currently has more than 193,000 miles on it. I have maintained it by regular oil change, changing tires, etc.  Generally, it’s still in fairly good condition. Do you think this car is worth keeping?  I’m in no hurry to purchase a car, but I just wanted to know what you think before I make any rash decisions down the road. Looking forward to your response!

My reply: There are several variables to chew on here. First, it is almost 20 years old and has nearly 200,000 miles on it. On the other hand, it’s a Honda Accord – and these cars are exceptionally well-made and reliable. It is a reasonable bet that the car will continue to be generally reliable for at least another couple of years. However, you will almost certainly have to spend money every now and then for various repairs. But will they be Big Ticket items or relatively minor? That’s the real question here – and it has to be weighed against the certain cost of buying a new (or more recent vintage used) car.

Right now, the car is running well. That means you are not facing a crisis-motivated decision (i.e., the car suddenly breaks down and it’s a Big Ticket repair; you’re stuck having to either pay for the Big Ticket repair – which may not be wise – or rush into a purchase of a replacement car).

So, here’s my suggestion:

Begin looking – leisurely – for a replacement now, while there is no pressure to buy anything. Begin thinking about makes/models; maybe go look at some, take a few test drives. But don’t buy until you come across a really fantastic deal on a car that you really like.

You are in the best car-buying place of all: You don’t have to buy anything right now or next week – or next month. Maybe not until next year.

Some of the worst car-buying mistakes take place when the person buying feels pressured to get a car right now – or at least, as soon as possible – because their old car had the equivalent of a massive stroke and they’ve got no wheels and are borrowing other people’s cars, hitching rides and so on.

Dealers respond to that buyer desperation like Pavlov’s dogs.

So, never be desperate. Buy at your pace, when you’re ready.

If everything works out just right, you’ll be able to find a replacement for your Accord before anything major goes wrong with the Accord. Then you’ll be able to get maximum value for it. You’ll get a great deal on the new car – and on your old car, which you can sell (again) at your leisure. No pressure to dump it.

In the meanwhile, continue driving the Accord. I would. It will probably be okay for the foreseeable future.

It is, after all, a Honda!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I’m surprised your transmission hasn’t gone out yet. That year accord, odyssey, Acura TL, had major problems witht heir 5 speed automatics. I had a 2000 TL and it started slipping on its second transmission. Start looking for a replacement car. You can also sell your accord after you find your replacement. The 2000 accord ex v6 coupe with the nsx tail lights is a rare car. It’ll have a higher used market price than your average accord.

    • Good stuff, Mooeing!

      By the way, my buddy Tim (mechanic Oberfuhrer) tells me Toyota has the same issue with some of the trannies (not in the Caitlyn Jenner sense) used in same-vintage Toyota vehicles, including the RAV4. I am going to see him later today and will get more info…

      • Eric, a friend bought a 99 Rav 4 used and began having transmission problems and traded it. 8sm, dammit not anonymous.

    • Mooeing, took the words right out of my mouf. I used to do some maintenance on a couple Honda Accords back then.

      At less than 200000 they had some minor problems but the auto transmissions were acting up.

      They both got traded a great deal earlier than owners expected having put 350K on earlier Hondas.

      I recall it was from somewhere in the late 90s Hondas began to have reliability problems.

      Probably the next New build solved it. By then everyone was driving Toyota of some sort.

      One guy had an 06 Corolla he drove a few years until he couldn’t stand the buzziness and sorry fuel milage.

      Contrary to what most people assume a Corolla loses the sippiness when driven at high speed making larger more powerful cars in line on fuel milage, without all the noise and little car ride. The guy who owned it used it for work with his highest one day milage topping 800 miles.

      If you’re going to hammer down in hot west Texas every day get something with long legs. BTW that Accord suffered from the same short leg problem and never returned the expected milage.

      The guy with the Corolla once had one of the super high milage Civics having one tank get 58mpg but he wasn’t hammering it……that day. He just gave that tired one to his teenage son, a good first car, barely any power.


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