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How Long is it Safe to Drive?

2513 Views 21 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  psschmied
I know each car is individual, but in general, how many miles do you think are good to keep the car and when would you get rid of it?

My concern is safety because I drive once a week a lot of miles through a very remote area that is blazing hot in summer. My finances dictate that either I get another car soon or hold off about five years. I just started biking to work daily for several reasons; one is to keep the miles off my E.

I have a 2003 that I bought new in 2004. It has 118K miles with rarely any mechanical problem. I get it serviced pretty regularly at the dealer.
I will ask the mechanic there this question next time it's serviced, but I don't know how unbiased an opinion I'll get from a company mechanic.
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With this E, and regular maintenance, you could plan for 200K or more. It all depends on what you want. Do you think you'll put more than 80,000 on this E in 5 years?
It will be "safe" to drive until you die, as long as you maintain it and it doesn't suffer a catastrophic accident.

From a financial perspective, if you bought it new in 2004, you have just eaten all the depreciation. Better to run it for as long as it lives than to fork out for a new car.
IMO, the leading strength of Honda's is the ability for the "core vehicle", ie the motor and chassis, to remain in good running condition a very long time. As mentioned, this is assuming it does not suffer an accident and has good general maintenance.

I have put around 200k on all of my Honda automobiles over the years. I only got rid of each of them frankly because I got the itch to get something new. In fact, I still have my most recent 99 Accord with 187k miles in semi-retirement sitting in the driveway. The E replaced its daily duty because I did want the latest safety attributes available to my 2 and 3 year olds for our longish daily commute across town...and I had been wanting an E ever since they came out. :rolleyes:

For my experience, any mechanical failures...and they were all such that the car was still running, just stuff ike AC, etc...would present their pending doom long before actually fully going out. No car is perfect but knock on wood, I have never been left stranded in a Honda product. (Can't say that for my Jeeps or other vehicles over the years.)

That Honda motor and general overall integrity are what give Honda the bulletproof reputation. Also probably why you see so many old beat up Civics and Accords running around any given day.
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Keep it for along time

Hey Mojave, I have a 2003 and I do most of the maintainence stuff.I have 156000 miles.These cars will last safely for a long time.Feel free to contact us w/ the 2003`s and ask questions before you take it to the mechanic.This board has saved me 100`s of $$$.B
In your setting, if you keep on top of the servicing schedule I wouldn't be at all surprised to get 300-350K of truly dependable service. Our E has astounded me that even at 110K it still drives as new. I figure on getting at least another 5 years out of it. The only situation where I'd put, say, a 150 or 200K limit on "trustworthiness" is here in the Rust Belt, where corrosion wear has to be factored for even the best designs.

That said, something not on the PM schedule and that much more important for you: hose replacement. Make sure the rubber subject to heat stresses is in top shape. At any sign of any one hose nearing end-of-life, replace all of them.
I would think keeping emergency supplies in the E at all time would also alleviate some of that stress. I'm sure you have, but if you haven't putting a 'what if 'kit together is a good idea.
I believe I've seen someone on here who uses their E as a business vehicle who has well over 300K miles. Treat it well, do your maintenance, and it'll last you a LONG time.

Also, as Mental-E said, you just ate the depreciation. The longer you keep it now the further ahead you'll get.

The k24 engine is a 500K engine core. With regular maintenance I do not see why it would not hit 500K without a problem. I had an older accord that had no problems hitting half a million miles before I sold it. If you use the substance found in my cig I can say the 500K reality is better than you think. Just remember that changing your oil is not babying you car, changing ALL fluids is babying your car and the easiest way to prevent all mechanical problems.
Any vehicle, with proper maintenance, can last a long, long time. Barring rust or other structural damage, that extends to practically forever.

Here in Michigan, where we have only white vehicles in winter because they're caked over with road salt after one drive, I personally have pushed a Pontiac Bonneville to almost 200,000. The thing ran and drove like a brand new car at 187,000, and that was after being totalled, rebuilt, and smashed again. Rust finally compromised the structure badly enough I could push my finger through the fenders. I had a 1989 Buick Riviera that had been smashed before I bought it, but in 2005, at 207,000 miles (when the fuel pump went out) I could get in, turn the key, and it fired right up without fail.

The current world record is held by a gentleman in the U.S. that owns a 1969 Volvo. It was certified by Guiness in 2001 as the highest mileage vehicle when it passed 2 Million miles. Search for "million mile car" and you'll find a number of them on Google.
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Yes, the only inescapable limitation is the Tin Worm.'re not talking "tin fingers" are you? :confused:

<---- is slow...

The "Tin Worm" is rust.
Aha. I've was in a tech conversation the other day at work about "tin fingers" on electronics and confuzzled myself. Didn't think they were really an issue on cars but I'm admittedly not a real gearhead...:rolleyes:

Thanks for the Advice!

Thank you, Everybody, for the great advice. I have an overprotective brother who has been urging me to get another E because he was worried about me breaking down in the desert, but in my heart I felt that I can stretch my ownership another five years, esp if I keep up the maintenance and continue biking to work every day to keep the miles off the E (and get more fit, pollute less, model green, etc.).

That post was true with me too that any big problems usually show themselves early. My AC went out in its first few months and luckily was under warranty. (My biggest irritant has been the door locks that go out easily!)

However, I did get stuck once in a potential lethal situation in my fourth year of ownership. I was up in a remote desert hill area at a place that offers free gardening compost. After I filled my bins and hopped into my E, the &^!%$ ignition switch went out on me. Nobody was around and it was about 110 degrees. Luckily I always water, a cell phone, and a Premium AAA membership. I was so glad that for some reason I didn't have my co-pilot dog with me because she overheats very easily. I should have gone early in the morning anyway.

Also it was sage to advise about the hoses. My dealer mechanic mentioned that to me last time also, so I'll go for it at the next service.

I was broke but with a good new job and good credit when I bought the car, so I got 100% financing. In a few months I'll finally own the car free and clear, so I can put that $370 a month I've been paying into a reserve for more maintenance and a downpayment on my next E in 2015 :)
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Keep saving that money! The E comes from a good breed.

Your potential lethal experience is helped by all those modern toys. I wish I could have had a cell phone when i started to drive in the 1990. I would offer you this, if my dad had a car as reliable as my E or insight, once the temp would got to -20 below without windchill I would have not had to huddle inside a blanket in lake effect snow storm until I got a cop to stop and that was in a metro area about a mile from my home....

Again being prepared for were you live and understanding the weather.
It's an individual thing, but I think the general consensus is it's always financially prudent to drive a vehicle as long as you can trust it.

IOW, if it gets to the point where it's breaking down on a regular basis, time to move on.

That said, I think you can pretty much drive a vehicle indefinitely, provided you use preventive maintenance.

Belts and hoses and brakes and filters and fluids should always be replaced BEFORE they fail or give signs of distress.

Some say to go further and replace things like alternators, starters, water pumps, power steering pumps etc. on a schedule, IOW, BEFORE they fail and leave you stranded*. If that sounds extreme, it's how 50-year-old airplanes are still reliably flying the friendly skies!

*though the alternative view is to only replace "on condition" - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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I commuted 470+ miles per week for 30 years, so I have some experience to share with you. Regarding car longevity. I’ve had Hondas and Toyotas, and both brands simply kept going regardless of miles on the odometer. I’ve also had “the Big Three’s” products and found them literally falling apart around me at relatively low miles. For example, I had a 1980 Honda Civic with 350k+ miles on it and only sold it because I was tired of it. I now have a 1987 4Runner with 400k+ on it and have no reason to let it go. Don’t be too concerned about that 118k miles on your Honda…in my experience…it’s just getting broke in!

Inversely, I had a ’88 Chevy S10 with 100k on it and it would not reliably get me 3 miles across town, and simply refused to run at all one day, necessitating a call to a car donation center …a sin I fully expect to serve penitence for in Hell.

That is only a partial listing. Bottom line…I’ve total confidence in my Honda (or Toyota) vehicle/s under the following caveats

Make sure to have good tires, and a spare. Keep brakes, cooling system, and battery maintained. This is based on the fact that the only times in 30 years of commuting I’ve been stranded on the road is because I failed to keep those items working. I’ve driven home with blown clutches, missing gears, and fouled plugs. I’ve even driven with the rear differential empty of lube(leaked out because ring gear bolts loosened). You can drive 100 miles slowly with all those things but try driving that far on a rim ( you had a blowout because you just had to get a last 100 miles on the old tires, and your spare was also flat), or drive without coolant (leaked out because radiator hoses aren’t replaced periodically) Driving with shot-out brakes is well, suicidal and stupid.

Finally, always carry in your car:

A flashlight (LED type, with good batteries) 1 gal on water ( you can go without food, but not water) a wide brim hat (cools your head in summer, warms it in winter) rubber/latex gloves ( those inexpensive yellow ones used to do kitchen work. In a pinch they keep your hands warm while changing a tire etc in snow/cold) a Mylar “Space Blanket (or inexpensive sleeping bag) a few “energy bars” (granola, whatever you like) and a fully charged cell phone.

Good luck.
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I have driven my last two vehicles, a '94 Ranger and 99 Saturn SL1 for over 200K each, and in fact sold the Ranger to a neighbor; it was rust-free (in Ohio) and ran/runs like it was brand new. The Saturn ran fine, but I wanted an E, and I got a new, much higher paying job... I was religious about changing the oil- not every 3000 miles, but between every 5-7000 (Car Talk's recommendation) and routine maintenance (Hoses, belts, etc.). One of my father's salesman friends ran a Chrysler mini-van over 500K- and even then he only switched because he got a company car!

I aviod the tin-worm by cleaning under the vehicle- spraying up and under the rocker panels (where dirt and salt accumulate, trapping moisture) when it's warm enough. In winter, I wash the vehicle at the car wash, and always get the underbody wash. I use a good wax (whenever it starts to lose it's beading) and over winter I go the blue-coral route (long-lasting wax), like my father always has. If I ever get a scratch I cover it immediately with the paint-pen, and I use a hand-mirror to check the underbody/carriage for rust. If I find any, (and it's always just surface rust) a wire brush, some rust-stop primer and rust-oleum / undercoating stop it dead in its tracks- in all honesty, I think I've had to do this once- on a 1980 Buick (piece of ....)

Keep it clean, oil and body, and you should get 300K w/o any problems!
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Finally, always carry in your car:

A flashlight (LED type, with good batteries) 1 gal of water ( you can go without food, but not water) a wide brim hat (cools your head in summer, warms it in winter) rubber/latex gloves ( those inexpensive yellow ones used to do kitchen work. In a pinch they keep your hands warm while changing a tire etc in snow/cold) a Mylar “Space Blanket (or inexpensive sleeping bag) a few “energy bars” (granola, whatever you like) and a fully charged cell phone.
I'll add to this list: a decent Phillips and flat head screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pliers, jumper cables and some duct tape.

I went with a small group of friends to a theme park. After paying for parking a friends window wouldn't go back up. Had we had the a screw driver and duct tape we could have temporarily fixed it.
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