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Passing 100,000 Miles on My Honda Civic

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 14 comments.


A few months short of five years ago, I purchased a new 2004 Honda Civic to replace a failing older model that had not been in my care. Today, this “new” car is passing 100,000 miles on the odometer, and it’s still running great. While I occasionally find my mind wandering towards the purchase of something sportier, at this time, I plan on sticking with the Civic until maintenance costs more than the car is worth. I hope to stretch ownership for another 100,000 miles.

Here are the expenses I’ve put into the car so far:

Accessories $745
Insurance $9,894
Interest on Auto Loan $413
Fuel $7,042
Parking $302
Registration $239
Service $3,208
Tolls $3,645

The main accessory I purchased was a lower-end GPS device, which was ultimately stolen from the car while it was parked for the weekend in a particularly bad parking space in Queens, New York. I never replaced the device. The next most expensive accessory was a replacement stereo that fully integrated with my iPod. The service category includes regularly scheduled maintenance as well as a slew of oil changes. It also includes my $500 deductible after a “minor” accident, a tire replacement after one was punctured and unrepairable, and a couple of traffic tickets.

I paid off my non-industry auto loan with an interest rate of 2% somewhat quicker to keep my total interest expense down to $413. Also, according to edmunds.com, my car has depreciated a total of $7,580 since it was purchased.

Many of the expenses should be controlled better, and it may be time to re-evaluate my insurance coverage.

Published or updated March 30, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Baker

Flexo, thanks for keeping us updated on this purchase and providing an honest picture of all the expenses. I can easily imagine myself buying a 3-5 year old civic right now. I’m glad to hear yours is still running well at 100,000 because that might be the range I start looking at in terms of miles.

In fact, if you ever sell that car let me know ;-)…

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

Baker: Good plan. If I ever decide to sell, you can be certain I’ll announce it here.

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avatar Dime1

Someone is trying to sell me a 2002 honda civic with 173,000 miles on it for $2,000 .. No problems with it! Does this seem like a good deal to you?? I just wasn’t sure if i should buy it!

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avatar 2million

Flexo,

I remember when you bought the car – time flies! My wife and I just finally broke down and bought a newly used Hyundai Santa Fe after put $1,100 into car maintenance (timing belt, new radiator) and then the engine went – oh well.

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avatar Rassah

My ’99 Civic hit 155,000 before getting a minor crack in one piston ring. It wasn’t really causing any problems for a while (just had to add more oil half-way between the 6000 oil change maintenance). At 170,000 miles it finally died, where either the crack, or something else, started spurting oil all over the place, and clogged up all the engine control components. I looked at getting a replacement “used car,” since my car was worth only $1,600 at the time (less since it didn’t run any more), but decided to replace the engine instead. Replacement used civic would have cost me $4,000+ for 60k to 80k cars. A replacement used engine costs $950 (for the 80k mile one), plus $1,500 labor. $2,500 versus $4,000+ was a no-brainer, especially considering that I have been taking good care of the rest of the car, replaced some other maintenance-related things not too long ago, and actually know what is going on under the hood, as opposed to essentially gambling on a purchase and hoping I don’t get a lemon. I doubt you get a maintenance schedule that tells you how old each part is when you buy used. Engines are cheap, apparently, and civics otherwise last for a very long time. If this one lasts as long as my other one did, this is $2,500 for 100,000 worth of mileage. Plus, since the odometer was left alone, I’ll finally get to see one of my cars go over the 200,000 mark :D

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avatar juggler314

Did your fuel and depreciation really end up being the same dollar amount, or is one of those incorrect?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

I’ll check when I’m home and have the numbers. That doesn’t sound right.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

I’ve edited the post with the correct fuel expense: $7,042.

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avatar Kevin

I have a 94 Civic that I bought used with 47K miles. It’s now at 285K. Of course, there’ve been a few repairs along the way: water pump, brake cylinder, and the normal wear and tear maintenance.

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avatar Atul

Good to hear that you’ve kept the car running well all these years. Recently made cars can get to 100,000 miles without any problem. I have 135,000 miles on my 1997 Saab and it still runs great, but it’s my second car. I love it too much to sell, wouldn’t get much for it anyway. (I should do a complete analysis on how much I spent on the car.) Cars aren’t the best financial investment, but we generally need them and they go way beyond just the financial part.

Some reasons to buy a newer car include…

- being sure that you can rely on it (for long trips), because all machines become less reliable with time and usage
- safety features, (can’t put a price on that, side airbags and stability control has been proven to save lives)
- consider that the trade-in value of your current car is higher in warranty than once warranty expires for time or miles
- enjoyment of driving, I’m a car nut, and consider cars a hobby worth investing in
- low interest loans or rebates now while rates will go higher later
- current low returns on other investments reduces opportunity cost
- buy new if you want to keep it for a long time and depreciation won’t matter as much. This way, you know what’s been done to it and that it hasn’t been abused.

I just bought a car a couple of weeks ago, and have only bought new since I started getting the GM discount in 1996. That ends for me next year and my traded-in vehicle still had 9 months and 13,000 miles left on the warranty, so now was the time to buy. It’s good to plan ahead and buy when the time is right even if you don’t need a car today. You might need one in a year or two, but financially, it may work against you to not buy today, especially when the dealers and manufacturers are so desperate to sell.

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avatar alainiala

Congrats on hitting 100k. I had a 94′ Civic automatic that I bought brand new and drove it for 11 years and racking up 200,000 miles before getting rear-ended by a Porsche. Maintenance was low until the last few years, but even then the biggest thing was replacing the water pump and master brake cylinder… no biggie. I’m a huge proponent of 4-banger Hondas… They will perform above and beyond as long as you do your due diligence with regular maintenance.

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avatar Jason @ MyMoneyMinute

My 2000 Nissan Maxima is nearing 185,000 miles and still going strong. I bought it in 2003 when there were 35k miles on it, and other than replacing the clutch early on, there’s been no major problems since.

At this point I’m hoping it keeps rolling along. When the time comes to replace it, I’d definitely look for a Nissan or a Honda. Seems like they run forever!

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avatar UH2L

Saabs and Volvos last a really long time too. But pretty much all cars will last 100,000 miles these days and 150,000 is no big deal any more. My 1997 Saab has 135,000 miles and runs very well. My goal is to hit 300,000 miles, but I can’t rely on it as my sole car. If you go on a long trip and something goes wrong, then you pay through the nose for towing and repairs, (like in downtown Chicago).

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avatar Jon

NOTE: we have a 2004 Civic still at 95,000 miles. Bought it new. TROUBLE GALORE since hitting 30,000 miles. I bought a Honda because it was supposed to be ‘reliable’. This car has been more like a 1980′s FORD. Body parts/latches failing or falling off, mechanical accessories failing, like a Timing Belt tensioner ($500 to replace this and the destroyed belt). Last night it died on the way to a job – probably the Alternator going. Car just shut down: radio, then lights (great at night), finally everything. One emergency tow later and no idea what the final bill will be. There’s no end to this lemon.

Next car will NOT be a Honda.

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