Author Topic: Car dilemma  (Read 1353 times)

dragonwalker

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Car dilemma
« on: December 14, 2019, 01:28:09 PM »
I have a 2009 Honda Civic Lx with 91,000 miles on it. Several weeks ago I thought I noticed it might be leaking fluid. I checked periodically but it stopped. In the last week it has become clear that fluid is leaking. I believe it is antifreeze. I did a lot of research and from what I can tell it is likely the result of a serious issue resulting from a manufacturing defect of the engine block. Iím bringing it into the shop to confirm this on Monday.

Unfortunately, if this is the issue I am out of the extended coverage period for this defect (itís 10 years from date of sale) and I am a few months over which means that a replacement engine and installation will be around $5,000. My car is worth about that much in private party according to KBB. I am really hoping itís not that problem and even if it is there is a chance I could appeal to have some of the expenses covered by Honda.

Coincidentally in the last few years I have also thought about getting a new car. People on the forum have convinced me financially it doesnít make sense so I didnít but I want some objective opinions. Assuming the worst case and the engine has to be replaced I am considering a used newer model (2016 or newer) Toyota Prius with maybe 20K miles on it. My current commute is about 30 miles a day but I carpool so cut that in half. Starting July of next year it will be doubling to 60 a day and I may lose the carpool.

A really quick search of Priusí now shows the models Iím interested in are being offered certified pre owned for $20K. Less if I search private party or not certified pre owned but Iím not a car guy so I donít know if thatís a good idea.

If the engine block is cracked here are the options I see. A) Buy a Prius and trade in the Honda. B) Attempt to sell the Honda and buy a Prius. C) Repair the Honda. D) Repair the Honda with a used engine probably $2-4K. E) Attempt to fix the existing engine although this has not proven entirely successful dur to the nature of the problem. My Honda has not had any problems since this one. Tires are due to change in a few months. Some minor items throughout. What should I do that makes the best financial sense? My original intention was to keep it until my next set of tires wear out somewhere in the 130-140K mark. Also, with this defect Iím not sure what my responsibility is to disclose this problem when trying to sell.
Ofocurse normally I would try to sell a car private party but I feel obliged not to sell a car with such a problem. The dealership Iím thinking they would do an inspection and offer a price accordingly. Thanks everyone.

jafr1284

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2019, 06:31:26 PM »
Do you need to buy another car? Maybe this is a good oppertunity to move close to work so you won't need one. The cheapest thing to do is to part out your car or sell it as a tow away and buy another used car. IMO it's not worth doing engine swap unless you can swap it out with a used engine in good shape. If I were you I wouldn't want the headache of parting it out or doing an engine swap unless you have a ton of free time

spartana

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2019, 11:22:39 PM »
First check your hoses for cracks or holes. Most likely the problem and easy to see and DIY fix. Same with radiator. Also check for leaks and steam around the cylinder head and gasket as cracked heads are common. Trouble shoot it first yourself and then take it to a mechanic. If a mechanic says its the block then see if you qualify for a free engine from Honda: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/03/free-engine-replacement-for-2006-2009-honda-civics/index.htm
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 11:29:10 PM by spartana »

RWD

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2019, 07:40:25 AM »
I am considering a used newer model (2016 or newer) Toyota Prius with maybe 20K miles on it.
Why such low miles? Toyotas tend to last a very long time so getting a higher mileage or a bit older model would save you thousands on the purchase price without a reduction in usability for your purposes. For less than $20k you could be buying a 2013-2015 Lexus ES 300h (40 mpg!). I don't know why you would spend luxury car money on a econobox.

Also, with this defect Iím not sure what my responsibility is to disclose this problem when trying to sell.
Legally you can not deliberately misrepresent the car. So you can't say "there are no problems with the engine" but you could just not say anything about it at all and leave it up to buyer due diligence. Ethically I would be very uncomfortable with anything less than full disclosure. If you do full disclosure then you don't need to worry about selling it private party because the buyer will know what they are getting into (i.e. mechanic's special).

use2betrix

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2019, 11:27:22 AM »
I would be amazed if $5k is the best price you can find on a 2009 Honda Civic Engine replacement.. Iíd bet if you shopped around itíll be closer to $2k-$3k..

That is not the type of car, nor type of work, you would want done at a Honda dealership, FYI.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 05:28:28 PM by use2betrix »

max9505672

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2019, 12:02:04 PM »
F) Monitor the coolant leak rate and top off the fluid level accordingly.

MilesTeg

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2019, 12:04:47 PM »
I have a 2009 Honda Civic Lx with 91,000 miles on it. Several weeks ago I thought I noticed it might be leaking fluid. I checked periodically but it stopped. In the last week it has become clear that fluid is leaking. I believe it is antifreeze. I did a lot of research and from what I can tell it is likely the result of a serious issue resulting from a manufacturing defect of the engine block. Iím bringing it into the shop to confirm this on Monday.

Unfortunately, if this is the issue I am out of the extended coverage period for this defect (itís 10 years from date of sale) and I am a few months over which means that a replacement engine and installation will be around $5,000. My car is worth about that much in private party according to KBB. I am really hoping itís not that problem and even if it is there is a chance I could appeal to have some of the expenses covered by Honda.

Coincidentally in the last few years I have also thought about getting a new car. People on the forum have convinced me financially it doesnít make sense so I didnít but I want some objective opinions. Assuming the worst case and the engine has to be replaced I am considering a used newer model (2016 or newer) Toyota Prius with maybe 20K miles on it. My current commute is about 30 miles a day but I carpool so cut that in half. Starting July of next year it will be doubling to 60 a day and I may lose the carpool.

A really quick search of Priusí now shows the models Iím interested in are being offered certified pre owned for $20K. Less if I search private party or not certified pre owned but Iím not a car guy so I donít know if thatís a good idea.

If the engine block is cracked here are the options I see. A) Buy a Prius and trade in the Honda. B) Attempt to sell the Honda and buy a Prius. C) Repair the Honda. D) Repair the Honda with a used engine probably $2-4K. E) Attempt to fix the existing engine although this has not proven entirely successful dur to the nature of the problem. My Honda has not had any problems since this one. Tires are due to change in a few months. Some minor items throughout. What should I do that makes the best financial sense? My original intention was to keep it until my next set of tires wear out somewhere in the 130-140K mark. Also, with this defect Iím not sure what my responsibility is to disclose this problem when trying to sell.
Ofocurse normally I would try to sell a car private party but I feel obliged not to sell a car with such a problem. The dealership Iím thinking they would do an inspection and offer a price accordingly. Thanks everyone.

Never spent as much or more repairing a vehicle than buying a comparable vehicle would cost. This makes no financial sense whatsoever.

You'll hear plenty of other opinions, but IFF it requires the repair you fear at that cost to you, then sell/trade in for another vehicle. A small used commuter car like the Prius, is a fine choice. Hopefully it's just a leaky radiator hose though =)

MilesTeg

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2019, 12:07:56 PM »
F) Monitor the coolant leak rate and top off the fluid level accordingly.

Terrible idea. If it's a cracked block it's likely (or soon to be) leaking into the crank case not (just) externally. If so, it's a catastrophic failure waiting to happen as the coolant mixes with oil making the oil increasingly useless. Need to determine what the actual damage and either repair or replace.

Also, a vehicle spewing toxic chemicals all over the place is not particularly environmentally friendly.

acepedro45

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2019, 12:12:32 PM »
I think OP might want to hold onto his horses a little and figure out what's wrong with his current Honda, if anything, before charting his course. 

It seems speculative to go nuts figuring out OP's next move based on a little coolant leak and no knowledge about how serious it is yet.

Come back when you get your mechanic's diagnosis. Also, keep in mind you can monitor coolant loss over time by keeping an eye on the level of fluid in the coolant resevoir. That can go a long way toward an independent assessment of how serious the problem is.




spartana

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2019, 12:49:18 PM »
I think OP might want to hold onto his horses a little and figure out what's wrong with his current Honda, if anything, before charting his course. 

It seems speculative to go nuts figuring out OP's next move based on a little coolant leak and no knowledge about how serious it is yet.

Come back when you get your mechanic's diagnosis. Also, keep in mind you can monitor coolant loss over time by keeping an eye on the level of fluid in the coolant resevoir. That can go a long way toward an independent assessment of how serious the problem is.
This. Seems OP is starting with the biggest, most expensive things first without checking out the small things. I recently had a coolant leak (easy to see as clearish green for most cars and smells and tastes sweet) that took two seconds for me to find (cracked hose)  and fix at no cost. Ran fine with no leaks since.

OP look online for easy diagnoses and do those first. Watch your coolant level and engine temps. Check your big and small hoses to radiator and engine and reservoir. Coolant that leaks around those will likely pool near by on top of engine (and eventually drip down to ground) when car is stopped or will steam off a hot engine. You can smell it. Could be something very very simple and easy to fix. You don't have many mea on the car and it will likely last you several more years.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 12:51:36 PM by spartana »

max9505672

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2019, 12:56:36 PM »
F) Monitor the coolant leak rate and top off the fluid level accordingly.

Terrible idea. If it's a cracked block it's likely (or soon to be) leaking into the crank case not (just) externally. If so, it's a catastrophic failure waiting to happen as the coolant mixes with oil making the oil increasingly useless. Need to determine what the actual damage and either repair or replace.
It both cases, it's a new engine situation.

Also, a vehicle spewing toxic chemicals all over the place is not particularly environmentally friendly.
Excellent point.

Car Jack

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2019, 01:16:01 PM »
Why in the world would you suspect an engine block crack?  This isn't rocket science to diagnose and I would be really, really surprised to hear of a cracked block.  My first expectation: The water pump is weeping coolant because it's worn out.  This can happen on any Honda engine and it means you need to change a $60 water pump and to do that, a $60 timing belt plus of course the labor to do it.  It's overdue, if you haven't done it yet anyways.  Let me back up....I just looked quickly and there's a full kit I see right off at Amazon for $55 that has the timing belt, water pump and tensioner.  Yes, you have to provide labor but Hondas are one of the very easiest engines to learn on.  My first 2 timing belts were on a 91 CRX-Si (D series single cam) and then a 91 Acura Integra (B18 dual cam) and they are so easy and straight forward, I couldn't believe it took such short time.  I adjusted the valves before closing it all up because I had so much extra spare time.

It could also be any one of a number of other things.  Radiators with plastic caps fail over time and this would be consistent with your description.  Likely where one of the hoses is clamped on.  It's not overly hard to just drain the thing and look for a crack (you also might just see where it's leaking).

As mentioned, hoses are old unless they've been replaced.  Could be a $7 hose somewhere.  Anyways, some non-internet diagnosis is in order before you declare that the engine block is cracked.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 01:18:47 PM by Car Jack »

dragonwalker

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Re: Car dilemma
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2019, 12:02:55 AM »
Ok so great news I got back today. The mechanic who checked it out did not find any leaks at all and no other problems to boot! He said that he had pressure tested the coolant system and inspected for leaks and found none. When I asked him about the mysterious clear water like fluid he said it was just condensation from the AC. I had mentioned that my coolant fluid in my reservoir was low and he couldn't explain that. He said he topped off the fluids as well. I was quite amazed as after all of that he didn't even ask to charge anything for the check and it was done by the end of the day.

Now to be fair I've never used this mechanic for service before because I've never really had mechanical problem on a car for the last 10 years since I've owned this car. He was recommended by a neighbor when I was concerned. When I look at the coolant reservoir later I did notice that they filled the coolant half way up the reservoir about 1-2 inches above the maximum line. I don't believe that's to important but everything still looked dry.

I suppose I will continue to keep an eye on it and hopefully it will last trouble few for a few more years.

Regarding what someone was saying earlier about why a used Prius with that few miles. A few reasons from some of my research indicates there is a large surge of vehicles at the 2-3 year mark when leases come do and people trade in and my understanding are leased vehicles are generally a better category of vehicles to buy used from because there is some assumption they are used more lightly by their drivers than rentals or business owned. Also I'm still not entirely confident about the long term reliability of hybrid batteries but I do know I want a car to last at least 10 years so I don't want something pushing the age up and I figure after 2-3 years I've already passed the biggest depreciation drop. However it looks like I'm going to wait longer before changing which is probably a good thing because I don't particularly like the look of the current Prius.