Wednesday, March 05, 2014

2008 Honda Civic: Three Months Left

Both Amber and I own compact cars - a Mazda 3 and a Honda Civic, respectively. They get the job done for pretty much everything...except, perhaps, for long family road trips. With Marla, we pretty much fill either car to capacity when we leave home for more than a night or two. So can you imagine what it'll be like when we have two kids?

With that in mind, a while back we decided that three months before our next child's due date, I would trade in my Honda Civic for a small SUV (a.k.a. a "crossover"), one that would be a little more amenable to long road trips with two young children. That means that around the end of May / beginning of June, I'll be getting a new car. Exciting! (Amber will hold onto the Mazda 3 as long as possible, because she still likes it. Basically, our arrangement has always been for me to have the "practical" and/or "boring" car, and for her to have the "fun" car.)

Before I talk about what kind of small SUV we'll be getting, or why we've chosen that path in the first place - there will be plenty of time for that another day - let's talk about the Honda Civic a little. Most everything I've had to pay triple-digit money to fix involves tires and wheel alignment, and that sort of stuff isn't really Honda's fault. So, I'm pretty happy with the Civic. The only real annoying problem I've had with it is with their defective sun visors. And, fuel mileage has been good - 37 mpg over the life of the car, although it has dropped off to the low to mid 30s within the past year. All in all, the Civic has been a good car, and I'm not trading it in because I'm not satisfied with it. (Nevertheless, the Honda CR-V will actually NOT be my first choice when I get my next car. Third choice, maybe?)

My original goal was to get 200,000 miles out of the Civic. Despite all of the driving we've been doing with it lately, the car odometer is still only at 118,300. (Over the past year-plus, we've been taking the Civic on virtually every road trip, as part of our planning for the Civic to be the first of our two cars to be traded in. The Mazda 3 odometer is currently well behind at 93,000.) So, that goal of 200,000? Not going to happen, not even close. It probably won't happen for the Mazda 3, either: at our current pace, the Mazda will hit 200,000 in May 2021, at which point Amber will have had the car for 13½ years. Is Amber going to want to keep it that long? Probably not. (My general guideline is 8-10 years per car; I'll have had the Civic for 6½ years, so this will be an early trade-in. But circumstances are dictating this move more than anything else, of course.)

I think 125,000 is within reach, though. That would mean 7,000 miles in three months. Lately my six month totals have been a lot closer to 7,000 miles than my three month totals have been, but we do have a week-long road trip in the works for late April, plus a couple of other shorter road trips. So, I might get there. We'll see. It's not like putting a few extra thousand miles on the car is going to affect the car's depreciation a whole lot at this point in the car's life, right?

One nice thing about seeing the car's finish line, though, is that I have an excuse to pretty much forget about preventive maintenance. When I get my next oil change - which will be the last oil change I get with the Civic - if they say, "You might want to get a new ___", I'll say, "Nope!" Unless it's absolutely urgent or is a safety issue, of course. I haven't had to replace the brakes yet, for instance. If any big repairs are needed in the next three months, though, I'll have a decision to make. Pay up and hope I get that money back when I trade in, or forget it and get the new car right away?

On a related note, my car has an "oil life" meter that recommends when you should get an oil change. I've never taken the "oil life" down to 0%. A few times, I've taken it to 5%, which is the lowest possible reading above 0%. (It drops in 5% intervals once you get below 20%.) What happens when you take the oil life below 0%? I'm going to find out soon, because I'm waiting until the oil life drops all the way down to zero before getting that "last oil change". Why the heck not? The oil life meter recommendations work out to one oil change every 7,000 to 7,500 miles, and I've obeyed that to a T; just this once, I think I can go beyond 7,500 miles.

Should be an exciting three months for my old Civic. Will it get to 125,000 miles?


joel_rosen said...

Granted, you've up-kept maintenance on the car at a strict 7k mile interval, but, there really is no reason to ever run your car to 0% oil life.. The tachometer is directly linked to a computer, which has constant readings of all your wring and sensors in your motor.
-When your dash is reading 0% oil, you REALLY have 0% oil, and are risking overheating, blowing head gaskets, throwing a rod, line explosions..
Blowing your motor, is not practical, financially an easy fix, nor is it SAFE!

Oil is not only pertinent, but necessary for the motor to run, especially when you have reached past 70k miles, then again at 150k.
-The more miles the car has, the harder the machined parts work, the thicker the oil needs to be to keep everything operation smoothly.. The filter can only filter so much, and so many times, before the oil becomes thin and sludgy, and stops helping your engine function and perform, which leads to safety risk.

Unfortunately, most people get into their vehicle and turn their keys forward with no idea of whats happening under the hood.
-It's a luxury taken for granted!
There really is no reason, nor excuse, to not maintain, let alone, deprive your engine.

joel_rosen said...

Also, every mile, once you pass 70k original miles, does greatly diminish the value of ANY vehicle.