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A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

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  • A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

    My '95 Honda Civic with 200K on the odometer failed the emissions test a.k.a. the smog test. To make a long story short, my Honda dealership cannot seem to pin point the problem. The dealership tells me the car passes emissions with their testing but I've twice gotten a failed test from the authorized smog center. I've spent around $750 for a new oxygen sensor which the dealership says will allow the car to pass. The dealership now has the car and is looking again into the problem.

    The car has had an excellent service record. My radiator lasted 160K for example, and my current issue seems to be less a problem with the car and more likely with the mechanics adjustment.

    Which brings me to the topic: One of my co-workers said that I should buy a new car. My response was "Why would I want to turn a $750 repair into a $15,000 one?"

    Yes, I will buy a new car. I plan on getting 250K out of my Civic and then I will buy a new one. Now, I broke down the math and I did not in anyway see how buying a new car is a benefit over keeping my existing car.

    Is my coworker seeing something I'm not?
    |TG-9th| TheFatKidDeath
    "Born to Party, Forced to Work."
    - Check me out on The Onion
    - I'm on the local news!

  • #2
    Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

    Well, I'd start thinking about a different dealership considering they charged you $750 for an oxygen sensor. The sensor itself is a $30-$80~ part, depending on the brand and/or if you go OEM. Installation of the sensor is trivial and only requires unplugging the old one and unscrewing it from the exhaust system and then screwing in/plugging in the new one. It takes about 10 minutes if the thing is being stubborn coming out and only 5 minutes if the old one screws out easily.

    With the emissions test, were both failures at the same inspection station? You might want to try an alternative station if this is the case just to be sure it's not something overly sensitive or faulty with their equipment.

    As far as a car failing the emissions tests and getting it fixed, cleaning out the fuel system, replacing the O2 sensor, and potentially replacing the catalytic converter *should* deal with almost any emissions issue you have.
    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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    • #3
      Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

      You could move to a different state the doesn't do emissions test. That should solve your problem :)

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      • #4
        Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

        Yeah, 750 is a rip off. O2 sensor takes under 5 minutes to swap out. I love Hondas because they're SO easy to work on. So no, don't buy a new car. If you need your inspection, take it to the other side of town and get some shady business to give you your inspection sticker. Do you really believe all those cars on the wrong side of town truly pass smog tests? I don't believe so. There's always someone who's willing to pass you for a couple extra bucks or a case of beer.
        "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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        • #5
          Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

          No car payments rule!!! Spend your $$ on international travel :)
          ...............................








          Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

          -Benjamin Franklin

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          • #6
            Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

            Originally posted by LuckyStrike View Post
            No car payments rule!!! Spend your $$ on international travel :)
            I concur. Normal people have car payments. That's why normal people are broke. Be different and enjoy your money on other things. Just think, every few months of car payments would pay for some nice vacations. Dang I need to pay off my car!
            "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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            • #7
              Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

              I have a '91 mazda with 130,000 and it rocks! I rarely have to repair anything at all on it and my wife calls it the motorized camel (since it gets high 30'smpg)

              I havent had car payments since forever and even though id love some of the bells and whistles of a newer car I just cant justify buying one.


              Its really gonna come down to what you want and can afford.....


              And yeah, 750$ for an oxygen sensor around here would cost a dealership a day in court. (did they do any other service?)

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              • #8
                Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                A man after my own heart. Drive that baby till it catches fire.
                I had my O2 censor replaced at the toyota dealership it was about $200 bucks, but a third party dealership paid for it. A local muffler shop should be able to fix your problem a lot cheaper. Or you can drive to East LA and get it done for 20 bucks wink wink.

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                • #9
                  Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                  The dealership wanted to charge me $180 to replace my O2 censor (dodge Dakota). Another mechanic did it for 55.98.

                  Dealers are usually a rip off.

                  And do I understand it correctly that in most cars the only purpose of the "check engine" light is that O2 sensor? That is what the mechanic told me. So I drove it for about 2 months before having it replaced. Really didn't notice a difference.
                  Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                  - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                  - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                  - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
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                  - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
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                  • #10
                    Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                    Originally posted by Apophis View Post
                    Well, I'd start thinking about a different dealership considering they charged you $750 for an oxygen sensor.
                    wow that aint no lie...... it also depends on what sencer you have and model of car. some of the new models have sencers that are over $200 dollars and there are 3 to 4 of them in 1 run. for example some of the new models have 2 before the cataletic and 2 after. $750 dollars is robbery,,,,,

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                    • #11
                      Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                      True for some wacky vehicles, but not a Honda. I know for a fact they only have one, because I swapped the O2 sensor out on my brother's '94 Civic. It was about a $20 part and took only a couple of minutes to swap. You only need a wrench to do it. It's SSSOOOO easy.
                      "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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                      • #12
                        Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                        Originally posted by TheFatKidDeath View Post
                        Now, I broke down the math and I did not in anyway see how buying a new car is a benefit over keeping my existing car.

                        Is my coworker seeing something I'm not?
                        Your coworker is probably just one of the many millions of people in the US that are in debt up to their eyeballs and think that it's OK.

                        Unless I win the lottery, I'll never, EVER buy a new car ever again. Stick with buying quality two or three year old cars that have already depreciated but are still in great shape. Just think about how much a new car depreciates the minute you drive it off the dealership's lot! Being the first owner of a vehicle just isn't worth that premium price...

                        Oh, and you can buy "new car smell" in the air freshener aisle of your local auto parts store or WalMart, too!
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                        • #13
                          Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                          I bought my first new car in '04. It was the last new car I'll every buy. It has been a great car and I've had no problems with it, but the payments aren't worth it. People say buy new because you'll have less problems, but back in 2000, I bought a 1986 Subaru GL for $150 that was every bit as reliable as a new car. The car was in immaculate shape and was super reliable. I sold it because I just didn't need a 2nd car. BTW, I'm really surprised at how everyone here is on the same page! It proves how smart our TG community is!

                          Now everyone should watch this presentation to see the economics of what we are all talking about. It's very motivational:
                          http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/lms/drive_free/player.cfm
                          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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                          • #14
                            Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                            Your coworker is probably just one of the many millions of people in the US that are in debt up to their eyeballs and think that it's OK.

                            Unless I win the lottery, I'll never, EVER buy a new car ever again. Stick with buying quality two or three year old cars that have already depreciated but are still in great shape. Just think about how much a new car depreciates the minute you drive it off the dealership's lot! Being the first owner of a vehicle just isn't worth that premium price...

                            Oh, and you can buy "new car smell" in the air freshener aisle of your local auto parts store or WalMart, too!
                            I've gotten the "just buy a new car" line from a few other people as well. You really have to wonder about this sort of logic.

                            My car is mechanically safe to operate, the body is in decent shape and I've had very little problems over the course of twelve years. The parts that were replaced lasted over 200K. Or as a friend of mine stated - "What are you bitching about? $700 over the course of 12 years? Give me a break!"


                            *Edit* - I had more work done to the vehicle than just an oxygen sensor (new carburetor, etc). But it may have been cheaper to not take it to a dealer but I like to have recourse in case of problems - as in this case.
                            |TG-9th| TheFatKidDeath
                            "Born to Party, Forced to Work."
                            - Check me out on The Onion
                            - I'm on the local news!

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                            • #15
                              Re: A $750 repair or a $15,000 one?

                              Originally posted by TheFatKidDeath View Post
                              But it may have been cheaper to not take it to a dealer but I like to have recourse in case of problems - as in this case.
                              I would recommend to anyone that they spend the extra money and get their oil changed at different local mechanics until they find one that they feel they can trust. Having a good mechanic (that won't charge you insane prices like a dealership) is just one of those things that everyone should have. And, legally speaking, dealership garages offer no more recourse than a "mom and pop" garage.
                              Become a supporting member!
                              Buy a Tactical Duck!
                              Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
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