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First, I apologize for the long note, but it's thorough (I think), and I could really use some advice. A new car is tough to swallow at the moment.....


I have a 2000 Accord Limited Edition with 295,000k on it. I took it to a trusted mechanic. He thinks I should fix it up, but I'm not overly convinced I should.... The transmission makes me nervous, and I'm wondering what exactly could be done about it? Solenoids cleaned (I read this, not sure what it involves)? Reprogram transmission (again, more stuff I read)? What other diagnostics should be done? OR should I say the heck with it all and sell it as is? I put 600-700km on my car a week with 80% of it highway at 100k/hr +. Need a reliable car for commuting.

This all started when I had difficulty starting. Been trying to track it down to weather (cold, hot, humid, rain?), but there is no pattern. Does not matter how much gas is in the tank, or where I fill up. When it sits for several days it is more difficult. It will crank, but not start. So I did the regulars.
1 - New plugs and wires (proper gap)
2 - Air filter
3 - PCV valve
4 - Ran cleaner through the fuel system a couple times.

Hard start is now much less frquent, but still there. I want to troubleshoot it a bit, but the mecahnic says it all seems fine. I have also noticed the following:
1 - Transmission shifts late, really noticable going from 2nd to 3rd. Higher gears is not bad. Down shift is fine as well provided I am not being really light on the gas during the middle of a shift (ie. waiting in traffic going up a hill...does this make sense? it has done it since I have had it at 150k)
2 - Rough idle, but better since a much needed tune up. At least what I think is rough, but I have nothing to comapre it so, and it seems like it has been a pretty gradual increase of "roughness".
3 - Mileage is not as good as it used to be.

History
1 - Body is in immaculate shape. No rust.
2 - Transmission rebuild around 180k. Surprise surprise, and wish I could remember the original reason for the failure, but I understand it is pretty darn common in these cars.
3 - Been using synthetic oil in it since 260k. Regular changes.
4 - Transmission fluid changed at 280k (100k and 2.5 years after rebuild)
5 - No check engine codes or transmission codes, white smoke, etc.
6 - I have NOT done the timing belt since purchas at 150k, and not sure if it was prevously done. (shame on me, I know)
7 - Never stalled. RPMs are where they should be, despite occasional rough idle.

What it needs:
1 - New brake lines. Apparently they are leaking and pretty rusty. Estimated 6-8 hours plus parts.
2 - Tires - One required for each all season and winter.
3 - Timing belt (because I really should do it....)

What I have NOT done:
1 - New battery - current one is 4 years old. Apparently after a family member dropped it off at the mechanic the battery was dead, which shocks me because I have not had any problems. Although,m at 4 years old it would not surprise me (or the mechanic) that it could be attributing to my hard starts (not rough idling, or late shifting).
2 - Cap and rotor
3 - Timing belt, as mentioned above.
4 - O2 sensor (ever), or recalibrate the idle control valve.

Otherwise, it does not need anything else. The transmission makes me really nervous and I'm not sure if I should shell out that kind of money to fix at least the brake lines, new battery, get a new tire (punctured), AND *maybe* do the timing belt...or should I sell it as is? With winter coming I'd like to make a decision and would really appreciate some other input on it...
 

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Since you say you dont have any transmission trouble codes and its not slipping during the shifts, I would suggest doing 2 or 3 drain and refills with Honda DW1 or Maxlife to see if it helps the transmission shifting. If it does improve enough to satisfy you, then do the other things it needs.

Reprogramming the transmission is not really possible. It can be reset by simply pulling a fuse or disconnecting the battery for a minute. This will cause the ECM to relearn your driving patterns, but will not fix a shifting problem caused by a mechanical failure.

If you find the shift solenoids are contaminated with metal chips, the transmission will not last much longer, so figure on a rebuild if you keep it.

You are the only one who can determine if the repairs are economically justified based on what you have in the car and the cost of replacing it.
 

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You have to decide if it's worth putting money into the car and taking the risk that it will require something else expensive "soon". How much will it cost to do all of the maintenance/repairs you listed? I wouldn't put much money into a 2000 Accord with almost 300,000 miles on it. If you think you can get everything fixed for $1,000 or less, maybe it's worth it if you think you'll be set for another year or two.

If you decide it's not worth the risk of spending money on the car, you can cash out now and sell the car while it's running and hopefully use the money towards a newer, more reliable vehicle with less mileage.

Another option is not putting any money into the car (except required maintenance like oil changes, wiper blades, brake pads, etc.) and driving it until it's not worth fixing. Of course you need to start saving for a replacement if you're not going to address the current issues.

To summarize, you need to 1) determine how much it's going to cost to fix everything on your car, 2) decide if it's worth the cost and determine how much risk you're willing to take 'investing' in a 14 year old car with 300k miles, and then 3) take one of the following actions:
  • Accept risk and fix all the issues
  • Refuse risk and list the car for sale
  • Do minimal maintenance, save $, and drive it until something expensive breaks

Again, it's really up to you. Without knowing anything about your financial situation, your willingness to work on your car, to what extent car problems stress you out, how attached you are to the car, etc., it's hard to give you a straight answer. You'll figure it out though. :)
 

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I hope you didn't pay too much for it. With 295,000 on it even if you did an engine and tranny swap, the entire car still has almost 300,000 on it any almost anything on it can give out. Set a limit and stick to it, a car with that many miles on it can nickle and dime you to death.
 
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