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Hey guys,

I'm 21 years old and inherited this car from my father when I was a sophomore in high school. It's been a 1 owner car since he bought it new. I'm looking for any insight on getting a maintenance job done before I sell the car and get a smaller, more fuel efficient car. I drive on a 3/4 mile gravel road everyday and am surely convinced that the shocks are completely gone. I have no idea how much this would cost to replace all 4 sides. This suspension feels off, as when I turn around corners the car tends to gravitate to the side turning giving me and the passenger less stability. The last time I had a major tune up, my brother who is a mechanic nut, turned me onto a friend of his that knows what he's doing. I went in with my suspension problem but was only serviced for spark plugs. As you can tell, I'm not very knowledgeable of cars. I've had a full oil change at Jiffy Lube every 5k miles. Other than the suspension and shocks problems, the car has never been in an accident. Accelerating feels slower compared to my mom's car (she has the exact same model) and accelerating in her car feels smoother. Should I pay $100 or so for a mechanic to check out the car overall? I'm sure the valves need cleaning, filter needs replaced, fluids done, tired rotated or realigned. I'm really trying to avoid going into the Honda dealership with their overpriced and shady work. I want to actually know my mechanic. Also, I had a huge brake job done a few years back, and they feel great still. I'm just trying to get this car running smooth before I sell her. Any insight is much appreciated! Thanks.

-Sam
 

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I'd say jiffy lube has shady work not the Honda dealership. You probably need new spark plugs, valves adjusted, and it wouldn't hurt to replace your suspension.


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Since you are selling the car, I'd not do anything about the suspension. A potential new owner may like the 'softer ride'.

If a potential buyer DOES object, it would behoove you to know how much new struts would cost. I recommend getting an estimate from an independent dealer or tire shop.

Get an estimate for the other maintenance you mention, too. You need to know how much it costs in case a buyer wants to deduct for the cost of reconditioning. Look in the Owners Manual (it's online at owners.Honda.com ) to see what overlooked periodic maintenance your car may need.

If you have retained receipts for prior work done (like the brakes) it's always a 'plus' to a potential owner.



PS: Unless it is in poor condition, a gravel road is not a hardship to a vehicle. A paved but potholed road can be just as punishing on a suspension.
 

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As above, if your plan is to sell it then there's no financial upside to doing any major work such as suspension. Quick lube shops don't bring to mind quality service for me, but certainly a regularly Quick Lube serviced vehicle is much better than "deferred" maintenance. Actually, if you can produce a glove box full of Quick Lube receipts from over the years that looks pretty impressive to many buyers. Anyway, mechanically you could potentially be looking at all the filters and fluids (oil, transmission, coolant, rear differential) plus a valve adjustment, and out of all that you probably won't recoup the valve adjustment investment and likely the coolant. But if you can demonstrate regular oil changes and a fresh transmission fluid / differential that might buy you some return dollars. It's unlikely that a tire rotation is going to improve the ride significantly to get that money back as well.

I've always tried to walk the line between what I feel is morally right in how I'd like to be treated vs caveat emptor and what they're willing to spend. Preventative maintenance over time is a great investment, but a lot of last minute work rarely pays off.

Edit - This also demonstrates the value of paper records and receipts when you do your work ;-)

Edit 2 - Don't underestimate the visual appearance of your vehicle... A couple of $ spent cleaning the engine bay will probably give you more payback than a tire rotation.
 

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a lot of last minute work rarely pays off.

Don't underestimate the visual appearance of your vehicle...
X2.

The most productive use of your $$$ might be to get it detailed.
You won't get a second chance to make a good first impression, as they say.

If you want to detail the car yourself, more power to you. Just DON'T use a power buffer if you don't know how.
 

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Any engine trouble codes? Are the latest spark plugs NGK or some other brand?
I doubt that a valve lash adj will help, but that varies on the vehicle itself.
If it isn't running smoothly, what does it feel like?
Buffalo4
 
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