After driving my newly-acquired Honda CR-V for a few weeks, some of the minor issues that I’d either failed to notice or chosen to ignore started to become more apparent. The brakes, for example, really were in terrible need of replacement. The tires, too- 3 different brands made up the 5 tires on the CR-V- needed replacing. Finally, as the AC started making that sad and pathetic wheezing noise that is so characteristic of a system that needs recharged, the check engine and ABS warning lights flickered to life on the dash.

The 1998 Honda CR-V is an old car, of course, and these sorts of things are to be expected, even in a clean old car. It was time, then, to “do the right thing” and get the little Honda the comprehensive serviced it needed.

Disclaimer: I took the Honda CR-V to Speedriven in Palatine, IL, a shop which does not normally work on such “pedestrian” vehicles and where, frankly, I receive some preferential treatment. That said, all parts prices and labor times should approximate what anyone with decently strong Google-fu can expect to find on their own.

The most serious safety issues affecting the Honda were pretty typical of an older car that sees light use: mismatched tires and excessively worn, cheap brakes. After looking into a few different tire options, I settled on a set of five (4 wheels, plus the spare) Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S black wall tires that I was able to source from the Tire Rack for about $85/tire (shipped). I chose the Geolanders in part because of their excellent ratings …


… and because I thought that their aggressive tread pattern would lend some visual weight to the little Honda. The fact that they’d all but eliminate my need for dedicated snow tires or tire chains was just a happy bonus.

The brakes were next, and seemed even more frightfully past their due date once they were apart. There was almost nothing left of the pads, and both the front rotors and rear drums were badly rusted. I bought a set of pads at for about $40 and rotors for under $100, but was able to find even cheaper rotors- $16, each!- that I didn’t quite trust.

Miraculously, while the rear drums looked badly rusted, a quick inspection revealed everything inside to be shiny and new (Stuff like that is why I love Hondas!). On the recommendation of the tech, though, I did replace the CR-V’s aged brake lines, which were rusty and leaking.

The ABS light was due to a faulty ABS sensor, which I found for $118 and which was switched out during the brake job. With fresh rubber, a wheel alignment, and a brake service, the little Honda drove like a brand new car. There was still the matter of the CEL, however.

The CEL was intermittent, and was eventually traced to an O2 sensor that wasn’t getting up to temperature. Another parts order, another quick install, and the issue was solved- but we threw in some fresh oil, a clean air filter, a fuel filter, and new spark plugs into the mix just to make sure it was done. Belts, bushings, wheel bearings, and everything else seemed just fine.

Finally, there was the issue of the single Christian rock station that came in through the antiquated AM/FM radio. A few visits to Crutchfield’s excellent website later, I received a more modern Blaupunkt head unit that, in addition to providing me with USB/AUX and BT connectivity, also matched the orange interior lighting “scheme” of the Honda quite nicely.

All in, I spent a little over $1800 in parts and labor on top of the initial buy- so I’m well over the $5000 “budget bug-out ride” spending limit. If I’m being really honest, though, I feel pretty good about the whole thing. So far, anyway. Next up: paint!


Original content from Gas 2.