1990 Acura Integra GS 1.8L, DOHC, 4-cylinder, 16-valve from North America
Exceptional performance in a car that never quits
No problems at all other than the minor usuals: worn tires, brake pads, windshield wiper replacements, etc for the first 60,000 miles. Let me also say that I have taken this car to the edge of reliability as I rarely had scheduled tune-ups or oil changes performed and have driven it very hard its whole life.
At 60,000 miles and five years the CV (constant velocity) shafts began to produce clicking sounds when turning.
At 60,000 miles I replaced the timing belt after recommendation to do so per preventative maintenance.
At 80 or 90,000 miles and six years I began to notice a whining sound when the car picked up speed, and was told by a mechanic that the odometer produced the sound. It was never fixed, but never caused any problems that I know of.
At 100,000 miles and 7 years, I was involved in a major collision which wrecked the entire driver side of the car. Students at a local technical school repaired and repainted the car for about $1000 (a third of the mechanic estimate), but also at low quality. As a result, my driver side door has always had problems with the power lock and windows, and the left passenger window intermittently ceased to operate until finally giving out completely at around 180,000 miles.
I also inexplicably lost the first fan speed of my blower after that accident.
At 105,000 miles I began to notice strange noises from the transmission and slow response to shift into the final gear (at around 55 mph.)
At 105,000 miles the radio antenna motor failed and was never replaced. I still receive a fine signal with the rod extended up.
At 110,000 miles the ignition switch failed.
At 120,000 miles and nine years I rear-ended a vehicle and damaged my radiator, hood, and windshield. The radiator proceeded to fail soon after. All were replaced for around $550.
I also lost the main bulb in one headlamp, the bright bulb in the other headlamp, one of my low bright bulbs, and knocked all of the lights out of alignment - but all replaced bulbs have lived full lives since then.
At 125,000 miles the windows tinting began to peel away.
At 130,000 miles I lost control on a snowy road and rammed the car into a curb. The entire chassis seems to have shifted slightly since then and created a difficult-to-repair steering and wheel alignment issue that was never fixed.
At 140,000 miles and ten years the alternator failed.
After 145,000 miles and 11 years the transmission gave up the ghost, and I had it rebuilt for $2200. Everyone told me I was crazy to spend so much on a car that wasn't going to last much longer.
At 160,000 miles the car died when driving through some high water. The problem began occurring with regularity around 190,000 miles. Replacing the distributor cap solved the problem.
At 170,000 miles I lost control in the rain on a highway exit ramp due to bald rear tires and rammed my driver side into a guard rail. This caused a bump in the frame which doesn't allow the door to shut completely, but just enough so that the seat belt slides into place when the door is closed. However the door light on the dash remains forever on, and the overhead light never switches off in the middle position.
At 175,000 miles the muffler began to rust and eventually fell off the vehicle.
At 180,000 miles and twelve years the master brake cylinder developed a leak which I took to have repaired at a local mechanic, but later discovered it was never actually repaired. I have since periodically refilled the brake fluid every six months or so.
At 200,000 miles and thirteen years the car began to leak water and I had to periodically replace it until I fixed the problem a year later (a hose clamp was the culprit.)
At 205,000 miles I had been so negligent to check the oil that the car overheated, spilling oil out all over the driveway where I had pulled over. Luckily, only some hoses had blown which I then had replaced.
At 205,000 miles the car overheated again, and was misdiagnosed as having a bad thermostat. It has since become clear that the original water pump is failing, and I have no plans to repair it.
At 215,000 miles the original spark plugs finally died and were replaced, sparking some new life into the car's acceleration (pun only half-intended.)
At 220,000 miles and fourteen years the starter gave out and I am now considering pulling the plug on my fine automobile.
The engine has never had a single problem, neither major nor minor. The mechanic tells me the engine is still in the prime of its life, regardless of numerous times I have either let the car run out of gas and oil.
I've listed a lot of problems, but these all occurred after the major wreck at 100,000 miles. For 7 years the car ran nearly flawlessly.
I have never driven a car that had an overall performance better than my integra gs.
The steering has always been superbly fluid and responsive, though not always in alignment.
The brakes have nearly perfect resistance and sensitivity. I concede this may be a personal preference, but everyone who has driven the car comments on the excellent braking. (Save for the time my brake fluid completely leaked out and I drove using only the parking brake for an entire winter - snow, ice, and all.)
The acceleration is phenomenal to me because of the smooth, no-delay response to the pedal. Every other sedan and every coupe I have ever driven have some annoying delay, however slight it may be, between asking for acceleration and receiving it. This car has none. It's like racing at the arcade whether you want to dart across an intersection or make quick uphill turns.
The combination of the three aspects of the car I've mentioned produce excellent handling in straightaways, turns, and even on non-paved roads.
The car has been the perfect blend not only of reliability and performance, but also of utility, having four doors and enough trunk space for two sets of golf clubs, tennis rackets, Chilton manuals, and 100 feet of extension cords at once.
It gets 25 mpg in town and very nearly 30 on the highway.
The automatically-sliding front seat belts are very annoying.
There are no cup-holders, but there is enough cabin room to snugly accommodate two adults and two children for a 2,000 mile road trip.
The car is quite low and its bottom is easily scraped over bumps and uneven surfaces. It lost its plastic protective cover underneath the car long ago.
The engine area is very cramped and the car is very difficult to work on, which created problems practically and financially for myself the student when the car began to wear down at around 150,000 miles.
Through high-school, college, and starting a family, this car has fulfilled very nearly all the demands I would ever need to put on an automobile.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th July, 2004
2nd Oct 2005, 19:08
I am looking at a 1990 Acura Integra GS, only problem is it has 226,000 miles on it, the body is almost flawless and interior is in equally good condition. Now if everything checks out, is it worth laying out the nearly $2,500 the dealer is asking for it?
24th Jan 2006, 05:24
I wouldn't pay $2200 for the 90 Integra...However, I wouldn't sell mine for only $2200 just depends on the maint., miles and what not... I would assume you are buying from a dealership for that price otherwise you would be looking about less than a grand from private party.