1989 Honda Accord LX 2.0L (carbureted) from North America


The best car I have ever owned in terms of overall quality


Replaced shock absorbers (156,000).

New power steering rack (154,000).

New water pump (150,000).

New exhaust system (catalytic converter back) (150,000).

Re-built alternator (performed on the car with a Honda kit) (150,000).

New drive belts (150,000).

Converted OEM A/C system from R-12 to R134a (80,000).

New stereo speakers (140,000).

Painted the car (130,000).

New radiator (140,000).

General Comments:

What can I say, other than it's a Honda, which means excellent build quality that doesn't quit. At 157,400+ miles, it's just breaking-in.

The car rides like it's brand-new, handles extremely well, has excellent vision all-around, and looks like it just rolled out of the showroom after a complete re-paint in 2011 (clear coat had worn out).

By 21st century standards, of course, it's decidedly old-tech in terms of somewhat higher cabin noise levels at highway speeds, ancient, uncomplicated OEM radio with tape deck and limited range, no airbags, and a complete lack of cup holders, but who cares? The car is extremely pleasant to drive, is frugal on gas (38 MPG at highway speeds without the A/C), roomy for 4 (5 in a pinch), has tons of front-seat legroom, a spacious, flat trunk, all power accessories, and is as durable as a piece of boiler iron. It always starts (OEM starter motor) no matter what the weather, and after reaching normal operating temperature, it can keep up with anything on the road once it gets going.

As for things I would improve, the front disc/rear drum brake set-up could use more boost, the small OEM 185 x 70 tires and 13" wheels provide safe but minimal bite, the 96-HP carbureted engine has to work hard to move the car from a standing start or climb steep hills with a full passenger/cargo load onboard, and the engine's notorious 2-bbl. carburetor has more vacuum lines than Carter's got pills, plus its high and low idle speeds are so difficult to adjust that even experienced Honda techs warn you to "leave it alone unless it stops running". My Dad (from whom I inherited the car) should have spent the extra bucks and ordered the fuel-injected engine, but the carb version is fine so long as you understand its limitations and drive within them, like any car.

I've been rebuilding the car component by component as required, but have spent so little money on it over the last eight years that it owes me nothing compared to the cost of replacing it. It's a fine around-town vehicle that occasionally gets to stretch its legs on the interstate at 75 mph without fuss. I love the fact that people make offers on it all the time, but no sale. This is a keeper, and I am very proud to own a machine that seems to defy time itself.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th December, 2014

28th Dec 2014, 04:08

Good review. Hope that carburetor (and myriad of vacuum lines/devices) lives long and prospers ;)

30th Dec 2014, 01:20

Can't agree with you more. The '89 Accord was THE choice in its class back when it was new in the showrooms and was in great demand. As a result, the didn't come cheap. I think my Dad paid $13,452, a considerable amount even then, but it was well worth it. Honda's have a well-earned reputation today for outstanding quality and longevity, and models such as the '89 helped create that legacy. I would have liked it if he had bought the 2DR "i" version, which didn't look like the staid "Dad's car" LX that I inherited and was a lot faster, but I can easily live with the car I have.

4th Jan 2015, 04:17

Good point about Honda quality - in 1989. Fast forward 10 years, and the picture can change. I have a 1999 Accord V-6 that has kept various repair bays busy. On the other hand, my wife's 2007 CR-V has been stellar. Product quality is somewhat inconsistent, depending on the year and the model. Your mileage may vary.

Enjoy your '89 :)

10th Feb 2015, 17:55

I wrote the review that shows up directly beneath yours (on this page). I gotta say, your review is leaps and bounds better! Great job. I just replaced the carburetor and am thrilled with the results! I am replacing vacuum lines two or three at a time when I can. Suggestion: Buy a bulk of the silicone vacuum line (3.5 mm and 4.5 mm) from the Honda dealer. You won't be sorry. It is great stuff. About 50 bucks for a long roll, but well worth it!

9th Mar 2016, 21:03

I currently own an automatic 1989 Accord LX carburated. I love this vehicle. She is very clean with only 83,598k. It's all I want to drive. She is a gem.

I also own a manual 2002 Protege 5, made by Mazda. She has 93000k. Another very reliable car.

1989 Honda Accord LX 2.0 carbureted from North America


Excellent car with great fuel mileage; vintage yet still timeless


Head gasket failure at 264,000 (right before I owned it). The previous owner is a mechanic, and replaced the head gasket as well as installed new valves and a new cam while he had it disassembled. Additionally, he went ahead and installed a new timing belt, water pump, distributor, plugs/wires/coil. He also had to replace a failed fuel pump and master cylinder.

The front passenger door handle is broken on the outside, but it shouldn't be too hard to fix.

General Comments:

I paid $800.00 for this car and am really impressed. These 3rd gen Accords have always been impressive to me. Steering is effortless and tight, pop up headlights are just cool, and the quality of materials is impressive. After 25 years, the interior and exterior still look very good.

The original R12 air conditioning system still blows out ice cold air, and all of the interior switches etc. all still work.

The paint on the top is faded, but I plan to get it repainted soon. $800.00 for the car and 30+ MPG means a very inexpensive, comfortable car to drive 80 miles per day. I am going to keep restoring it one part at a time. It's vintage!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th November, 2014

10th Feb 2015, 17:51

So true about it being "vintage". I am desperately trying to find one in good shape. Problem is, "good shape" means 200k miles, clean, and expecting me to pay $3000 or more. Eeesh. My neighbor/friend has one with over 500k miles and it cranks up like a 2-year old car. I can't believe it. The parts guy at the Honda dealer in my town has been there for over 30 years. He showed me one with over a million miles on it. It was in for a valve job, but hey. It is one of 10 that a man bought for his company back in 88. They are all still in service and running perfectly. UNBELIEVABLE. My friends are buying these things and selling their newer cars to get rid of car payments. I'm doing the same. Find me one for 800 bucks, please!

20th Jul 2015, 02:18

Buying one tomorrow with 213xxx miles for less than that. Just had a brand new timing belt and tensioner.