Am I nuts for wanting a high mileage car?

ThirdeYe

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I'm not desperate right now since my car is still running, so I can wait for a better example. In the time I've been looking for a car, however, I've only seen 2 2-door 4-cylinder Accords. One of which had rust starting and was an LX, and the other was this one. They're very uncommon in this area. frown
 
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I wouldn't spend any kind of money on a car with spaceship mileage. For $1,500 it would be a decent beater to drive until something major breaks. Spend your money on a younger vehicle.
 

ThirdeYe

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I ended up finding a 2005 with 116,000 miles from Florida for under $8,000. Going to check it out tomorrow. It's a little more than I wanted to spend, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run if everything checks out.
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
I ended up finding a 2005 with 116,000 miles from Florida for under $8,000. Going to check it out tomorrow. It's a little more than I wanted to spend, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run if everything checks out.
Just make sure it isn't a flood car.
 

ThirdeYe

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It has a clean Carfax, but I know they aren't always 100% accurate. Is there any specific spots or things I should look for when looking for flood damage?
 
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A body shop can inspect the car for any collision/flood damage. ...and of course a mechanic can confirm the operating condition....both recommended on an older car.
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
I ended up finding a 2005 with 116,000 miles from Florida for under $8,000. Going to check it out tomorrow. It's a little more than I wanted to spend, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run if everything checks out.
Some of the older 2.4s are major oil burners once they get old, so beware. They will run perfectly fine and the plugs will look great, so it is not easy to distinguish one.
 
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Check the oil level on the dipstick and pull the atf dipstick as well. Hopefully the atf is pink or red and not brown or black. I also like looking at the maintenance history on the Carfax.
 

ThirdeYe

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The owner of the 2005 says he has the clean Carfax for it so I'm curious to see what's on it. I plan on asking about fluid maintenance (oil changes, brake fluid, coolant, Atf, PSF, etc.) And if its ever had any water damage or panels replaced or repainted. He says its well maintained but I'm not sure yet if he physically has the receipts or not. Having 2 Hondas that I take care of, I'm usually pretty good about spotting common issues but this would be my first Accord. I'll also ask about the oil consumption. He's driving it up from Florida to Michigan so that's probably a good sign about its drivability. Also plan to ask why they're selling it. Any other good questions to ask?
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
... I plan on asking about fluid maintenance (oil changes, brake fluid, coolant, Atf, PSF, etc.) And if its ever had any water damage or panels replaced or repainted. He says its well maintained but I'm not sure yet if he physically has the receipts or not... I'll also ask about the oil consumption... Also plan to ask why they're selling it. Any other good questions to ask?
IMO, I would not bother asking these at all. Instead ask for proof of maintenance and LOOK for evidence of good maintenance regimen or lack of it. In my experience the more the car was neglected, the better care it received according to the owner. If the receipts for maintenance are there, it's fairly easy to ascertain how the rest of the car was treated. The interior steering wheel, the seats, and all items that people touch/press during the ownership will have clear evidence how much wear and tear was put on the inside. Years of neglect are very hard to detail out in one swoop, but if the car was kept clean all the time, it will clearly show. Then move to the exterior. Start with simple stuff, like: are all four tires matching? Do they appear to be worn evenly? Look at the door, hood and trunk gaps. Are they even all around? Look at body panels at very acute angle to see any signs of body work or different paint. Look for difference in shine between panels. Check if the windshield was ever replaced. If so who did the work. You may find out later that it leaks, as I did with my Focus. There are lots of other thing of course. In other words, don't waste your time on useless idle talk and start examining the car. Chances are as you do it, the owner will start talking about the car and revealing work that was done to it.
 
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I bought a 98 Accord at 175k and it's around 245k now. It has been a good car, but I have had some high-mileage issues... you may run into some of these: Ignition switch (probably bad when I got it) Water in taillights (bad when I got it) Sway bar bushings and end links (~200k) New clutch at 230k CV boots at 240k Distributor and Vtec oil seals at 240k
 
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
The owner of the 2005 says he has the clean Carfax for it so I'm curious to see what's on it. I plan on asking about fluid maintenance (oil changes, brake fluid, coolant, Atf, PSF, etc.) And if its ever had any water damage or panels replaced or repainted. He says its well maintained but I'm not sure yet if he physically has the receipts or not. Having 2 Hondas that I take care of, I'm usually pretty good about spotting common issues but this would be my first Accord. I'll also ask about the oil consumption. He's driving it up from Florida to Michigan so that's probably a good sign about its drivability. Also plan to ask why they're selling it. Any other good questions to ask?
It seems like you have some great questions already. It can be educational to smell the fluids. Do they smell burnt? is Not in good shape? On my 2004, I've noticed that the rubber is starting to go. So check the motor mounts (visually you can see them, but shift the car into gear Drive and Reverse press the brake then touch the gas if the engine lifts more than about 1/2 inch or so you'll need new motor mounts (cheap parts but expensive labor if you take it someplace), body connections, sway bar links, door/trunk weather stripping, these have disk brakes so check to see if the rotors have even wear or if the rotor is grooved/or rusted, both indicators of caliper or other brake problems, bounce the corners for a rough rough rough test of the suspension to see if each corner stops when you let go, let the car idle and sit running to test the cooling system and make sure the radiator fans/pump/fluid work, oh! in Park turn the steering wheel all the way to the left then to the right to test the power steering pump and rack (these cars have moderate? pumps which can moan as they get older it turns out there is an improved "O" ring $0.74 which will save you from buying a new pump. That's what I can think of off the top of my head, and based on repairs I've done. Best of luck!
 
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Originally Posted By: KrisZ
In other words, don't waste your time on useless idle talk and start examining the car. Chances are as you do it, the owner will start talking about the car and revealing work that was done to it.
Great points. Another one that might have been hiding between the lines there... As a prospective buyer, just shut up. If you're there looking at the car, and the owner knows he has a good car and aims to sell it, he should sell it to you. You shouldn't have to pull the information out of him. Let silence between two people drive him to talk. Don't be the one doing all the talking; let the seller sell the car.
 
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This is the best advice in this thread. Silence is as powerful a negotiating tactic as it is an investigative one. If you shut up, the other party will feel compelled to talk, unless they're either an experienced felon or negotiator. An inspection by an indie shop experienced in the model is worth the hundred bucks or so it'll cost you. A free inspection is worth what you paid for it. Either the shop has too much time on its hands or they aren't doing any digging into known pattern failures, which all models of every car ever made have.
 
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What trim is the 2005? Lx, Ex, Exl? I4? $8k seems steep for anything but the EXL, with Nav. Original owner? Only driver? Take a peek at the valve-train through the oil fill hole. Should be spotless with regular OCI. At 116k it should drive like new if it has been taken care of. At 132k any changes in the way mine drives, since new, are imperceptible to me. Either I am not perceiving the changes, or I have a really bad memory. And this is a car that has seen a good deal of broken pavement. Especially this year. If you really want the 5-manual, wait. It is worth it. At 116k it may be due for plugs (easy), pcv valve (easy), and coolant drain/refill (easy). I swapped out the power steering fluid recently, also (easy) with a partner to help. Valve inspection and adjustment is also recommended at this time. I have yet to do mine. Check the tires for uneven wear. Check anything made of rubber for cracks. Good luck!
 

ThirdeYe

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I ended up passing on the 2005. It was an LX, with what appeared to be aftermarket alloys. It was claimed to be in "near perfect" condition, but it was far from it. There was a scrape on the side of the car, the front and rear bumpers were oxidized from the sun eating away the clear coat, as were the mirrors. The headlights were yellowed and full of condensation. The cruise control did not work, and some of the stitching on the headliner was coming undone. The flap that covers the change tray wouldn't stay down. Also, he claimed it was "well kept and maintained" but had zero records to show for it. The carfax showed nothing aside from a couple of repairs, but zero maintenance. Also, he wasn't the original owner. He simply bought it to flip it and just rubbed me the wrong way, so I passed. Oh, and he wouldn't budge on the price. He was asking $500 more than blue book for "excellent" condition, which it clearly was not.
 
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