So about a week at I asked here for some tips about a used 2003 civic, a first car for a 16 year old. A neighbor has one to sell on behalf of a friend who moved to Alaska. Got some good advice. Today I drove it and inspected it closely (pulled plugs, put it on jacks and crawled underneath, etc.). If we get it I'll go find a good Honda forum to ask specific questions - but for general stuff I always get good answers here I have found. I know cars but not Hondas. They were asking $1500 which is close to private party Edmunds price for a clean car that needs little ($1400 they said), BUT car prices around here are usually way above "book" prices (Seattle). Looking on CL there isn't anything in price like this, or it needs more work. Since the owner is gone, complete story is unknown. He was a recent immigrant from Russia they were helping get on his feet; he bought the car from a mechanic who had it for several years was the story (inspection supported that). Even were he here, I'd not learn much more I think. 182k, Silver LX w/cloth interior and auto. Per some advice from my 1st question, I dug deeper into the AT on these and found the 01 and 02 ones had issues, but the TC was redesigned by 03 and it's not as prone to issues. This is an 03 I verified on the title (clean, not salvage or anything). Good things I found: - minimal evidence of body repair, front end at some point (new lower valance and re-sprayed hood and fenders, LF headlight newer than RF based on some yellowing in it), decent quality job. - Quality NGK laser platinum plugs looking perfect. Peak inside oil fill cap shows what valve train I can see is super-clean. - Tight suspension, looks like new 1/2 shafts, struts, and LCA's at some point, bearings, ball joints, tie rod ends all tight, new sway bar bushings. - Evidence of mild oil leak in the past but new valve cover gasket, so likely no more. - All fluids look ok and not totally ignored. AT fluid was clean and correct color, not totally worn. - No bad tears or stains inside, can clean up OK, just replace the center armrest cover (latch broken and a little stained). - No codes, pending codes, etc. - AC works acceptably and all climate control all ok. - Brakes felt good, front rotors not that old, pads have good life left - Car drives nicely, with good suspension, steering, AT works perfectly. - New tires, only 5k on them (budget all season tires - "Caldera"? or something). Borbet alloy wheels. - Can clean up and look decent inside and out; body issues minor, paint ok, interior OK. - Observation: Someone has done quality maintenance/upkeek on this car for a while. Negatives: - Car does not rev past 5,500; stutters (red line is 6,800). I do not think they even knew this as you wouldn't normally wring it up to that rpm. - Some minor body dings, nothing terrible - long but thin dent on driver's door the worst. Not terribly noticeable. - Unknown Timing belt history (might be able to get ahold of prior mechanic owner; not sure if I can). - Central locking system has a problem - Key won't turn in driver's door. System works from inside car though if I manually pull the knob. - Driver's seat rocks slightly. Maybe a broken mount? could not see and did not remove lower trim to fully check it out. - Air bag light is on. I am thinking to negotiate a little and address the issues. Here's what I think and would like ideas; I have to figure out totally what I need to do as money is really tight and insurance is going to hurt a lot. He won't get a license for 6 months so I have plenty of time to address things. Rev/stutter - I think it's a partially clogged cat, but not positive. I saw this in a friend's Accord I fixed, it was a solenoid in the variable valve control body BUT that consistently and immediately through a code. There are no codes. Cars I have seen with cat issues, it comes on more gradually; this is more abrupt. It kinda feels like a rev-limiter; I'm not sure on this issue. Replacing the cat on this engine does not look very hard and I'll go price one, but have to figure out exactly what is going on. Central locking - probably not a big deal, an actuator or something, but confused why the key won't turn. Seat - Worst case I imagine is a cracked mount ear; pull seat and get it welded (I don't weld unfortunately. I should learn - maybe I'll make this the reason). Airbag - I assume it has an airbag in it - I didn't pull the cover. I guess the airbag deployed when the front was damaged. Have to figure this out and I'll have to get advice on how to figure this out. Timing Belt - if I can't get the history, I can pull the cover and eyball the belt and wp and guesstimate it. Given the obvious good maintenance I am guessing it has been done once and is not way over due. If it comes up on my watch I have no trouble doing that. If I can solve the things I found, this seems a good car to me, as someone has done a lot of the things that need done at this mileage. I really don't think I can get anything as decent close to this, or it would need even more work. Also, does anyone know the best Honda forum for asking advice?