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Honda Prelude 1997-2002



  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Agreed. A truly ugly vehicle back in 1997 now has rather sharp looks. How's that for a surprising turn of events? I think the Prelude has always had some surprisingly good lines. The 4th gens look very aggressive; not as aggressive as a Dodge Stealth or similar-era Camaro/Firebird, but much more aggressive than the comparable Integra, Mustang or Celica, for example. The 3rd gens look like upright NSXs. Even the 2nd gen cars look relatively modern for what was a mid-80s car.

    Honda does not receive enough credit for its styling accomplishments.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    Well, I finally got my car back on Thursday night and it was well worth the wait. I ended up bargaining with the service advisor and got a little more than $200 knocked off the suspension job, plus they threw in the oil change (with Mobil 1 Synthetic), tire rotation, & alignment. The car drives better than new. The steering is actually a little heavier than I remember (unless I just got used to driving that DX Accord Sedan...not). I love it!

    I was a huge fan of the radical styling of the 4th gen and it took me a year or 2 to warm up to the 5th gen styling.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    What's the best way to clean floormats? After a long winter, mine need some help. Would home washer/dryer work? Hmmm....
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    You could always steam clean them. Putting them in a clothes washer would work, but doing that might gunk up the machine. I don't think I'd try them in the dryer, though.

    Year-round, I've been using heavy rubber mats from for 8 years, and they keep the factory mats looking brand new. Definately worth the $.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    hi everyone. 2001 Prelude, only 3k miles on it. it is an automatic. listed at $19k.

    good deal? how are the automatics in the Prelude? are they reliable, or do they have the Acura auto, in which case people should run screaming...

    should a low mileage, but two year old Prelude, worry anyone? how could it have such low miles?
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    Unless you absolutely must have the auto, I'd pass on this car.

    The Prelude autobox is well-known for being troublesome, and Honda has gone so far as to extend the warranty on it (a real rarity for Honda). Seems the problem stems from a torque converter that isn't strong enough to deal with the loads placed on it by the SportShift feature.

    Frankly, I'd be more concerned about an auto Prelude with low miles than I would about a MT Prelude with average or high miles (like mine).

    Sorry for the bad news. The Prelude is a great car, but you don't want to buy a headache.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    thanks. exactly what i needed to know! i will keep looking around.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Also, the Prelude is much more fun with a manual. The automatic really saps engine power.
  • spleckspleck Posts: 114
    Yeah, I think I would pass on that too. Similar to the "too good to be true" thing. With only 3k miles, you've probably got all kinds of seals that haven't seen lubrication for months and are drying out.
  • kkl1kkl1 Posts: 16
    I own a '98 SS Prelude and, although it has performed flawlessly so far, I am concerned after reading your post. I was not aware that the transmission warranty was extended. Do you know how long it is and whether it applies to '98's? Thanks.

  • linardlinard Posts: 59
    I wouldn't worry about your tranny, the recall only affects the 2000-2001 Preludes. Mine is a 99, and so far, with 39,000 miles, its as perfect as new. I would recommend getting the tranny serviced at 30,000 mile intervals instead of the factory recommended interval. Just a cheap way to safeguard against what can be a much more expensive problem.

    BTW - does anyone know the details of the ignition switch recall? I just found out that my car is part of that recall and wanted to know what it included.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Ok, 5th gen drivers--what seat height setting do you use? All the way down? All the way up? Somewhere in between?
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    linard -- check with your dealer for full info

    sphinx -- all the way down, dude! And the seatback in the full upright position.
  • Up as high as it goes without constantly bumping my head on the roof.

    since I've been driving this car, I have really noticed the minivan/SUV infestation on the roads. Just try driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood with a huge monster in front of you... good luck checking out those street signs.

    Honestly... driving this car, I feel so... so.... SHORT!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    There have been questions about the SS tranny's long term durability documented on I'd say look for another car. My '01 has 4K miles on it and there are no ill side affects. But I'd say look for a manual transmission. That's my skewed view.

    Sphinx99: The weathertech mats are great. I've got them for my car. They really keep the factory mats looking good. My Dad's been using them for years. Get your originals steam cleaned. If they're really bad, you can purchase another set (after the wedding) from either or for about $40 or so.

    I drive with the bottom of the seat all the way down with the back of the seat reclined. I'd like to drive with it straight up, but then my head would be on the headliner. I'm 5'11".

    And finally I'm merging onto the information super highway once again with the VTEC cam screaming on my new DELL computer (cable modem to come on Sunday). I want to get a DOHC VTEC sticker to put next to the Intel Inside sticker on the front of my computer. I'll be posting regularly again.

    For now, we're getting between 1 and 2 FEET of snow dumped on us here in NYC.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    The deep snow (20") we had in the city is not friendly conditions for a car like the Prelude with low ground clearance. I actually stuck my car in a garage from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday morning (at the low, low cost of ONLY $105). So until the snow melts (the streets are plowed, but snow is piled where street parking should be), I'm leaving the Prelude at my parents' house for a few days and am going to drive my sister's Jetta. It's a VR6 w/ leather and heated seats, but an Automatic though (blech!)

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    How is the weather out there? We're hearing the stories here in Detroit, which somehow got all of the cold but none of the white stuff.

    I stopped by a gas station on the way home and a guy next to me struck up conversation about the car. It was pretty cool, he went on at length about the '91 ABS he used to have, what a great car Preludes are, and how he hopes to get a used '99 or '00 soon. It was a cool feeling. I guess it's been a year and a half or so since Honda killed the Prelude, and yet I still get questions and comments about it. It's not unusual for me to park the car, enter a restaurant with my wife-in-three-days (!!), get a window seat, and hear some young high school girl behind me with her parents asking them if they would buy her a silver car like the one that's parked out front. It never fails to put a smile on my face. :)

    Oh, I drive with the seat lowered fully. It just feels better. I'd kill for a telescoping wheel, however.

    More questions:

    1. What tire pressure is everyone running at? (Me, about 32 psi.)

    2. Anyone here use the STP Gas Treatment, etc., that you see at stores? Waste? Useful?
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    My tires are at 33psi in the winter, and 36psi the other three seasons.

    The STP treatment won't do anything for our Preludes -- we run hi-test gas, so we're already getting a big bunch of detergents. It's more useful for cars that run rich on 87 octane (like my Subaru).

    Yeah, a telescoping wheel would be nice...
  • I was considerimg buying a 98 318Ti with the sports package, or 97 prelude, sh or no sh,,cant decide if its worth it or not.. But wondering what car would be a better buy. My friend owns a 95 318ti and never had a single problem with it, Just wondering if i should talk myself out of the bimmer and go with the prelude. Any suggestions?
  • I was considering buying a 98 318Ti with the sports package, or 97 prelude, sh or no sh,,cant decide if its worth it or not.. But wondering what car would be a better buy. My friend owns a 95 318ti and never had a single problem with it, Just wondering if i should talk myself out of the bimmer and go with the prelude. Any suggestions?
  • My girlfriends ignition key doesn't fit the trunk or the glovebox, so I call the dealership to see about getting one and they said it was supposed to be the same key as the ignition, i'm confused, can someone help?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Prelude comes with regular keys and valet keys, the regular key having a black plastic handle, the valet key being gray plastic. The valet key will unluck the doors and start the car, but it won't unlock the glovebox, or open the trunk either from the inside or the outside. It also will not unlock the "lock" on the refueling door/trunk hood release next to the driver's seat.

    It sounds like your girlfriend is using the valet key.
  • Thanks for the info, the key is grey, and the Honda guy that I talked to(must have been someone in the wrong dept.) didn't give me anything to go on. $25 and she'll be set up with a new key.

       I'm new to the Prelude scene, she got this car about 2 months ago used, it has 40,000 on it and it runs like a Tiger waiting to pounce, but she only lets me drive it occasionally because I can't keep my foot out of it, it's just too much fun!! I've had a 86 CRX and 95 Civic and driven Honda's up til about a year ago, but I never had the cash for the prelude, and really never wanted one, but driving hers is a treat. If there's anything about maintenance that I need to keep up for her other than frequent oil changes and checks and the essentials, let me know.


  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Yes, it's a great car, with many fans. :)

    There aren't any real maintenance recommendations that I'm aware of. I change oil frequently (every 3k miles) and have switched to full synthetic, but otherwise that's about it. The only driving advice regards the rims - they extend a little bit out from the rubber, so it is especially easy to rub against a curb and scratch up the lips of the rims on the Prelude. Especially when driving them the way they were meant to be driven! So, pay careful attention to saying within your lane and don't get too close to the curb, or you'll scratch up your rims faster than you would on other cars.
  • I never used synthetic, what type should I use,(somebody in an earlier post said mobil 1, I think), and is it that important to use synthetic and why, I was always a little scared after I put it my CRX once and it started to smell like something was burning, so I switched back, my car did have about a 100,000 on it( which I heard had something to do with it), I traded it in on the 95 civic when it had 186,000 on it and it still ran good. If the Prelude is a little different(vtec and torque and such) someone please inform me of what to do, I want this car to Run a long time trouble free for my girlfriend so I can continue to drive it, even own it one day since things are looking that direction. Thanks
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    There are a couple of ways to look at it, I guess. A BMW is still a BMW, but a 318ti gets little respect from people concerned with such things.

    On the other hand, a Honda is a Honda, but the the Prelude is the king of sport coupes in general. Trust me -- they really don't make 'em like they used to.

    The Bimmer will give you lots of smiles on the tight & twisty stuff, but might leave you wanting on the longer drives. Keep in mind that Car and Driver did a comparo (back in '95, I think) between a 318ti Sport and an Integra GS-R (a car not exactly known for its overall refinement), and they picked the GS-R as the better of the two.

    On the other side of that coin, the Prelude absolutely destroys a GS-R (I know this because I sold my GS-R for the Prelude) in the twisties, just because of its stronger, tighter structure and more sophisticated suspension. (This might be a good time to remind you of what the ti rides on: struts up front, and only three compact links in the rear. The three-link set-up was never that forgiving, as I recall.)

    Not only is the Prelude a better friend on the back roads, but it's a relaxed long-haul companion, as well. It's very composed and well-mannered, thanks to the sophisticated suspension and good gear ratios.

    Yes, I'm totally biased. Now go buy the Prelude.
  • Ive owned my 99 Prelude for almost 2 years and there isnt a day that goes by that something doesnt impress me about it. Buy one, you will never regret it.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    Excellent Post Himiler. I think we're all a little biased on this board.

    The 318ti is a nice car (afterall, a BMW). There's a guy on the 3 series board who has a the Club Sport edition, races it, and swears by it as far as reliability goes.

    The 318ti (or compact as it is known in Europe) has a rear suspension that is actually quite archaic (from the E30 platform, think 1980's) compared with the Prelude's Double Wishbone setup.

    Considering the Compact was pulled out of the US market in 1997 (give or take, but don't quote), you'll be able to find a newer Prelude with fewer miles on it (which would make the Prelude a more sensible used car purchase).

    Personally I think the Prelude has a nicer interior layout and materials. (remember, the Compact was the low-end BMW while the Prelude was pretty high on the price end for Honda). It has more horsepower/torque then the 318ti. It makes a great highway cruiser (and himiler has almost 100K miles on his '01).

    The list goes on and on, but I don't want to waste space repeating what himiler said. Bottom line, GET A PRELUDE!

    I get remarks all the time on my car. Many people (outside the car world) don't even know that the Prelude has been discontinued. I always get the Thumbs up at lights from the Fast and Furious crowd of Suped up Civics and Intergras. Driving this car puts a smile on my face every time I drive it.

    As far as oil goes, I put Mobil 1 synthetic in the car. My feeling is that if it is good enough for a factory fill for Corvettes, Porsches, and Mercedes-Benz, it is good enough for my Prelude.

    The weather here is crazy. 20+ inches of snow 1 day, 1.5 inches of rain in the same week. It is reeking havoc on our already poor roads here in the NYC area. I think the potholes are going to outnumber the people her in another week or 2. Due to the somewhat major suspension/exhaust damage I did a month ago, I'm going to take it easy and use my sister's Jetta (although my manhood is challenged by it's white exterior/beige interior, automatic transmission, and sorority sticker) for maybe another week or 2 until some of the major potholes get filled.

    There's a dealership (in Queens I think) that advertises (in its screamer ad) that is still has 2 (was 3 a few weeks ago) 2001 Honda S2000s in stock and "No Reasonable Offer will be refused."

    Sphinx99: Good Luck with the wedding!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • shmangshmang Posts: 297
    Since Prelude is discontinued in 2002, it seems that every new thread created here regarding Prelude is locked, while for other cars, there are tons of different thread going on. Why can not Prelude owners have more that 1 thread? Is it simply because Prelude is discontinued so Prelude owners get treated differently?

    C'mon, the Integra is discontinued before prelude and there are more than 1 thread talking about them and not locked, so why is Prelude????

    Do you guys think it would be nice to have different thread to talk about Prelude instead of put everything into one place?
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