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Buying an Older Civic



  • kenlwkenlw Posts: 190
    unibody cars like the Civic (and most cars) are usually set on the frame fixture to check for any misalignment after a wreck. It doesn't mean any damage was found (evidenced by the "no issues reported" statement), just that it was set on the fixture (looks like a large car cradle) to be checked. It takes time to do this, hence the $55 charge.

    If the "frame" (it really doesn't have a frame per se) was damaged the repair bill would have been a lot more than $1200.
  • Thanks so much for your reply! I figured it was something like that. I appreciate the info.
  • I recently bought a 2005 Subaru Legacy GT limited for a good price (I think), $12K. The dealer wanted to give me $3000 for my 2002 Honda Civic EX (94K miles, good conditions, have records). I has done research in advance and saw trade values of anywhere from $5K to $6.5K. We could not come to agreement so I made it easy and did not trade the car. I'm now in the position of trying to sell it privately. Research indicated the private party price to be in the $5500 - $7500 range. I'm asking $6500, have placed the car on craigslist and autotrader. One and a half weeks have gone by without one hit. Am I really being that unreasonable with the price? Fortunately, I don't need to sell it.
  • crazyflycrazyfly Posts: 61
    Your price is reasonable, its that we are in down economy and people are not buying and banks are not lending. If you can hang on to the car then definitely do but keep your ad fresh, to the point, and with pictures. I sold my older civic on Craigslist not too long ago and all interested parties mentioned they replied becasue of pics and details. All they wanted to know was already there but still to the point. I hope this helps.
  • tyhd91tyhd91 Posts: 10
    used 2006 Honda Civic EX automatic
    miles: 28,180
    price: $13,977
    condition: engine and tires are a little bit dirty but thats about it.
    options: air conditioning, am/fm, sunroof, body side moldings, cd player, power windows, power locks, power windows

    does this sound like a good price?
  • crazyflycrazyfly Posts: 61
    Its a good price ............. but only if the economy wasn't down and car companies weren't selling new vehicles at big discounts. A brand new 2009 civic EX sells for $16.5k so the price difference between a 3 year old civic with 30K miles and a new one is only $2,500.

    If you are dropping 14k on a car, i would think another 2.5k to get a brand new is worth it. Also, if you are going to finance the car, the used car will finance at a higher interest rate (about 6.5%) but a new car financed by honda at 2.9% On a 4 year (48 month) loan that means a used car will cost $1700 more in interest. If you factor in the higher cost of loan/financing of the used car, a new 2009 Civic EX will cost you only $800 more than what you are going to pay for a 3 year old used car.

    The economy is improving (finally) so the deals on new civics will not last long, as honda is famous for *not* offering special deals. If you are in the market to buy a used car for $14k you can easily get a new one for just a little more. A year from now, these low-low prices on new civics will probably be gone. If I were you, I would go with a new Civic.
  • trimomtrimom Posts: 1
    Should I be concerned about purchasing a 2004 civic ex in which records show the fuel system was replaced in 2008 at 65,000m. I am new to the used car market and am a bit wary of making this purchase.
  • blahboyblahboy Posts: 2
    I'm looking to buy something affordable and reliable like a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry. I don't really care about looks or cool features. I just want something that's reliable and gets me from A to B.

    I want something cheap (maybe $2k-4k?), but not something I'll be paying for a bunch of repairs on.

    What sort of miles should I be looking for to get a good price w/o having to put much repair/maintenance money into it for about a year? One friend told me 100k-150k. Any recommendations on other types of cars to consider?

  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Hello. I have a cousin who has had a 1994 EX Sedan since new. She's going to break down and buy a new Honda this fall and she's willing to sell it to me for $1000 because she doesn't want to fool with trying to sell it in the paper or haggle with a trade-in on a 15 year old car.

    This car has about 45,000 miles on it and--knowing her--it has probably never been driven over 55 mph. It's been dealer maintained and the upholstery almost looks new--especially in the back seat. My question is, what are some issues that may pop up with a car this old? My daughter is almost 13 and I'm thinking I may buy it, maybe drive it some the next couple of years and then let her learn how to drive on it/be her first car. My only fear is that by the time she turns 16, it'll be 18 years old. At the current mileage, I would think the car has about 100,000 miles left in it. I know it's old, but it has sunroof, air, automatic, power windows, etc. Those are some nice features for a first car. Thoughts?
  • crazyflycrazyfly Posts: 61

    Really, do not let this car go. It is one of the very solid, well balanced civics ever made that requires almost minimal maintenance. The outer body is made of thick sheet metal, not the cheap thin metal that current civics are made of.

    I owned this generation civic and am VERY happy with the ownership experience. Sold it at 172k miles a little over a year ago so I feel confident to tell you that nothing much goes wrong with his car. No transmission trouble, no fluid leaks, nothing!! Depending on where you live, the temperature extremes, and whether the car was parked in garage or out in the open, some rubber seals may give trouble, but all work is very inexpensive. Mostly it requires nothing more than regular maintenance items. Once you get the civic, go to and create your Honda Ownerlink account. Then follow the maintenance guidelines and intervals listed there. Your major expense is going to be timing belt change (90k), and then at 150k.

    If you decide against owning this car, you will be amazed at how many people would love to buy it. People who know civics love this generation model. I sold my civic well over the blue-book value within 10 hrs of listing it for sale. And I had 27 people interested in buying it!! I hope you get to keep and enjoy this car.
  • Hi, I am in college and I'm thinking about to buy a used car finally. I'm looking into getting '95 or (between 93~96) honda civic. I am curious what kind of possible problems I should consider before buying one.

    For example, I heard you have to change timing belt every 120,000miles. What about tire, transmission, oil change, brake pad, air filter, water filter, A/C& heater etc...? At what mileage, those need to get replaced or checked?

    Thanks in advance!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi - this should help you determine the manufacturer's requirements: Maintenance Schedules, Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins along with giving you other helpful information.

    Good luck!
  • Okay, the car I thought I bought turned out to have some problems so it's back to hunting for me!

    So there's a (somewhat) nearby Honda dealership selling a 2001 Honda Civic LX with 175k miles on it for like $4700. In an effort to just end this seemingly endless search for a car I'm tempted to get it. But with that mileage am I just buying a headache (especially with the 01 Civic having a history of transmission problems, or would it having made it this far nullify that)?

    Obviously the car had to have passed the dealerships inspection and would have gone off to auction had it not passed, correct?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    With any car, Civic or not, with that many miles and no warranty, it's a crap shoot on future repair costs. Is there any info on how the car was maintained, or what parts have been replaced? Without knowing that history, it's really a gamble on your costs. For example, do you know the last time the timing belt was replaced (if ever)? How about the struts, exhaust/catalytic converter, brakes? How often was the transmission fluid replaced? And so on. Also, it's possible the car was in a major collision or was flooded, unless you have info to the contrary.

    I wouldn't buy a car with a lot of miles on it without knowing its history, unless it were really cheap, i.e. a throw-away car.

    At any rate, you should have the car thoroughly inspected by a mechanic of your choice.
  • Hi--

    I just purchased a 2002 Honda Civic LX. It was a former rental car. I had it checked out by my mechanic and he said it was in good shape. I just noticed, however, that there is this red light on the instrument panel. It sits between the cruise control switch and the power mirrror switch, to the lower left of the steering wheel. This light seems to be always on. I can't find it in the owners manual (at least, not so far). The mechanic didn't notice it or comment on it--so maybe it is nothing. What is this light?

    I hope this isn't s dumb question. Thanks.
  • In my opinion $4700.00 seems to be too much for a 2001,175K mile car.... Honda reputation notwithstanding. Too much for too little.
  • I am assuming this light is unlabeled? It might be a "cruise control ON" lamp...check under the cruise control section in the owners manual
  • Hi--

    It is unlabelled, but it is not the 'cruise control on' light. Someone on another forum said that it sounds like a light to an aftermarket anti-theft system, and that I should be able to find an alarm box under the steering wheel. I haven't found one, but I am not mechanically inclined, so I may not know exactly what to look for. I don't remember the dealer telling me that the car had an alarm or anything like that on it.
  • I need to replace a car asap and there's a local civic that leaks oil. Is that a death sentence for this car or worth considering? I suspect they would have had it fixed if it was easy enough because they've done other expensive repairs to the car (radiator replacement).

    It's a 89 model 3 door (manual). Oh it also leaks brake fluid. Both need topping off once a month when the lights come on (supposedly).

    (if you are wondering why I am even considering a car with such problems, I have a cash-only very limited budget)

    Thanks for any advice!
  • Short answer: I would not buy it.

    Long answer:
    I owned a 92 civic for about 15 years and finally learned that a car older than 12 years is not worth the hassle, because it costs more to maintain and you never know something is going to break down. 92 civic is a very well built car, and I kept it in an incredible condition!! + had everything maintained 100% but it still gave lots of trouble towards the end.

    See, the problem with a car that is older than 10 years is not just the mechanical issues, its that everything in the car is worn-out including plastics, seals, rubbers, bushings... on an on. When you buy an 5-6 year old used car you only encounter mechanical issues, but past 12 years you are dealing with the entire car that starts to slowly fall apart. At that time it is not worth the cost to repair it. And I would guess is the reason the current owners of the car you are considering have not fixed it because they are tired of fixing all the stuff thats failing..

    Cash Purchase
    I totally agree with buying a used car, and paying cash for it. But if a car already has problems, then the repair cost will make the car more costly. Example: if you buy the car for $2000, you will likely end up spending another $1000 on it (easy). And even then you will never know when the next shoe will drop and car stop working. Instead of buying a car with initial lower price but higher repair bills, I would recommend get $3000 car with no major problems and save yourself the headache.

    Purchase Options:
    Consider buying off Craigslist, or ebay from a private seller. You get the best price on the ebay because the cars sell at the whole-sale / trade-in prices. When I sold my 92 civic I purchased my current civic off ebay and am very happy with it. To pickup the vehicle I had to get to another city a few hrs drive from where I live but the $$ I saved off the private party (and retail price) made it all worth it.

    Buying Local and in Person:
    If you feel that you have a little less cash for the purchase, let me tell you that just by having the cash in pocket to close the deal on the spot puts you in the driving seat. You will be amazed how many private sellers are willing to talk to you if they know you will buy right now! Feel free to make a good offer and make your cold hard cash work for you.

    Good luck!
  • Thanks for the detailed reply - unfortunately for some people like me, spending that much is just not an option. And my town is too small to have anything decent on ebay (there aren't even any running cars of ANY kind in my town on ebay under $3500)

    I guess I should ask the question differently, "what can I expect to fail next on a 89 civic with 150k miles". I am trying to find out if the timing belt was replaced at all since the 120k mark since that's the next big one.

    So slowly leaking oil and brake fluid are failing seals?
    I guess that means it can get worse?
  • If you are seriously interested in this civic you can have it checked by a mechanic to determine what is causing the leaks, and the repair cost. I kept a detailed account of all repair & maintenance of my 92 civic and here is a summary of some big items that were fixed after 150K

    Timing Belt Package........ at 155K miles....... $700
    Brake Master Cylinder 159,000 miles....$750
    Control 165,000 miles ...$720
    Tires, brakes, filters etc... ...........................$300

    After I put in $2,500 in the car it worked well for about 4k miles but then it needed shocks + a whole lot more worth another $2000. At that point I was done putting money in the hole and sold the car. In hindsight, if at 150K miles I knew I would be putting so much in this car that I had babied for years I would have sold it and put the $2500 towards a newer vehicle.... which I ended up doing anyways, but only after burning my hard earned money. I have provided the details here so that perhaps my experience can help someone save some $$.

    Buying off ebay:
    I don't know where you live, but you should definitely expand your search area. When I purchased my current civic on ebay auction, there were no *good* civics selling in the city where I live (and am in one of the top 10 largest city in the country!) But back then the gas was $4.50 a gallon and no one was selling a good gas sniffing vehicle. I ended up buying from a private seller who lived 5 hour drive from me. Took a Greyhound bus to get there and drove the car home.
  • Dear all,

    I'd like to get your thoughts on a Private Sale for a used 2006 Honda Civic LX, 4 dr, Auto at $11,000. It already has ~ 55,000 miles.

    The person just recently purchased this car in late Mar'09 as a Honda Certified Civic, he's selling it so he can get some cash quick.
    Since it was Honda certified, it is qualified forthe extended warranty of 1 yr/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 7yr/100,000mi Powertrain under the Honda Certified program. However, due to the high mileage (he's driven ~10000 miles in 7 months!! ), the bumper-to-bumper has about 2000 miles left before expiring.

    I test drove the car and it felt to be in good mechanical condition, however, we did discover it has a few scratches on the rear fender, as well as some pronounced streaks on both front passenger door frames... More aesthetic than anything else, but one could say this may tell the kind of driver or cartaker the previous owner is...

    Considering that there's Powertrain warranty left 'til 2013 and that 7 months ago it was just Honda certified, I think mechanically this should be fine.
    But as a private party sale, is this still a good price?

    Thanks for your advice!

  • magee2magee2 Posts: 4
    Thanks for your in-depth advice. You are helping me as I want to maintain my car although it is a tight budget.

    Sincerely appreciate the time and detailed response. :)
  • loem01loem01 Posts: 2
    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum and am looking at an opportunity to buy a used 1999 Honda Civic EX couple (5 spd), just want to see how much in general these Civics are going for right now? The car has a little over 150k miles on it, seems to be well maintained and runs well. There have been some repairs done on the car (belts, battery, distributor replacement, and the AC condenser was changed due to a minor front collusion). A couple of other things noted are: 1) there is noise coming from the cabin heat/ac fan motor, and 2) according to the owner, in heavy rains, water can leak into the trunk area, probably through some worn rubber sealing somewhere on one side of the trunk.

    The owner is looking for ~$4,000 or close to it. Is it worth it? What would be a reasonable price for it? Thanks for any opinion/suggestion.
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