Author Topic: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles  (Read 2600 times)

aperture

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Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« on: July 22, 2016, 05:16:47 AM »
A co-worker is offering her 2002 Honda Civic EX with 103,000 miles for $3000.  That is approximately the price listed on Edmunds and Kelly for private party sales and seems reasonable.  The car is clean with no obvious damage (gaps on hood doors trunk all are right).  On test drive, it starts on first try runs smoothly, has no shimmies or other telltales of problems.  I ran the VIN on a free internet service and there are no accident reports. I am close to pulling the trigger to buy this car.

My conundrum: I have never bought a car that has 100K+ miles on it, nor one that is 14 years old.  What else should I be considering?  I know no one has a crystal ball, but if there is an obvious downside to a car of this vintage that I am not thinking of - I would love for someone to point it out.  Many thanks, Aperture.

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 05:59:32 AM »
I remember those 2002 Honda Civics were very reliable.  A lot of my friends bought that car because it was a good vehicle for the young professional starting out in a career.  We were in our early 20s back at the start of the new century!  Did your coworker keep a log of maintenance work or hang on to all the receipts from previous trips to the shop?  Seeing those documents help determine the level of care a previous owner put into the vehicle.  What kind of driving was the car primarily used for?  City or highway?  Ask about the parts that eventually wear out like: tires, water pump, starter, fuel filter, oxygen sensors, brakes, timing belt, etc and when they were replaced.  If the components are relatively new then you got a vehicle with potential for less maintenance headaches later.

andy85

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 06:09:30 AM »
I bought a '92 accord with 113k miles on it and i put another 80k on it before it died 4 years ago.

Bought the car as a junior in high school...so that would be like 2001-2002ish, so the car was already 10 years old. Never had major issues til near the end of it's life. Had to replace some suspension parts and a fuel pump...a few other things that i can't recall.

Good thing about older cars is that they are pretty easy to work on and there are TONSSSSSSSS of aftermarket and OEM parts for hondas. For $3k, i think its a good deal and i wouldnt be surprised if you get it to 200k miles with a little TLC.

aperture

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 06:13:42 AM »
Thanks for the input Cornbread and Andy. My co-worker did not volunteer maintenance records, but our first encounter was sort of spontaneous after work in the parking lot. I suspect the miles are mostly city miles rather then highway, but I will ask.  (I am guessing that city miles are associated with more wear and tear than highway miles, but not sure I would change my decision or price point based on her response?) Tires are pretty new and I am zealous about rotating and replacing them as needed (had a front wheel blow out at ~60 mph in my 20s and never want to see that happen again).   I will ask about the parts you mention below.   
I hope I can get 80K miles.  If I get 50K miles, the car will pay for itself in offsetting the use of a higher mpg minivan that is great for family trips, but crap as a commuter.

Thanks, -aperture.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 06:34:14 AM »
What region of the world are you in?

My only real concern with a Honda and 103k miles would be rust if you live somewhere with crappy winters. Otherwise, a Honda and 103k miles is "like new" and nothing to stress over.

If the car drove well, it probably is in pretty fair shape. If you want to be more certain I would suggest you ask to pay for a pre purchase inspection from a Honda dealer. Maybe a couple hundred bucks, but if you don't personally feel confident to evaluate the vehicle I don't think it's a big expense for piece of mind.

Good luck!

rubybeth

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 06:55:44 AM »
I bought a 2001 Acura TL (basically the 'luxury' version of the Honda Accord) and after some initial hesitation after the purchase, am pretty happy with it. I believe it had about 115,000 on it when I bought it a few years ago. No major mechanical issues since then (we've done some maintenance type stuff and replacing of things that hadn't been replaced since it was purchased). The only thing that made me a little nervous was the drive feel and the transmission issues reports I was reading online--we had a transmission place look it over and they said nothing was wrong. I just got used to the variable transmission drive feel.

My sister also had a 1998 Honda Civic until a couple years ago, when she sold it to a cousin starting grad school and got a newer Honda Civic (she really, really likes Hondas). That cousin only recently sold it to a family friend. It's still running, well over 100,000 on it.

I would suggest taking it to a mechanic you trust before the purchase, but otherwise, the Honda/Acura brand is solid. And they can easily go 200,000+ miles.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 06:57:18 AM by rubybeth »

JLee

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 07:38:56 AM »
I've only bought one vehicle under 100k miles. Most are much higher...176k, 203k, 268k, 103k, and 130k come to mind.

Edit: Oops, make that two. 36k and 68k.

If it checks out mechanically, you should have another 200k in it.

ketchup

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 07:45:48 AM »
I would say as long as it has been maintained well (get a mechanic to check it out if you don't know what to look for) and it's not rusty you're good to go.  After you buy, catch it up with maintenance if needed, and give it a nice wash/wax.

It should last you a long time if you take care of it.  200k miles easily.  You don't have to look very hard to find people with extremely high mileage (200k-300k) Hondas. 

Person-I-know-Honda-anecdote: Family friend bought an '88 Accord new, drove it to 240k and gave it to a family member who is still driving it (no idea the current mileage).

Old-car-I-own-anecdote: I have a '92 Buick at 198,xxx miles (owned since 158,xxx).  The only problems I've had with this old car were one oil leak and other horrible things that weren't the car's fault (hitting a deer, something on the road blowing a 3+ inch hole in the fuel tank, me bashing the passenger side mirror into something, etc.)  I just got rid of a '99 Metro at 182k, and it was pretty beat up before I got it (at 146k).

Like JLee, I've only bought one car under 100k.  And it was 24 years old at the time.

Syonyk

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2016, 08:38:05 AM »
It's a 100k mile Honda.  It's going to be just fine.  They're 250k mile cars, at least.

retiringearly

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 08:48:43 AM »
Go to a local Honda dealer and ask them to pull up the service history using the VIN #.  It could show if much major work has been done on it.

Look in to whether the timing belt and water pump have been changed.  I suspect the owner's manual says to change them at 90K miles.  That is not a small expense if it needs to be done, it was about $900 on my Acura 10 years ago.

snogirl

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2016, 08:48:54 AM »
As others stated Hondas @ 100k are just getting broken in. My sisters 97 Del Sol is at 190k with the original clutch. My best friend had one that went 450k. Both in Vermont. You could spend $50 for a 1/2 hr check over @ a local shop to put it up on lift for peace of mind.


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Jack

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2016, 08:58:11 AM »
100K miles is brand new. 200K is when you're starting to push it (for average brands -- Hondas should do better).

slugline

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Re: Buying an older used car with ~100K miles
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2016, 08:52:25 PM »
Without maintenance records, I'd probably have a mechanic look it over paying close attention to everything rubber that breaks down with age -- belts, hoses, seals, CV boots. If you decide to buy have all the fluids changed just to be safe.

Speaking as the owner of a 16-year-old CR-V with 250K-mi, I'd say you're looking at a solid value in a used Honda.