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Old 03-14-2013, 12:27 PM
 
40 posts, read 150,212 times
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So I'm going to a dealership this weekend to look at this 98 Honda Civic EX that I've been looking at for a while now. The only problem is that my friends told me the place is not very good and they have sold some lemons in the past. But this has literally been the only old Honda Civic I've seen on the market since December so I really want to check it out. I know nothing about cars so I called up my Grandpa and he told me to bring a magnet and put it on the major sides of the car to make sure it's all there?!?!? Sounds weird but he also told me to smell the dipstick to make sure it doesn't smell like gas......which means what? Any other tips and tricks you guys have when checking out a used car?

- Thanks a bunch
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:31 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
5,159 posts, read 9,669,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatboy42 View Post
So I'm going to a dealership this weekend to look at this 98 Honda Civic EX that I've been looking at for a while now. The only problem is that my friends told me the place is not very good and they have sold some lemons in the past. But this has literally been the only old Honda Civic I've seen on the market since December so I really want to check it out. I know nothing about cars so I called up my Grandpa and he told me to bring a magnet and put it on the major sides of the car to make sure it's all there?!?!? Sounds weird but he also told me to smell the dipstick to make sure it doesn't smell like gas......which means what? Any other tips and tricks you guys have when checking out a used car?

- Thanks a bunch
Isnt the honda all plastic?

The magnet trick is good when buying old iron, you want to make sure there is no(or very little) bondo or filler on the panels
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Floribama
14,740 posts, read 31,167,632 times
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You may be better off paying a reputable mechanic to inspect it for you. Let them put it on a lift so they can look for oil and fluid leaks. If the dealer objects then you'll know just how much confidence he has in his cars.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Cole neighborhood, Denver, CO
1,123 posts, read 2,445,057 times
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When you say 'dealership', is this a Honda dealership or a 'used car lot'? If you are not an experienced car buyer, then stay away from used lots (leave them to the pros).

Honda dealerships will certify their pre-owned cars. This means they do a full inspection, and fix any issues that could come up. They usually drop in a new battery and tires as well. This gives you peace of mind when buying a used car.

Buying a car from a dealership that is not Certified is no different than buying a car from a private party--you get it 'as-is'.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,151 posts, read 16,562,613 times
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To answer your specific questions, as Me007gold stated, if a magnet doesn't stick to a steel body panel it suggests that the vehicle has been damaged and enough bondo was used in the repair to insulate the magnet from the steel. And as far as gas in the oil goes, it's not nearly as common now as it was 30 years ago when cars had mechanical fuel pumps, but if you smell gas in the oil today it's usually a sign of an intake manifold leaking internally.

As far as the greater question is concerned, given your lack of experience I would recommend taking a more experienced friend along for guidance your first time out.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:43 PM
 
40 posts, read 150,212 times
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About the mechanic idea, I live in a small town and there's really only two here. One is just really weird and only does Cadillacs and the other one I feel scammed us years ago. He told my mom her Buick had an engine failure but offered to buy it for a couple hundred since it was dead. Saw him driving it a week later...........
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:26 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,393 posts, read 39,713,740 times
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good tutorial here
10 Steps to Buying a Used Car
(tho they USED to have an excellent negotiation / examining a used car instruction) Before the car dealers association bought most websites and now make the FRONT END dealer centric.

I never buy from a used dealer. I only buy one-owner / By Owner, and I will fly across USA to fetch the right one. I have bought 6 over the internet sight unseen (but I know my specific cars / and what to run from). Dallas, / Austin / San Antonio TX seems to be the best used market with no rust, and nice places to visit in winter.

I 'Sight-the-panels' but don't use magnet (don't want to scratch someone ELSE'S car)

I look at shocks, cv boots, but most telling to me (clue of owner) is tire wear and brand, cleanliness of engine compartment and service records and oil, Fuel, and air filter condition and brand. (I run from Fram). MOST importantly closely examine the coolant tank for Carbon or oil. Look at the condition of hoses and belts. Smell and look closely at the oil.

I insist on cold starting car (first time that day), I look for smoke and blow-by and choke / cold start issues. If I am not first to start it, I will come back another day.

Exterior is secondary, but I look for rust (undercarriage / suspension, exhaust, and door / fender panels and windshield trim.) PAINT is expensive to replace and degrades value. Glass condition, especially sandstorm damage to windshield, or evidence of sealed chips.

Driving I look to clutch wear, evidence of abuse, steering 'tightness', suspension / shocks, acceleration, hesitations during cruise speed. (usually ignition / computer on a Gasser).

Don't get something that has been modified or rebuilt from total (unless you know the owner), wait for something better. There are a Zillion cars for sale, and many are just peachy.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:41 PM
 
969 posts, read 924,748 times
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I would stay away a 15+ year old used J-A-P car......

You'll be money ahead.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:45 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,273,424 times
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It's a 15 year old car, so expecting it to be perfect with no repairs is not reasonable. Keep that in mind. If you actually want to use the magnet, the idea is to wrap it in a thin handkerchief, then drag that over the body panels. But anyone with a decent eye and a little experience can sight the panels, look under the car and hood, and tell you if it's been repaired. A buddy has been looking at used SUVs for several months, and I've learned a lot from him and our mechanic buddies.

As someone said, I'd rather not buy from a used car lot. Buying from a local owner is a much better idea, after a pre purchase inspection by someone qualified. They're out there. You just need to find those cars.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:49 PM
 
969 posts, read 924,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
It's a 15 year old car, so expecting it to be perfect with no repairs is not reasonable. Keep that in mind. If you actually want to use the magnet, the idea is to wrap it in a thin handkerchief, then drag that over the body panels. But anyone with a decent eye and a little experience can sight the panels, look under the car and hood, and tell you if it's been repaired. A buddy has been looking at used SUVs for several months, and I've learned a lot from him and our mechanic buddies.

As someone said, I'd rather not buy from a used car lot. Buying from a local owner is a much better idea, after a pre purchase inspection by someone qualified. They're out there. You just need to find those cars.

Unless it's an American truck (prefered diesel) I'd use caution buying anything 15+ years old.


Ford Powerstroke Econoline Van with 1.4 Million Miles - YouTube



But the fanboys think their ricer will outlive even one of these.
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