Advice for buying used Accord/Civic, please?

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I think you will prefer the Accord, comfort-wise. I'm not sure how much more space it affords.

Based on www.edmunds.com, I'd estimate 1994-1996 are possibilities.
As a baseline, Edmunds states for my area (which is not on either coast) one can expect the following for about $2500:
1995 Accord DX automatic transmission air conditioning 100,000 miles Average condition
Change the mileage to 150k miles, and the average private party price goes down to about $1300.
I wouldn't go over 150k miles. I'd aim for a 100k miles or lower.
I would expect you could get another 100,000 miles out of this car, assuming you maintained it properly.

Try to get a car with a written maintenance history. Preferably, a 1995 Accord with a 100k miles on it will have had its timing belt changed in the last few years. If it hasn't negotiate this into the deal. Figure a $500 credit.
Elle 1991 Civic LX sedan, original owner
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We are on our 3 accord. I would highly recommend it. The one I am driving now is a 92 and we got it 2 years ago for $1200 in central Ohio. Needed a few cosmetic things for about $100. Still driving it, looks good, everything works except for AC sometimes. Has 225K miles and I wouldn't hesitate to take it across country.

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Honda resale value is also high, although reliability is typically better than VW.

Bring the whole family (including the dogs and an infant seat) for test fitting.
Wagons may be helpful, but they are not common (Civic wagon until 1991 in the US, Accord wagon until 1997 in the US).
Reliability will be most dependent on previous owner care and maintenance. Be especially careful about checking when the timing belt was last changed -- it is several hundred dollars to change, and failure can cause major engine damage. Also, on older Hondas, do full lock parking lot turns; if you hear grinding or clicking noises, the CV boots have cracked and allowed dirt into the CV joints, requiring repair (the boots typically last about 100,000 miles or so).
You might also want to look at Chevrolet or Geo Prizms or 1980s Chevrolet Novas -- rebadged Toyota Corollas with good reliability and lower resale value from the "Chevrolet" or "Geo" badge.
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Forget Honda. At $2000, you'll probably end up with a headake. Unless the deal is from a personal aquantance and the orginal owner.
An alternative is the 1996's Lumina.
Pars

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----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: rec.autos.makers.honda,alt.autos.honda Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:51 PM Subject: Re: Advice for buying used Accord/Civic, please?

I'm not sure why you say that, except that bargain hunting requires savvy and patience. For $2000 you can get a Honda that has been well maintained if you aren't set on getting one a late model one or getting one in a hurry.
There are a number of things to check. The timing belt should have been changed in the last 50K miles or so, leaving some time on the belt. No rust in the cooling system and no varnish in the engine are mandatory, and rare - that 's why the buyer has to be ready to kiss several frogs. The temperature guage must stay in the mid-range while driving with the A/C on, because of the chance of head gasket failure. But intermittent failure to start and stalling are just signs of main relay trouble, a common and cheap failure that can cause people to drop the price $1000 or more, not knowing they can fix it for a tenth that amount.
Mike
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Buying used is like gambling. The high resale value on the Honda makes it possible for the crook to pan off a lemon while using the car's inherent reputation to justify the $2000 charge.
Also, GM's Automatic tranny, from a decade ago, has a better reputation then Honda's Automatics from the same generation. When shopping for a $2000 Automatic, the durability of the transmission should be the most important qualifier. It doesn't make sense to spend $1500 on a rebuilt tranny for a car that's worthless.
Pars

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Didn't the original poster indicate looking for a car with a manual transmission? In that case, reliability and durability of the automatic transmission would not be an issue.
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True, but original post specified Automatic transmission.

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Thanks for the tips! :)
See ya,
Kristen
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