Buying a used Honda

Hi all,
I'm just finishing up college and starting to get used to the idea of not being poor, and am trying to buy a used car. I understand that Hondas are an excellent choice for good mileage/low maintenance, and
I'd like to get a car that I can keep for at least 5-10 years. Looking around in the newspapers, it looks like the Hondas available for $3000 or less (my budget) are usually ~1990 Civics and Accords, usually around 160k, but occasionally I'll spot e.g. a 1994 Civic with 70k for $2500. Since you guys are the Honda enthusiasts, I thought I should probably ask: is there anything I should be especially aware of when buying a used Honda? What about those especially low-mileage deals--is that the reward for patience or is there likely to be something wrong with the car? Is it reasonable to expect a Honda to still be reliable at 160k? How much is it reasonable for a '90-ish Honda owner to expect to spend on maintenance? Any recommendations for where to find a good mechanic for a pre-buy check?
(If it makes any difference, the car I buy will be a manual transmission.)
Thanks! Max Wilson
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Max, you get an A+ for asking all the right questions. Problem is, you have asked too many questions in one post. Why not remember the old adage: "you get what you pay for"(some of the time anyway). Why not consider a 6 to 8 year old Honda Civic in the $5 to $7k price range. Why not buy it from a Honda dealer with a warranty? It will cost you more in the short run but will likely save you money in the long run. You will likely have improved reliability and lower maintenance costs. Good luck.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Another car to look for is an 88 Camry for around $1500.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
    Go on-line and find all the '92 and'93 Accords neer you and check them out. Might find one for sale by owner that has the info on what has been done with timing belt and brakes and the like. Should be $2500 or less. Contact me if you are worried about rust. I can tell you where to look. bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Max Wilson wrote:

I can pretty much guarantee that any car you buy today for around $3K won't be the car you are driving 10 years from now. Plan on no more than a few years. Those 1990 Accords crush like tin cans in crashes.
Deals that look too good usually are. Often those less expensive cars are salvage title cars that someone has repaired. Sometimes the repairs are OK and the car will last. But more often the repairs are only so-so and things start to go wrong.
Since you guys are the Honda enthusiasts, I thought I should

For any car in your price range, regardless of make, the thing you are trying to find is a well maintained car, preferably a one-owner car. Good luck with that.
A well maintained Honda or Toyota should be good for at least 200K miles. You are correct that you will need the help of a qualified mechanic to figure out whether or not you have found a well maintained car. Generally, if you can find a used car, with complete service records, being sold by an individual who bought it new, it should be a good one. But these cream puffs usually stay within the owner's family. There's always someone needing a good, cheap used car.
Maintenance costs? At least $500/year. Repair costs? Add another $500 to $1000. Expect to pay thru the nose for the first year or two in order to bring the car up to snuff. Then annual ownership costs should decrease a bit.

Yeah, it makes a difference. Plan to pay for a new clutch within a year.
Look for Toyota Corollas and Nissan Altimas. These cars are less desirable because of boring exterior styling and they're not much fun to drive. However, they should deliver good service for a few years. You will pay a premium for older Civics because they have a sporty feel. Older Accords and Camrys simply hold their value because they last so long.
FYI: my mother just got rid of her 1996 Buick LeSabre. Had around 50K miles on it. Worth around $3K according to Edmunds.com. This car will probably last another 100K miles with routine maintenance. Old lady cars are still the best used cars.

Good luck.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes... a car dealer would say a buick is youthfully challenged. IMO probably the best deal all around. Just don't get a riviera.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
With my 1996 used civic experience I would recommend you to check especially the transmission (manual or automatic). If you notice even little shifting problem simply do_not_buy it. You might have to spend a lot on fixing the transmission.
For an auto transmission car, do a road test especially to check transmission behavior when turning (left or right). Also check transmission behavior by slowing down slowly to 20-25km (but not stopping) and trying to accelerate (slowly, quickly) to speed up. These are out of my first-hand experience with my first car bought about 4 months ago. I had to do a major overhaul of the transmission recently.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.