What to Look for in Used 1995-2005 Civics?

My Sister needs a used car fast, and Civics are in the running. There are several from the mid to late '90's for sale around here, supposedly in great shape. What should I look for, aside from general
things like maintenance records? Do the automatics have problems? (She can drive either.)
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Leftie wrote:

I would look at a 1995 to 2000 model that has been well maintained. 2001-05 models have not been as reliable. My 2004 Civic LX has had failures of the alternator, power steering pump and front struts. Some of these Civics have also had tranny failures (both automatic AND manual), although I've been lucky so far with mine (it's an automatic, knock on wood).
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Eternal Searcher wrote:

Yikes. Anyone else have this experience, or know of it?
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well, speaking for the 92-95 generation, rear quarter panel rust is common. just from my experience, manual transmission problems; might be related to the early cars speccing motor oil for the trans, later on honda switching to requiring special honda manual trans oil. but you're probably going to buy an automatic. also just from my experience, rubber goods crumbling. not belts and hoses, thank god, but suspension bushings and engine mount isolators, etc. even door gaskets getting sticky. if the car ever overheated from radiator problems or such, good possibility of head gasket leaking later on, maybe years later.
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