2000 Civic EX Cruise Control Issue

Hi all. I am on a quest to buy a pre-owned Civic. Today I test drove a
2000 Civic EX Coupe, 5 speed, with about 90,000 miles on it. It was at
a small but reputable car lot in the town where I live. The car looked
clean, inside and out, and they were asking $8,900. The salesman let me
drive it off the lot for a test drive. I immediately liked the car a
lot. The car responded nicely as I shifted. The engine purred. All the
little items, power sliding roof, power door locks, windows, AC, heat,
stereo, seat adjustments, worked perfectly. The interior and exterior
of the vehicle showed little wear. I pulled into a gas station and
called a friend on my cell phone. I have a CarFax unlimited license for
a 30 day period, and I gave my friend the VIN. The report came back
clean, 2 estimated owners, no wrecks of any kind reported. While at the
station I checked the seat adjustments, hood and trunk releases, tires,
wheels, under the hood and the trunk for any unusual or obvious trouble
signs, and all looked good. This was looking good, I felt really comfy,
and I liked the fact that the car had all the nice options too, sliding
power roof, power mirrors, etc.
I drove it around a few more blocks, checking the handling. Horn,
emergency flashers, headlights, brights, turn signals, wipers, etc. All
worked fine. I was really beginning to wonder how much I could
negotiate for the car. I was imagining me owning it already. One more
test...the cruise control. Not that I use it a lot, but needed to check
as much stuff as I could. So I took it out on the Interstate, got into
the fifth gear, pushed the cruise button on the left side of the dash,
and used the set button on the steering wheel to set the cruise at 60
mph. It engaged fine, and kept the speed up after I let off the gas.
Then, as I neared the exit I planned to take, I pressed the brake, and
the cruise did not disengage. I turned off the cruise button on the
dash. The light went off, but the car was still going strong at 60. I
braked again and it was not slowing down, so I pushed in the clutch,
and the engine just whined and kept up its high rev. By this time I
could not take the exit, it was going too fast (and seemed as if it
wanted to go even faster) so I kept going straight, feeling a little
panicked but keeping my cool, trying to apply the brake and finally,
although I could not take it out of fifth gear, the car began to slow
enough for me to pull off into the emergency lane. Then it got slow
enough that the engine finally died. I tried to start it back up after
a moment, and the engine sounded as if it was still in high gear,
revving loudly. So I turned it off, waited a few more minutes, and
tried again. This time everything was back to normal. I found the next
exit and turned around, this time not attempting to check the cruise
control again until I got back to the lot.
When I did, I told the salesperson about it, and he said he'd have a
mechanic check it out. But he appeared to balk when I started to
negotiate on price, because I was asking for this to be checked out and
repaired, and he said the possible repair for the work might not leave
him any wiggle room. He said he would let me know. So the deal is up in
the air. For all I know, since I was a little too paranoid to test it
again, it might be an intermittent issue, and hard to reproduce, but
then again, maybe not. I Googled a search for "Honda Civic cruise
control" but could not pin down a specific problem or solution.
The question, to anybody who may know, how serious a problem is this?
Could it be computer related, and in fact, indicate a more serious
problem that could manifest itself while driving and shifting normally,
even when cruise is not engaged? Should I keep looking for another
Civic, or try to negotiate a better deal while knowing about this
existing condition on this particular car? This car lot warrants the
drive train and engine for 1,000 miles after the sale on all their used
cars, but not sure if this problem would be covered in such an
Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Are you certain you were operating the cruise control correctly? I know that tapping on the brake is supposed to disengage it, but it sounds so bizarre I just want to double check that there is no doubt it malfunctioned.
If so, this is not paranoia but intelligence, protecting you.
It's an outrageously unsafe condition for a dealership to put you. I don't like how litigatious our society is, but man, sometimes it has to be, to save lives.
That dealership is lucky you didn't get into an accident.
You're lucky to be in one piece.
I doubt I would have done better than you, when driving with a stuck cruise control. Here in the comfort of my little house, though, I figured the best response would be to turn off the ignition, and god willing I could get over to the side of the road at the same time.
With more thought, I don't think going back to this dealership is such a great idea.
At most, let them call you. Then you tell them calmly but firmly that this _is_ a serious, safety issue, and, just your opinion, but you are a little concerned that you were allowed to drive this car. (Hopefully they'll be thinking how awful it would be for business if you told all your friends about this. I don't write this to spite them; this is serious.)
Let them explain like mad that they've fixed the problem, test driven it, etc. Then make sure they have. Make them document exactly what was wrong. Test drive on some back country road, if possible, or similar.
At least then you'll have some kind of upper hand in future dealings with these folks.
it might be an intermittent issue, and hard to reproduce, but
I googled for the phrase "stuck cruise control" and only got a half-dozen hits or so. So it would seem uncommon but it does happen.
Dunno if you have heard of it, but
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is a good tool for pricing used cars by make, model, options, mileage, year, and location.
You can also get price quotes from it for new cars; maybe used cars, too.
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