I'm hoping to buy a used Honda Civic. Advice?

OK, I’m in the market for a new (used) car, and I’ve pretty much decided on a Honda Civic sedan. Basically, I’m looking for an economical car that will last me 10+ years, and is something that isn’t necessarily “impressive”, but is at least “respectable”.

I’m hoping to spend losely in the $10K range (probably a little higher), which would get me something 2-3 years old I think.

Now that I’ve narrowed down what I’m looking for I still have a few questions:

  1. I’ve been looking a lot at cars that are Honda certified. Is this a good idea, or does it even matter? I’m assuming that a certified used car will be more expensive, is it worth it?

  2. I’m leaning towards getting a manual transmission, altough I’m really looking at both. The main reason I’m thinking manual is because I’d assume it would be cheaper up front, and because I’ve heard that automatics are a lot more expensive to fix. Am I really saving money going with the manual? I’ve driven cars with stick in the past, but that was over 5 year ago, so I figure I’ll have to get used to it again. But, once I do get used to it again, I think I’ll probably prefer it. Is there anyone out there with a stick car that wishes they had an auto? Anything else I need to consider here?

  3. Any similar cars I should look at? Overall what I’m looking for is something that is cheap to buy/own/maintain, and will last me a long time. Something smaller, 4 doors probably, and nothing flashy. It seems like everyone I talk to has nothing but good things to say about the Hondas, and they are usually the first thing they recommend. Anything else to consider, or is the Civic pretty much the obvious choice?

  4. I’m probably going to buy from a dealer, so any adivce on getting a reasonable deal? To be honest, I’m far from a car expert and I’ve never really made a major purchase that could be negotiated, so I don’t expect to get the best deal possible. I guess I just want to know I’m not getting ripped off, and I’m not going to worry too much about getting the best possible price ever. Any input here?

  5. Anything else I should consider, or anything I need to know?

Thanks a lot for the help.

I bought a 2000 Honda Civic LX through CarMax back in November. Best damn little car I ever had. Great gas mileage, and it’s cute too. Hondas hold up well, so they don’t depreciate as fast as other cars. You really can’t go wrong with a Honda. My step-mom’s last four cars have been Honda Accords. I think she’s hooked too.

I love Hondas. I’ve owned four of them, Civics and Accords split evenly.

The only thing I would look for is if the car is around 70K miles, check that the timing belt has been replaced. That’s about when it is ready to go and if it does, the engine is toast. Replace that every 70K and you shouldn’t have any problems with it.

They ususally replace the water pump at the same time as they have to take out all the same parts (i.e the entire Tranny and a bunch of other pita things) to get to both and it ends up saving a couple hundred bucks in labour.

I would think that the other obvious car to look at would be the Toyota Corolla. It personifies “nothing flashy”. :smiley: Very good car, though.

I have owned a Honda Civic with manual transmission for the past 16 years. They need little maintenance, and for the most part, parts are cheap and readily available. I have 230,000 miles and she runs great.

I had surgery last year and had to borrow an automatic because I was unable to drive a manual for about a month. When and if my car ever dies, I’m going to get an automatic next time. I figure if the next car lasts 20 years, my feeble old body will be too weak to work a clutch and stick.

Also, if you ever hurt a foot/leg/ankle/arm/wrist driving the manual is about impossible. Over the past 16 years, I’ve had to borrow another car for a total of 2 months due to injuries.

I drive a 1996 Honda Civic that I bought used from an auction in 1998. It’s a terrific car that has been very good to me over the years, although I had to replace the transmission last summer around this time. That was expensive, but it’s an anomaly–and I got the car so cheap to begin with, I considered it part of the deal. They get great gas mileage, which is a blessing since I commute about 50 minutes each way to work. I have the CX, the hatchback variety, and it’s a small, cool, cute little car that surprisingly has a ton of storage space if you put the back seats down. Mine is automatic, because I never learned how to drive stick. But you can’t go wrong with a Civic.

I should say that I got the car with about 26,000 miles on it when it was 2 years old in 1998, and I just recently hit 95,000 miles.

I bought a used 2000 Civic Ex in 2003. It has been a great car and no trouble so far. I replaced the battery this week and had the oil changed.

The downside to Hondas is that people like to steal them.
Mine was stolen in November of last year and recovered 3 weeks later less than a mile from my home. I got very lucky. The thieves took it for a joy ride and didn’t hurt the car. They stole the floor mats, spare tire, and my CD’s. I was expecting to find it on cement blocks.

As for price, check edmunds.com if you haven’t already.

Good luck

Hondas (and Civics in particular) are really popular to “trick out” and use for street racing. In Miami, I’d often pull into gas stations and have various teenagers doing their best Vin Diesel impressions tell me how “pimpin” my little hatchback was, and how I needed to “drop it” and “put some pimp shit under my hood,” and get decals in the window and maybe a spoiler. I’m sure the Fast and the Furious wannabe subculture has added to the thefts mentioned above. But I put “The Club” on my steering wheel, just in case. A truly dedicated car thief who really wants my car can laugh at The Club and steal it anyway, but it’s enough of a deterrent that I haven’t had a problem anywhere I’ve lived or parked.

I have the Civic DX hatchback and I’ve been wanting to put some decent rims and new tires on it. Also some dark back window tint. Part of me thinks this will add to resale value to these guys who like to trick these cars out, but never thought how it might encourage them to steal my sweet baby.

I had a lot of trouble selling my EX sedan 2 years ago, it was 3 years old and I was looking to get back what I owed (ca $10,000) before I started school.

So blunt, re: #4-Consider not buying from a dealer. I had an etended warrenty that would cover the car for another 5 years. There may be someone in a similar situation. If you do go to the dealer, know what is reasonable to pay, carfax is a great help, and be prepared for a barrage of extras after you negotiate the price. I knew what I would pay and was able to get it, but then caved (shame) when offered coatings and alarms, etc. I have never bought a used car, but I would imagine the dealers will offer add ons with the same tenacity.

and re: #5-situations change. Make sure you are in a situation where it makes sense to buy. I bought a civic thinking I was getting a car I could drive for 10+ years, and had it for three. (I got killed in interest. The worst financial move of my life). At the time I was selling, Honda was running ads offering lease deals for half my monthly payments. :mad:

Like others though, I can’t tell you how great Honda’s are. And you should get the club. My gf’s 10 yr old accord was taken joyridning a few months ago.

Also consider a brand-new Civic or Corolla. The problem is that there’s not that much of a discount for used ones, and the least expensive new Civic might cost only $12-13,000.

Well since Location: is blank, if you’re anywhere near me (Ottawa, ON), drop an email. My sister might be looking to sell hers when she gets back from her honeymoon.

We own a 1991 Honda Civic, 4 door sedan; purchased new back in 91 and it still runs great. It has only 102K miles on it and I think it is good for at least that many more.

If you buy a certified car, I think you get some sort of warranty. That’s a good thing to have because even a quality car like a Honda can be abused by the owner and you won’t notice until something conks out. You will pay a premium for it, though.

Corollas are also very good cars, you should consider them as well.

You are correct with respect to the manual transmission. You will get a lower price for a car with a 5 speed, and the transmission will generally be more reliable. My '98 Civic 5 speed lasted 130K miles before it got stolen in 2004, and it wasn’t really showing any mechanical wear and tear.

When it comes to negotiating, decide in advance what you want to pay and be prepared to walk away. Look at prices on the net, places like Yahoo, Edmunds.com, AutoTrader, and classifieds. Get comfortable with what options are available, market prices, and set your range before going to the dealer. Be prepared to walk away if you don’t like anything about the deal or your salesman.

Suzuki Aerio

40K and still going strong. 2003s got a whole bunch of red circles (red = good) in Consumer Reports’ Car Guide.

We’re on our second Civic. Bought the first one in 1990. Survived a head-on collision in it in 1993 (2 weeks after we’d paid it off of course) and it was repaired.

When we decided to get a minivan in 1996, we had a choice of trading a 3-year-old Saturn, or the 6 year old Honda. The Civic was worth only 1K less (at twice the age) than the Saturn, and a mechanic said that his advice was to hang onto the Civic, so we did.

It was starting to want the occasional pricier repair by 1998 - like 300-400 bucks every few months - but we intended to try to keep it for a couple more years. Unfortunately, Papa Zappa was in the wrong place at the right time and was part of a 4-car pileup that totalled 3 out of the 4 cars including ours. All 3 totalled cars were Hondas (the other 2 were Accords) and all drivers walked away. So from a safety standpoint, they do pretty well!

We bought another one (a late-model-year 98) as soon as the insurance check came. That one has also been very good though we recently had to replace part of the A/C system.

Manual transmissions are great - cheaper to drive (they get better mileage) but if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving they can be very fatiguing. For that reason, our next one may be automatic.

Eeep, really? My dealer says all the belts get done at 105K; I don’t think mine’s been done yet and I’m at 98K.

I’ve got the Civic DX 4-door sedan and it is going strong. Of course he’s only 7 years and 98K old but still. I was thinking that my next car would be a Honda-recertified used one, since a car that’s been leased for three years is still a baby.

You’re due for a timing belt change. I had mine done at 80k then again after I put another 90k on mine. Husband says do them every 80k miles. Car place I used to work for says do them every 60k or 5 years, but they were a rip off place.

Just be sure when they replace your timing belt, they change some dang seal. It’s a 95 cent part and my car has leaked oil for the last 56k miles because the guy didn’t. Tiny leak, but still. And I’d compare prices, I’ve never paid a dealer to fix my car unless I was in dire straits. I paid the last person 150.00 to do the change. I bet you the dealer will double or more that.

It sounds like you’re in about the same place we are, blunt. We want a smallish, manual transmission, four-door, economical but reliable import. We have narrowed our list down to 2002-03 Toyota Corolla or 2004-02 Hyundai Elantra. If I recall correctly, we crossed the Civic off our list because we are looking for a car that can handle long highway drives. The Civic is a little underpowered for what we want.

I’ve test-driven both the Corolla and the Elantra; they both drive very well. The Corolla was a very refined ride, but the Elantra was peppy and fun. Since my husband and I both love to drive stick (hm, that sounds kinda dirty), the peppy one might win out.

I have actually created an Excel table comparing the specs of all sorts of cars in this class. I could email it to you if you like (just ignore the Ferrari column - that’s my husband’s wishful thinking column).