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Old 07-06-2010, 07:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need advice on buying a first gen Honda Insight

Hi All,

I am looking for advice on buying a 2000-06 Honda Insight. I am a car mechanic but some of the parts on the Insight are a little scary. Like the 120 D cell batteries that are welded together in stacks to make up the battery assist. It seems like that would be the weak link in the car and prone to premature failure. Also all the other non-standard items in the car that I am not familiar with. Any clarification on how and what to inspect for when buying an Insight would be great.

Thanks,
Alex

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Old 07-06-2010, 09:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Advice: Do it.

The batteries will need service during the car's lifetime, but you can do that yourself. If you buy a new enough Insight, the battery will probably be covered under the factory warranty, anyway.

There are a few other problems that Insights tend to develop, like weak hatch struts, carbon in the EGR manifold and valve, minor water leaks, and maybe a few other things. Nothing irresolvable. If you extend the seat belt all the way and the end of it is wet, try to use that to knock $100 off the price. Stumbling on the transition from lean burn? Knock down the price, take it home and clean the EGR system and check the valve adjustment. Et cetera.

If you need maximum mpg, insist on a stick shift with the OE Potenza RE-92 tires. Good luck, and let us know what you find.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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To check the battery condition, find a long hill, and climb it with the assist on. The battery indicator should drop smoothly at least until it's below half full. If it goes down just a few bars, then quickly drops to zero, the battery is weak or unbalanced. This isn't a disaster (see other threads here on rebuilding/rebalancing a battery pack), but it should factor into a lower price.

You might get an IMA light doing this. If so, it can be reset by pulling one of the fuses in the driver's footwell (#18, IIRC) and waiting 10 seconds before replacing.

Other than the battery thing, they're pretty dependable cars. Mine's a 2000, bought in '03, now has over 140K miles. The only mechanical work I've done (that wasn't from being rear-ended, or having a deer try to use the hood as a trampoline) was to replace the EGR valve and an oxygen sensor.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Do you want a CVT or a manual. I am considering selling mine (CVT) if I am the winning bidder on an auction today for a 2008 Altima Coupe.

Mine has 58k miles (2002) but the in service date was August of 2003. The battery was replaced in mine this year, and the hybrid components warranty is good until August 2013.

Paid 10 for it with 34 k miles two years ago. Its in perfect condition mechanically. I would like to get $7500 for it, but I won't know if I am going to sell it until tomorrow afternoon.

regards
Mech
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
To check the battery condition, find a long hill, and climb it with the assist on.
I was racking my brain for info on how to test the battery without modifying the car. A hill! Why didn't I think of that?

If you don't have one of those, you could put it in 5th, go full throttle from 30mph up to the speed limit, down to 30mph in neutral, repeat as needed. It should only take a few minutes to deplete the pack.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
I was racking my brain for info on how to test the battery without modifying the car. A hill! Why didn't I think of that?
'Cause you don't have long hills anywhere close to you?
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Twenty miles from the nearest hill, which is a nice, steep 1000' rise. I seldom get that far away from the city, though. There's nothing more local that would make me even think about downshifting.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old Mechanic,

I might consider it if the car was not on the right coast since I am on the left coast!
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
Twenty miles from the nearest hill, which is a nice, steep 1000' rise.
I'm surprised. It's been a few years, but I did spend a couple of years at SUNY Buffalo, and I don't recall there being a thousand-foot elevation change anywhere west of - oh, around Ithaca. And that's the hilltops, not the roads (which of course tend to follow the valleys).
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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600', 23mi away. I guess it just feels longer when you're on a bicycle.

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