Considering buying a 2004 HCH - advice?
I am looking into purchasing a used 2004 HCH, automatic transmission, with 34,500 miles. This would be from a Honda dealer that says the vehicle is not Honda-certified, but they can get it certified for me. It comes with a 1-year/12,000-mile warranty, and battery is warrantied up to 100,000 miles or 8 years from when it was new. I am considering buying it for $17,500 (includes tax/reg.)- does this sound like a good deal? I cannot afford a new hybrid. I test drove it and it seemed fine but I don't really know what to look for. My reasons for wanting to switch to hybrid are environmental and gas $. I'm a little nervous b/c I am a single female and don't want to end up w/ a car I'm constantly having problems w/. No one I know really knows about hybrids so I need some help! The more basic the advice, the better, as I really don't know a lot about cars.
PS Oh also I was researching some things on this site and was under the impression that these cars need a different type of oil than most other cars, but the Honda guy I've been dealing w/ told me that when they service it they use 5W30 just like in most other cars - any thoughts on that?
First off you want to see
First off you want to see the carfax on the vehicle. They should be able to provide you with one on it. Or go to the Carfax website and purchase one. These are invaluable when checking on the history of any vehicle, including ownership, state DMV reported problems such as salvage, accidents & mileage, and even if the vehicle was dealer serviced. For example, every time my car was at the dealer for service or repair it shows up on my carfax.
Also if they won't Honda Certify it with those low miles and clean history, then I would walk away from it.
Since they told you the battery is warrantied to 100k I am assuming you are living in California? If this is so that price is probably about normal for that car's stats, where you live, and the hybrid premium that dealers are charging. I would also get them to allow you to take it to another dealer's service center or independent mechanic to have it checked out. Also for that price it wouldn't hurt to ask if they would throw in the extended warranty. Dealers won't budge too much on pricing right now, but throwing in things for free is sometimes much easier for them to consider.
Is the guy telling you the oil is 5w-30 the sales person or the service person? If it is the sales person, walk over to the service department and ask them what oil it uses. If they agree find yourself another dealer to get your service done. Even the owners manual says 0w-20 and in an emergency 5w-20. You would never want 5w-30 in that car. Also you want to check with the service department to be sure that all updates and / or recalls have been applied. Mine was dealer certified but the software updates had not been applied.
Another quick check you can do sometimes with the hybrid is turn the key to on and push the button down by the speedometer to check the A & B trip meters. With each push it will cycle between the normal mileage display and the trip A & B meters. Some drivers never reset one of them and you can see what the mpg for the car was over an extended time, as driven by the previous driver. If it is extremely low than the previous driver drove it hard. I never reset my A trip meter and use my B for in between fill ups.
That's just some of the things I can think of right now, I am sure some will throw in their ideas as well. Pricing is whatever you and the market will bear, so I hate to comment on that.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Thanks so much everyone. I
Thanks so much everyone. I think I'm going to pass on this car. The sales guy was supposed to fax me the carfax yesterday, and I still haven't received it. (Which is strange, b/c he showed it to me when I was there the other day, so I know he has it.) Hemisync, the Trip A meter said 25.3 mpg, the Trip B meter said 32.5 mpg. True, someone could have been playing around w/ the meters since the last owner drove it so I realize that doesn't necessarily mean it got bad mileage. But that combined w/ the fact that they don't have a service history makes me a little leery. I also wonder why it's not being snatched up sooner - hybrids are in high demand right now, and I've been talking w/ them about this car for weeks now. I was supposed to look at a 2007 at different place and it was sold before I could even get there. I still believe that most hybrids get great mileage so I'm going to keep looking. I don't exactly like the look of the Prius's but I might contact the Toyota dealer just on the off-chance that I could somehow be able to afford to finance a new one; I don't think there are too many used ones around. Someone told me they're charging more for new hybrids right now since there's a waiting list so I doubt it'll be something I can swing but it doesn't hurt to ask, right? I am looking to possibly move back to my hometown which is a 45-min. commute from my job so that is one of the main reasons I need a car w/ good mileage, otherwise I'm afraid I'll go broke just commuting to & from work! If anyone has any more advice please let me know. Thanks again; like I said I probably would have bought this car, not knowing any better, so you all have helped me tremendously!!
I agree with you jd, when I
I agree with you jd, when I was looking back in March they one I read about today was gone the next. I never saw one sit around that was in good condition. If you have been talking with them for weeks there is something wrong.
If you seriously start looking at multiple used vehicles buy the 30 days worth of carfax it is worth it. Also when I asked about the trip meters I already knew from your previous post the mpg on them. I was asking about the number of miles that were on them with that mpg. Sorry if I was confusing. When I bought this one the previous owner had not reset his trip A in over 9000 miles so I got a good idea of his true mpg.
As for new HCH and Prius, most new buyers are on a waiting list and paying a premium on top of MSRP. If I had to buy new, I would wait for next years models as Honda is suppose to be releasing up to 4 hybrids. See this article for an idea of what is coming next year. I only bought a use one because my current vehicle at that time was about to rust apart from age. :)
Good luck looking!