1999 Honda cr-v or 2003 Honda cr-v?

so I’ve come to a crossroad between getting a 1999 Honda cr-v with 124,000 miles on it (all maintenance done) and a 2003 cr-v with 163,111 miles done ( all maintenance done). the asking price from a dealer for the 1999 is $3,800 and 3,995 for the 2003. Which one would be the better buy? Red one 1999 and the 2003 is the gree one

We have owned CR-V’s since '99, buying them 2 at a time from '99 through '05 every three years. We still have an '08 EX-L Navi. You shouldn’t go wrong with either one of these. Any chance of talking with the owner(s) to see if one shines brighter than the other? I liked the tailgate best of the '99 as if you needed to haul something with just the back window open and it sticking out, it could be done easily. All performed well in the snow (if that is an issue). The '03 looks to be a base model but may have newer safety features than the '99. I read a review somewhere when Honda changed from the gen 1 to gen 2 design, the reviewer thought it changed from a little fun style that said “take me anywhere and we’ll have fun” to one that looks like every other SUV and doesn’t come across the same way…kind of agree. When I see a gen 1 in nice shape, I sometimes think it would be nice to still have it…

does “all maintenance done” mean from day 1 the car was put in service? Or, it had a recent oil change? The CRV (both years given) are very particular about fluids, especially differential and transfer case fluids. When these fluids are changed they should be refilled only with Honda brand fluids of the correct specification. Look for records of fluid changes and especially differential and transfer case fluid changes. If neither vehicle has a trackable service history then it is toss up. if one has a complete service history and the other doesn’t then the nod goes to the one with the history if it documents proper servicing. If you buy one of these I’d have ALL the fluids changed very soon after you take possession.

Also, research is needed whether either or both of these cars has a timing belt. If they do you need to know if and when the timing belt has been changed. The '99 likely has an every 60K requirement, and the '03 might have an every 100K change interval and both have every 8 years no matter what the mileage may be. Figure a timing belt job will run about $600 to 700.

If the routine maintenance has been kept up to date on both, I’d go with the newer one, the 2003. The rubber and plastic parts (engine and transmission seals, door & window seals, axel and steering boots, they all tend to deteriorate more with age than miles in modern cars.

Considering neither of these cars has low mileage, I’d buy the better one . . . after having it checked out by an independent mechanic, who has absolutely no business relationship with the dealership

Unless you have maintenance paperwork in hand, I would assume that absolutely nothing has ever been done

That means complete timing belt job, coolant, transmission service, etc.

While I"m not a Honda guy, even I can see that the 2003 is a generation newer. That hopefully means it’s got better brakes, suspension, etc.

At the age and mileage either one could be a crap shoot. A pre-purchase inspection can help your odds but even that is not a guarantee of a problem free ride.

You really need to clarify what is meant by “all maintenance done”. That could be legitimate and mean the works or it could be a glorified oil change. Any claims about all maintenance done should be backed up with copies of receipts, repair orders, etc.

There’s also the valve lash issue which is a maintenance item and is something that should never be ignored.

As to “all maintenance done”, some years ago my youngest son bought a 2004 Lincoln Aviator (2 years old at the time) from the oldest established Ford dealer in the country. It was as new; on the surface. He was told it had been sent back to their service department and everything had been done maintenance wise; oil change, spark plugs, filters, transmission filter/fluid change, differential oil change, cooling system flush, etc.

While visiting not long afterwards I had a chance to go over it and found that every single thing they claimed to have been done was a bald faced lie except for the engine oil/filter change.
Point being to beware of any sales people “puffing” the sale. “Puffing” is a word that means stretching the truth as part of the sales spiel; a.k.a. legalized lying.

The age matters a lot less than condition, which can include mileage, though neither of these has a lot of miles. Definitely have an inspection by an independent mechanic if at all possible, as there could be major problems that aren’t readily apparent. A used car dealer of the sort in the picture of the red one isn’t to be trusted all that much. The chances they even know what maintenance was performed a decade ago is slim to none. They can assure you all maintenance was done, but that means nothing. It doesn’t even tell you what they did, much less any previous owners. They very likely acquired it knowing nothing whatsoever about its history, and you should act as if that is the case.

Since the price has not much difference and only couple of dollars I would choose the 2003 because it’s a new one and probably new specs.


Do you realize that OP has not made one single comment since starting this post on June 1st . . . !

I just checked, and OP has not even been “active” on this website since that day

Joined June 1st

Last active June 1st

A “one hit wonder” in other words

To be blunt, I think we were all talking to a brick wall

But you started talking to the brick wall, long after the rest of us gave up

No offense intended, but that’s the way I see it