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2003 Honda CRV with 200k miles worth it?

Hi there, any help on this situation would be much appreciated.

I’ve been in the market for a 2002 - 2006 CRV for a while now, and I have about $6500 to spend. This is proving to be a difficult model to find within this time frame (I’ve been on the Craigslist hunt almost daily) for this price that doesn’t have around 200k miles. I’m beginning to relent on my policy that 200k is not a possibility.
I found a very nice 2003 CRV EX for that price range and of course, it has 203K miles. The kicker is the engine and transmission are brand new and it “drives like new”. This is the second owner selling it, took good care of it and has a spotless title.

Should I even go look at it? I’m so tired of finding the perfect CRV with low miles for double my budget.

The engine and transmission are “brand new” as in “from the Honda factory new?” If that’s the case, this could be a good deall assuming you have a mechanic do a thorough check to verify its condition. Plus, be sure to get all service records, and especially the receipts showing the “brand new” engine and transmission.

Just beware that sometimes people advertise “new” engines when they’re really “rebuilt” engines, so nail down for sure what the seller means by “new.”

By the way, you didn’t actually say what the seller is asking. But I assume it’s within your $6500 budget. In which case it’s definitely worth checking out.

PS…if you post a link to the ad here, we can see what you’re looking at for ourselves.

Depending on where you are, how is the body condition ? The engine and trans are new? Why is owner selling it…was it his money paying for a replcement ? I’m a tad suspect.

It’s tough to say over the internet of course, but in general I’d prefer a newer used car with higher mileage than the same car with fewer miles but significantly older. Higher miles on a newer car means the car has been driven frequently, and mostly on the freeway to add up that many miles, and freeway driving is easy going for newer econoboxes.

On this particular car I’d be hardly concerned at all about the suspension, brakes, etc. But I would be a bit concerned about the engine and transmission. I’d want to know why the engine and transmission was replaced. It’s odd enough to need to replace the engine in a car as reliable as this, but the engine and transmission at the same time? That would make me very curious to find out why.

If this car has a manual transmission, that would be a big plus and in that case I wouldn’t worry about the transmission as much. As mentioned by jesmed above, a “new” engine can mean many things. You need to do some research to determine just what it means in this case.

Is it from another CRV that was totaled and located in a car parts recycler center (junkyard)? Is it the same engine, only torn apart and put back together with all new wearing parts? Do a little more research maybe, then post what you find out here.

This thing is 10 years old with over 200,000 miles. Don’t pay a penny more than it’s fair street value. Check edmunds and kbb for a general idea of pricing. Some if it depends on zip, etc.

Have a pre-buy inspection done by a mechanic that you choose before you spend the $.

Take it for a long test drive, all over the place. Especially on the interstate.

Invest your time before you invest your money.

It will be what it will be. If you like it and it passes the pre-buy, then go for it.

I have an Accord with over 202,000 and I haven’t really had any significant issues with it. You could have good luck with this CRV, too. Good luck.


As long as the body isn’t rusty, any other needs at this point should be minor. If it is actually a rebuild or a remanufactured engine that’s probably ok. Have the vehicle checked out but it sounds like a good deal.

It’s still a high miles car that probably needs a number of things that you are not aware of. The seller may also not be aware of certain things; or they may be fully aware…

You should take that phrase “brand new” with a lot of grains of salt. To many people, “brand new” means a 150k miles salvage yard engine and transmission. The only thing new is that it’s new to the car it was installed in.

With the money you have, I think you could do far better than a 200k miles CR-V if you broaden your search parameters to other vehicles.

I’m a mechanic and I wouldn’t buy a car with over 200K miles on it. There’s a lot more to a car than the engine and transmission, and the rest of the car is just as worn out as the engine and transmission were before they were replaced.

My father drove a lot for work, kept his cars to over 200K, and taught me that as long as the engine and transmission are OK the car is in good shape. That’s BS. Over 200K and you can expect to have things like wheel bearings, air cond, power windows, etc. start to fail. How many times has that driver’s door handle been pulled in those miles? That heater core that costs $800 to replace has 200K miles on it. That fuel pump has pumped a lot of gallons, how long will it last? How many times has the turn signal switch been used? It’s one thing to keep a high-mile car that you know the history of, another to buy one from someone else.

Now I’m not saying it can’t be a reliable car and that all of these things will break, but the odds of your power window getting stuck down increase with age and use.

If the engine and transmission are truly new or competently rebuilt, then maybe. If not, I’d definitely pass.

Sounds like a deal to me,but the thing that bothers me is,how come the engine and transmission needed replacing at 200K?-Kevin

Perhaps the car wasn’t properly taken care of

Infrequent oil changes
Oil level never checked
Valves never adjusted
Transmission never serviced
Wrong atf used

If it’s being offered in the $6500 “price range”, than it’s way, way overpriced. Besides, you need to ignore everything the seller says and get it checked out yourself by a competent shop. If it gets a clean bill of health, and you still want it, offer $1000. Save the rest for the inevitable repairs that asemaster described. I agree that any car over 200K will need an occasional repair and also believe it has used up most of its lifespan, but if it’s cheap enough it might be worth…$1K. Maybe even $2K.

The seller is probably trying to recoup all the money he’s spent on it to date. That’s folly. The only thing that matters is the current condition, the expected lifespan, and the market…with the “unexpected” factored in.

A new engine and transmission mean very little. When one purchases a used car, it is expected to have a functioning engine and transmission. The seller can’t expect to recoup the price of renewing these parts.

Engine and transmission relacement is good, but my thought is they did this not in hopes of selling it, but keeping it, and now there are further repairs needed. Have it checked out and know if you are in for suspension work, brakes, tires etc.

Well there comes a time when you just dont want to mess with things anymore,I finally gave a great running JD mower to my nephew(after about the last 4hr repairing stint-figured I could spend my time more fruitfully elsewhere) I may have lacked just one more little repair to make it very good,but I was through with it-Kevin

I’d rather get one with the original well cared for engine and transmission that still runs good than one with rebuilt or ambiguous “new” engine and transmission.

Why does it have to be a CRV? How about a Saturn Vue from the same time period. They had a Honda v6 and transmission in them.

I would advise anyone to stay away from the V-6 engines because of the possible repair costs.There seems to be an ordinate amount of nice lookin Buicks sitting around for sale in this area,it seems people ignore simple maintenence that would really payoff in the longrun-Kevin

What does Buick have to do with a Saturn Vue?

Nobody’s going to sell OP their 2003 CR-V for $1000 or $2000, even if it does have 200K

@Keith,V-6 engine,I just dont like the engineering on the V-6 engines GM V-6s seem to be especially problematic around here.Hondas may be better,but anytime you increase the complexity of a system,you are asking for bigger repair bills,not to mention more complex exhaust systems and what have you-Kevin