2010 Honda Insight - engine is bad

I have a 2010 Honda Insight that I recently purchased and the engine is bad. Is it worth putting in another engine? The batteries were replaced at 55,000 miles. What should it cost? Thanks!

What’s wrong with the engine? Why is it bad?

What is the overall condition of the rest of the car? Have you had it since new?
Have you priced a new engine? Have you priced a used engine? Are you doing the engine swap yourself? If not, have you priced the labor costs for this?
Do you have to budget to afford all of this?

These are questions you need to ask yourself, to see if this is a viable option. Physically, it is doable, If the car is rusty, not been maintained, or has accident damage- I wouldn’t do it.
If the car is trustworthy, in good shape otherwise, and you like it- then it may be worth doing.


You are not the only one. The 2012 has a high rate of engine problems and failure.The 2010 has a lot less problem

Thank you for the responses! I got scammed by a small local dealer and the engine died within 100 miles, so I only had it a couple of days. I plan to have the valves and head gaskets repaired at $2,752. The car body and interior is fine so I just hope it will last many years.

Car dealer offer a warranty. Get your money back!

Used-Car Lemon Laws
The frequency and severity of consumers’ used-car problems has led some state legislatures to pass new laws. Currently, though, only six states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York — have used-car lemon laws on the books. The laws provide a statutory used-car warranty, often based upon the age or mileage of the vehicle. If the vehicle exhibits problems during the warranty period, the dealer gets a chance to repair them. If those fixes don’t work after several tries, the dealer usually must either replace the car or refund the buyer’s money.

At least seven states have some other form of used-car buyers’ rights, requiring used-car warranties or setting minimum standards for the sale of used cars: They are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Still other states, including North Carolina, have an unfair and deceptive practices statute that buyers can invoke. But only those states with true used-car lemon laws require the dealer to provide a replacement or refund for the car.

Beginning in 2013, people who buy their used cars at “buy-here, pay-here” car dealerships in California get an extra measure of used-car lemon protection. (Buy-here, pay-here dealerships are a particular kind of used-car business, specializing in older, high-mileage vehicles and catering to consumers who can’t qualify for conventional car loans.)

A new California law requires buy-here, pay-here dealerships to issue 30-day/1,000-mile warranties for the used vehicles they lease or sell. The existence of that warranty also gives buy-here, pay-here customers additional protection under the federal lemon law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. More about that later.

The Sorry State of Used-Car Regulations
Van Alst says that most states aren’t very effective at protecting used-car buyers from the myriad ways they can be swindled. “Most existing used-car lemon laws are so limited in scope — the number of days the car is covered and the allowable mileage — that the consumer may not experience the problem or won’t have a chance to act on the problem in that time period,” he said.

For example, Arizona law covers a used car only if a major component breaks within 15 days or 500 miles of its purchase — whichever comes first. For new cars, though, those terms extend to two years or 24,000 miles.

By contrast, many European consumers have stronger protections. In France, for example, a car buyer may cancel the transaction up to seven days after the sale. And a 1999 European Union directive allows consumers to seek redress for any problem that makes a vehicle unfit to drive for a full two years after the purchase.

As is always the case when buying a car, the only way to fully protect yourself is to come armed with information. Many consumer advocacy sites, such as The Center for Auto Safety, discuss new car lemon laws in detail, but obtaining information on used-car laws is trickier. We found Car Lemon (an attorney referral site) and Autopedia’s Lemon Law Information Page to have the broadest information on states’ used-vehicle lemon laws.

What if Your State Doesn’t Have a Used-Car Lemon Law?
For consumers who don’t live in a state with a used-car lemon law, or whose state laws don’t cover their individual situations, there are federal laws that may help:

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): Under the UCC, a used-car sale automatically includes an implied warranty that the car is fit for transportation. However, used-car dealers may deny (or “disclaim,” in legal parlance) the implied warranty if they sell the vehicle “as is,” which they typically do. In the few states that prohibit dealers from disclaiming the implied warranty (such as the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts and West Virginia), the UCC can be more effective than a used-car lemon law would be.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires dealers who sell five or more cars per year to post a Buyers Guide in every used car that’s offered for sale. The guide must show whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a used-car warranty, what percentage (if any) of repair costs is covered by the dealer under the warranty and a list of the major defects that can occur on used vehicles.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (a.k.a. federal lemon law): This law prohibits the disclaimer of an implied warranty when a car is sold with an express written warranty. It also provides for the awarding of attorney fees in particular cases.
How To Prepare for Battle
In order to determine if you truly have a lemon and to build a solid argument, make sure you’ve taken the following steps.

First, run vehicle history reports from Autocheck and Carfax. Van Alst also recommends a check of the federal government’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, which can be obtained through various vehicle-history vendors at a low cost. These reports expose many of the hidden problems associated with used cars, such as prior accidents and branded titles. Edmunds recommends that buyers run all three reports if possible. They can sometimes uncover different information. An important fact to consider: U.S. states do not require insurance companies to report when they fix a vehicle, although Canada does.

Do not rely on reports alone. Take the car to a qualified mechanic and a body shop that can spot signs of structural damage. Make sure they put it up on a lift. As with vehicle history reports, this is best done before the vehicle purchase, but if you’re trying to press your rights under state or federal lemon laws, it’s critical to determine the source of the vehicle’s problem.

Document the vehicle’s service history and retain all work orders and receipts. Download or print a vehicle repair log from Fraud Guides or Microsoft.

If the dealer still won’t provide satisfaction, or if you suspect fraud, send a complaint in writing to the vehicle’s manufacturer and your state’s attorney general’s office or department of consumer protection. The federal government’s Consumer Action Web site provides detailed information on how and where to file complaints (including sample letters), dispute resolution services, small claims court and more.

Calling Out the Big Guns
You don’t necessarily have to engage a lawyer to fight for your rights. Sometimes, a quick trip to small claims court will do the trick. But a good lemon-law attorney can determine whether you’ve got a serious case, especially when safety is an issue, and can shepherd you through the legal process. Many lemon lawyers don’t charge client fees, hoping to collect instead from the defendant.

You can find lemon law specialists in your state through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Free legal aid to low-income individuals is available through the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation and National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit Edmunds.com’s Dealer Ratings and Reviews.
View more Auto Warranty articles


Even the sleaziest of used car dealers usually includes a 30 day warranty.
Please take a close look at the purchase paperwork, and if there is any reference to a warranty, you need to hold the sleazebag dealer’s feet to the fire. Do not pay for engine repair unless you have exhausted all legal avenues with the guy who sold you this piece of damaged goods.

Do you have a Bureau of Consumer Protection in your state? If so, you need to contact them immediately.


Worst comes to worst, if you do need to do engine work have a couple of estimates. $2752 sounds high for a new head. Unfortunately, that engine is not too common.

How many total miles on the car now? My '10 Insight has only 78k on it.

What state are you in?

Also, did you sign and receive a copy of something like this? If so, any guarantee ended the minute you drove off.
In OK a dealer can sell a used car and lie through their teeth about it but if that “AS IS” form is signed then the buyer has zero recourse.

In fairness to the dealer, since the car went a 100 miles before expiring it’s quite likely the dealer knew nothing about the problem that caused it to go belly-up. Dealers usually only put a few miles on any car they take in trade or buy at auction.

Based on the valves comment, it sounds like a timing chain broke. A chain usually breaks because oil changes have been neglected. This usually means if the chain was that badly worn then the rest of the engine may not be far behind.

My concern is spending 2700 dollars only to end up with an iffy engine. Best of luck.


If a head/gasket valve job gets the car (otherwise in good condition) back on the road and the engine purring smoothly for only $2700, seems a good investment to me. It should be good for many more miles of driving.

1 Like

In the future, keep in mind that cars sold at auction are usually sold there for one of several reasons.

  1. The car has problems and someone can’t figure it out or the repair expense is not justified compared to the normal retail price of the car.

  2. It’s a car that for whatever reason has just not sold and the dealer is tired of looking at it so they unload it for whatever at the auction to help their cash flow a bit. These cars are often called “Lot Lizards”’; so named for lizards basking in the sun and not doing much of anything.


Thanks, good to know. It was a learning process for sure!

Buying a car from an auction and expecting it to be in good condition is similar to going to a house of ill repute, and expecting to find a virgin whom one might want to marry.
Yes, in theory it might be possible, but in practice, it is… very unlikely.


Not sure I agree. 4 years ago I traded in my Passat wagon. It had 120k miles, V6 engine in great shape, new cats, new timing belt, plugs, wires. lots of bumper scratches (city parking). well maintained. Complete maintenance records. Yet it was sold at auction.

1 Like

I’m not saying that all cars sent to the auctin are rolling junk. Only the majority and it’s not something I would gamble on.

I used to do a lot of work on used cars for a local Ford dealer. I’ve seen them send some very decent vehicles to auction. The issue was that they sat on the lot for months on end and the dealer gets tired of looking at them.

Depending upon the dealer you used, many of them will send a vehicle to auction simply because of the “lots of bumper scratches” you mention. On many lots that’s a deal killer and the dealer may not feel it’s worth repainting which could then affect their bottom line.

1 Like

I believe “Lot Lizards” also has another meaning

If you know what it is, good for you

If you don’t, I won’t say it . . . because it’s not exactly flattering


1 Like

I’m familiar with what Lot Lizard means. It’s something that few if any (but some…) people will go around no matter what… :wink:

Lot Lizards were such a problem at the rest stop north of OK City on I-35 that the state shut it down about 20 odd years ago.

Another term used in the automotive world for a car on the lot that just sits there is “Lot Leper”; again, meaning something that no one will go around.

1 Like

Your dealer must have been buying the low priced junk. We get a dozen vehicles from the auction each week and perhaps one out of twenty have a recon cost that is over the limit, in this case the vehicle is sent to the next auction. The rejected vehicles aren’t necessarily in poor condition, a set of tires and an oil leak can send the recon cost over the limit.

You must be referring to a salvage or impound auction. Things are not so grim at a dealer auction. A dealer may get a dozen like cars a week as lease returns and can’t put so many used cars on the lot that will compete with similar new cars. The lease returns are sent to the auction, at the same time the dealer will buy other vehicles to offer a greater variety on the lot.

The auctions here that I’m referring to are dealer auctions (not impound or salvage) and it’s a dumping ground for vehicles the dealer either chooses not to deal with as to repairs or it’s been sitting there too long and costing them money on their floor plan.

As a matter of fact, a local Ford dealer used to send me some used car work. Now and then on a Saturday they would ask me to ferry a car to the auction if they were short handed so it was a good way to pick up some easy money on the weekends. Most of the cars had issues; some were just malingerers.
The cars are run through the auction as is and no one has the opportunity to start them up at all.