But it's OLD!

Just bought a 2000CR-V w 29K miles, new tires, new timing belt, all svc records spotless (a FUSSY little old lady drove it). GREAT deal, and it runs beautifully, but - what should I look out for? It’s got great mileage, but it IS 12 years old. Something’s gotta be ready to give. And when I least expect it.

We don't know if this car was used in Florida or Alaska.  It makes a difference.  I would suggest having a trusted local mechanic take a look at it, especially anything made of rubber or plastic exposed to sun.  

I would make sure any rubber tubing, like fuel lines or connections etc.

Check for when the transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid were last changed. If more than 3 years ago I’d change them.

Thanks for the comments. The car is from NC. The undercarriage is spotless and rust-free; the body has only acorn dents (parked under an oak tree!)

You have nothing to worry about. Unless maybe you are not happy unless you worry about something, in which case we can give you a long list of items. Otherwise, assume this car is in perfect running condition and you should drive with confidence. If something does go wrong it will unexpected and unpredictable. Happens to all of us.

The first thing you need to do is to verify whether she had the oil changed on the basis of odometer mileage, or on the basis of elaped time.

With the high probability that this car was driven less than 2,500 miles per year, in mostly local driving, for 12 years, if the oil was changed on the basis of odometer mileage, then there is a strong chance that the engine is now badly clogged with damaging sludge.

For your sake, I hope you find that she changed the oil at least once–preferably twice-- a year. If not, I would suggest doing oil changes every couple of months for the next six months in order to try to clean it out.

Also–if this CR-V is an AWD model (you didn’t specify), then you need to have the differential fluid changed, and you should use ONLY genuine Honda Dual-Pump Fluid. No other fluids are acceptable.

The center diff on these vehicles becomes very problematic after a few years of driving unless the diff fluid is changed…let’s say…every 4 years or so. If the fluid was not changed as it should have been, you will begin experiencing torque lock on tight, low-speed turns, and this will produce some loud noises. The fluid change is done through the rear diff on this car, as there is a fluid connection between the rear diff and the center diff.

VDC reminds me I forgot to specify that the fluids be replaced with ones specified for Hondas, they’re picky in that regard, not just any fluid from Walmart will do.

I’d got through each service receipt; itemize the mileage and what was done on the car as per each receipt. Putting it all in a database or spreadsheet is extra credit. Look for when fluids were changed. Any fluid over 3 years old I’d consider changing and I’d only use Honda brand fluids, including coolant, differential fluids, power steering, and transmission fluids. Generic brake fluid is OK as long as it is DOT 3 or 4.

If the plugs are still the original I’d replace them. If there is nothing about filter changes, change them including the fuel filter.

Otherwise you drive it for a month or so and see how it shakes out. You don’t need to look for trouble, it will find you soon enough.

“Generic brake fluid is OK as long as it is DOT 3 or 4.”

I agree, but it’s best to find a high boiling point synthetic. I changed my brake fluid 40,000 miles ago with a different brand (Valvoline) and the brakes have been great. Hey, 40,000 miles - it’s time for new brake fluid!

At 12 years old and only 29K miles it’s possible it may still have the original tires on it and should be checked for cracks and signs of dry rot. It’s likely also still got the original serpentine belt, vacuum lines and radiator/heater hoses that should be checked to see if they are rotted or cracking. Otherwise I’d say most things should be in decent condition. If the car was garaged these items may still be in good condition.

jts - doesn’t switching over to a synthetic require a careful flush of the entire brake system?

True. Silicone brake fluid (DOT 5) is not compatible with DOT 3 and DOT 4. BTW, all brake fluid is synthetic.

It’s DOT3/4 fluid, as required, and I bled all 4 lines until I was certain that the new fluid was passing through.