CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

I need used car advice! 2001 Honda CRV

I’m considering buying a used 2001 Honda CRV with 184K miles on it. The vehicle is super clean, nice paint, no damage, Check engine light is on and woman claims her mechanic says it is a sensor and it needs front brakes. She will let me have it for $3000
I’m wondering how many more miles will I get out of this vehicle? Any advice is welcome.

I have a Jeep Cherokee, straight 6 with over 192K and it runs fine so I’m just wonder about this CRV.

No way to tell you. I don’t know how the owner took care of it, or how it was driven, or what that check engine light is for (the owner might tell you anything to sell it, truth or not - we just can’t know).

I will say this: If I were selling a car and the check engine light was on, I’d absolutely address the issue and get that cleared. That she won’t bother to do that when she wants to sell it points to it being very likely that she’s been even more lazy with maintenance before she decided to get rid of it.

That said, $3,000 is over 2 grand below book for that car (which I think is insanity, but used car prices are through the roof right now) so it might be worth your time to take it to a mechanic and pay him $100 to do a pre-purchase inspection, including figuring out what the check engine light is for. Make sure the inspection is thorough, and do a title search too. Anyone selling a car that cheap has a reason for selling it that cheap. That’s not to say you can’t get a good car way below book value - I did myself on my MR2 because the lady was loaded, hated the car, and just wanted it gone. But I went in to it knowing there might be hidden problems that I’d have to fix, and was willing to do that (and there were!)

As a final thought, remember that even though Hondas are very reliable cars, they are not magic. Any 12 year old car with almost 200,000 miles on it is going to require some maintenance and repairs more frequently than younger vehicle, no matter who made it.

Thanks for the Reply!!
Yeah, I thought about that too. She was asking $3800 for the car and said that she would take the $800 off for the repairs it needed. She told me the car was her daughters so I’m thinking maybe it was used primarily for school or something. She is the 2nd owner.

Again, the car looks real clean and looks well maintained. I could put the brakes on myself and give it a good tune up for starters. Maybe it is just an Oxygen Sensor and the Mechanic wanted to over charge a naive women. Hard to say.

But let’s say the mileage is mostly highway and the car has had light duty treatment. How many more miles do you think I could get out of it. I mean I’m expecting to get 300k or more with my Cherokee SE

Did you buy your Cherokee new? If so, then you can make a much better judgment of how long it will last. Once a car is that old, there is absolutely no way to say for certain how much longer it will last. Neither one of us knows how well (or even whether) she took care of it while she owned it. Unless she has valid receipts, you’ll never know that. And without knowing that, the most accurate answer will be “Somewhere between 1 more mile and 200,000 more.” And even that could be wrong, on either end.

I should have noted that my Jeep is a 1998, I didn’t buy it new. I heard that those inline 6 - 4.0 motors run for ever.

Used cars are always a crap shoot as far as how much longer they will last. 184K is a lot of miles, but it matters more how the car was cared for by those previous owners. The CRV is a good vehicle but after 11-12 years on the road what kind of shape is it really in?

Get a mechanic to inspect it and give you an opinion. If you buy it I’d have most of the fluids all changed and make sure to use genuine Honda brand fluids. The auto transmission, transfer case, and the differentials in the CRV are very particular to use of the proper fluids. These are all expensive to replace therefore stick to Honda fluids.

The only way I’d consider this is IF I could strike a deal where I got a mechanic’s inspection and they verified a repair bill of reasonable magnitude, then got a deal with the seller that they would guarantee that if the repairs weren’t successful or would be of higher magnitude, the deal was off and she’d be responsible for the bills.

I really do not like the idea of buying a vehicle with the check engine light on. It gives me the impression that the owner may have been neglecting the vehicle. That said, some repairs being needed on a vehicle that age are to be expected, and if you can expect that the repair, when done, eliminates the problem (that there aren’t others right behind it), THEN I think it is prudent to discount the vehicle and buy as-is. A perfect example would be strut replacement. When that is done, the problems are eliminated, and it is better for the buyer to have the work done as the shop will warranty the work (one local shop offers a lifetime non-transferable warranty on parts an labor for many repairs like this, so you’d be a fool to have it done prior to purchase).

If you decide to go forward, make sure the mechanic thoroughly checks out the engine - these CR-Vs were known for burning exhaust valves, and that isn’t a cheap repair. Otherwise, they’re pretty darned reliable.

Thanks for all the great advice! There are so many vehicles out there right now for sale I’m not sure what to buy anymore. I’m not in any rush because I have my Jeep but that needs stuff like a catalytic converter and muffler, headliner etc.
I might pass on the CRV just for the high mileage. I’ve been perusing craigslist and bank repos but my cash available right now is only 3-4K for another vehicle.
When I know I have purchased a good reliable vehicle then I will sell my Jeep and recoup some of the expenditure.

If you can’t afford more then $3k, you can’t afford the repairs that a three thousand dollar car could have. Going that low means going simple, two wheel drive, and going basic. Fwd compacts and 4cylinder compact pick ups are the first choice in just " possibly" getting a reliable vehicle. Good luck, you’ll need luck to get a good car or $3 k. Get a used car guide from Consumer Reports .

If you live in a nanny state(CA for one), they won’t even allow the sale due to the CEL, due to state inspection rules.