Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Should I buy this car? please help

My friend moved oversea 2 years ago because of her job. Instead of selling her 2007 Honda Odyssey then, she decided to leave it in her garage. I have been doing her a favor by warming up the car for her every 2-3 months each time for 5 to 10 minutes. The car so far only has 6000 miles on it.

Recently, she found out she will be staying oversea for another two years. As the result, she finally decided to coming back in April to sell the car. She offers to sell the car to me. Do you think the car would still be in good driving condition? Should I buy the car form her?

If you like it and the price is right I don’t see why you shouldn’t. You should however go get all the fluids changed out. ie. Oil, coolant, etc. Also while he’s doing that he can look it over for things like a dried and cracked boot, although with a car this new and with so few miles I don’t think any of that will be a concern.

You are doing unintentional damage to her van by starting it every 2-3 months and only running it for 5-10 minutes.

Now, unless this garage is heated, certain problems will arise. Possible mold or mildew can start in any area of the van due to normal humidity.

By not driving the vehicle down the road for at least 1/2 hour (and up to highway speed for a short time) once full operating temp has been reached, the exhaust system doesn’t have time to dry out the moisture in it.

Plus, aside from getting the engine oil moving, none of the rest of fluids get warmed up and cannot lube seals, gaskets, etc.

Condensation will build up inside the engine and differentials.

The brake rotors will rust up heavily and will be hard to be worn off by driving and braking.

Components that should be lubricated by moving fluids MAY seize or otherwise become troublesome.

Tire sidewalls MAY crack from sitting too long.

There are other aspects as well but this should give you an idea of what to be aware of.

Should you buy the van? Let’s put it this way: it (the van) would be better off if you DID buy it and USED it (almost) every day.

Ask around (friends, co-workers and family) to find a good reputable independent tech/shop and have a tech inspect the vehicle prior to your buying it.

The van is only 3 years old so there can’t be (shouldn’t be) much, if anything wrong with it.

It’s still under warranty isn’t it?

Take it out for a half hour or an hour drive to check it out. If you feel obligated to tell the owner, then go ahead. Let her know that you wan to drive it to see if you are interested. If you notice anything unusual, write it down. If you still are interested in buying it after a test drive, take it to a mechanic you trust and have it evaluated. If your state requires a safety or emissions inspection before sale, offer to take it to the shop as a favor to your friend. Of course, you will get to see the report and can use it to decide if you want to buy the van. Your friend can send you the money or pay you back in April for the safety or emissions check.

I would say jump all over it but you left out the most important part; how much does she want for it?

If you’ve been starting it and it seems to run ok, it is worth considering. Even with the low miles it is still an '07. She may want too much for it if she still thinks of it as a “new” car.

My biggest concern is the gas in the tank. It is getting old and you should drive it and get some fresh gas into the tank.

Thanks for everyone’s help. Yesterday I went to check under the hood and under the van, and I did see rust on the break rotors, and some other parts that I don’t know what they are. I know I am not buying a brand new van, so maybe some rust under the hood are not harmful??? The garage does not have any heating or air conditioning,and I do live at the place that has high humidity. She wants to sell the van for $20,000. I would probably take the van back to the Honda dealer for inspection.

Can’t tell you if $20K is a fair price. On the TMV adds $1,322 to the base value for low miles. The basic LX would be about $15K and the super optioned Touring model with Navigation would be over $26K. A big spread in price based on the equipment on the car.

You have to rate it as “clean” since there could be some hidden issue due to the long storage. The rust on the rotors is normal and no problem. All the fluids in the car are old dispite the low mileage. Therefore you should replace the brake fluid, trans fluid, oil, at a minimum. Putting it on the road means about a $400.00 service bill just to change out the fluids.

The Oydssey is pretty decent van, but they seem to have transmission issues at anywhere from 70K miles on. If you buy it have the trans fluid serviced regularly, every 30K miles, and perhaps your trans will last longer.

Be sure to take it to a mechanic you trust and have it checked out. Then change the transmission fluid every 20-30k miles. If she is a friend of yours then you should be able to pay a price that you’re completely comfortable with. Go ahead and change the oil after you buy it, too. Enjoy the Honda, those vans are nice.

It’s worth buying if it checks out OK, but I would not pay a premium for the low miles. Just offer average book value.

At 20 grand I wouldn’t consider it a steal so buying this vehicle would not be a slam dunk decision in my opinion.

There are 20 grand, low mile Odysseys all over the place; and including eBay listings with no bidders.
Other than the 6k miles this vehicle is nothing special and that low mileage figure is not that special.

I forgot to mention that this Odyssey van is the EX-L model. It’s pretty luxury. It has the navigation system with recognition and rearview camera, DVD system, Leather-trimmed interior, power moonroof AND the new car smell. I have to said that I am more sold by the interior of the car then anything, also the low mileage of course. 20K is not a small chunk of change. I won’t want to buy it if it has tons of hidden problems. I would love to take the car out for a drive, but the car registration and the state inspection decals are all expired, and the car doesn’t have any insurance on it either. I would hate to be caught by the police and try to explain what I am doing with the owner is out of the country. It would sound like I am driving a stolen car.


There are no options on this van. Everything you mentioned is standard equipment on the EX-L with Nav. Edmunds says that the car is worth $22,000 in clean condition. If it checks out at the mechanic, it’s a good deal. If your friend wants to sell it, she will have to update the registration and tags so people can test drive it. Usually that means starting insurance. She could have it towed to a shop for an inspection, too. If it is a dealer, maybe the dealer could put his tags on it for a test drive. Does your state require a safety inspection or smog check before it can be registered? Those might need to be done, too. You can offer to get them done for her and use the results to consider an offer.