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To buy or not to buy

I looked at a used '06 Honda Odyssey today, & the seller was very straightforward about the history of the car. He disclosed that one of the sliding doors had been replaced due to a side impact accident. I’m wondering if that is reason enough to nix it from consideration or if it is still worth pursuing this vehicle(I intend to check the carfax and have a mechanic look it over, but the seller is in a different area, and this will be a pain, so if the side impact collision is reason enough to stear clear, I don’t want to bother.) On the other hand, the price is very good, and if it isn’t likely to be a problem, it may be a good opportunity.

If the door opens and closes well, I would not worry.

However, with this type of vehicle you need to see wrtten proof that all the rquired MAINTENANCE has been done, expecially transmission fluid changes. The Odessey is a very good vehicle, but without any proof that it has been maintained I would run.

A side impact may or may not be an issue. Without an inspection it’s impossible to know.
A minor door crushing is one thing; the car being shoved sideways leading to a crushed door, buckled floor pan, and tweaked suspension components is another.

I would examine the floor pan underneath the area in question for any paint oddities, cracking, buckling of metal, etc. Inspection of suspension components is a bit tougher but a trip to an alignment rack could reveal a few things.

Sometimes raising the carpet up can reveal a few nasty things. An old boss of mine took an immaculate Chevy in trade once and discovered after the fact this Chevy was 2 cars that had been welded together from one side to the other at the front door pillars.
Tracing several strange electrical gremlins led to the front carpet being pulled up and at that point the mile of lousy welding could be seen.
Until this was discovered everyone thought this 1.5 year old, 2500 mile showroom new creampuff was perfect.

Do not put a lot of faith into a CarFax report. CF is often lacking information or is flat wrong and by the same token always take what a seller says with a grain of salt.

I would stay away from Carfax. I’ve been looking at cars lately, and many of the ads have a link to a free Carfax report. Many of the reports were obviously flawed. I’m guessing most of it comes from their sources incorrectly putting in service info. Some cars supposedly had oil changes on every visit. This included one that was in for service three times within 700 miles. Also, two allegedly had LOF when they were delivered new to the dealer from the manufacturer. I’m going out on a limb and thinking that info is useless. I’ve also seen vehicles I know were damaged show up as clean on their site. I used to think Carfax was good to at least check on maintenance history, but that can’t even be trusted.

There are plenty of Odyssey’s out there. Is there a reason you want this particular one? If it’s because of price, be wary, there could be a reason. Find one that hasn’t been in an accident and has solid evidence of good maintenance. If you decide on this one, in addition to bringing it to a mechanic, take it to a body shop as well to be sure it was properly repaired and that the accident wasn’t bigger than the seller is letting on. I once looked at a Eclipse that was selling on the cheap. The owner claimed it was in a small accident. After I had a body shop look at it they told me it was actually two cars welded together. Be careful!

It could be a good opportunity, ask to see the repair that was done and if it includes frame straightening etc. run don’t walk. Glad to see you are going to spend the bucks and get an independent analysis, so you will know what maintenance and repairs might be necessary.

THANKS EVERYONE!! It turns out there was more sketchiness to come, apparently the tags he used during the test drive do not belong to the vehicle and it is not MD inspected. We are stearing clear!

You could have it inspected by the current owner, or pay for it yourself. You don’t have to do anything to the car unless it changes hands. The problem I’ve found with MD inspections, is that many places see it as an easy meal ticket. The problem was so big about 15 years ago, that the State Police were busting garages with a state inspector’s license. I haven’t sold a car in that long, so it may have changed. But I doubt it.