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Would You Buy This Car?

A popular 2010 small car sedan was unable to be test driven by me today, because its battery was down. The salesman said it is not uncommen, that s’times a courtesy light is left on. Could it also perhaps be s’thing wrong with the car? I want to buy from this dealer (very close to my home), and this car is the only option left for the color I want. I don’t want to accept a secondary color. This will be my last car. We have settled on a price, now I have to find the car. Would you buy this car?

Last evening on the way to work I passed a car dealer on whose lot was a vehicle with the lights on. The dealer was closed, and I’ll bet money the battery was dead the next morning.

Not a big deal. I would not let this be a deal-breaker.

I have to wonder, however, why they didn’t just jump-start the car so you could drive it.

Please DO NOT buy a car you haven’t driven. Test drive the EXACT car you wish to buy. Not one like it, not one a different color, not one almost the same. Test drive THE car you wish to purchase. And make it a LONG test drive.

You’re going to live with your purchase for a long time. Make sure the car feels right before you buy it.

But couldn’t there be some underlying problem with the battery, and there’s no way to tell? He may not have jumped ti because I had 2 more to drive and he was getting off at 5 o’clock.

I can’t find the combination of quiet engine, smooth transmission, soft braking, degree of steering tightness ( not too loose, not over-steer or understeer, handling). The one that tested the best for me, had gray seats not the tan that I so want. And that dealership is so far away from my home. The dealer close to me (4 miles) does not have one acceptable. The gray interior is the best one.

The salesman at the dealer close to me tends to dismiss my claim that I am experienceing the same make, model cars are different with regard to steering, handling, braking, and engine noise. He tolerates me and is very nice, but the salesman at the other dealership is emphasizing that in a month’s break-in time, all the cars will drive the same. I respond by saying that cars with the same break-in mileage on the lot are performing differently. They don’t dismiss or deny, they try to explain what is going on, and they have years of experience. Maybe that is the dealership I should choose? The first salesman was recommended by my the owner of the car repair place I use, who is very honest and a good guy, and he is one of my angels. It is a new dealership - the old owner sold dealership to them. This car has got to last me the rest of my driving years - I’m 66.

Yes, it’s always possible there’s a problem with the battery, but it, too, comes with a warranty, and if a problem develops you’re covered. The odds of a significant battery problem in a 2010 car are extremely small, however, and I wouldn’t spend any time worrying about it.

I’d be more worried about the salesman who won’t stay past quitting time to help a customer. I’d have been fired if I did that. The salesperson should stay and help his customer as long as it takes.

You’re under the mistaken impression that auto salespeople know something about cars. Please disuade yourself of that impression and DO NOT take a salesperson’s word for anything.

Sales people don’t care what they sell. It could be cars, washing machines, or time shares in Vail. When I was selling cars I was stunned at the lack of automotive knowledge among the sales staff. I still find this true every time I venture into a new car showroom. The incredibly nutty things car salespeople tell their customers is amazing, but somehow they get away with it because the buyers know even less than the salespeople. What a crazy system!

If the cars feel different to you now, they will still feel different in a month, regardless of what the salesperson says about break-in.

You’re buying a Civic, right?

The Honda Civic is one of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. Find one that suits you and drive happily for years to come. You’re worrying too much about this. It’s a CAR. It’s not life and death.

Just make sure you’re happy with the car before you agree to buy it. If you settle for something you don’t really want you’re going to be stuck with it for a long time.

I’d buy it.

When I bought the car I drive currently, the distributor failed when it was dropped off with my mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. It was towed back to the dealership’s service department and the distributor was overhauled the next day. I personally drove the car back to my mechanic for another try. The car passed the inspection and almost 2 years later I haven’t had any major problems with the car.

One thing to consider is, make sure they installed a NEW battery.

When I said underlying problem with the battery, I meant could there be an underlying system problem, not just the courtesy lights dragging it down alone. What do you think?

You’re right. The salesman at the d’ship close to me is very nice but is dismissing the idea that same make/model/color cars vary in performance and handling, because he wants to make a sale. As you say, his answers tell me he doesn’t really know about manufacturing equipment tolerance and calibration can be different and is not a perfect process. Some things I wouldn’t want to take on in a new car - like brake continually grabbing (rust from car sitting would have come off, right?), hum during acceleration, lurching on acceleration. After getting to know me personally, probably in order to make a sale, he said "I’m going to find you a car!

"But my delima is, the car that drove the best is at a dealership much, much farther from me, and that car doesn’t have the interior seat color I want. The cars I don’t want do have the right seat color. The salesman there is great, older, pretty transparent - acknowledges need to help himself and helps me.

The reason this is life or death for me is that this will be a car I have to live with for the rest of my life. I’m 66, disabled but ambulatory, income less than a thousand a month; my sister is buying me this car with monbey she was going to leave me at time of her death. My 1997 car is at the end. The car is my life - gets me out of the house into the world. I want to choose a car that represents the best possibility of reasonably trouble free ownership - not even some potential underlying problem as with the battery situation.

I think that you should relax about it. It is not really an unusual problem for cars that sit around a lot not running and frequently have their doors opened, and probably do get their lights left on. Explain to the dealership that you want to buy the car, but that you are a little wary of the dead battery. Ask them to put the battery on a charger to get it to full charge. Then have them load test the battery and charging system. Ask them whether or not the technician will keep you around while it is tested, explain a bit about the machine, the test results, etc.

Pick the car you want at the dealer nearest to you. Tell the sales rep to have the service dept. prep the car as if it was a new car delivery. Then take the car for a test drive. It should be clean and drive perfect. If it isn’t; either have them fix the problem and test it again, or have them prep another car for another test drive.

Even the cars you are rejecting at the local dealer could be fine when properly prepped by the service dept. Pick the color outside, color inside, and let them prep a car and perhaps you’ll get the car you want in the colors you want and it will be just fine.

I bought a Honda Civic new in 2003 figuring it would be my last new car. I was 55 at the time and wanted a car that could last 30 years. So far at 96K miles the Civic is living up to my expectations. No problems, one warranty repair in the 1st year I owned it and new tires and new brakes. That’s about it. I maintain it per Honda recommendations in the owner’s manual with brake fluid changed every 3 years, transmission fluid changed (mine is a manual trans) etc.

There is definately a Civic on the lot that will do the job for you.

I bought a car once that had to be jump started for the test drive. I thought that it was odd because the car had a battery saver circuit to keep any lights from running the battery down.
It was a good deal, and the dealership put a new battery in and off we went.

A few days later, the door locks stopped working and the next day the battery was dead.
Back to the dealership, and they found nothing wrong and returned it to me.
This process repeated a couple more times.

The forth time, I went looking for the problem. I found that the DDM (Driver’s Door Module) was getting very hot. Of course, when you disconnected and reconnected the fuse to it, it would cool off and go back to working correctly. A day or three later, and it would go back into the failure mode. I took it back and told all this to the dealership. Their first troubleshooting step in the manual was to take the fuse out. They did this and then couldn’t recreate the problem, so they sent me home again.

The next day it failed again. I took the DDM out and zapped it with an ESD gun so that it was completely dead. I put it back in and went back to the dealer. This time they replaced the now dead DDM. I never had any more problems with that car.

I hope that your experience, should you buy this car, is better than mine.

Yes, I’d buy it. All new cars have a small amount of parasitic drain to keep things like the secirity system operating. Some of these leftover 2010s might easily have been on the lot for months and have the battery depleated to where there’s insufficient oomph left to turn the engine over. Shoudl there be anything more significant, you’ll have your warranty.

You should be fine.

Like others have said, have them put in a new battery, not just charge the old one up, and drive happy.
Year or so ago when I was looking for a new car, there was 1 or 2 vehicles I was looking at that had to be jumped before I could test drive it, no big deal.

I discovered today that the dealer nearest me, a new ownership, likely has customer service and honesty problem. I am inclined to buy where ever the right car is.

I just feel bewildered. Every Civic I test drive has something wrong - brakes, over steer, engine whine on acceleration, engine louder than the others, car lurhing. Today, I found a dealer with 7. I drove 2, and have 5 to go. Still haven;t found it. One dealer has a perfect car in every way, but it’s gray seats and I want tan interior. However, the steering wheel is too loose for my tastes. It makes the car feel lighter on the road. I don’t want to settle. I like tighter steering, but when I get one like that, it has some other problem. I like your idea about prepping, but engine whine and grabbing brakes would not be solved by prepping. And I don’t want to be making service calls first thing with a new car.

What does it say that my 97 Lumina still has perfecdtly sycnhed steering and soft, great braking. Are they not making cars like they used to, even Honda?