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Whew, what a wirlwind.

Ok, a little background info.

I was driving a 2002 Ford Focus, got into a relatively minor accident, car was totalled.

I'm a courier driver. I drive ~325 a day, ~1600 miles a week and am on track to drive 90,000 miles per year. This is, quite frankly, insanity.

Anyway.. Obviously, I spend an insane amount of money on gas; 803$ last month. When I began researching what car I was going to buy as a replacement, it pretty much came down to either a Hybrid or a Diesel.

The diesel offerings were troubling(Volkswagen), and none of the other hybrids got the mileage of an Insight. So I began searching. I found that they are hard to find. I thought I was going to have to fly out of state and drive it back, which I would have done.

Then one night one popped up at a small dealership about 50 miles away from me. I drove down early the next morning, looked it over, took it for a short drive, and bought it for $8675 out the door.

Enter 2001 Honda Insight with 85715 miles now.

The most glaring mechanical issue that I've encountered in the 3 days that I've had it is a fairly loud lifter tick at #1. It sounds like a lifter is in severe need of adjustment. I'm hoping to get it taken care of this weekend, but if I'm not able to, how big of a deal is it? Different engines deal differently with sloppy lifter actions. I just don't want anything to grenade. Obviously, I've been trying to keep the RPMs down.. not only because of that, but because of fuel efficiency. ;)

How hard is a valve adjustment to do yourself? Keep in mind, I'm extremely proficient with engines, however, if the job is tedious, easy to screw up, or just generally a pain in the ***, I will happily pay someone else to do it.

What else should I look out for in regards to mechanicals? Does it eat CV joints?

The IMA system seems to be in good condition, although I'm not entirely sure yet. It charges full, and seems to drain nice and linear. I climbed a steep(12%), 1.5 mile grade yesterday. It completed the task, in second. Battery was full at start, and 3/4 when I crested the top. I regained all but one bar of that on the way down, but I probably could have topped it had I been paying more attention. What other kinds of tests can I do? I'm fairly learned in electronics, so be as technical as you want. ;)

I've heard of the dreaded recal, but how do you tell if/when its happening?

I'm currently only averaging 50.9MPG over 117.4 miles. I was doing a lot of city driving for most of it, it was only in the mid-upper 40s. The last 20-30 miles were highway, and that has brought it up.

The best I've seen is 58.2mpg.

This is low, is it not? I still have not been able to perform routine maintenance on the engine as everything has been closed, and I had to work today. The engine seems starved for air, so I think it needs a new air filter pretty bad. What else could be causing low MPG, besides driving technique? I've been driving extremely conservatively to get even these numbers.

I'm sure I will think of more questions. Thanks for any and all help!

I love this car! :)
 

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Air pressure is the #1 thing to check. Inflate to at least the sidewall max. If they are in the 30's, psi is too low.

Does it have the oem Bridgestone Potenza RE92's?

Hot air mods help if you are in a cold climate.

Changing driving style is a necessity.
 

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Is it a CVT or a MT? If CVT, your mpg is about average, though some here do better. If MT, there's a lot of room to improve.

OEM tires at 50psi will definitely help, as will synthetic 0-20W oil (I use Mobil 1). And changing driving style. Slow down if you can (this may be difficult for a courier's mindset!) as mpg at 50 is far better than at 60 or above. Smoother driving, avoid rapid accels and throwing away momentum by braking, leave buffer space in front to coast into if traffic slows. If it's an MT, try to stay in lean burn as much as you can. Try to relax, and also realize that it takes time to develop new methods and habits.

One big advantage you have is that you will have only one cold start per day, which should help your mileage a lot.

My engine ticks when cold but the ticking stops once it warms up. If yours stops when the engine is warm I wouldn't worry.
 

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Welcome to the forum

get your oil changed - when i bought mine it had some sort of 20W-50 multigrade in it - i got the oil changed to the Honda 0W-20 and mileage increased by 10%

Cheers
John
 

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Re: Just bought a 2001 Insight. Any words of wisdom welcome

I'm currently only averaging 50.9MPG over 117.4 miles. I was doing a lot of city driving for most of it, it was only in the mid-upper 40s. The last 20-30 miles were highway, and that has brought it up.

What else could be causing low MPG, besides driving technique? I've been driving extremely conservatively to get even these numbers.
Congradulations on your purchase - and odds are you're probably wondering why you didn't get an Insight sooner than you did.

As for your MPG, I suspect all Insight owners will tell you, cities are the WORST places to run around in a car, including the Insight. While they don't look like it, they really belong out on the proverbial "open road" and that is where you will see the little Insight come into its own.

As for driving "conservatively" there's a good chance you really don't understand that due to the short time you've had the car but like the rest of us, odds are you will learn the real meaning of the term as time goes on. Before owning an Insight most of us drove "gas guzzlers" to and our driving habits were as bad or worse than those you're now learing to shake off - but that will come with time and practic; you'll learn not to engage in the "red light races", you'll learn to creep up on stop signs, you'll learn to get in the right hand lane and cruise comfortably at fifty to sixty MPH and like the rest of us, you'll those MPG readings escalate and turn into cash savings at the end of each and every month.

If you're not doing it now, start to keep a log of some sort, spreadsheet type of log, in the car and at the end of each day write in the total miles traveled and the MPG reading. As your driving skills with the Insight improve, and they will, you will see it reflected in those logs and as was just mentioned, you'll see it in the cash savings - each and every time you put fuel into the little beast.

Best of luck with the car and keep up posted as to how you're doing :)

Fred / Proud Owner of "The Silver Bullet"
 

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Thanks for the tips guys.

Ah, forgot to mention that. It is a manual transmission. Wouldn't have bought a CVT version.

The tick does not go away when the engine is warm, and it is very pronounced when the engine is cold. So nobody has ever done their own valve adjustment? Is it as straight forward as on any other car, or does VTEC make it harder to do?

I will check the tires, and tire pressure.

I want to do the hot air mod ASAP, and hopefully eventually MIMA.

I'm not so sure about my battery pack anymore. I put it through its paces yesterday, trying to drain it all the way down at once... it drains linearly until about half way, then it wouldn't give me full assist, or very little while the battery notches continued to drop.

I am, of course, learning the quirks of the car.. but I learn very fast, and I "get it". I understand how to maximize fuel economy, but it is something that I never bothered doing with other cars. I admit that I'm a spirited driver, but I have NOT been driving the Insight like that. Infact, I've even drifted behind some semis at times to get the numbers I've gotten.

If I showed you my spreadsheet for my old Focus, you would probably all throw up.

http://home.comcast.net/~epruett3/focusMPG.JPG
 

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Sorry.

valve adjustment is easy. If you've done it on a motorcycle, it's the same.
 

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Just looked at your spreadsheet. At only 50 mpg, your still doing twice as good.
 

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Valve adjustment

Eli said:
Thanks for the tips guys.

The tick does not go away when the engine is warm, and it is very pronounced when the engine is cold. So nobody has ever done their own valve adjustment? Is it as straight forward as on any other car, or does VTEC make it harder to do?
Valve's are very easy to adjust and rarely need adjusting :) So most people have never looked at them. Ticking on start up is normal, if it does not go away when warm, then my first check would be the valve clearance. There are a quite a few posts on here about it, you need to do some searching. :)
 

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Valves are easy as Peter and the other guys indicate.
Adjust them cold.
I would suggest that you get the factory service and electrical manuals from Helm. I just got another set, for $145 that covers the full 2000-2006 production, including the CVT.
With your background,and the miles you will drive you should save that in service pretty quickly.
Good luck with it.

;)
 

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Hi Eli. Welcome to the group.

Don't be too discouraged by 50MPG (US).

I have a friend with a 2000 who drives predominantly in the city - short trips - several per day. His long term average for 160,000 KMs is 4.2 l/100km (55 mpg US). In the same weather and geography and also at 160,000 Kms, my long term average is 3.5 l/100km (67 mpg US).

I have the benefit of a straight shot out of the city on a major street followed by 25 km of secondary highway at 90km/hr in my daily commute.

Your little car is working for a living and as someone mentioned it's likely still getting almost double the milage that any other machine on the road can deliver in those circumstances.

Getting the service manual (I bought mine from the Honda dealership) is a great thing. I've done all of my own service work since the 70,000 KM mark. The car seems to be quite durable, but not indestructable. In spite of all its special features, underneath it is still a Honda and should give you a lot of miles.

I don't know what you'll be carrying around, but remember that the rear suspension is on the weak side and the total carrying capacity is two people and a briefcase ;) When my wife and I stop for groceries on the way home there are a few bumps and dips in the road that will bottom the rear suspension.

You're going to be pushing the envelope in a direction that not many of us go. Be sure to let us know how things are going from time to time.

Bill
 
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