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Hambone, I notice you are in Elkridge MD. I am considering buying an Insight located in Columbia, MD., from a private party (Rich Tucker?). Do you happen to know anything about this car and the owner? Also, if I wanted to have it inspected by a knowlegable mechanic or enthusiast, could you make any recommendations?

I ran across this car by accident, and it seems in pretty good shape. I have not driven it yet, or closely examined the interior/engine compartment, but plan to over the next few days. I am very knowledgable with cars/trucks/motorcycles/boats in general, but this is my first hybrid experience (beyond me and the Miller twins that summer, but I digress) so I have a lot of learning to do.

Some questions, and I am currently going over as much on this site as possible:

1) Car has 65k miles: is there any test that can be done to determine the condition of the battery pack, and expect life? Is there a rule of thumb on battary life span?

2) Are tires expensive? This one needs tires all around (original tires). I can tell they have had some problems (or maintained) with underinflation, due to the wear pattern. I am going to check with TireRack.

3) Has anybody tried a synthetic oil comparision? Or used something OTHER than the 0w20? (I tend to trade longevity over slight MPG increases)

4) Any other tips for trouble areas I should look for?

5) Resale value: Obviously I can check the normal sites to determine resale figures, but if I tried to sell it, would this be a hard sell, or do they move quickly?

Thanks to any and all who wish to comment.
 

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Ouch I thought I picked a winner for an ID. :)

Welcome to this great site

I use and recomend 0W30 synthetic. Willie, Guillermo, Yves? I think and a few others use it too. Honda lists it as an option in the shop manual. Doesn't trash the mileage.

Costco and Tire rack seem to have some reasonable deals on the tires and yes anything other than OEMs means a significant mileage penalty. Be very glad that you are not buying tires for an NSX (The other aluminum wonder car from Honda.)

Resale value is going up from what I've read, and probably will continue to if gas prices remain high or go up.

Hey the Yamaha mileage isn't bad, but I can attest that driving a bike in the snow can be cold. :wink:

Some folk have traveled hundreds of miles to pick up Insights. :cool:
 

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Hey,

I don't know anything about the car or the owner, so no help there.

I've only dealt with Jim Coleman Honda and Anderson Honda in terms of having my car serviced, and it seems that Jim Coleman has been better in terms of being knowledgeable about the Insight, but I'm still going to try a different dealer (Brown's Honda in Glen Burnie) next time I take my Insight in for service in order to get another opinion about the battery pack.

From what I've seen on here, there isn't really any set time that the batteries go bad. I've pretty much thrashed my car in its life (over 73K miles at the moment), autocrossing it, driving the car hard like I have every vehicle I've owned, and the car has not given me any problems. I do have fairly frequent (once a week or so) recalibrations of the battery status of charge indicator, so in terms of trying to assess the Insight your looking at, you may want to ask how often the car is having recal events. If its often, then the battery may be weakening. In any case, if the car has 65K miles then you're good for a little while depending on how many miles you put on the car, as the IMA components are warranted to 8 years or 80K miles.

Other than the IMA components themselves, I'd pretty much guess that if the rest of the car checks out ok, then you'll probably be allright. If you know of a shop or someone you trust who can check out the normal parts of the car that should give you an overall sense of the condition of the vehicle. You could try taking it to a Honda dealer and having them to a diagnostic check, but they'll charge you for it I'm sure.

Tires, the other reply is spot on, you can get the OEM tires at Tire Rack for like $49 each I think, and either have them installed by a shop they recommend or take them somewhere you'd prefer. I've also purchased the OEM tires from Merchant's Tire on Rt. 40 at Rt. 29 and if I remember correctly the full price was around $300. When I bought my last set of tires I went with a wider tire that is not low rolling resistance, in order to try and get a little better grip when I autocross, and due to that I lost about 6-7 mpg as a trade-off. You don't have to go with the stock tire, from what I've heard up to a P195/55R14 will fit with no clearance issues, I have P185/60R14's on the car now (they were $35 a tire, ordered on Tire Rack, had them drop shipped to Ye Olde Tire shop in Elkridge and installed there) and have had no problems. As I said, I've given up some mpg, but my newer tires seem to be wearing much better. The stock tires seem to wear faster on the outer edges than in the middle, no matter the inflation pressure, and the two sets of stock tires I went through in about 34,000 miles each set. Not everyone has had that occur but enough have that I'd say its not uncommon.

Other than that, I've pretty much kept my car stock and haven't experimented too much. I've used the stock 0W-20 oil and when its been changed its as clean as it was when it was put in. I've never added oil between oil changes. Changed my own brake pads ($25 for an axle set of front pads) about a month ago, very easy on the Insight (other than having to push the piston in by hand because there's no good spot on the caliper to attach a C-clamp to push it back in).

I've never put my car up for sale, so I can't guess really about what resale would be like other than to say that when I've checked Kelly Blue Book on my car recently the value has indeed increased, even though the miles keep stacking up. As gas prices continue to go higher, that probably helps the resale value of any hybrid, but as a two-seater, the potential market is always going to be a bit more limited in terms of the numbers of people looking for that type of car.

I think you'll find that in terms of operation, the Insight really isn't that different from other cars. Its pretty much all aluminum, so you don't have to worry about it rusting out from the road salt in winter up here in Maryland, and actually, it does allright in the snow so long as the snow piled up in the road is less than six inches. When checking for leaks under the car, try and peer down at the underbody panels, as the fact that the car has under body panels to smooth the airflow may also prevent some leaks from being as easily visible as normal.

All I can really say beyond what's above is that I've owned my Insight for 4 and a half years, and I still love it today as much as the day I bought it. Its a fun little car, and even does okay when pushed to limits of its abilities as I've found when I've autocrossed it (speaking of which, if you have any inkling of wanting to see what your Insight can do should you buy it, bring it on down to the DC region of the SCCA's autocross events when the start up again next spring, I'd love to have some hybrid competition!). It does so awesome on long trips its amazing. I've taken the Insight to the USGP at Indianapolis several times, each with another person and about as much gear as we could pack in and still gotten over 60mpg on the trip. Its pretty cool to fill up in Baltimore and stop for gas for the first time once we've reached Indy!

Ok, I've written a tome so that's it for now. If you want more info, I'd be happy to tell you all I know, and if it can be worked out, I'd be happy for you to take a look at my Insight as a point of comparison to the one you're looking at.

Hambone
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply Hambone

I might take you up on the comparision, especially since you are so close to me (I am in Clarksville, just over 32 from River Hill).

I did find the tires at Tirerack for $49 (I posted that on another msg), so I can have Hillmuth install them for me. The owner says that this Insight has the original tires, so with 65k on the original tires, it was probably driven lightly.

One of the first things I will do if I get it is put in synthetic 0w-30.
 

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Just let me know, I come right by Rt. 32 on my way home in the evening (work in Silver Spring), or maybe during the day on a weekend would work. Send me an email at [email protected] with Insight meeting or something like that in the title and we'll see what we can work out. I'm getting married next week so my schedule's a little hectic this week and next, but that probably wouldn't preclude meeting up if timing issues could be worked out to fit both of our schedules.
 

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I work downtown in Baltimore. If you guys have trouble hooking up - my '01 Insight's always available for comparisons/test drives over lunch!
 
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