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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

I'm really excited to be joining the Insight owners community! I just purchased a 2000 MT Insight sight unseen on the internet. I live in Prescott, AZ; the car is near Erie, PA. I'm planning on flying to PA in a couple weeks and driving the car back. It should be quite an adventure. The car has around 215k on it. The check engine and maintenance lights are both on. To my knowledge the IMA and other lights are not illuminating. I'm planning on having the car checked out before I arrive in PA. Should I take to the dealer or an independent shop? Does anyone know a good shop near Erie, PA? What things would you suggest I check out/replace before embarking on a 2000+ mi road trip in a car with completely unknown service history?

If you're in the PA area and want to lend some Insight expertise to a newbie please let me know.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Did you at least find out what codes set the CEL off? I would start there.

Since you have already bought the car, I would focus on the things that may prevent me from getting back home.

Check the basics first: belt, tires, fluids, radiator, 12V battery, maybe the 4 grounding straps, spare tire, wiper blades, lights etc.

Make sure you idle the car for 30 minutes to see if it overheats before you get on the road.

Check the dash when you first turn the key on to see if any of your warning lights are burnt out or not.

Then check to see IMA function/health. Do a search on this forum. (Basically, does it charge the battery? Does it provide adequate assist? How many minutes of assist do you get with a fully charged battery?)

HTH...Best of Luck!
 

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Hi Everyone,
What things would you suggest I check out/replace before embarking on a 2000+ mi road trip in a car with completely unknown service history?
Print out the instructions for getting to the IMA battery and disconnecting the BCM and have them with you. :)

I'd say, be sure to have a toolkit (with the Torx bits and sockets you might need) with you, but since you're flying, it might be a lot easier to stop at whatever automotive store/walmart is nearby and grab a cheap set. While you're at it, grab a 12V tire pump and gauge, so you can pump the tires up and keep them pumped.

Be advised that there's 1 12V "lighter" plug. On a trip like you're taking, that might be surprising, if you're used to cars with multiples.

If you're unfamiliar with Insights, the single biggest thing that hit me was how *loud* it is on the highway - there's no weight wasted with soundproofing, for sure. Might want to toss in some foam earplugs to help with the tedium of the noise.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great advice, thank you.

Did you at least find out what codes set the CEL off? I would start there.

Since you have already bought the car, I would focus on the things that may prevent me from getting back home.

Check the basics first: belt, tires, fluids, radiator, 12V battery, maybe the 4 grounding straps, spare tire, wiper blades, lights etc.
Unfortunately, I don't have a way to determine the codes until I have it towed to a shop or arrive there myself. I have a Bluetooth/OBDII/Android/Torque code reader setup that I will be bringing with me to get codes. My working theory right now is that the previous owner decided to trade it in after getting an IMA battery related code (hopefully P1447?). I currently have an appointment at the dealer for a 90k service ($440). That should include all fluids, filters, and some diagnostics. I’m not sure if it will include reading the codes. I’ve heard this costs $100+ at the dealer? I don't think the 90k service includes spark plugs. Do you think I should do those just in case?

The car is actually missing a rim/tire so I’ve ordered a replacement. I’ve also already ordered a new Bridgestone RE92 but I’m thinking it might be better to get two and carry the extra used tire with me during the trip. It seems like these tires might be hard to track down if I have a blowout somewhere.

Make sure you idle the car for 30 minutes to see if it overheats before you get on the road.
Good call. I’ll make sure to do that.

Print out the instructions for getting to the IMA battery and disconnecting the BCM and have them with you. :)
I’ve already reviewed the instructions for IMA battery disconnection. I’ll make sure I have tools to do that if necessary.

If you're unfamiliar with Insights, the single biggest thing that hit me was how *loud* it is on the highway - there's no weight wasted with soundproofing, for sure. Might want to toss in some foam earplugs to help with the tedium of the noise.
I didn’t realize the Insight was that loud on the highway, that’s going to be a big adjustment. I’m thinking about buying an upgraded stereo in PA due to the duration of the drive (40+ hrs).
 

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First, let me say congrats and "god's speed".

The maintenance light is nothing to worry about, as it automatically turns on after XXX miles to remind you to change oil etc. If was probably not reset or is due for an oil change.

The check engine light is obviously a greater concern. Check the forums for common issues that turn it on. I don't look here enough, but my first thought would be a possible oxygen sensor.

Best of luck.
 

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Check and replenish coolant only via the overflow container to the left of the rad.


If you do open the radiator cap just for checking, you can introduce air into the coolant system, and then the engine may then overheat.
If the car's is overheating, check the youtube video on Air Purge [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLm4efPSQaU] accomplished via a bleed atop the engine.

May not need them but a set of booster cables and a flashlight may be useful. Dress for winter.

If you need info on any codes and have computer access try this link: HONDA INSIGHT 2000-2006 OBDII DTC FLASH CODE ETC. SpreadSheet for INSIGHT 2000-2006 Listed therein is a link to how to read codes without a scanner.

Have a safe trip and enjoy your Insight!
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Check and replenish coolant only via the overflow container to the left of the rad.


If you do open the radiator cap just for checking, you can introduce air into the coolant system, and then the engine may then overheat.
If the car's is overheating, check the youtube video on Air Purge [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLm4efPSQaU] accomplished via a bleed atop the engine.
I'm pretty handy but I think I'm gonna let the dealer handle making sure all of the fluids are replaced/at the proper levels. I'll keep this in mind for the future though.

May not need them but a set of booster cables and a flashlight may be useful.
I hadn't thought about a flashlight. I'm going to make sure I pick one up before I set off.

Dress for winter.
Haha....Living in Arizona there is a good chance I would've forgotten this.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Go to Autozone and they will pull the codes for free, you can also perform a blink test and get the codes that way.
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum.../18505-reading-vehicle-error-blink-codes.html
I've actually got two code readers that I'm going to bring. One traditional (China) cheapo and the Bluetooth/Android/Torque(Torque OBD2 Wiki) that I mentioned before. I'm also going to bring a jumper wire so I can get the subcodes.

The real trouble is getting the codes before I fly into PA so that I'm aware of any problems beforehand. Unfortunately the small independent dealer I bought the car from is selling it "as is" and doesn't have the know-how to do any diagnostics. It looks like my safest bet will be to have the Honda dealer pull the codes (after I have the car towed to them) a few days before I fly in. That way I can have them perform any necessary repairs before I'm due to begin my journey across the country.
 

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If you're having work done by Honda then they will gladly pull the codes and let you know what it is. I bought mine with 240K sight unseen and flew to Friend, NE to pick it up and drive it home. It had the CEL on for O2 sensor, drove it home no issues and replaced the sensor myself with no issues. When I got my car the lifetime MPG was at 49, after I worked on the car and got it up to my standards I reset the LMPG. That was two years ago and it is currently at 59 MPG, I get around 50 MPG during the summer with the AC cranking here in Phoenix and in the winter with no AC or heater I've gotten several 70+ MPG tanks. I really hate the summer here, it kills my MPG.

Sorry, got off topic! So I would recommend a baby pillow to stick behind your lower back while driving, you'll understand why I recommend this once you've driven a couple of hundred miles.
 

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Some sage advice I received from folks here before I flew to St. Louis to pick up my Insight and drove back to NM and not already mentioned included:

-Check/inflate the spare tire to sidewall pressure (60 psi).
-Find the toolkit and jack and make sure jack works.
-Make sure there are not papers, bags or other items blocking the
IMA fan inlet behind the passenger seat.
-Take a look at (or have the shop you are using check) the ground
straps in the engine compartment. Clean, secure or replace as
needed.
-Make sure rear skirts are secure and hopefully not just zip-tied.
Take a bit of duct tape just in case.
-Consider taking along a reflective and high visibility emergency
vest for any roadside work. Too many distracted drivers these days.
-A headlamp is easier than a flashlight for roadside work.
-Hopefully the radio security code is in the owners manual if it needs
to be reset.
-Sounds like your shop is taking care of lots of little things, but
do not forget checking bulbs, fluids and wiper blades.
-Check the seal on the gas cap and be sure to click it four or five times
each time you put it back on.

Other misc. findings from my roadtrip:
-I am 5'9" and 130 lbs and could nap somewhat comfortably on my
side in the back of the Insight. Definitely not recommended for
most folks.
-Truck stops are noisy, even in the middle of the night.
-Insight seats are not very comfortable for long trips, at least
for me. Even with frequent stops for exercise and stretching,
my rear was a bit sore and numb for over a week after the
trip. A seat cushion would have been a huge help.
-Road noise is more than in other cars, but not too bad. The
constant thunk thunk thunk over expansion joints for miles on
end was the worst for me.
-There is a lot of weird stuff on AM radio at night.
-Going from 19 mpg in my Landcruiser to over 65 mpg in the
Insight kept me grinning during the entire trip.

Have a great trip. If you are taking I40 and have trouble in
the Albuquerque area, I can help out.
 

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So I would recommend a baby pillow to stick behind your lower back while driving, you'll understand why I recommend this once you've driven a couple of hundred miles.
Oooh, Yeah, I'm driving 3 hours a day in mine, but I've got a big advantage.

SoftSeat® Portable Seat Cushion Base/Lumbar Combo

I've got a 1.5" Oregon Aero seat cushion. It was $150 when I got it, and worth _every penny_. (I also endorse and use their "Shock Blocker" inserts - and would pretty much trust them with any products they've got now.)

It literally saved my *** when I first got my Xterra - the seats are just uncomfortable in it. Drive over an hour, and your butt would be hurting and asleep. I bought the cushion for flying, and was on a long drive and starting to hurt, back, butt, legs, and remembered I had the OA cushion.

Didn't even pull over, just sat on it and it was night and day difference. I know it's expensive, but I'd say it's really worth it for a long, long trip
I've used mine near-daily for over 7 years now. It's amortized out to be "cheap at many times the price."

-Make sure rear skirts are secure and hopefully not just zip-tied.
Take a bit of duct tape just in case.
Take a lot of duct tape, just because, wait, who doesn't have duct tape with them???

-Consider taking along a reflective and high visibility emergency
vest for any roadside work. Too many distracted drivers these days.
-A headlamp is easier than a flashlight for roadside work.
Yes. LED headlamps are great. I was going to re-comment and suggest one. I also have a old "army" angle-head D-cell stuck in the mesh bag. Sometimes you need to be able to set one down.

-Insight seats are not very comfortable for long trips, at least for me. Even with frequent stops for exercise and stretching,
my rear was a bit sore and numb for over a week after the trip. A seat cushion would have been a huge help.
See if you've got any pilot friends who might have a OA cushion you can borrow. The thicker the better (I bought the 1.5 because of head clearance in the airplane I was flying, a 2" is MUCH more comfortable on the road.)

Did I mention, Oregon Aero? *ahem*


Jumper cables won't be bad - might want to just go ahead and plan on replacing the 12V battery if it's either of unknown age or older than a few years. I'd also suggest thinking about grabbing a battery jump box. Cheap, easy, and don't need to wait on someone else.

That should include all fluids, filters, and some diagnostics. I’m not sure if it will include reading the codes. I’ve heard this costs $100+ at the dealer? I don't think the 90k service includes spark plugs. Do you think I should do those just in case?
Won't hurt, won't cost a lot more, might help fuel economy a smidge, up to you. I don't think they'll replace them at 90k, IIRC, the replacement is slated above 100k.

The car is actually missing a rim/tire so I’ve ordered a replacement. I’ve also already ordered a new Bridgestone RE92 but I’m thinking it might be better to get two and carry the extra used tire with me during the trip. It seems like these tires might be hard to track down if I have a blowout somewhere.
Might not be a bad idea - but last I checked, Walmart around me had a tire that would *work*. Just not optimally, but it was usable. (if you replaced both). Since you're flying, presumably you won't have a ton, so you should have room for it. Or you might want to ask Honda what they look like and get matching new ones.

I didn’t realize the Insight was that loud on the highway, that’s going to be a big adjustment. I’m thinking about buying an upgraded stereo in PA due to the duration of the drive (40+ hrs).
Not a bad idea. The previous owner of mine did after a couple days of "stock" stereo.

As to the noise, it's not horrible, but on a long long long drive, it'll wear on you. Just expect to be more tired than you'd think you might be.

Be sure you've got some cell-enabled Internet access and can get back here to look at threads.

Let's see......


If the headlights are "Honda aimed" they're going to be WAY too low for rural highways at night. You'll need the right sized phillips to aim them up and out some. (turn counterclockwise on the adjustment to raise them). The original bulbs are a little dim, I got the Sylvania replacements and they're much brighter.
 

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I wish I could use their seat cushion. Just couldn't afford to give up 2" of space.
 

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Oh, yeah.

Something else that took some getting used to with my 2000....

The cupholders are inset "back" under the radio.

Which means you've got to lift up, then out to get your drink - and you can't put big drinks in there. Most of the cups that I used to use in the truck aren't usable in the Insight.

20 oz coffee seems to be about the biggest cup you're going to want to get in there, so you might want to consider that if you like many of us, tend to get drinks to sip on on long drives.

(Since I'm on that thread, I'd also suggest some of the Sam's Club's soft-sided cooler bags, they're amazing for their weight/bulk, hold temps nicely, and since you won't be stopping a lot for gas, will let you keep hot/cold stuff handy. They're nicer than the cheaper mylar bags, but those aren't bad, too)
 

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Don't assume that a Honda dealer will correctly change the engine oil. There are many stories of Insight owners who took their Insights to Honda dealers who overfilled their crankcases. An Insight takes ~2.6 qt of oil with an oil change, so ask for the remainder of the oil in the 3rd oil bottle and check the oil level on the dipstick.

Make sure that the Honda dealer uses 0W-20 oil, not the more viscous oil that many other Hondas use.

The most dangerous part of asking a Honda dealer to change your oil is how they tighten the oil drain plug. The crankcase is soft magnesium alloy. Too many dealers have stripped the oil drain plug threads by overtightening, possibly with an impact wrench. Ask them to hand tighten the drain plug using a torque wrench set to the specified tightening torque. Whether they would actually do what you ask is another matter…
 

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I see this differently. You don't need to take all of this stuff, and you don't need to do all of that stuff. All you need to do right now is get the car home. If the fluids are full, don't change them, except for the engine oil if you have reason to think it wasn't changed in a LONG time, like 10,000 miles. Old fluids just won't keep you from getting home. After you get it home you can do all of this maintenance yourself and learn a lot more about your "new" car. And you will do a better job. Remember that the lowest paid guy in the dealership is the guy who changes fluids. There are horror stories about this. And you can get a Fumoto valve and install it when you change your oil instead of waiting 7,500 miles and giving the minimum wage guy a chance to ruin your oil pan.

I flew to Atlanta and drove my Insight back to Albuquerque. I brought a personally picked small tool set that I didn't use. Do bring a 10mm wrench so that you can remove the negative battery terminal in case you get an IMA code. Do bring your scanner so you can pull and clear the code that is there, and see if it comes back. I brought a tire gauge and aired up my tires to 55 lbs at my first gas stop. I also brought a GPS, radio detector, satellite radio, and my OBDIIC&C gauge. I am comfortable in Insight seats, and I don't find the car particularly noisy. When I have little objections to stuff like this I look at the FCD and smile. I set Trip A to fuel fill-ups, Trip B to daily averages, and I reset the FCD for shorter portions of the trip when conditions change or something.

Pick up your car, check it over, and THEN decide what has to be done to get it home. If it will make it across town it will have a really good chance to make it to Phoenix. Don't stress until you have something to stress over. There are tough little cars that live easy lives and they don't fail very often.

Let me know if your route takes you through Albuquerque and we can get together for lunch or something.

Sam
 

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I tend to agree with Rain, I did same thing. Flew to NE with an overnight bag and small tool kit, the guy had just changed the oil and everything else looked okay. I did have to stop at a truck stop and adjust the drivers side wiper blade as it was going to far hitting the windshield pillar but other then that got home fine.

Now once I got it home I took my time and went through the whole car and changed all the fluids myself and gave it a much needed tune up. Car runs great now compaired to when I drove it back.
 

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I've actually got two code readers that I'm going to bring. One traditional (China) cheapo and the Bluetooth/Android/Torque(Torque OBD2 Wiki) that I mentioned before.
I've recently tried 2 of the china bluetooth obd2 adapters with the Torque android app (Bluetooth Adapters - Torque OBD2 Wiki -- search that webpage for "Adapter from China", and the first 2 are the ones I used).

They both didn't work with my 2000 MT Insight; nor on my '96 Accord. Torque tried loading various protocols but could not find the correct one to use. They both did work with other cars though (2001 Accord, 2002 Camry), so I'm sure they aren't malfunctioning.

If you get your (bluetooth obd2 adapter) to work can you give more details please.

And congrats on your purchase. The Insight is an amazing car!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I see this differently. You don't need to take all of this stuff, and you don't need to do all of that stuff. All you need to do right now is get the car home. If the fluids are full, don't change them, except for the engine oil if you have reason to think it wasn't changed in a LONG time, like 10,000 miles. Old fluids just won't keep you from getting home. After you get it home you can do all of this maintenance yourself and learn a lot more about your "new" car. And you will do a better job. Remember that the lowest paid guy in the dealership is the guy who changes fluids. There are horror stories about this. And you can get a Fumoto valve and install it when you change your oil instead of waiting 7,500 miles and giving the minimum wage guy a chance to ruin your oil pan.
Rainsux,
You make a persuasive argument. I do plan on doing most of the maintenance on the car myself when I get it home. I'm more confident in my ability than some random (well-meaning) person at the dealership. It certainly would be nice to use that $440+ that I was gonna give to the dealer on some new tools, replacement parts, etc.

So perhaps I should cancel my appointment at the dealer? Unless there is a "last oil change" sticker on the windshield I probably won't have any way to know the age of the engine oil. Maybe I should take it to a jiffy lube place and give them clear instructions?

When I have little objections to stuff like this I look at the FCD and smile.
Haha...The option to look at the FCD for an instant mood improvement is one of my main reasons for buying the car. Can't wait!

Let me know if your route takes you through Albuquerque and we can get together for lunch or something.
I'm actually planning to stay over in Albuquerque. I'd love to get together. I anticipate getting in pretty late though.
 

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Maybe look at the dipstick and change it only if iti looks REALLY black and nasty? A highway trip isn't going to make it any worse, and I'd really rather change it myself later than take a chance. I'd rather take it to an independent Honda shop, but if you're in a hurry to get out of town just do the best you can.

I'll send you my contact information by PM, and we can keep in touch along the way and get together when you come through here.

Sam
 
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