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Hi, I am interested in buying a used Insight. I know getting a mechanic to inspect the car before buying it is the best thing to do. Do you think any independent mechanics are capable of doing this for an Insight, or should I only go to a Honda dealer?

A related question is whether any Insight owners get independent servicing - I understand any mechanic is going to be capable of changing brake or transmission fluid, but what about when something goes wrong?
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Depending on where you live your local Honda dealer may or may not have serviced an Insight. They may have an Insight shop manual and they may have a mechanic trained for hybrids. I suppose these are the things I would ask not only of a Honda repair facility but also of any independent. An independent will not likely have an OBDII tool capable of reading all the engine codes specific to Honda in general and the Insight in particular. That said the things that are likely important when purchasing a used car are the integrity of the seller, the accident history and repair history of the vehicle. Other things such as the tire condition, signs that the car has been repainted, wear patterns on the pedals, damage to the rims, and the lifetime mileage would be good indicators of how the car has been driven. Listen to the engine for noise. Do you hear excessive piston slap or valve chatter. Does the transmission shift smoothly?

Although it may be a little scarey read the problems and troubleshooting section of the forum to acquaint yourself with possible issues particular to the Insight. Remember these are the distilled issues from literally thousands of Insight drivers.

If possible try to contact an Insight owner in your area. (Aside from the one you are purchasing)
 

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The "key" to a good pre-purchase inspection lies with the honesty and integrity of the mechanic doing the job. Also one with the requsite expereince.

Therein lies the rub - Shakespeare

But a "senior" mechanic will know enough to fully evaluate all the basics of any car. There's no accurate way of evaluating the remaining service life of the IMA batteries short of some seriously expensive "labratory" style "work" (Read: Not even readily commercially available). But since the new IMA warranty extension to 10/150k is in force a VIN check with your Honda dealer should forestall any major battery cost issues.

See:

US IMA warranty extension [edit] UPDATED to all 50 states!

For S.B. 06-027 see:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada and Texas
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... 96&start=0

For S.B. 06-057 see:
Remainder of the 50 States not included in the above
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... 6&start=60

However, reasonably "normal" IMA operation can and should be evaluated on a test drive. But it will require someone with at least a few miles behind the wheel of any Honda hybrid for such an evaluation. Of course a serious enough IMA fault should illuminate the red IMA light on a long enough test drive, say 20 miles of combination highway / city driving.

So maybe your local Honda dealership can provide the requsite experience from behind the wheel or maybe you'll do just as well with your trusted local mechanic.

Difficult choices. :|

HTH! :)
 
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