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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are contemplating purchasing a used 2002 Insight. I have looked around here and gotten a lot of great information, but there are some questions I could not find clear answers to.

1. The Insight has a CVT. I know the manual gets much better mileage, but are there any known defects with the CVT?

2. I am confused about the IMA Battery. Is the warranty 10 years, 150k miles? I am in Chicago if that matters.

3. How well does the car perform in rain and snow?

4. Assuming the battery needs to be replaced (and is not covered by warranty), how much could I expect to pay out of pocket?

Thank you!
 

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Hi WindyCityInsight and welcome to the forums :!: :)

1)The Honda CVT has been around since its debut in a VX Civic in 94 ( :?: ) compaired to a 5 speed it has more parts to "break" (in general such is the case for all MT - AT compairsons). With that in mind it can be expected to have a shorter service life. However, few problems have been reported over the _years_ with them. In theory such complex assemblies are more susceptible to lack of maintenance. Genuine Honda CVT fluid and a 30K change interval are your best defense.

2) The IMA _battery_ waranty ONLY has been extended for this model. Unless the car has previously been "totaled." If its already been replaced its still unclear whether or not the balance of the warranty extension applies _or_ the replacement warranty. IIRC 12/12 (standard Honda warranty on all repair work).

3) Rain and snow handling is comperable to any other small car. However, the Insights relative low ground clearance will make curbing deep snow problematic. There are underbody aerodynaimc panels that can become clogged with snow / slush and damaged. Like all cars in the snow belt much can be gained with snow tires. ;)

4). Depends on whether or not you need / choose batteries only or the improved controllers (MCM & BCM) and local labor rates. Low end for batteries only expect $2,500 +-. With 2 controllers $6,000 :shock: ouch :!:
If its your nickel Re: the controllers they should be optional. You would be choosing to give up better control algorithms that are capable of further IMA battery service life extension. But so far there have been no reports of such being done.

Unfortunately the biggest factor in choosing a used hybrid is the remaining service life of the batteries. While they will ultimately more than pay for themselves in fuel savings a second owner must guard against loosing too much of the "pay back".

And before you ask there is no way to even reasonably "ballpark" the reamining service life of these batteries. Yes it could be done, but would _require_ some high tech and accurate gear not available as a "special tool".

HTH! :)
 

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My impression is that the IMA batteries should last longer on the CVT as they cycle less. If the Insight is parked every day in the hot sun (California etc) the batteries will likely expire sooner. Again there is always the chance of a "manufacturing defect". At IC we generally hear of batteries failures from members, but there is no way of knowing how many other batteries just keep going like the Eveready bunny. Furthermore, as described previously a substantial list of parts that normally fail or need servicing on regular cars have been eliminated on the Insight, and Hybrids as a category have demonstrated in polls to have a higher than normal reliability rating.

As John said there is no way of predicting residual battery life unless they are demonstrating abnormal cycling. As is the case in any used car transaction you should check as carefully as possible. Help from an "experienced" friend is always good. I have checked out cars for friends, in one case discovering extensive repair work, and in another case discovering extensive rust with a mirror, but I personally got fooled once and suffered the agony of getting ripped off. :oops:
 

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b1shmu63 said:
I personally got fooled once and suffered the agony of getting ripped off. :oops:
Reminds me of buying an old pickup truck ages ago. Front end looked level so I figured the springs were OK. Took it in for an alignment, and the tech crawled out from under the front end and said I had a broken front spring. I said that was impossible, that side wasn't sagging. He went back under, slid out again, and informed me that BOTH front springs were broken.

This was just after I discovered that the two "good" tires on it were in fact retreads, so it needed four not two new tires (did I mention that it had split rims, an extra charge for tire changing?). And just before I discovered that one of the rear axle bearings was shot (which necessitated replacing the axle itself as they were part of the axle).

There was much, much more but we'll stop here.
 

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"...the two "good" tires on it were in fact retreads, so it needed four not two new tires..."

What's wrong with retreads? I'd buy them for the Insight if I could. Doesn't make sense to me to throw away the largest part of the tire after it's been used once - especially if you're driving a car that's supposed to be "green".
 

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WooHooo! Welcome to the club.

You may soon be peeving your friends, relatives, neighbours, and even total strangers with your mileage stories. ;)
 
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