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Discussion Starter #1
So for the past year or so, I've been interested in purchasing an insight. Ever since I was in high school, I always loved the look of the 1st Gen Manuals in Citrus...aaah, the dreams of youth.

Now, however, I have to be more realistic in my goals. My partner cant/won't drive a stick shift, and after years of driving 30+ year old Accords, I've decided it's time to buy something made in the last decade.

A local dealer has on lot a 2010 Insight LX in Red with 160k miles and is asking $3,995.

No rust, no codes showing on the dash. I took it for a drive, and really enjoyed it. The IMA appears to be charging and assisting properly. Carfax shows maintenance to the A/C, tires, etc but no majors, no accidents, not even a dent on the car.

The 12v battery needed a jump to start, but after that seemed to run well. I'm nervous however, as the battery is definitely out of warranty and my understanding is that the 2nd gen insights don't have an alternator and therefor can't really run without an IMA in good shape.

On Thursday I'm going in to meet with their salesperson to discuss what financing options might be available (credit building exercise) and I will have another opportunity to look at the car before making a decision. Is there anything I should be specifically looking for? Is there any part of the software that will allow me to check the 'health' of the IMA battery?
 

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I'd mostly be worried about the CVT, like whether or not the previous owner did the transmission fluid changes when they were supposed to. There are also 3 software updates related to the IMA battery, if those are done then it should last to 200K miles. The 12v battery sounds dead and needs to be replaced. Has the car been sitting a long time?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Based on the price reduction, and the surface rust on the rotors (plus the time I've been considering it) I'd say it probably has sat for more than a month. As for the CVT, I can check the fluid color/condition. The Carfax report lists many many oil changes, but doesn't seem to show any transmission fluid changes. That said, there isn't any 'judder' as I have experienced in the 05 HCH models. It accelerates smoothly and quickly as compared to my '88 Honda.

I commute 60+ miles daily, mostly highway, and would hate to have transmission issues while still paying off the car. My understanding is that the CVT trans is a pricey one to repair. We just put a trans in my partners 00 Civic, and at the end it was a hair over 2k.

As far as battery pack replacement, I'm a maintenance technician and about half of what I do involves 480V AC so Im confident I can manage that.

I guess in the end, it's a used car, and you get what you get for that. Being the first time I've considered financing a car, it makes me a bit nervous.
 

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If the 12V battery had to be jumped it is toast and should be replaced.
Once a cell has gone flat it will short ever so slightly, so it will self discharge.
However, the other 5 cells are full and prevent the empty cell from getting properly recharged... so it gets more and more out of line until it is practically empty.

The CVT fluid needs to have been changed on a regular interval. However, there are many cases of CVT's where the fluid had not been changed but they still work even with respectable mileage. And the one CVT that failed early on, despite proper servicing, probably due to a faulty bearing.
So if it runs right and has proper service history it should not worry you. If it hasn't, but has been changed now and runs nice anyway it is likely still good. If it is a dog walk away from it.

The traction battery will be lazy from not having been used for a while - mine was - but that may just right itself over time, especially since your commute is long.

I don't like the warning in the display on the dealer pics. But it had to be jumped, so it will have generated error codes from systems not getting enough voltage. That would need to clear over a handful of starts. If it does not there's trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I saw that too as I downloaded the dealers pics, though they are too blurry for me to tell what they are. When I test drove it, after they jumped it there were no warning lights on the dash. I probably drove it for about 15-20 minutes city driving topping out around 55mph and no lights came on or codes were thrown. Id heard there's a way to see the code history and when it was cleared?
 

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What sort of dealer is selling this car?
From the CARFAX, it does not look like it has ever been back to a Honda dealer since the end of that first short lease. So it probably has not had the software updates. The airbag recall is also open. Both of those can still be done at a Honda dealer. It’s probably better that the Sears auto centers never changed the CVT fluid if there was any chance they might use the wrong fluid. I would get that changed ASAP, using only real Honda CVT fluid. I bet it is past due on a brake fluid replacement as well (every three years regardless of miles)

Beyond that, just check it’s value with blue book and don’t pay too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Its a local used car dealership. According to NADA, clean retail is about $4525. The salesperson had said with financing that would be about the cost + whatever the interest will be, but I've yet to see the actual paperwork to get an idea what the extended cost would be. That said, I don't think I'd be willing to pay more than $5k total after finance. Fluids and recalls etc would be the first thing if I got it. Looks like fluids I can do at home. Does Honda charge for the recalls/software upgrades?
 

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If it doesn't have a service maintenance booklet or bills with it showing the CVT fluid was changed with the proper fluid (this CVT has a clutch, so the fluid should not have the dope that makes clutches slippery that is in regular clutchless CVT fluid) that is a concern.

It is hard to describe how the behaviour should be, especially if you aren't accustomed to CVT gearboxes.
In general terms the car should be happy to rev and rev up quickly if you boot it. It should do all gear changes without bumps, shakes or whines; though some mild bumping around 10 mph and when getting in and out EV mode in the 10-30 mph range is normal.

Another thing is the hybrid battery.
This car sat for a year without much action. The hybrid battery will be lazy, and it might be dying. But you can estimate its health as follows.
When accelerating the needle on the left should sweep well up into the blue zone, indicating support from the hybrid battery. There should be immediate acceleration when you push down the pedal; the bigger the lag, the worse the battery.
When you lift the go pedal the needle should move into the green area indicating regeneration. If you brake mildly on top of that, it should move deep down.
If you come to a stop the engine should stall and a green AutoStop indicator should start blinking. For AutoStop you need to be in Eco mode and/or Drive (not S); the blue cold engine light must be off, it should not be humid or freezing cold inside the car, and it helps if the climate control is Off or in Auto mode.

If it doesn't do all that it may not be hopeless as the battery will have self discharged over time, which in itself would not kill it. However, if the cells in the battery have unevenly discharged chances are the fuller cells get overcharged and damaged when the car gets used again. A mild grid charge would prevent that - but the car has already been driven, so the damage has either been done or prevented by the car battery management system. (given the low number of hybrid battery failures on 2nd gen Insights I suspect it does that quite well)

My car did only 1500 miles in its first year, almost none for 4 months before I bought it; the hybrid battery was lazy and only got to full force after some 3000 miles of daily use. But it did recover. The 12V battery did not, kept causing trouble and ultimately had to be replaced under warranty (then it still was).

I read codes with my UltraGauge, which is an OBDII port diagnostics and car information tool, very helpful if you want to understand what's going on under the hood or get the most out of a gallon. But I do not know how to read the code history, at least not of codes that have been cleared. I cleared codes with it too as I needed to when experimenting with a booster pack, but let's not get into that now :)

Btw. If AutoStop does not work (yet) better not key off at the lights, but if you do remember you can only restart it with the stick in P or N. Then when you move it to D the CVT will take a second before it engages, and much longer if it is still cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I took the plunge and bought it. Wish I would have negotiated a new set of tires, but that's alright. I double checked the engine oil and the transmission fluid. The trans fluid appears to fit the description of the Honda special trans fluid for the CVT, and no burned smell but I'll change it this week for piece of mind. Drove it home (about 45 minute drive, mixed highway and surface streets) and moved the average MPG from 29.1 to 50.8 mpg in eco, and driving conservatively.

Found out too, someone had already installed the aftermarket cruise control AND IT WORKS! That was a big sticking point between the LX and the EX for me. On long drives my knee hurts if I don't move it.

I monitored the IMA and it seems to charge and discharge properly too!

So next up:

-Transmission Fluid Change
-Get airbag recall done
-Get software update if necessary
-Get new set of tires (smh)

I'm honestly really happy how this thing drives, and don't understand some of the complaints reviewers have had. Maybe it's because I'm used to 30+ year old Hondas and have never driven a modern car.

Question: Does anybody know if there is a database like for the recall lists where you can check if your car has had the software updates via vin? Are these updates free, or do they cost?

Thank you
 

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Congratulations for getting your car!

You can check for security recalls like the airbag issues on sites like this one, but the software updates can only be done by a Honda dealer by hooking it up with the Honda computer. They may be reluctant to do so or may charge you $50-100 for the pleasure. And you can't tell if any are pending...

Unless your car has the characteristics described in these threads like the force charge when going uphill, sapping power when you need it most.
Good luck.
 

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In the US you can register your Honda at this site:

Honda Owners Site | Tips, Tools & Benefits for Honda Owners

And it will show any outstanding recalls. You can also store your radio code there, and keep track of maintenance.
However, as RedDevil says, the service bulletins are not going to be listed. If you read through the software update threads, there is a copy of the letter all of the 2010 (and some 2011) owners got from Honda about a software update. (The first three were quiet and some of us paid and some of us didn’t) the last one was a sort of recall, in that a letter went out and they were done free of charge. But the ONLY way to know if any have been done is to connect the Insight to the mechanic’s computer in the service area. The service writer, entering your VIN cannot. Do not let them tell you otherwise. They may want to charge you for an hour of tech time to check, but if they have not been done there should not be a charge. I suggest finding the letter in a thread here and printing it out to take with you. Because you have the open airbag recall, you may get them to connect for free. Or try and throw them a bone by buying some service, like the CVT fluid or the brake fluid, whichever you can afford/are uncomfortable doing yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I actually called Honda Dealership to run my vin. The airbag recall needs done, but I knew that. The nice thing though, they said there is an IMA software update that is open. He said that it will be free as it's somehow still covered!
 
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