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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It's a manual transmission. Has about 130,000 miles which I understand isn't much for a hybrid. Inside looks very clean. Outside looks a little worn. Dealer says he drives a hybrid (not an insight) and so do most of his salespeople. Also that he has a mechanic who is very knowledgeable and they just rebuild the batteries themselves when needed so he doesn't think I would have to replace an entire battery pack ever. I'm going over there again to take a test drive this afternoon.
Looks like the cost is about $7000. It that about right? Is there a price that's too much? What else do I need to know? My main motivation is gas mileage. I'm driving about 100 miles a day as many as 4 days a week and a bit less the other days and spending about $350 to $450 a month on gas. The dealer says I'll probably save as much in gas as whatever the payments will be. What do you think?
I've been looking through the forums and found a few things to look for (catalytic converters are an issue but how do I know if it's in good shape?)
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Saw Porshuh's posting of 7/11

Just wanted to add that I just read through Porshuh's posting "Looking for a 1st Gen - buying advice?" and MNDriver's advice about what to look for. That's a good start! I admit I didn't quite understand all of the procedure about the battery testing process though. I will try rereading it a few times more!
 

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Where is the dealer? I think he is handing you a litle bit of "BS".
Maybe the other members know the dealer and his reputation.

Willie
 

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7k for a 2003 manual transmission with 130k is reasonable, yes.

The hybrid battery should still be under warranty for another 20k miles and 2 years unless it is a salvage title.

Though I do agree with Willie, the bit about hybrids sounds like BS.
 

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No, it sounds like he was discussing the worry of having to replace the battery pack, and the dealer fed him that partial truth.

The batteries can be rebuilt sure, but most mechanics wouldn't have a clue how to do it.

Unless this dealership knows Ron. ;)
 

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The stealership will tell you anything you want to hear in order to sell the car, regardless of how close it is to being true or not.

There almost nothing you can do to check out the pack yourself

Regarding any further information on "what to look for" there is a huge wealth of info you'll find by searching the archives.. many, many posts on that very topic.

Price sounds fair but you've given us VERY little information to go on. If you're truly interested either have a "reputable" place check it out (very tough being so very few know anything about the Insight) or let us know where you're at and perhaps a member here can take a look at it and give you their .02 worth.

Again, my unsolicited advice is this - it is completely worthless asking the stealership ANY questions regarding their used products as that salesperson probably knows nothing about the car and is incented to tell you anything he can to push his product, as is the case here. They gave almost nothing for it as either a trade-in (probably no more than 30% under trade in value is average) or bought it at auction and they don't ask ANYTHING about the history when someone trades them in. Regarding their info on them driving hybrids (irrelevent) or their info on batteries - just when he opens his mouth for another fairytale like that then hit him with "great, we have a deal when you replace the battery as you are telling me AND give it a reasonable warranty as I am sure you'd have problem doing"... he'll shut up VERY quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice so far

Lots of good advice so far. And I agree about the dangers of dealerships! ("stealerships!") I am in the San Fernando Valley (suburb of Los Angeles) if anyone local would like to lend a hand on evaluating the vehicle. I did get an opportunity to drive the vehicle yesterday. Street and freeway driving. Acceleration was excellent and got up to freeway speeds as well if not better than my previous car (Mitsubishi Outlander). I could see the gauge switching between "Asst" and "Charge" at different points. The ride seemed very smooth. I'm a bit rusty on a stick so I couldn't really judge if there were transmission issues that were due to problems and not my own shifting issues.

One issue of possible concern. At one point, the speedometer displayed "0" and stayed that way even though the car was obviously moving. That was temporary and after about a minute or so appeared to resume correct operation. How much of a danger signal would that be?
 

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I'm in Chatsworth right at the 118 and Topanga so we're Very close. I am watching over an ill mother so sadly I cannot commit to lending a hand otherwise I'd be happy to do so. You're welcome to bring it by and I can give you a brief evaluation if you wish but I won't be able to drive it if that helps.

I would not have much concern about the speedometer acting up...
 

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I would make sure the state of charge indicator (Battery gauge on the right side of the instrument cluster) is at or near full when you next test drive the car. Then find some hills and drive the car in as high a gear as you can to force "assist". This will at least give you an idea if the battery can handle the high currents required in some situations. If battery gauge seems to drop rapidly you should have some negotiations on the price.

$7000 seems a tad high, but considering the current high price of gas and your location it might be pretty good deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks once more

Assuming the car is still for sale and the dealer says I can take it to have someone take a look at it, how would I contact you Leeper? (Nice coincidence by the way...of all places in the U.S. to be, you're just "up the street!" Is there a way to message other members here?

As for the last mentioned hill driving test (ablinkin), let me see if I understand. The battery should have a good charge say 75 to 85 percent? Start heading up a hill in a higher gear (either 4th or 5th) and see if the "assist" kicks in? If the battery power level stays up where it was, it means the battery is strong and could handle the switch over to the gas engine. If the battery level drops significantly it means that the battery pack is a bit weak and too much power gets drained out of it by sudden situations? The latter being the bad alternative...
 

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This car is marvel of technology when it comes to fuel efficiency, and with so much driving you will save some money from gas in no time.
it has its inconveniences (2 seats , small engine, fragile battery) and with little effort and tailwind you will be able to see average mpg between 60-70....

But here are good small cars for 13-14 k that are brand new. You wont save so much there on gas but they still are pushing 30-35 mpg...

As for the insight if the car is driven with care and the oils are changed on time you probably will have another 100-200 thousand miles or more to go with no major issues expected... the body will not rust , brakes and tires almost do not wear....

the cats usually do not need changing and the battery is not so expensive (probably 2-3k when the time comes) but yours may be still in warranty till 157k miles/10 years , there are a lot of posts here that you may consult on the subject...

And worst comes to worst you can drive with no battery and still get 50+ mpg

My battery is dying for almost 2 years,but with some grid charging I hope it will last one more year.
 

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Barry, I'm in the SGV area, near Pasadena. If you get the car, let me know. Would love to meet fellow board members and talk Insight.

You mentioned that the exterior is a bit beat. Make sure you can live with any dings or scratches before you commit to spending $7k. I got my '02 CVT for $6500 w/ 110k on the odo. Got a brand spanking new IMA battery upon purchase. In hindsight, I wish I had been more aggressive in lowering the price for the dings and scratches throughout the car. There's a 3" scratch on a corner of the front bumper that shows black. One day I will remove the front bumper to get it repainted. Love that the silver paint makes most dings and sscratches not so obvious.

I know engine cleaniness is not always a good indication of a well-kept car, but I still like to see how clean the engine is. If the engine looks like it was scrubbed down, I'd be suspicious. But a naturally clean engine with no grime or very little oily grime may indicate there are no leaks or spills. A friend of mine recently bought an '01 manual. I was surpised to see how grimey the engine was. Don't know if it was caused by oil seepage through the years, but it was dirty. I think he paid $9k or $10k for it with 70k on the odo.
 

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The valve cover gasket becomes hard and will start leaking oil all over the engine eventually.

I replace my valve cover gasket each time I adjust the valves.
 

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Barry - private message sent with my #.

Eli - I must have strong "gasket-fu" as I have adjusted my valves several times, changed my oil on all my cars without changing the oil pan bolt washer, and cleaned my Insight EGR plate and nary a single drip leaked.
 
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