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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've been driving a 2006 SCION xa which I've never really fallen in love with. I've been thinking about selling it and looked on CL for hybrids. When I took a serious look at the Insight, I have to say it looks like the car for me. I like the styling, the price is right, the mileage, and the good feeling I'd get from driving more environmentally responsibly.

I've test driven a used 2002 at a dealer. It's a little rough on the ride,but that's alright. It's blue and automatic and I'm thinking of holding out for a silver and manual. I'd also like to buy from an owner rather than a dealer. My question is about what should I be looking out for.

The way I understand it at the moment, and please enlighten me, a car with a recently replaced battery is a good bet. Now, I am looking at two, but the owners tell me different things. One writes that the IMA battery AND controller were replaced last year. Sounds good to me. The other owner tells me his battery control modules were replaced and that the battery pack is in perfect condition holding 100% charge. Is it only the control modules that need to be replaced or the battery too? And also, if I buy one that hasn't had the battery or modules replaced with low mileage, do I understand correctly that it is stillunder warranty, even if I am not the original owner? So long as the mileage is under 150,000 I can get it replaced, it it goes, correct? At what mileage do they typically go?

Also, what other issues should I look out for?

On the insightcentral website, I don't see much in th way of horror stories from second or third owners. Is this care really that sound of an investment? I have not yet had a chance to read all the posts in the forum, but I certainly will tonight.

One other thing, the one I test drove at the dealer read something like 17 mpg fuel economy. The salesman said that was for the last 70 miles which were people test driving like folks like me accerating hard on freeway, driving up hills, stopping hard to test brakes. Could there be something wrong with this car?
 

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Hi Kate and welcome to the forum :!: :)

Mistake #1. Don't "fall in love" with any car. They won't love you back. They only demand to be fed, else they stop moving. The also break down and depreciate in value (no car is a "good" investment).

Yes, the IMA battery is warrantied til 150K miles _unless_ the car has been previously "totaled". The warranty is with the car, not the owner. No transfer of warranty is required. Depending on several specifics the controllers may have been replaced without the batteries under this extended goodwill warranty. Obviously one that has newer batteries is a better choice from that aspect (all other things about the car being equal).

All rechargable batteries have a finite service life and are comsumed mile by mile at different rates. What's the average :?: Only Honda knows for sure but there is a poll thread in the Modifications & Technical Issues forum that members here are recording their expereinces.

Silver appears to be the most common color, but 5 speeds are much more of a rarity. Good luck on holding out for one.

17 MPG is reasonable for many short trips. But before final purchase I'd want to reset the MPG counter and test drive for maximum MPG myself. Simply toggle the FCD button on the dash until the <===> graphic appears in the green MPG segment of the instrument cluster. Then press and hold the FCD button down until the value zeros.

Go for a 20+ mile highway road test. Keep your speeds around 45-55 MPH and use the _lightest_ gas pedal pressure needed to maintain speed. Let speed slightly "rollercoaster" with any hills (5-10 MPH). In cold weather (30-60F) you should be able to attain 60+ MPG in a 5spd, 50+ MPG in a CVT (automatic). In warmer weather the values will be higher (70+F).

I could go on, and I'm leaving out a lot of details. Spend some time reading the many other threads in here. The answers you seek are here :)

Feel free to post any other questions you may have.

Sincerely,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply and advice!

I'm going back by the dealer today and will see if he'll let me test it again in the way you recommended. The dealer is selling an blue (kind of yucky) automatic with installed cruise control and 68k mileage. It comes with standard certified used car warranties. It's a very attractive deal and probably makes the most sense with low mileage and warranites.

Other choice is a manual, silver (so hot!), 93k, w/ stereo upgrade, battery and controllers replaced one year ago for sale by second owner.

They are essentially the same price. Tough choice but I believe I can't go wrong either way.
 

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Buy the manual one with the new battery!

First, you sound like you will hate the automatic sooner or later.
Second, manual is better anyway. No sense building a high-mileage car and then spoiling it with a lossy transmission (kinda like hybrid SUVs...)
Third, the battery ages much more than the engine or the rest of the car. So having a new battery makes it a younger car than the other one even tough that has a lower odometer reading.

Good Luck!
 

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I just ran a car fax report on the 5 speed I'm interested in. The odometer readings listed are exactly 100,000 miles more than they should be. I talked to the owner who called the DMV and they told him it may be a keyed in error. Obviously things on are hold now until we can get this straightened out, but I was wondering how difficult could it be for someone to tamper with something like this? I read here that a lot of folks work on their own cars. I sure hope it is a keyed in error vs. an error in someone's integrity. I'm holding out reservation for the moment. We'll see.

By the way, I retested the automatic at the dealer and reset the FCD and the average was way better after driving it on the freeway for 15 minutes. Thanks for the tip Insightful Trekker!

And, the manual is a totally different experience than driving the automatic... I'm holding out for a manual!
 

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Second, manual is better anyway. No sense building a high-mileage car and then spoiling it with a lossy transmission (kinda like hybrid SUVs...)
Armin, let's be fair and point out the pro's and con's of each model.

Manual
=====================
Slight more horsepower (67)
Slightly lighter in weight
Faster 0-60 time (10.8 )
Greater MPG's
--------------------------------------
Optional Air Conditioning
More cat converter replacements
ULEV (emissions)
Battery management iffy
manual gear shifts

CVT
==============================
Slightly less horsepower (65)
Slightly heavier in weight
Slower 0-60 time (11.2)
Less MPG's
-------------------------------------------------------
Air Conditioning Standard
Hardly any cats replaced (as reported in forum)
SULEV (emissions)
Better Battery management (as noted in forum)
smooth ratio changes

I left out the IRS tax incentives (only applies to new CVTs) and some state restrictions of HOV only applying to SULEV models (like the CVT) because these are US government restrictions and not a Honda design.

I like the styling, the price is right, the mileage, and the good feeling I'd get from driving more environmentally responsibly.
katefromLost expressed the environmentally responsible feeling also. Due to lean burn, the manual does not qualify for Super Ultra Low Emissions (the CVT does) ... The manual has the same emissions rating as other cars produced for the US (like my 1998 Lexus Es300) so the rating is nothing special to write home about. It is my belief (from reading posts from this forum) that the catalytic converters on the manual need replaced more often than the CVT...These are very high cost items after 80,000 miles on the car. A new battery is always a bonus in a used vehicle but if you notice, it was the MT that needed it. Just my opinion, but because of the battery management in the CVT, I think on average, the CVT prolongs the life of the battery (especially in late 2002 models onwards).

I think that both car designs are great and I have said before that it is my belief (with vehicle weight and engine horsepower being the same), If a CVT was mated to a manual transmission design. It would out perform the manual transmission model (on average).

If the highest MPGs possible is your main interest - then go for the manual transmission version. (I would pick the one that had the newest battery of the two manuals)

If less air pollution (compared to manual) is your main interest - then go for the CVT version. According to fueleconomy.gov My Lexus ES300 has a better pollution score (3) as compared to the manual Insight (2) The CVT is rated as (6) - The higher number being better.

Some of these points are my opinion but they are based on reading other users expirences in this forum. I left out the EGR problem since I am not sure if it is more of a problem with one particular model. Seems to be more of a problem on the manual but that could just be me thinking based on my signature :lol:

JoeCVT - Just your average CVT owner
 

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katefromLost said:
I just ran a car fax report on the 5 speed I'm interested in. The odometer readings listed are exactly 100,000 miles more than they should be.
Be very careful... there is a very large odometer rollback ring that was just busted by the FBI the other day. Lots of cars out there in this situation.
 

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... I'm thinking of holding out for a silver and manual.
... I'd ike to buy from an owner rather than a dealer.
... what should I be looking out for.
... but the owners tell me different things.
... if I buy one that hasn't had the battery or modules replaced ... still under warranty?
... what other issues should I look out for?
... I don't see much in th way of horror stories from second or third owners.
... really that sound of an investment?
... 17 mpg fuel economy. The salesman said that was for the last 70 miles which were people test driving like folks like me accerating hard on freeway, driving up hills, stopping hard to test brakes.
Want to hold out for a silver with a manual transmission? If that's your choice, so be it. They're out there and if not available at this moment, one will be sooner or later.

Buy from an owner rather than a dealer? Owners AND dealers can lie and some do, however (and this is my opinion only) odds are on your side in that wether you buy from an owner OR a dealer, the Insight will probably be in rather good condition. I suggest this as Insight owners seem to really take care of these little cars - almost like a "love affair." Keep in mind as well, if the dealer "misbehaves" he/she can be held accountable to the state licensing agency. Your state probably has a website which discloses recent and past actions against various licensees, including automobile dealerships

In the case of a purchase from an owner, depending on what was said (or implied - always have a relilable witness with you!) unless you rest on your laches (a time span which varies from state to state) the failure to disclose or the deliberate intent to deceive may be actionable. Either way it comes down to Buyer Beware - but you've probably heard that before haven't you? Know of any local garage mechanics or the like you trust? Also, use that computer of yours to check your state laws regarding YOUR rights as a buyer when purchasing a motor vehicle from either a private party or a dealership; aka "Lemon Law(s)". Might be worth the time spent on your part.

That the owner(s) appear to be telling you different things, suspicision has it that you're comparing oranges to apples here.

About those battery warranties - go directly to the "horses mouth." If I'm not mistaken the answer is yes, yes they are but don't take my word for it. Write to Honda and see what they have to say.

What should you be looking out for? Look for the things that interest YOU - it's your money. Was the owner a smoker? Was the owner a juvenile or did he/she let their teens drive it? Turn the radio on and see what stations have been pre-selected? Such things can tell you SOMETHING about the way the car was cared for and how it was used - but certainly not everything.

Horror stories? There weren't that many of these Insights made BUT some were damaged due to FLOODING. Watch for that! As I understand it, such Insights are out there but then again, these are aluminum vehicles NOT steel. These cars will not rust.

An investment? No. Right now the answer is NO but then again look at what Mustangs and the like from the sixties and seventies are drawing these days at auctions! Who would have thought - a hundred thousand or more for a Ford Mustang!?

Also, keep an eye on eBay and for the devil of it, start a spreadsheet and list each Insight being offered, as well as the claimed milage and year of manufacture. After a few months or so a "picture" will start to develope and I suspect you will find that these little cars are holding their own in the world of used cars - a good bit better than most I might add.

About that 17MPG and the salesman's response, I believe he was correct. Those who don't know what they're doing with these Insights can get awful mileages. I know I did when I first bought mine - and it would be reasonable of you to expect that it will take you about two or three months to just begin to appreciate just how good a little car these things are. Somebody in Japan did a lot of thinking before they decided to produce these Insights and only time will show you just how different they are from anything you've been used to driving in the past.

It's easy for me to say this because it's not my money you're about to spend, so do take your time and go read as much as you can from the archives and the like from this website. I know it helped me make up my mind last March; I've had the "Silver Bullet" almost a year now and do not regret having bought it. These Insights are nice cars and are well worth your while to have a good look at.

Best of luck! Any more questions? Just ask.

Fred
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I'm think I'm going to take the plunge and go for a 2005, silver, manual transmission with 23,900 miles. It's more than I wanted to spend, but I was running out of options here in CA with the HOV stickers (this 2005 was issued stickers).


So do I understand that the battery warranty does not include 2005's but that they haven't had the same problem as the newer models?

Anything important I should know about 2005?
 

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katefromLost said:
So do I understand that the battery warranty does not include 2005's but that they haven't had the same problem as the newer models?

Anything important I should know about 2005?
That's the concept anyways. But your official warranty will be 8/80k+-

The 04-05's came with the updated controllers. Which is supposed to be the long term IMA battery fix. :) Hence no need for the warranty extension, so the logic goes.
 

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Got the stickers

Good move to get one with the HOV stickers. I was wondering where you were and if that wa an issue. Now that our state (California) is not issuing any more I think they will be quite valuable.

I have been wondering how much more people will pay for a car with the stickers. Maybe as much as $2,000? With 5 years left on the program that might be a reasonable premium to pay.

Regards, Jim
'01 #191 (with stickers)
 

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Re: the HOV stickers, I was able to speak to an DMV administrator. If you'd like his name and number, I can give it to you if you message me privately, but I don't think I should post it on the forum...poor guy might be flooded with calls

You may already know all of this, but it was news to me:

The additional 10,000 stickers ran out last week. He also says in 2011 the yellow HOV stickers will expire and be obsolete. The state will compile a new list of vehicles exisiting at that time and their emissions and people will have to apply again and new stickers will be issued. The idea is to incentivize (word?) CA drivers to drive the least emission vehicles. I think it is just great! Also, reissuance of stickers is only for vehicles that have been totaled or defiled and these cases are reviewed an issued on a case by case basis. Just because one acquires a car without stickers that was prevsiously registered, is by no means, it sounds, grounds for reissueance of stickers. He also told me they would be procecuting dealers and private parties engaged in fraud very aggressively.

I have a long commute, but I usually don't make the drive during the peak commute hours. But still, I wanted the stickers anyway to the point that I paid a premimum.

So barring any major, unforseen issues like the car rattles like crazy or smells like an ash tray, I'll be picking it up at the airport and bonding with it on the +500 mile drive home.
 

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OK, so at some risk of being off topic, the HOV stickers are still available for only one vehicle, the Civic GX. The GX is the natural gas powered Civic variant. On the plus side, you can get a pump to refill at home and never visit the gas station again. Natural gas is still cheaper than gas and it is low pollution (smog causing pollution, in the US we don’t track CO^2). Also there is a $4k tax credit on the car and another $1k on the home filling pump. On the minus side you can’t get CNG at the gas station so don’t travel more than 150 miles from home.

Still if I could have gotten one in Ohio I would have seriously considered it. The cost of operation would be about the same as the Insight and I would have room to haul the family. Also my car would get in the garage priority. However the Insight has more fun factor for its high tech stuff and as a conciliation prize I can park it in the barn.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, the baby has come home from the hospital. I'm the proud mother of 155 inch long and 1850 lb, 2005 Honda Insight, manual transmission, silver. A couple of things I'm looking to do first:

1. Get an owners manual.
2. Learn how to drive more fuel efficiently. On the 500 mile trip home, I average 60.1 mpg which I'm happy with, but think I could have done a little better since much of it was straight away - just up I5 to the Bay Area.
3. Research service options - should I just take it to the dealer in my city or should I go to a dealership that really works on a lot of these (especially for the major tune ups). I'm hopin the local dealer can handle the little stuff just fine like oil changes, tire rotation, etc.
 

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katefromLost said:
A couple of things I'm looking to do first:
1. Get an owners manual.

Browseable on line :) See:

Modifications and Technical Issues
Sticky: F.A.Q.: Can I read the Insight manual online?
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=6066
(but you'll probably want a bound glovebox sized hard copy too)

2. Learn how to drive more fuel efficiently.

Its all here on the MPG forum :!: Might have to dig back a few pages though. ;)

3. Research service options -

That one's gonna be the toughie. I'd recommend following the maintenance schedule in the Owner's Manual & mix / mach the normal vs. severe schedule as you deem fit. The more frequent oil change interval is a never ending debate :!: :shock:

And while I'm on the subject be _extra_ careful on just "who" you let do the oil changes. The Insight's oil pan in magnesium and intolerant of overtightening the plug. The crush washer should be replaced on each and every oil change. BIG $$$ if the threads get stripped - ultimately it will require the pans replacement :!: :oops: (with probable replacement delaying counter measure options, depends on many specifics)

If you want a little extra piece of mind Fumitomo makes a drain plug valve that several Insighters have switched to. I finally did too (and won't go back). Google for it, about $30 with the extension adapter (not always needed).

HTH! :)
 

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Kate

Congradulations on your new baby. Is it a boy or girl?

You could get a new manual from the dealer but they are a little spendy. You might try eBay, or if you can't find one I might have an extra 2000 manual around here some were. I don't think the cars have changed very much from the early ones to the 05s. The basic information would be the same, but a 05 book would be best.

The manual gives a lot of good information about the car, but only generic information on gas mileage. If you want high, or very high, or even extremely high gas mileage, the Insight is the car to do it. Last summer I was part of a team that drove an stock Insight to a record 2254 miles on 13.7 gallons to average 164 MPG. This group and several other internet groups that specialize in Insights, Hybrids, or gas mileage can give you good advice on how to get the mileage you are looking for. Good luck with your new baby.....Louis
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm really enjoying this car! The blind spot is not nearly as bad as I read and originally experienced on test drives.

A little funny story here: I was pulled over by the police when I drove the car home from buying it. They said I was swerving from side to side on the road, but I was trying to read a map in my lap and drive at the same time (I know, I know). I didn't know how to roll down the windows yet. I had to open the door to talk to the cop who, thankfully, let me continue on. I never got any breaks from the police when I was pulled over in my Z3 Roadster or my Camaro.

First commute into work I managed 48 mpg and first commute back from work, I managed 75 mpg. (There may be some elevation factor here or damn, I'm a quick learner).

Thanks for the tips o the owner manuals. That's my goal for this week.

I did take the car in for the standard 25,000 service at the local dealer. They checked and rotated the tires which was concerning me. When I bought the car, I checked the air pressure in the tires before driving home, but I was pretty confused since the tires were not inflated anywhere near as close to the ratings on the tires themselves. They changed the oil and also replaced the starter battery (still under warranty) which failed.

And thanks for the tip on the oil change plug threads. I'd be happy to get one of those.

My weekend just started so I can't wait to get out and wash her...him? Not sure yet...
 

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katefromLost said:
...I checked the air pressure in the tires before driving home, but I was pretty confused since the tires were not inflated anywhere near as close to the ratings on the tires themselves.
A common point of confusion so I'll try to help.

The sidewall rating is the maximum inflation that _should_ be used whenever the tire is loaded to its maximum rated (weight) capacity. In an Insight you'd probably be severely overloaded before you reach this point.

All makes and models have a recomemded inflation pressure for "average" load conditions and its usually the best overall value to use. It will _never_ be higher than the maximum rated capacity of the OEM tires (the pressure molded on the sidewall of the tire).

Commonly on an Insight the tires are erroneously delfated to 30-32 psi - the correct value for all Civics (IIRC). MPG will suffer. But the ride will be smoother - take your pick.

At a risk (but all tires in otherwise good contition have a huge "overinflation" margin of safey) in your Insight better MPG will be measurable around 50 psi with only very small improvements at 60 psi.

Perhaps the best of both worlds is to inflate to 44psi (OEM tire maximum safe pressure). Unless your Insight service location is verrry Insight savvy your pressures have probably been lowered below what the door jamb sticker recommends.


HTH! :)
 
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