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Ordinarily a used Insight would be out of my price range (or more what I'd be willing to spend with other high gas mileage options at a fraction of the price), but one has popped up for $1600 obo with front drivers side fender damage. I've found the front clip and fender at different wrecking yards to repair the body and the left front lower control arm ($40, eBay) required to get it rolling again. It's something my Dad and I were interested in getting back on the road.

My Father is an electronics engineer and although I'm more an art guy, I can hold my own in this department. The two of us have repaired many cars and have replaced anything from shocks, brakes and cv boots to ecus, engines and transmissions. Basically, if there's a shop manual - we can fix it, or figure it out.

The two of us have a passion for efficient little cars. He had a bug up until I was a teenager and I followed suit buying Geo Metros that I'd gut to make as lightweight as possible (helps to get those rattles out!). My Dad has taken one of those that we're going to convert into an EV, and cut another in half to make a matching trailer for my Geo Metro convertible (I swear, it is the most fun car ever made). My current daily driver is a 93 Honda Civic DX hatchback (all stock) - which I consider way too big. I average about 41 mpg, but want to get higher and figured I could give it to my wife and get myself a CRX HF or Civic VX that would pay for itself within a year (I drive a lot, but the savings of getting my wife's 19mpg Camry wagon off the road is factored into that, and is a favor to mankind as a whole).

So this 2001 Insight showed up on the radar within my price range, and it's a great chance to spend some quality time with Dad. Just was wondering if you guys had some advice on what to look out for. We're pretty experienced, but have never kicked the tires on a hybrid before. According to the seller, the engine and transmission work great and it has 123,000 miles. Is there a quick way to test if the battery pack needs replacing? I'd appreciate any help you guys could offer, and I promise to give you guys a chronicling of getting the little guy back on the road.

Thanks in advance,
-Mike
 

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They're just like regular cars from the mechanical viewpoint, except that the parts are all made to be very light weight. You'll notice that when working on the mechanical stuff.

The big concern is about the battery, but if it's intact there's a good chance it will still work. If not, you could still get plenty of efficiency by converting it to a gasoline-only car, or by experimenting with new battery types.
 

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Go for it. The story you tell makes you sound entirely suited to a Honda Insight. As you mention, it is a chance to spend quality time with your Dad and you can never spend enough quality time with family.

As Dougie says, the Insight is similar mechanically to other Hondas (some parts were even borrowed from the Civic bin). My only concern with your particular example is that if it is a salvage title, then there will be no 10yr / 150,000mile IMA battery warranty. There is no simple test for battery condition (it would need to be observed over hundreds of miles) but if the IMA warning light is on then that is not a good sign and significantly increase the work that would be needed to be done by your Dad. HTH.
 

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In my mind the battery issue isn't as great now that we know an Insight can operate as a gas only car thanks to the post by Mike. There is also the potential to rebalance the battery which I intend to do very soon (I already bought a triton charger) again also thanks to Mike Dawbrowski.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
uhtrinity said:
In my mind the battery issue isn't as great now that we know an Insight can operate as a gas only car thanks to the post by Mike. There is also the potential to rebalance the battery which I intend to do very soon (I already bought a triton charger) again also thanks to Mike Dawbrowski.
I did a search and didn't come up with that thread, can you give me a link?
 

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Keep in mind the Insight doesn't have an alternator, the IMA system is what keeps the 12v battery charged.

I say go for it, sounds like a good deal!
 
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