Automotive

Risks of older car with very low milage?

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  • Oct 6th, 2021 6:31 am
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 20, 2005
2326 posts
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Maple

Risks of older car with very low milage?

Hello,

I tentatively purchased a 2011 honda with only 51k on it. Its original owner and legit. Driven by an elderly man whos license has been revokes due to vision. A true barn find.

What should I check for on such an old car? It has been sprayed during its life so rust is minimal on underbody and non existing on body panels.
36 replies
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 20, 2005
2326 posts
687 upvotes
Maple
I came across a barn find and tentatively purchased it until I can get eyes on it tomorrow.

Its a 2011 with 51k original KM on it.

Original owner, 90 years old and selling due to license being pulled due to vision. It has been under sprayed and looks flawless in pictures. Leather is immaculate....everything original and showroom shape.

I understand that time alone wears parts but as long as it has not been sitting for 8 years I assume things shoild be fine.

Any tips on what to check?
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
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GTA
Might still have the original tires and battery. If so, those would be due for replacement.
Deal Expert
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Jul 30, 2007
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Toronto
Have the brakes ever been serviced ? Brake fluid ever changed ?

Check out the belts for any aged issue

Other things to check, suspension, exhaust, aged tires
Last edited by booblehead on Oct 4th, 2021 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Dec 6, 2017
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Manitoba
Check consumables (fluids, belts, filters, brake pads, battery, tires). If you got it for a good price and the engine/tranny is good, it will still be a good buy even if the consumables need to be replaced.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2012
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Vaughan, ON
Don’t pay a significant premium for a nearly 11 year old car just because it has 51,000KM (assuming that’s legit).
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
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Ontario
Bring it to a trusted honest mechanic and have him fully go over the car. Things to look at and more I will miss as others have said.
But also depends on how long has it been sitting for? Any maintenance records?

Tires
battery
belts
maybe timing belt/water pump if its never been done
spark plugs/wires
fuel filter
service all the brakes and change the brake fluid
change the engine oil
coolant
maybe power steering fluid
etc
Deal Addict
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Nov 7, 2016
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Definitely battery and tires could be an issue. Brake pads can separate from backing plates sitting but still look decent. As well as any rubber part like belts, hoses, seals, etc...
Bring it to a mechanic or just check it like any other used vehicle, make sure everything works, but more attention to wearable stuff like above, look how clean it is like signs of mice/squirrels etc in air boxes, engine comp, inside, etc. Look up common issue with those models and check them etc... Def check fluids to see the condition of them. I usually change ALL fluids front to back on any used vehicle I get for peace of mind...
·Ï¢årµ§·
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Oct 26, 2003
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Take to a mechanic for safety inspection, they check a lot of items. It needs a safety for transfer of ownership anyway.
WTB amazon gc @90%
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Nov 10, 2015
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Thornhill, ON
I would also change the oil/gas before trying to start it..
Deal Addict
Sep 6, 2017
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Just drive it until something happens. Do not see the logic to spend more money than the 2011 car is worth.
If a major breakdown happens time to scrap it and repeat.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
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Ottawa
Weak point on many low mileage but older cars are any parts that are flexible: door and trunk seals, tires, engine gaskets, serpentine belt(s), seals, and hoses. After that, it's fluids - coolant, brake fluid (if it's absorbed humidity), transmission, etc. - and battery.

My father's '09 Malibu has 41k kms on it and I've had to replace the tires and the battery. The brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant are original and in good condition (based on colour alone). I've inspected everything else and it's all good - yours might be as well but it's still worth inspecting.
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May 18, 2002
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Brampton
Also check for leaks around engine/transmission/power steering. Gaskets go bad over time.
Check for a rusty exhaust/muffler too, as that owner profile points to many short trips with a lot of time to sit in between with water in the exhaust system.
I recommend changing all fluids including trans and brake bleed.
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CaptSmethwick wrote: Weak point on many low mileage but older cars are any parts that are flexible: door and trunk seals, tires, engine gaskets, serpentine belt(s), seals, and hoses. After that, it's fluids - coolant, brake fluid (if it's absorbed humidity), transmission, etc. - and battery.

My father's '09 Malibu has 41k kms on it and I've had to replace the tires and the battery. The brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant are original and in good condition (based on colour alone). I've inspected everything else and it's all good - yours might be as well but it's still worth inspecting.
I would recommend changing brake fluid and coolant on the malibu, you cant tell the condition by looking at it. If its like most GMs, uses dexcool, which has a recommended interval of 5yrs. Going beyond that can cause it to thicken and clog up passages, not like regular green anti-freeze.
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Jun 26, 2009
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Just do the oil change, and see how it drives. Don't listen to keyboard mechanics telling you to replace everything top to bottom including trunk and window seals, glove compartment bulbs etc. It's only 10 years old Honda not 110 years old Ford model T. It's fine, just drive it. Everyone passing by thevOakville plant can see those Fords sitting on the lot for almost a year now waiting for chips. They will be sold as brand new cars who knows when.
Member
Apr 18, 2011
373 posts
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Toronto
I have found the following information on Honda Civic 2006-2013 (SERVICE BULLETIN NO.: 14-034)
The exterior paint on the hood and the leading edge of the front fenders may crack or look chalky or cloudy. Also the roof, trunk, upper portions of the quarter panel, and the upper portions of the doors may look chalky or cloudy. Please have a close look.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 20, 2005
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Maple
I should have mentioned ealier

The vehicle is a 2011 odyssey exl/res with 51k on it. Original owner
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 20, 2005
2326 posts
687 upvotes
Maple
And on an unrelated note since I need a van asap due to write off...

This 2011 odyssey or a 2015 kia sedona lx+ with 113k?

Same price more or less.
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Oct 12, 2007
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prod wrote: I would recommend changing brake fluid and coolant on the malibu, you cant tell the condition by looking at it. If its like most GMs, uses dexcool, which has a recommended interval of 5yrs. Going beyond that can cause it to thicken and clog up passages, not like regular green anti-freeze.
Thanks. I am aware of Delco's five year recommendation but I do inspect it for viscosity as well as test its boiling point and it's good. I should have mentioned that the coolant was replaced under some powertrain warranty work roughly 6 years ago and it has been driven 2-3,000 kms a year since then - it's not worth the trouble of changing it.

Most GM cars recommend changing the Dex-Cool at 240,000 kms or five years - whichever comes first (a ridiculously high mileage for five years). My own CTS made it to 8 years and 175,000 kms before I bothered to change it (it's a messy job) - its viscosity and boiling point were both good at that point but it was getting discoloured and it was just overdue. I now have 12 years and 250k+ on it and it still checks out.

I've been wrenching for decades and know that the earlier Dex-Cool formulations were problematic on gaskets and seals but I see no evidence of those problems over the last twenty years, especially in systems designed for it. I will admit though that I pushed the envelope on my CTS.
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Jan 14, 2007
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OP, did the 90 year old owner routinely drive and service the vehicle up until very recently? if so, I suspect most of the service/consumables are likely in decent shape as the elderly tend to take care of their vehicles based upon a dealers recommendation. If however it has been stored for a few years then I would certainly look into what everyone above is suggesting.

I would get the VIN and see if the local Honda dealership can check service history for you.

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