Is this Honda Civic Si worth buying?
September 27, 2011 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I am looking into buying a Honda Civic with some after market modifications. Please help me decide if this car is worth buying.

I found a used 2005 Honda Civic Si hatchback with approximately $60,000 for around 8 grand. Everything seems to be in good condition from the pictures and description. However, after speaking to the salesman, I found out that this car has an aftermarket CD player, suspension, lights, and exhaust (with no catalytic converter). I do know that this has some impact on the resell value of the car, but I would most likely run this vehicle into the ground after purchase. I just wanted to know if I should stay away from this car because of the parts or if it is a car worth purchasing as long as my mechanic signs off on the car's condition. Any help the hivemind can provide would be extremely helpful!
posted by SharkLangasta to Work & Money (19 answers total)
Sorry for the confusion- it has 60,000 miles on it...
posted by SharkLangasta at 6:37 PM on September 27, 2011

I would stay away. It's possible that this car was meticulously cared for, but it's just as likely that it was beaten like a rented mule.
posted by pyro979 at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hahahaha no. Do not buy.
posted by kavasa at 7:00 PM on September 27, 2011

I bought a Kia Spectra which had subtle signs of being driven by someone like this (e.g. I found an aftermarket shifter knob with flashing blue LED lights deep in the glove box). It had about 75,000 miles on it when I bought it, and the transmission failed after I put around 10,000 highway miles on it (and changed the oil in the gearbox in a naive last-ditch attempt to save it). My mechanic suspected that the previous owners were attempting to powershift and generally abusing the transmission. I would be careful.
posted by pullayup at 7:09 PM on September 27, 2011

Yeah, stay away. You'd most likely have to readd a catalytic convertor to pass emissions on it, and there's no telling what kind of hack job that was done to the exhaust system.

And, no, never, ever consider add-on parts as affecting the value of the car, except maybe negatively. Especially if it's an econobox import.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2011

Don't do it. Very smart people designed the suspension on that car and you have no way of knowing if a very stupid one modified it. Your mechanic may not be able to tell.
posted by klanawa at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2011

Run far, far away. That car has all the signs of boy racer on it; there are too many perfect cars out there to bother with one like this.
posted by Forktine at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

That is, may not be able to tell if the modifications are dangerous.
posted by klanawa at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2011

Sorry but nope, this is absolutely not the car for you.

You WILL find the right car, in perfect condition, never ever been beaten, meticulously cared for.

This is not that car.

You just may have to wait a while, be patient. But the right car will show up.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2011

Never ever ever buy a car that has been modified by a ricer.
posted by twblalock at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Terrible idea. It won't pass an emissions test, and has been driven as hard as possible by a man under the age of 30. Recipe for repair bills.
posted by Dasein at 7:30 PM on September 27, 2011

I think you can find a 2005 Civic with equivalent miles that hasn't been modified at all for around the same price. They're not terribly expensive cars to start (and I suspect this seller may be trying to recoup some of the costs of the vanity items installed). A Honda that hasn't been abused will run well towards 300k miles.
posted by erstwhile at 8:31 PM on September 27, 2011

An aftermarket CD player is common and most likely installed correctly, but it is less likely that performance parts were installed correctly. Also, there is no way to know how the car has been driven. Unless you intend to become a racer and continue with performance mods, I would keep looking.
My ex-boss' son bought a similar car a few years ago and spent much of his free time fixing whatever went wrong. And he had the knowledge and skills to do the work himself, plus access to discount parts through his various friends.
posted by nickthetourist at 8:33 PM on September 27, 2011

Run. Buy an aged Honda Civic owned by a little old lady or by the original owner. I would always assume that a car with parts installed to impress others has also been driven to "impress" others, and as such, is not a good risk.
posted by bendy at 11:04 PM on September 27, 2011

Nth-ing that you should not buy this car. I bought a heavily modified Honda Prelude about a decade ago that was a huge headache. Many of the modifications turned out to be illegal, so the damned thing ended up costing me more than I paid for the vehicle just to get it smogged and registered. (Not to mention I got pulled over and harassed by local PD twice because of the strong import modding - gang association here in Central Cali.)
posted by Kevtaro at 11:34 PM on September 27, 2011

Avoid it unless you would be OK with living the worst possible situations of a prematurely failing transmission, leaky tail-light seals, duct-taped radio wiring, bottomed out struts, stiff and squeaky suspensions bushings and other surprises you wouldn't want to live with on a daily basis.

Not to mention funky smells, broken plastics, illegal tint and burnt valves.

Si's are desirable models. This is not a good example of one. Don't settle future reliability on something presently questionable.
posted by Giggilituffin at 11:41 PM on September 27, 2011

Another vote for RUN FOR THE HILLS!
I don't think the aftermarket sound system or lights make a difference; the problem is that aftermarket suspension system and exhaust. Somebody who thinks taking off the catalytic converter in the first place was a good idea worries me, as well as WHO did the work: was it a professional, well-trained experienced mechanic (and I'd insist on proof of that) or some dude who calls himself a 'tuner'?

Also: you do know that, BEFORE paying for ANY used car, you should have your own trusted mechanic give it a full examination, right? Sure, it'll probably cost you $75-$100, but it's really, really worth it to know ahead of time if some car is worth buying in the first place --- plus if a seller objects to you doing this? Do NOT buy from them!
posted by easily confused at 3:01 AM on September 28, 2011

As everyone else has said, stay away. Frankly, I'd stay away from any performance car that hasn't been owned by a single owner over the age of 45 (e.g. I'd never buy a used WRX or Evo).
posted by craven_morhead at 8:12 AM on September 28, 2011

Not disagreeing with the 'keep looking' advice, but there's a lot of hysteria here.

10 min on the hoist and any half competent mechanic can tell you what has been done to the suspension, and what it means. Ditto the wiring. Replacing a cat involves around half an hour with an angle grinder, a welder, and a new cat.

Having said that, nobody in their right mind pays more than the going price for an unmodified car, if the car has been modified. If nothing else, you would need to take off the asking price the cost of making any necessary repairs.

ALWAYS get any car that you are looking at buying up on the hoist somewhere where you trust the people. BEFORE you buy it.

At the workshop that I frequent we have seen at least three cars in the last six months or so that people have bought, and brought in for one reason or another. All three had major problems, that if they had been spotted beforehand would have either lead to the purchaser bailing, or it least negotiating a much improved price.

Buying any used-car is a balance between risk and price. However, in this case it sounds as though you are not comfortable with this car (at any price?), so I would say go with your gut and keep looking.

Good luck

PS Craven, have I got a deal for you! One careful and loving owner, 60+, sports car, 300,000 km. In the light of your comment/generalisation, there is no need to add irrelevant details about the car's extensive and quite successful competition history is there ...
posted by GeeEmm at 9:05 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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