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Old 04-14-2019, 09:17 PM   #1
EOC Rank: Hydrogen
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 1
New to Element and looking at one to buy

Hello all! Looking at a 2003 Element that has 231,000 miles for $2900. Carfax claims one owner but what should I be looking at when I go and look at it. Both seats are worn on the outside from looking through the window. No accidents from the carfax. Not to Hondas, had Pilots,Accord and CRVs.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:23 PM   #2
EOC Rank: Oxygen
2003 2WD EX AT
Sunset Orange Pearl (SOP)
te1966's Avatar
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Englewood, FL
Posts: 326
Welcome aboard jasnake65.

First off the price seems in the ballpark; provided that the overall condition is decent. There's likely to be some repairs it may need beyond the seats, so getting it for as low of a price as possible will give you some budget room to fix a few things and keeping within the price range of what it ought to be worth.

Second, 231K miles is high, but by no means worn out for an Element. There are plenty of members here with a lot more miles on their E than that! If the current owner has a good set of maintenance records, that would be a real plus.

Check for the obvious things first: tread remaining on the tires, condition of the brakes and exhaust, etc. If the A/C is not working, that could be a deal breaker as those repairs can be costly. If you live in a road salt state (I love it here in FL!) you should check the under-body thoroughly, as excessive rust can add a lot to the cost of any repairs there.

And these 2.4 Honda motors should have a Valve Adjustment at 110K mile intervals. So if there are no records for that being done, it shouldn't be overlooked.

The best cheap insurance is a thorough inspection (meaning up on a lift, wheels off, etc.) by a good mechanic familiar with Hondas before you buy it. Around here a shop would charge ~ $50 - $75 for that; which is a bargain compared to some un-anticipated major repair. If the seller refuses to allow an inspection, you should pass on that one; as they are likely hiding something. But it's important to know the true condition of what you are buying.

Count all the costs to get it fixed up to run for the next 40 - 50K or so miles. If it fits your budget, go ahead and buy it. If not, keep on searching! : - )
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