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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I’m in Northern California currently shopping for a low miles Element and I’m considering one from the East Coast. A dealer sent me a video of the underside and it shows what they call “surface rust” but no “hard rust”. Is this correct or is it just a salesperson trying to sell? I haven’t seen the underside of a West Coast car in a long time (I owned one a long time ago), so I don’t know if one here would look similar. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Todd
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Rust is a big issue with an Element from any state that uses road salt in the winter time.

Check out these videos that I just saw last night:


It's more that a bit scary to see what level of damage road salt can do to these Elements. Get it checked out thoroughly up on a lift before you buy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. The video I received was of the car on a lift, I just don’t know if what they call “surface rust” is normal. It looks like some parts have orange specs on them.
 

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Hi everyone,

I’m in Northern California currently shopping for a low miles Element and I’m considering one from the East Coast. A dealer sent me a video of the underside and it shows what they call “surface rust” but no “hard rust”. Is this correct or is it just a salesperson trying to sell? I haven’t seen the underside of a West Coast car in a long time (I owned one a long time ago), so I don’t know if one here would look similar. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Todd
I once attempted to buy a car in illinois. They have mobile mechanic services that will go check out the car for you for about $120. I'd rather be out $120 than few thousand.
 

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Hi everyone,

I’m in Northern California currently shopping for a low miles Element and I’m considering one from the East Coast. A dealer sent me a video of the underside and it shows what they call “surface rust” but no “hard rust”. Is this correct or is it just a salesperson trying to sell? I haven’t seen the underside of a West Coast car in a long time (I owned one a long time ago), so I don’t know if one here would look similar. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Todd
Yeah underside surface rust is common on ALL Japanese cars.....Element no exception. Exhaust systems go around 100,000 miles, and by the time they start taking the exhaust off, the cat tends to turn to dust as well. About 2K for entire OEM exhaust w/cat.

While the "surface rust" underside can look bit narley and roached out, it only serves to complicate removal of nuts and bolts associate with repairs. But, if you get friendly with PB Blaster penetraing oil spray, you generally reduce those issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After watching the video again, it looks like some parts underneath have been painted over which makes me wonder what they’re covering up. I’m going to be very careful about considering cars from snowy areas and will definitely get an inspection before buying anything. Thanks to everyone for all of the great input.
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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I searched for several months earlier this year until I found one with 87k in West Virginia with minimal underside rust. The mounting point for the forward end of the rear lower controls arms is probably the most vulnerable spot with respect to being difficult to repair. There are several horror photos in this forum showing Elements with underside structure literally coming apart. Many I saw with under 100k in northern IL, NY, PA had considerable rust of the rear cross member, engine cradle, oil pan, and rear bumper beam. It was a little tougher to get good photos of the understructure of the body. My 07 with 193k (originally from FL) has less rust than many I looked at. Even the rear bumper beam on mine with 87k was rustier than I liked, but it is relatively easy to replace (that's in another post). I have to believe there are sufficient Elements available within a day's drive of you that you can inspect in person vs. having one of questionable quality shipped all the way across the country. You could try to find a member in the area of the vehicle to go take a look at it for you.

As far as painting or coating underneath, I passed on one like that as well where they appeared to have coated over scaling rust. As noted above, I replaced the rear bumper beam in mine; while I had it off, I wire brushed whatever surface rust there was on the body, then sprayed with Rust Converter, then truck bed liner over that and on the new bumper beam before installing cover. Only way to tell would be to have before and after photos. I also wire brushed what rust I could get to on the rear cross member and hit that with the rust converter also.

I picked up a spare engine cradle and front lower controls arm to have derusted and powder coated as spare if/when mine get too rusty. I'm on the hunt for a good rear cross member also to have as a spare.
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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Also, check the area under the flap between the floor and the tail gate, the panel that supports the upper lip of the bumper cover can tend to rust as well. As described above, I wire brushed and sand blasted the rust, then applied Rust Converter.
204657
 
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