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Discussion Starter #1
I have my eye on a 2006 EX-P AWD at a local Honda dealership, with low-ish (43K) mileage in a color I like. I test-drove it yesterday and was pleased with it. The salesman told me it was a lease return, but since it was four years old he hadn't bothered to have it certified.

I ran the Carfax after the test drive, and there's an accident in the history. It's NOT a salvage title. The statement from the police report is included, which says that the airbags did not deploy, and there was "very minor damage" to the driver's front side (the E driver was at fault). The accident was in 2008, and the title transfer did not occur until 2010, so I assume the person kept the car for two more years after the accident. I don't know how the lease would play into this scenario.

The Carfax also revealed that it's been listed for sale (twice, actually) since February of 2010. So it hasn't moved in nearly four months at two different dealerships.

My mom told me that when she bought her used Rav4 from a dealership, she was able to request the contact information of the prior owner and call them to ask questions about the vehicle history. She suggested I do the same, saying that "I have the right" to this information - however, we live in different states, and I'm not sure this is true everywhere.

I need a new car soon, and I'd like to buy within the week - I have Memorial Day off, so Saturday or Monday would be ideal. My 1998 Accord is giving up the ghost - it has apparently unresolvable problems and I don't want to sink any more money into it (I had a tire patched this week just to limp along until my purchase). I NEED reliable transport for my commute - my workplace is a bit off the beaten path.

I'm not sure how to proceed at this point. There are only four 2006 EX's within 250 miles of me, and this is the most desirable one.

Should I ask the dealership for the prior owner's information? Should I ask to take it to a frame shop for an inspection? My body shop is about a 45 minute drive from the dealership, so I'm not sure they'd let me take it for that long. Should I ask the salesman to have it Honda Certified for me and see if he balks?

If I can't find a 2006 EX I'm happy with in the next week, I may just cave and buy a 2010 CR-V with sunroof.

Would you buy an E with an accident in it's history? It doesn't sound like a bad accident, but I NEED something RELIABLE SOON!
 

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yes, ask for the previous owner info. Chances are if the airbag did not deploy and the report lists minor damage then it is probably just fine.

The previous owner has nothing to lose at this point and should be very open with you on why they got rid of it and what happened with the repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I read the Carfax a bit more carefully. The guide to Louisiana Police Reports says that if "Minor Damage" is reported, it means that the safety of the vehicle has not been compromised (ie it just got dented or dinged).

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.j...mission=&max_price=&cardist=33&standard=false

There's a link to the FREE Carfax. Thank goodness, because the price has gone up to $35 per report!?!? I swear the last time I bought used, it was only $15.

BTW, I think the price of $16K seems pretty fair, given the book values I found online (averaged $18K) and the accident history. Not that I won't try for lower!
 

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carfax is a dealer scam to help sell cars.but you need to do some checking on the E no mater what. my E was hit & repaired & sold, it never showed up on carfax. I checked another E and carfax said it was a one owner but what they did not tell me was that it was owned by a power co & was a fleet vehicle !!!:shock: I have never seen a carfox that told the whole story.and thier disclamer is for info reported to US. have you ever reported any thing to carfox???? not me, and nither did the ins,co agent that owned my E before me:shock::shock::shock:and the dealer told me it was his freind at the raido station that traded it in:shock::shock: so you cant trust any body when it comes to your$$$$ going into thier pockets !!!!
 

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The free Carfax report won't tell you everything. If you want to get the detailed report on your car, you have to pay them, no small amount of money.

Personally, I would pass on any car that had been in an accident. There are plenty of car's out there that haven't been in one.
 

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I would not be afraid to purchase a vehicle that has been in an accident unless I knew that it was a severe accident and/or had a reconstruct title. That said I must point out that I have worked the past 27 years in the automobile industry and know what to look for. Hundreds of vehicles are in crashes everyday and most of them a minor and easily repaired with no lasting effects. I would insist upon taking the vehicle to a third party for inspection prior to purchasing it, but I do that most of the time anyway. I can do the inspection myself but time is money and it is easier to put a vehicle on a lift to check out the underside mechanicals, etc. Carfax is only as good as the information reported to it, one must submit information to to Carfax or it will not be there. Carfax does not go looking for information themselves shops, insurance companies, etc, report to them but it is voluntary as Carfax is a commercial business not a government entity. I can't speak for your State laws but here a seller must disclose if the vehicle has been in an accident and as a purchaser I would use that fact to make a lower offer.
 

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see if the dealer will do a 24 hour road test?
Some dealer do that now...they allow a vehicle to go out for a day, so you can get a better feel for it, and take it to your own garage.
Be honest with them, and tell them that the carfax worries you, and you want to get it checked out...
 

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I'd go with AK's advice. Ask if you can take it to an Indi garage for an inspection. A good mechanic will be able to not only check for any damage from the accident, but can check for other potential service issues, like worn suspension, brakes, etc. that may cost major $$$. Any service issues they find, can make for some bargaining leverage. Well worth the half hour to an hour's labor charge. Some areas even have mobile car inspection services that come to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So I emailed the salesman about contacting the prior owner and taking it out for a 3rd party inspection. This was his reply:

"The carfax is "minor" accident. Generally a fender bender. No air bag deployment. Do not have the previous owner as it was purchased at auction. You can take it to a frame shop as long as it not a whole day thing (as we have to have the car available to show to other customers). With minor carfax there was no frame damage though. The three levels of carfax accident are minor, moderate, and sever. With severe the carfax will actually say if frame damage occured. This did not have frame damage."

Um, OK dude. Still going to find out for myself instead of taking your word for it! You're the guy who told me it had a 5-speed automatic transmission!

I also called the dealership it was leased from (a different dealership than it's now being sold from) and they said they'd call the prior owner to ask permission to pass along their contact info. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

I just have to locate a good repair shop near the dealership. I called a collision shop in that part of town I've used before, and they're willing to look at it. He told me it's a unibody vehicle, not truly a frame vehicle. I poked around online and it looks like unibodies are much less likely to be OK after a wreck, and have decreased safety. So I'll definitely forget that one if it has any evidence of "frame" damage.

Hopefully I can get this done tomorrow - my employer has been very understanding of my need for reliable transport :)
 

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it sounds like the dealer is not helping you...and no one is giving you a straight answer...this is a hard decision for you iam sure..my advice to you is to go with your instince...if you have any doubt walk way with your head up you tried,,i do understand time is not on your side,,but you have to be very comfortable with your purchase...best of luck to you...please keep up posted
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Actually, I will coincidentally be in Columbus, OH on Tuesday for business. I figured I ought to be able to find plenty of them near East Liberty, huh? Go straight to the source!

And if this one doesn't check out, I do have a couple in mind to look at while I'm up there.

I have an appointment set up for 1 this afternoon to pick the car up, and at 1:30 to have it checked out by a repair shop highly recommended on Car Talk's Mechanics Files. My guy at the frame shop isn't in the office yet but I'm hoping to wheedle him into looking at it today too, even though I know they're super-busy trying to turn cars out before the holiday weekend.

I'm interested in 2006 models only, though. I want the GOOD seats! Before they screwed things up on the 2007!
 

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(1) Never get your information from the person doing the selling.

(2) Ever heard the phrase "Drive it like it's a rental?" Lease vehicles usually fit into the same category.
 

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I know you need a car fast/asap but some things you don't want to rush into. As far as a wrecked car, I would keep looking and I wouldn't buy from a dealer that sells a known wreck. The only way I would buy in a rush situation is certified used or new - something with a warranty attached.
 

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Unibody construction is how most vehicles are made and have been for since the early `60's. About the only vehicles in the US market that have separate frames are trucks, cars, mini-vans and SUVs are all unibody. Millions of them have been wrecked and successfully repaired so the fact that it has been in a monir crash is not the end of the world or reason to walk away. It is good bargaining material though. You may or may not be able to track down the former owner as the records are probably archived after a year or so once the vehicle stops coming in for service. They would still have the records but they may not be onsite and getting them to pull the file and make the call may not happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
(1) Never get your information from the person doing the selling.
Isn't that the truth? I asked him how he knew the frame was OK and he said "the Carfax says it was a MINOR accident"! I asked him if he was seriously going to believe the evaluation of the police officer who wrote the report over one of his service techs, and he said "no", then turned me over to another salesman, who was much less of an a-hole and who was willing to admit going off the Carfax is not the best way to sell something to a buyer.

I had a repair shop check out the stuff under the hood. I printed off Honda's Certification checklist and went over all the cosmetic/dash stuff myself. The repair shop recommended I ask the dealership to take a set of alignment measurements, and if it checked out OK, to buy it. The shop said it was a good car except for the tires, which needed to be replaced. They said there was a very small amount of body work but nothing that should affect the frame integrity. Honestly, it does drive straight as an arrow. I can't remember the last time I drove a car this well aligned. I just want to make sure that what I'm feeling is what's reflected in the numbers.

I signed papers tonight contingent on an alignment checkup tomorrow morning. Yay!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the support, y'all!

Update: The alignment specs came back this afternoon by fax. Left rear was out of tolerance on camber, with a flag that said "*This value is not within specification. Tire wear, handling, and safety problems may result." Also I got a single page that said in big letters "The manufacturer does not specify a rear CAMBER adjustment."

OK, message received. It's out of spec and can't be returned to spec. I walked away from the deal. Honestly I was surprised the dealership faxed me the damning info.

Back to square one. I'm thinking of buying new at this point. I guess I could just turn the headrests around...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't give up! I just decided to buy new instead. I've been saving for a new car and wanted a new car. I just still have a bit of my post-Katrina mindset - don't want to own anything nice because it's just going to get destroyed. (I lost my Prelude in Katrina.)

But I took the plunge and am now a happy owner of a 2010 Royal Blue Metallic FWD EX!
 
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