Buying my first car

Ok I am going to look at a car in a couple hours its a used car (1988 honda prelude) what are some things to ask? besides mileage etc it has 196000km on it. Its an older guy who owns it so i dont imagine it was beat on. Anyone have any suggestions? I plan to have a government inspection done before i pay for it etc.

the asking price is 3200

This person wants $3200 for a Prelude with nearly 200,000km on it? That’s a joke. Ask grandpa what year it is.

Does the goverment inspection include a lien check? If not, you should have that done. It will tell you if the guy has claimed the vehicle as collateral for any on-going loans he may have taken out. I would also check recall notices for Honda’s. If there have been any issued, find out if he’s had them taken care of. I’d also check in the autotrader and other used vehicle publications (and the black book for vehicles 14 years old or less) to get an idea of what the going rate is for the vehicle. Hope some of that helps.

For a 1988 model year, that’s relatively low mileage.

not sure… I plan on doing a carfax check as well, im pretty sure that will give me that information? I have looked around at the average price and they range from 1900 - 4k with higher mileage so it seems like an alright deal. I will be checking under hte hood looking for oil leaks checking the fabric and asking if the car has had smokers in it etc. I will look into the recalls one of my friends owns the exact same car except red so i will ask him about that as well.

As for it being a ripoff well from the mileage on the other cars it seems most go at least 270 000 k without major problems and if i get 2 years or more im happy.


For a 1988 model year, that’s relatively low mileage.[/quote]

My '97 just roled over to 200,000 km, so on an '88 thats great.

Make sure it runs, picks up, shifts, accelerates, brakes, steers without any major feedback or noise issues.

Go over the body and the interior for damage. For a “beater” car, it’s not a real issue, but it can be used as haggling ammo.

Make sure all the little things work, like lights (don’t forget to check the stop and backup lamps!), cigarette lighter, wipers and washers, windows/locks/mirrors (power or manual), cruise control, all of the guages (take it for a long enough test drive that you can see action on the coolant temperature guage), tilt steering, parking brake, spare wheel and tools, cabin air blower and temperature (especially important if A/C equipped), and horn.

Definitely check for the signs of water leaks, usually just check to see if there are any signs of mold or wetness on the floor of the interior, and especially in the trunk (actually check down into the spare wheel well for puddling water).

Check all of the following levels and conditions under the hood:
Engine Oil
Transmission Oil
Brake Fluid
Power Steering Fluid
Air Filter
Accessory Drive/Serpentine Belts
Battery and Terminals (if the battery looks extremely shitty and is covered with this white/yellow “cake”, it likely has been in the car for quite some time and may need to be replaced in the near future).
Spark Plug Wires

Check all 4 tires for tread depth and wear. If there are only a few millimetres between the top and base of the tread pattern on the tires, they will need to be replaced soon. Check them that they are not wearing unevenly, especially on the front tires.

However, if you’re going to invest the $50-$100 to have it inspected at a repair shop, you should get a pretty good idea of it’s condition.

not sure… I plan on doing a carfax check as well, im pretty sure that will give me that information? [/quote]

A Carfax report will not provide with the same details as a lien check as they aren’t privy to a persons bank records.

For a lien check, you have to go down to Services BC (the local government agent). If you don’t know the person you are planning to buy the car from (and sometimes even if you do) a lien check is important. It protects you from someone claiming the vehicle because the previous owner defaulted payments.

Here’s a link to a cheap carfax report: … _7_carfax/

I (heart) RFD.

Why not get something really radical …

I checked all the level’s of my fluids under the hood befor buying my first ride they were all pretty consistent the carfax report was pretty clean aswel.

Larger pic:

as of now:

^ Wow man, how could you let your car fall apart like that? I mean, when you first bought it it was a nice car, sure it needed a trailer to get it around but now? A disgrace.


I bought my car for $300 with 320,000kms on the odo, put approx $1,000 into it and it’s been running fine for me ever since. Not bad considering the number of burnouts, drifts, 100km/h shames road cruises and what not I’ve done to it. Probably because it’s a VW, although it does squeek now, needs to be lubed.

I bough tmy First Car now. Honda Civic 1989 No rust no scratches brand new clutch Brand new exaust and new ( cheap ) tread. Standard and only 190k on it. It was Chick’s car that took really good care of it. So i bought it 1500$

Pictures …

1989 Pontiac Sunbird LE for sale, $750. As is, where is. 2.0L OHC, 3 speed auto, 290000km or so. Picture of it in my avatar. Was insured as my daily driver before I bought my current car.

Those were SOHC right?


Those were a good engine, if you took good care of it (and whoever had it before) it will keep going for a good 60000 more km’s.

Heh, they were an alright engine. A whopping 96 horsepower brand new!

My car has 96Hp or Your’s does ?