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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a first car for my daughter - which would also serve as a ski/bike/climb family car. We live in Northern VT up in the mountains about 8 miles up a steep dirt road, so we have plenty of snow, mud (in the spring), and steep slippery/sloppy driving. Last night I looked at a 2006 Pilot EX-L with 142k. The seller is asking $5000.

The good:
Receipts for very regular oil changes (every 3k)
Lots of recent small repairs - alternator, speed sensors, suspension components, etc.
Very clean, drives nice

The bad:
Owner repaired two rust spots - over a rear wheel and the cab corner right in front of the rear wheel. Repair looks good - sandblasted, fiberglassed, bondoed, and paint matched. But rust is how cars in VT die, so I always worry about rust.
Owner has never replaced the timing belt. I'd be scared to drive it even a mile given my experience with timing belts breaking (once on a E30 325ix and once on a Jetta diesel).

So - is there anything significant that I should look for that I missed? I'm going back tonight with a light to look for rust underneath. How much does a good independent shop usually charge for a timing belt replacement? I could do it myself, but if it's only a few hundred to have a shop do the work, I'll let them. What about the price - it seems fair by local standards, but is 5k typical for a car with nearly 150k miles?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I don't have any experience with rust so I can't comment on that. If you feel it was correctly repaired and not structural, then I wouldn't be concerned.
Otherwise, I may try and get $700 off just to cover the cost of the timing belt replacement, but that's not a horrible price for the mileage. As long as the car feels tight and runs good, no reason you won't get another 100k miles out of it. Good luck!
 

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I'm looking for a first car for my daughter - which would also serve as a ski/bike/climb family car. We live in Northern VT up in the mountains about 8 miles up a steep dirt road, so we have plenty of snow, mud (in the spring), and steep slippery/sloppy driving. Last night I looked at a 2006 Pilot EX-L with 142k. The seller is asking $5000.

The good:
Receipts for very regular oil changes (every 3k)
Lots of recent small repairs - alternator, speed sensors, suspension components, etc.
Very clean, drives nice

The bad:
Owner repaired two rust spots - over a rear wheel and the cab corner right in front of the rear wheel. Repair looks good - sandblasted, fiberglassed, bondoed, and paint matched. But rust is how cars in VT die, so I always worry about rust.
Owner has never replaced the timing belt. I'd be scared to drive it even a mile given my experience with timing belts breaking (once on a E30 325ix and once on a Jetta diesel).

So - is there anything significant that I should look for that I missed? I'm going back tonight with a light to look for rust underneath. How much does a good independent shop usually charge for a timing belt replacement? I could do it myself, but if it's only a few hundred to have a shop do the work, I'll let them. What about the price - it seems fair by local standards, but is 5k typical for a car with nearly 150k miles?

Thanks in advance.
Yes, rust is a major concern. Inspect thoroughly.
SEE... Rear subframe mount rust
Just a timing belt water pump job will run you about $1200 at the dealership. To DIY, The Aisin kit plus coolant flush, new serpentine belt, serp belt tensioner and a set of new NGK Laser Iridium spark plugs would be under $400.
 
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They're 30% overdue on the timing belt. You're going to find additional rust underneath. Check big suspension and structural bolts in particular. As NailGrease notes, be very diligent in checking the rear subframe mount. Get a good look at the front and passenger side motor mounts - you'll probably find them cracked and heavily worn. If the struts and shocks haven't been replaced, they're done, too. Also check the spare - if it's the original mini, it's no longer safe and should be replaced with a full size wheel and tire. Even if the rust is OK, those three items will cost $600 - $700 in parts.

Other risk areas with that mileage are transmission and critical rubber parts, especially ball joint boots and CV boots.

The general market seems to disagree with me, but I wouldn't go over $3,500 to avoid being hugely upside down in the car when you have to spend more on it in the future. If you're not doing the work yourself, old Pilots are relatively expensive vehicles to maintain.
 

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Edmunds average value for a private party sale is about $3,500.
Deduct about $1K for the timing belt and $2,500 would be a realistic offer.

Do the service receipts show regular (about every 30K miles) transmission and rear differential fluid changes?

Also,check the VIN to see if the airbag recalls have been completed:
Recall Information for Safety & Defects | Honda Owners Site
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses - I'm going to pass on this one. I like the car, but that's an expensive timing belt change. I'd do the timing belt myself, but I've been scared off of them since I did my own TB on my old Jetta TDI. It ran fine for about 12k miles after I changed the belt and then the belt broke and destroyed the engine. I'm not sure whether I screwed up the install or whether I got a faulty tensioner, but either way I'm reluctant to take on a timing belt job myself. Thanks for the input. I'll keep looking and maybe will be back if I find another pilot.
 

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Price is high, check for any subframe uni-body rust and worn suspension components will be important for any used vehicle at this age and price range. Small repair records are positives but avoiding the recommended timing belt replacement could be negotiated in the deal as that maintenance is crucial for the Pilot to run at least another 100k+. With proper maintenance most Pilots can be a good used vehicle purchase.
 

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When I was selling my 1996 Accord, I had someone test drive it and take it to their mechanic. The mechanic had a pretty long list of stuff that needing to be replaced. Timing belt was on the list. I listed the car for $3,000 which may seem high, but similar cars were going for around that price. The guy tried to negotiate about $2,000 off the price due to all of the stuff that needed attention. I essentially told him to take a hike (much friendlier than that). The car sold for $2,500 about 3 hrs later.

Basically, with older high mileage cars there will always be something wrong with it. Suspension, tires, timing belt, etc. Personally, if I were selling that car, I wouldn't be too motivated to sell it to someone asking for $1,200 off because the timing belt is due. I have to imagine there are enough people out there who are looking for cars and would never think to ask when/if the timing belt has been replaced. Just a thought.
 
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