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I'm considering purchasing an 08 EX-L with the about 160,000 miles on it. I've done a bit of research and the most common topic that i've seen is whether the timing belt has been replaced. What else should I be looking out for or asking about? I've seen many advertised between $5,000 and $7,000, is that a good price range?

I would be happy if it lasted 2-4 years without any major repairs, is that realistic? If you were purchasing something similar, how much would you set aside for future repairs? Thanks!
 

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2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
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Timing belt, transmission fluid changes, 4WD doesn't have VCM (eco mode) which is a plus. I don't know where you are but keep an eye out for rust.

If the car is cosmetically in poor condition, assume the owners didn't take care of the car. I know that isn't always true but I use that as a general guideline.

Assuming everything looks good (and have a trusted mechanic check it out) I probably wouldn't pay more than $6,000.
Remember it is a 12 year old car so it won't be perfect. Also if something doesn't seem right, pass on it...there are plenty available.
 

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Look for rust on the frame. If you’re buying it from the original owner ask to see the repair records. Look at the 2005 Pilot maintenance guide for service intervals; this was the last year before the maintenance minder system was introduced. Compare the 2005 guide to what was serviced. If AWD, the transfer case on 2006 is a separate service item which isn’t listed for 2003-05.
 
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I'm considering purchasing an 08 EX-L with the about 160,000 miles on it. I've done a bit of research and the most common topic that i've seen is whether the timing belt has been replaced. What else should I be looking out for or asking about? I've seen many advertised between $5,000 and $7,000, is that a good price range?

I would be happy if it lasted 2-4 years without any major repairs, is that realistic? If you were purchasing something similar, how much would you set aside for future repairs? Thanks!
2-4 years with no major maintenance is very realistic, in my opinion. But this depends on what you are willing to do up front, vs what you consider major. It is a 12 year old vehicle.

If the 08 is AWD, you are in luck, as those did not come with VCM. If it is FWD, then it has VCM. You'd need to closely monitor your oil consumption, and plan for a VCM disabler.

Here is my generic list on things to plan for with these models:

1. Timing belt. Every 105k miles or 7 years. (The 7 years recommendation is no longer use by Honda, but rubber ages, so make your own decisions there). Do you KNOW when it was last done? Do you have documentation with proof? If not, you should assume it was skipped and plan to do it immediately. $600 to $1600.

2. Spark plugs. Every 100k miles or so. You can totally spush these if you want, and aren't getting oil foiling/misfires. ONLY use OEM/NGK/Denso plugs, from a reputable source. Never buy spark plugs at Amazon/eBay (too many are counterfeit) and never let an independent shop talk you into any other plugs that they say are just as good. RockAuto is a great source and we get a 5% discount.

3. VCM disable device. See Honda Lawsuit settlement. Additionally, see Honda TSB. If the "ECO" light comes on.... (as in this has never been disabled before) then most of the damage that will be done is done.... but it's possible yours has been repaired already (aka new piston rings). These engines suffer from piston ring damage caused by Honda's variable cylinder management. There is no reason to continue using ECO mode, there are three aftermarket solutions, S-VCM, VCMuzzler, and VCMTuner and all are around $100. I would not own one of these engines without having this disabled via one of these devices, and it varies between a 5-30 minute install depending on the device you get. VCM Disablers: VCMuzzler II, S-VCM, VCM Tuner II -- Which one and *why*?

4. Transmission fluid change. These transmissions last longer if you keep the fluid fresh. If this were mine, I'd do a drain/fill with HONDA DW-1, and do this three-four times over consecutive days. If you are going to pay to have it done, just have the dealer do this service (you wont save any money at a quick change place) and the dealer will use the right fluid, and supply the crush washers that are needed. Just get your first 3 oil changes done at the dealer and have them do the transmission fluid done with each oil change, for 3-4 changes. NEVER let a quick change place use their "flush machine" on a Honda transmission. These are designed for drain/fill only! 3-4 consecutive drain/fill operations (after allowing it to mix back up) changes about 80%-90% of the fluid. Some people switch to Valvoline Maxlife instead of Honda DW-1, but if you do that I'd strongly recommend doing three-four consecutive changes to switch the majority of the fluid. Use ONLY one of these two fluids and stick with it for the remainder of the tranny life. Don't listen to anyone who advises against changing the fluid at this mileage, they are stuck in the 1980's.

5. Brake fluid flush. This needs to be done every 3 years. Most people never do it and you could easily have 9 year old fluid in there. I'd pay to have this done, and ask to get a brake pad inspection done for free (if they will). Be careful of "brake places" as many of these places are crooks.... as soon as your tires come off they try and scare you into having them do a brake service right then and there or it won't be safe, etc.. etc.. I despise their tactics. On the fluid, any DOT3 is fine. I use prestone because it is cheap in quarts and has good specs - there is no need to use Honda branded brake fluid.

6. VTEC spool valve oil leak. This is a common leak area. New gaskets can fix.

7. Valve adjustment/Valve cover gaskets. With high mileage and age, you are likely due for a valve adjustment. This is not terribly expensive, it's just labor and gaskets. If you have ANY sign of a valve cover gasket oil leak this is a no-brainer, as these have to be replaced anyway when doing a valve adjustment. Do NOT replace valve cover gaskets without having the valves at least inspected for valve clearance. I'd only trust a dealer, or an independent shop that specializes in import/Honda cars.

8. Engine air filter and cabin filter. These are just regular maintenance. Inspect and replace if needed. Most owners do not keep up with these as they should.

9. Inspect suspension. These have a little weak front struts and rear shocks, and might need replacing to return the ride characteristics back to normal. Most are due around the 100k mark but this will vary greatly on road conditions, driving habits, and region. The inner and outer tie rods can be worn out, ball joints, lower control arm bushings. Check the from sway bar links as well, they are known to wear. Front swaybar bushings are very commonly worn out with age and mileage. On the rear alignment, it is common that these sag and you get out of spec camber. There is an aftermarket upper control arm to correct this, but most people just live with it.

10. Driveshafts. You don't really need to do anything proactive for these but check for broken/split boots slinging grease everywhere, or listen for them popping during acceleration and turns.

11. Battery. You can have yours checked by an auto parts place for free and see how the cranking amps is holding up. You can also inspect the date code on the battery and get an idea of hold old it is. In Texas I replace mine every 4 years, proactively.

12. Power steering fluid. Honda brand fluid ONLY. It is cheap and easy to refresh. Most people just use the turkey baster method (youtube it). 3 cans of fluid from eBay/Amazon is about $17. The point is simply to refresh the fluid quality/additives, remove broken down fluid, and remove worn particles suspended in the fluid. NEVER run the pump dry.

14. TPMS. These sensors have a battery in them that lasts between 5 and 15 years. When they fail, you get a TPMS light. Tire shops can replace these.

15. PCV Valve. These are CHEAP, fairly simple to replace, and they can gum up/clog over time which increases oil consumption.

16. Catalytic convertors. They fail a LOT on this model, when they get old. You will throw a P0420 code. VCM makes this worse, as it gunks them up on the bank that is deactivated especially when you start consuming oil because of the ring wear issue caused by VCM. They are not cheap nor easy to swap out, but something you should be prepared for. Sometimes it is just the O2 sensors.

17. EGR. A very common source of Check Engine light/Misfires is EGR issues. EGR valves are cheap, and sometimes EGR passages on the intake need to be disassembled and cleaned.
 

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@administrator *** @boom post is an excellent list for any first generation Pilot owners or new-to-me owners. Should be a sticky post for the 2003-2008 Pilot's as these vehicles are getting older+older. With enough time+energy+knowledge we can keep these older Pilot's running for a long time. Seems to be a bunch of good repeat questions of the same type that have been posted.
 

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@administrator *** @boom post is an excellent list for any first generation Pilot owners or new-to-me owners. Should be a sticky post for the 2003-2008 Pilot's as these vehicles are getting older+older. With enough time+energy+knowledge we can keep these older Pilot's running for a long time. Seems to be a bunch of good repeat questions of the same type that have been posted.
X2 on the suggestion
 
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Yes, that's the consensus around here.

NICE!!!! Thanks for sharing ??. You can add my 2005 to the ATF to Radiator Connection fail. Very thankful that there was no pink milkshake as I’m thinking if there were it would have showed up after 3k miles.
 
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