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  • The lists go back and forth itemizing things that should be good and potential problems, for example:
So try to make them all either one or the other.
Much clearer and consistent. (y)

Forgot this one, though:
Yellow: Ignition switch works smoothly without sticking or binding ($500)
Change to: Yellow: Ignition switch doesn't work smoothly without sticking or binding ($500)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Thanks for the additional feedback and quality proof-reading!

Looks pretty good ^^, prices I presume are parts + general labor (e.g. not DIY).
When I started thinking about this, my thought on the $ was the amount I would knock off Blue Book price for that particular issue, so yeah, basically parts and labor. I also assumed that for jobs like LCA's most mechanically-inclined owners would do everything related at the same time (links, struts, etc.).

Maybe a better way to approach this is to use plplplpl's idea and include an explicit "what to do next" section, like:

After You Bring It Home

1. Jobs that need to happen immediately.

If the timing belt is more than 10k overdue or unknown, replace it and the timing belt tensioner before you drive it.

While you're in there, also replace the water pump, serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner, and power steering pump belt ('03 & '04). Check the passenger side and front motor mounts. This will cost $1,500 or so in a shop, or $500 or so in parts. The Aisin kit is recommended for the timing belt and water pump. The Continental or Gates kit is recommended for the serpentine belt. Honda OEM is recommended for motor mounts.

Depending on your personality, replacing the radiator may be the right call. Denso is OEM-equivalent. With Honda OEM hoses and a new Honda OEM thermostat, it will cost $500 or so in a shop, or $200 or so in parts.

Unless you have records showing recent fluid replacement, change the oil and filter, the VTM-4 fluid (Honda OEM only), the transmission fluid (Honda OEM only), coolant (Honda OEM recommended) and brake fluid.


2. Jobs that you'll be glad you did sooner rather than later

If the front suspension is obviously worn or original, replace the struts (KYB StrutPlus), sway bar links (Honda OEM), sway bar bushings (Honda OEM) and outer steering links (Honda OEM). Check the inner steering links. Do the rear shocks at the same time. This will cost $1,200 or so in a shop, or $600 for parts plus an alignment. Lower control arm replacement is recommended and easy while you're in there, and will add between $150 and $300 to the parts cost.

Doing the front axles as part of this job will save time and another alignment if they need to be replaced. Price of parts depends on how much you want to spend. Cheap replacements are under $100 each and work fine, although durability is unknown.

Checking valve clearance also provides an opportunity to inspect and clean up the PCV / EGR system. Replace the spark plugs (NGK PZFR5F11 only, beware of counterfeits on Amazon) at the same time. Fel-Pro gasket sets are convenient and reasonably priced. $600 or so for valves only in a shop, $100 for parts only.

A failing ignition switch will work until it doesn't, stranding someone at the most inconvenient possible time.


3. Projects for when you get around to it

Essentially everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Latest version, with everyone's comments incorporated. More feedback is always welcome!

Shopping for a First Generation Pilot

Pilots are popular, so asking prices for used Pilots can be relatively high. Paying significantly more than the Kelly Blue Book price for a really good one might be fair, but as of late 2020, those are rare: first-gen Pilots (2003 - 2008) are 13 - 18 years old. Even those that are well maintained with low mileage have parts that are wearing out or aging out.

This list is intended to help prospective owners identify a reasonably well-maintained vehicle that can be driven economically for another 50k - 100k miles. It focuses on Pilot-specific issues, and should be used as a supplement to a normal used-car checklist like the one from Popular Mechanics, attached below. It should also help you negotiate price concessions from the owner to address the shortcomings that you find.

Points to check are organized and color coded to follow the Popular Mechanics system:

Green - noted, not serious
Yellow - Cause for concern
Red - Serious issue
Deal Breaker

If the vehicle checks out, paying an experienced mechanic to do another inspection before you buy is still well worth the cost.

Self Check

First-gen pilots are not great vehicles for everyone. They're not "drive 'em and forget 'em" - Pilots require regular attention to maintenance unless purchased as a “disposable”. This is not inexpensive if you pay someone else to do it for you.

If you can’t say “Yes” to most of the following, consider a newer model.
  • You plan to do most of the work on your Pilot yourself. If you lack experience, Hondas are great cars to learn on and instructional resources are widely available. Time, room to work, and your own interest are bigger factors.
  • You know and trust a local independent mechanic (not a Honda dealer) to do any work you don’t.
  • Your budget (time and money) will tolerate catching up on deferred maintenance. Plan on spending at least another $500 - $1000 after you pay for the vehicle to get it sorted out.
  • You expect to invest over time in non-critical repairs and upgrades.
  • You expect “stone age” (1990’s vintage) tech and media, and limited upgrade options.
  • You’re comfortable with the low but non-zero risk of major repair like transmission replacement.
The Basics

Yellow: The 2WD variants for 2006-2008 models include VCM (Variable Cylinder Management), intended to improve fuel economy. VCM also spawned a cottage industry dedicated to disabling it to avoid it’s unintended consequences. It’s been blamed for excessive oil consumption, spark plug fouling, misfires and misfire codes, worn engine mounts, and excessive vibration.

On the other hand, others like the updated features, don’t want 4WD, and don’t have complaints about VCM. There’s ample reading material on the forum to research this further and form your own opinion.

Deal Breaker: 250k+ miles. Pilots don’t last forever. There are plenty out there with more life left.
Deal Breaker: Missed recall services. There have been multiple recalls. If these were neglected, what else was?

Interior

Green: The lights that illuminate the center console climate control buttons are burned out. New bulbs are cheap.
Green: Any of the 5 door locks doesn’t operate remotely. Actuator replacement is $100. each for the part.
Green: DVD player for rear entertainment system doesn’t work. Not playing BluRay discs is normal. OEM replacement units are becoming difficult to find.
Green: Steering wheel audio controls don’t work with an aftermarket audio head unit. Probably impossible to fix.
Green: Rear console climate control fan speed doesn’t vary automatically. A thermistor replacement is cheap but requires careful soldering, the OEM part that's plug-and-play is $120.

Yellow: Ignition switch sticking or binding. It's a $700+ dealer repair, or a non-trivial DIY.
Yellow: Rear console climate control only blows warm (A/C service)
Yellow: Second row seats (potentially expensive and difficult; some parts are not available separately.)
—don’t fold almost flat on both sides
—don’t fold half way and slide forward on both sides to allow third-row access

Exterior

Green: Minor checking or crazing in the paint. Paint on these cars is tough. A thorough detailing will solve a lot of cosmetic problems.

Red: Cheap tires. Good tires for a Pilot aren’t cheap. Cheap ones can be indicative of an owner who didn't care about, or couldn't afford, good maintenance.

Chassis / Underbody

Green: Compact spare tire. If original, it’s aged out and dangerous. If current, it’s still terrible. $150 to replace with new full-size wheel & tire.

Yellow: No record of VTM-4 (rear differential) fluid replacement in last 30k miles. Link is for Honda Ridgeline, but procedure for a Pilot is identical.
Yellow: Worn front lower control arms indicated by cracks or tears in the rubber parts. Parts will be $200-400.
Yellow: Tears or cracks in CV boots. Parts will be $200 - 400.
Yellow: Original struts and shocks, regardless of condition. A full set of KYB's will be $350. for parts.

Deal Breaker: The attachment points of the rear subframe to the unibody are a weak spot in these vehicles. Repair is more complicated than taking it to your trusted mechanic. Look for:
— rear subframe mount rust perforation
— widespread or locally severe unibody rust.
— history of significant rear-end or rear-side impact.

Engine

Green: Original radiator, primarily 2005. Failure blends coolant with ATF and quickly destroys the transmission. $250 for a replacement.

Yellow: Valve-clearance check past due (100k) or no receipts. Parts are less than $50, but a pro will charge $500 for the time involved.
Yellow: Front and passenger-side motor mounts showing significant cracks or tears. OEM parts are recommended, and will cost $350.

Red: Timing belt past due for replacement (105k / 7 years). Without a sticker on the firewall or receipts, assume its original. This is a fairly involved DIY. Parts will cost $350. A pro will charge $1,000.
Red: No record of transmission fluid replacement in last 30k miles.

Deal Breaker: Any serious transmission warnings. They are not bulletproof. Replacement by a pro is $4,000.
— Shifting is harsh or loud
— ATF is very dark or smells burned
— Metal flakes in the transmission. This is most easily checked by a pro, but may be worth it if you're considering paying a premium price for an apparent cream puff.

On the Road

Green: A soft, floaty ride indicates worn struts and shocks.

Yellow: Vague steering indicates worn ball joints or steering links. Parts will be around $400 for links and complete lower control arms.
Yellow: Grinding on sharp low-speed turns can indicate worn CV joints. Replacement axles vary widely in price.

After You Bring It Home

1. Jobs that need to happen immediately.

If the timing belt is more than 10k overdue or unknown, replace it and its tensioner before you drive farther.

While you're in there, replace the water pump, serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner, and power steering pump belt ('03 & '04). Check the passenger side and front motor mounts, too. Doing everything will cost $1,200 or so for a pro, or $600 or so in parts. The Aisin kit is recommended for the timing belt and water pump. The Continental or Gates kit is recommended for the serpentine belt. Honda OEM is recommended for motor mounts.

Depending on your personality, replacing the radiator may be the right call. If yours made it this long, it's either a survivor or has already been replaced. On the other hand, its a cheap job that can avoid an expensive one. Denso is OEM-equivalent. With Honda OEM hoses and a new Honda OEM thermostat, it will cost $600 or so in a shop, or around $275 for parts.

Unless you have records showing recent fluid replacement, change the oil and filter, the VTM-4 fluid (Honda OEM only), the transmission fluid (Honda OEM only), coolant (Honda OEM recommended) and brake fluid.

2. Jobs that you'll be glad you did sooner rather than later

If the front suspension is obviously worn or original, replace the struts (KYB StrutPlus), sway bar links (Honda OEM), sway bar bushings (Honda OEM) and outer steering links (Honda OEM). Check the inner steering links. Do the rear shocks (KYB again) at the same time. This will cost $1,200 or so in a shop, or $600 for parts plus an alignment. Lower control arm replacement is recommended and easy while you're in there, and will add between $150 and $300 to the parts cost.

If the front axles are on their way out, replacing them as part of this job will save time and another alignment. Price of parts depends on how much you want to spend. Cheap replacement axles are under $100 each and work fine, although durability is questionable.

Checking valve clearance also provides an opportunity to inspect and clean up the PCV / EGR system. Replace the spark plugs (NGK PZFR5F11 only, beware of counterfeits on Amazon) at the same time. Fel-Pro gasket sets are convenient and reasonably priced. $600 or so for valves only in a shop, $100 for parts only.

A failing ignition switch will warn you of its condition, then work until it doesn't, stranding someone at the most inconvenient possible time. Since this is not a simple fix, define your strategy and plan ahead.

3. Projects for when you get around to it

Essentially everything else on this list is non-critical.

Upgrades are personal, but many are great bang for the buck.
 

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Looks like a good checklist. I would add a couple of details from my own experience:

Suspension--expect to replace the front lower control arms. Don't bother trying to replace control arm bushings and ball joints, just get complete new arms.
Fluids--assume that the transfer case and rear differential have not been serviced recently, and replace the fluids
Transmission--the 2003-2005 models have external ATF filters. Assume that they have been ignored, and replace them
EGR system--probably full of soot, plan to clean it out, especially the small manifold passages, or you will get misfire codes
Ignition key cylinder--the wafers nearest the key slot wear out, and lead to jamming. It is possible to remove only the worn wafers and restore perfect function. Or you can pay the dealer to install a new cylinder and reprogram the immobilizer system.
 

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Love this thread, since I'm in the market for another 1st gen. Is there certain year 1st gens with transmission issues more so than another? 06-08 AWD is the preferred choice it seems?
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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IMHO, yes. 2006-2008 preferred. Plus you get the way cool Altezza headlights and taillights. :)

140573
 

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my big 3 deal killers
1. rear subframe rust with caveat - can get a really good deal if your willing to do the repair
2. lack of oil change history
3. lack of transmission fluid change history
4. lack of repair history in general

then look thru your list of expected repairs vs. repair history to pick out a well maintained car - if your patient in your search you can find a gem.

side note: I live in the rust belt. My son bought a 03" Toyota Rav4 in Alabama, no rust at all on the car. We worked thru the suspension update, fluid changes, steering rack leaky seal, 02 sensors. Starting with a southern car without rust made it such a better starting point. Before he moved to Colorado we treated it with Eastwood anti rust in the doors, fenders, frame etc.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Southern cars can be good concerning rust, but look for signs of flooding on coastal vehicles. What does that leave, Arizona? :D

On another note, why isn't this a sticky yet? OP, PM a mod. As much as I like Busaboo's Build, it's 5 years old and he has long since moved on. I think there are more people interested in what to look for when 1st gen Pilot-hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Thanks to all for their suggestions and improvements. I think this is a very solid guide to first-gen Pilot-specific issues.

Shopping for a First Generation Pilot

Pilots are popular, so asking prices for used Pilots can be relatively high. Paying significantly more than the Kelly Blue Book price for a really good one might be fair, but as of late 2020, really good ones are rare: first-gen Pilots (2003 - 2008) are 13 - 18 years old. Even those that are well maintained with low mileage have parts that are wearing out or aging out.

This list is intended to help prospective owners identify a reasonably well-maintained vehicle that can be driven economically for another 50k - 100k miles. It focuses on Pilot-specific issues, and should be used as a supplement to a normal used-car checklist like the one from Popular Mechanics (attached below).

It should also help you negotiate price concessions from the owner to address the shortcomings that you find.

Points to check are organized and color coded to follow the Popular Mechanics system:

Green - noted, not serious
Yellow - Cause for concern
Red - Serious issue
Deal Breaker - For most people, a bad idea

If the vehicle checks out, paying an experienced mechanic to do another inspection before you buy is still well worth the cost.

Self Check

First-gen pilots are not great vehicles for everyone. They're not "drive 'em and forget 'em" - unless you're buying it as a “disposable”, Pilots require regular attention to maintenance . This will be expensive if you pay someone else to do it for you.

If you can’t say “Yes” to most of the following, consider a newer model.
  • You plan to do most of the work on your Pilot yourself. If you lack experience, Hondas are great cars to learn on and instructional resources are widely available. Time, room to work, and your own interest are bigger factors.
  • You know and trust a local independent mechanic (not a Honda dealer) to do any work you don’t.
  • Your budget (time and money) will tolerate catching up on deferred maintenance. Plan on spending at least another $500 - $1000 after you pay for the vehicle to get it sorted out.
  • You expect to invest over time in non-critical repairs and upgrades.
  • You expect “stone age” (1990’s vintage) tech and media, and limited upgrade options.
  • You’re comfortable with the low but non-zero risk of major repair like transmission replacement.
Which Year?

There are no absolutes on which year is "best". A well-maintained "2003 vehicle is a far better place to start than a mediocre vehicle from whatever the "best" year might be. However, there are factors that might influence personal preference:

Green: 2003 was the first year Pilots were manufactured.
Green: Anecdotally, transmission failures are possibly more likely at around 150k miles on 2003 - 2005 models.
Green: 2005 models had a higher rate of radiator failure.
Green: 2006 - 2008 models added side-curtain air bags.

Yellow: The 2WD variants for 2006-2008 models include VCM (Variable Cylinder Management), intended to improve fuel economy. VCM also spawned a cottage industry dedicated to disabling it to avoid it’s unintended consequences. It’s been blamed for excessive oil consumption, spark plug fouling, misfires and misfire codes, worn engine mounts, and excessive vibration.

On the other hand, others like the updated features, don’t want 4WD, and don’t have complaints about VCM. There’s ample reading material on the forum to research this further and form your own opinion.

The Basics

Green: Pilots are susceptible hidden rust. If you're looking at a rust-belt car, pay special attention to the chassis / underbody section of this guide. If you're really looking for a creampuff, shop for a sun-belt or west coast car with paint that indicates it has been garaged.
Deal Breaker: 250k+ miles. Pilots don’t last forever. There are plenty out there with more life left.
Deal Breaker: Missed recall services. There have been multiple recalls. Run the VIN to see if the vehicle is current, especially for the airbags. See Recall Information for Safety & Defects | Honda Owners Site. If recalls were neglected, what else was?

Interior

Green: The lights that illuminate the center console climate control buttons are burned out. New bulbs are cheap.
Green: Any of the 5 door locks doesn’t operate remotely. Actuator replacement is $100. each for the part.
Green: DVD player for rear entertainment system doesn’t work. Not playing BluRay discs is normal. OEM replacement units are becoming difficult to find.
Green: Steering wheel audio controls don’t work with an aftermarket audio head unit. Probably impossible to fix.
Green: Rear console climate control fan speed doesn’t vary automatically. A thermistor replacement is cheap but requires careful soldering, the OEM part that's plug-and-play is $120.

Yellow: Ignition switch sticking or binding. It's possible that only the wafers nearest the key slot have worn out. It is possible to remove and replace only the worn wafers. Otherwise, it's a $700+ dealer repair.
Yellow: Rear console climate control only blows warm (A/C service)
Yellow: Second row seats (potentially expensive and difficult; some parts are not available separately.)
—don’t fold almost flat on both sides
—don’t fold half way and slide forward on both sides to allow third-row access

Exterior

Green: Minor checking or crazing in the paint. Paint on these cars is tough. A thorough detailing will solve a lot of cosmetic problems.

Red: Cheap tires. Good tires for a Pilot aren’t cheap. Cheap tires can be indicative of an owner who didn't care about, or couldn't afford, good maintenance.

Chassis / Underbody

Green: Compact spare tire. If original, it’s aged out and dangerous. $150 to replace with new full-size wheel & tire, or about $75 for a new compact tire if the rim is OK.
Green: Regardless of what you find in your inspection, expect to replace the front lower control arms. Note that it is possible to press out the old bushings and ball joints, but it is not economical. Buy new, complete control arms.

Yellow: No record of VTM-4 (rear differential) fluid replacement in last 30k miles. Link is for Honda Ridgeline, but procedure for a Pilot is identical. This is likely; expect to do this job immediately.
Yellow: Worn front lower control arms indicated by cracks or tears in the rubber parts. Parts will be $200-400.
Yellow: Tears or cracks in CV boots. Parts will be $200 - 400.
Yellow: Original struts and shocks, regardless of condition. A full set of KYB's will be $350. for parts.

Deal Breaker: The attachment points of the rear subframe to the unibody are a weak spot in these vehicles. Repair is more complicated than taking it to your trusted mechanic. Look for:
— rear subframe mount rust perforation
— widespread or locally severe unibody rust.
— history of significant rear-end or rear-side impact.

If you are willing to undertake this repair, you might find a very low-cost Pilot.

Engine

Green: The EGR system is prone to clogging over time. Opening the top cover on the intake manifold will reveal either carbon and varnish or not. Replacing the PCV valve is easy if you need to clean the rest of the system.
Green: Original radiator, primarily 2005. Failure blends coolant with ATF and quickly destroys the transmission. $250 for a replacement.
Green: Original transmission filter on 2003 - 2005 models. Honda doesn't define a service interval. Plan to replace it when you get home.

Yellow: Valve-clearance check past due (100k) or no receipts showing when it was done. Parts are less than $50, but a pro will charge $500 for the time involved.
Yellow: Front and passenger-side motor mounts showing significant cracks or tears. OEM parts are recommended, and will cost $350.

Red: Timing belt past due for replacement (105k / 7 years). Without a sticker on the firewall or receipts showing it was done, assume it's original. Failure is very likely to total the engine. This job is a fairly involved DIY. Parts will cost $350. A pro will charge $1,000.
Red: No record of transmission fluid replacement in last 30k miles.

Deal Breaker: Any serious transmission warnings. They are not bulletproof. Replacement by a pro is $4,000.
— Shifting is harsh or loud
— ATF is very dark or smells burned
— Metal flakes in the transmission. This is most easily checked by a pro, but may be worth it if you're considering paying a premium price for an apparent cream puff.

On the Road

Green: A soft, floaty ride indicates worn struts and shocks.

Yellow: Vague steering indicates worn ball joints or steering links. Parts will be around $400 for links and complete lower control arms.
Yellow: Grinding on sharp low-speed turns can indicate worn CV joints. Replacement axles vary widely in price.

After You Bring It Home

1. Jobs that need to happen immediately:

If the timing belt is more than 10k overdue or unknown, replace it and its tensioner before you drive farther.

While you're in there, replace the water pump, serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner, and power steering pump belt ('03 & '04). Check the passenger side and front motor mounts, too. Doing everything will cost $1,200 - $1,500 for a pro, or $600 or so in parts. The Aisin kit is recommended for the timing belt and water pump. The Continental or Gates kit is recommended for the serpentine belt. Honda OEM is recommended for motor mounts.

Depending on your personality, replacing the radiator may be the right call. If yours made it this long, it's either a survivor or has already been replaced. On the other hand, its a cheap job that can prevent an expensive one. Denso is OEM-equivalent. With Honda OEM hoses and a new Honda OEM thermostat, it will cost $600 or so in a shop, or around $275 for parts.

Unless you have records showing recent fluid replacement, change the oil and filter, the VTM-4 fluid (Honda OEM only), the transmission fluid (Honda OEM only), coolant (Honda OEM recommended) and brake fluid.

2. Jobs that you'll be glad you did sooner rather than later:

The EGR System probably needs to be cleaned out. If you do this, checking your valve clearance is not much more involved.

If the front suspension is original or soft (regardless of age), replace the struts (KYB StrutPlus), sway bar links (Honda OEM), sway bar bushings (Honda OEM) and outer steering links (Honda OEM). Check the inner steering links. Do the rear shocks (KYB again) at the same time. This will cost $1,200 or so in a shop, or $600 for parts plus an alignment. Lower control arm replacement is recommended and easy while you're in there, and will add between $150 and $300 to the parts cost.

If the front axles are on their way out, replacing them as part of this job will save time and another alignment. Price of parts depends on how much you want to spend. Cheap replacement axles are under $100 each and work fine, although durability is questionable.

Checking valve clearance also provides an opportunity to inspect and clean up the PCV / EGR system. Replace the spark plugs (NGK PZFR5F11 only, beware of counterfeits on Amazon) at the same time. Fel-Pro gasket sets are convenient and reasonably priced. $600 or so for a pro to check the valves, $100 for parts only for the whole job.

A failing ignition switch will warn you of its condition, then work until it doesn't, stranding someone at the most inconvenient possible time. Since this may not be a simple fix, define your strategy and plan ahead.

3. Projects for when you get around to it

Essentially everything else on this list is non-critical. Use the search function on the forum to find out how to fix almost anything on a Pilot.

Upgrades are personal, but many are great bang for the buck.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Excellent. Time to stickify, o powers that be.
 

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why aren't there more stickys? probably the biggest weakness of this forum (I have an E46, E46Fanatics is excellent in this area).
 

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There are many stickies. Typically a new poster ignores or doesn't see them and posts anyway. However stickies that don't get used or posted in for over 1 year get unstickied.

We're aware of your desire for sticking this thread. We'll watch with interest and decide.
 

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Red: Cheap tires. Good tires for a Pilot aren’t cheap. Cheap tires can be indicative of an owner who didn't care about, or couldn't afford, good maintenance.
Seriously?
Trust me, there are many wealthy people that buy Michelin tires because they believe their getting the best. Ignoring maintanance crosses all walks of life for different reasons.
I know a very wealthy person who never raises the hood of his truck, getting his oil changed at the quick lube and throwing in a generic air filter from time to time. You would not want to buy his vehicle when he's done with it, no matter what tires he currently has on it, lol.
Some people may buy inexpensive tires to get by. Change their own oil and drain their own transmission fluid, following a maintanance guide. To judge a vehicles condition based on wether it has new set of Michelin tires or old Kumhos would just be ridiculous thinking. Stick to looking for neglect.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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I would favor an owner who has either Michelins or Kumhos over one who stuck to the mediocre OEM tires, or worse, tires that don't match.
 

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I would favor an owner who has either Michelins or Kumhos over one who stuck to the mediocre OEM tires, or worse, tires that don't match.
But even mismatched tires is no indication. I've been 300 miles from home and cut a tire. You must buy whatever may be available in the next town. I may ride like that until I need a full set. If it works, why change it?
 

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But even mismatched tires is no indication. I've been 300 miles from home and cut a tire. You must buy whatever may be available in the next town. I may ride like that until I need a full set. If it works, why change it?
Is your silence proving you think I'm cheap and you wouldn't want to buy my used vehicle? Lol
 

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@Nail Grease I laugh because until yesterday, I had 3 different tires on my Pilot after one in my rear pair blew a hole in the sidewall. My full-size spare was a Blizzak winter tire (just barely past the 50% super-performance marker). Now all four of them are going to the dumpster :) I make the most of my tires. I have two full sets of winter tires at 75% tread: Blizzak DM-V2, and GoodYear UltraGrip Ice (just installed). I'm interested to see how the GoodYear's perform - I only got them because I got a stupid good deal (<$200 no rims).

And to actually something to the topic at hand: this list is great. Educate yourself here, check everything, and then trust your gut. It would also be nice to have a similar checklist for Maintenance After Purchase, with cascading maintenance items at 100k (water pump, tbelt, suspension), 150k (radiator, struts/shocks), and 200k (all suspension, tbelt again, transmission drain-refill x whatever). Along with a "symptom -> root cause" list for troubleshooting. My current Pilot I got at 160k 2 years ago, and now it has 210k. I tow boats, I tow snowmobiles, drive mountain passes, and camp on forest service roads. This vehicle can handle it all if your hell-bent on doing all maintenance yourself.

--Chris N.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Is your silence proving you think I'm cheap and you wouldn't want to buy my used vehicle? Lol
I was camping with the Pilot. Love those fall colors.

Far be it from me to cast aspersions on your lifestyle choices, so I'll leave it to p. 260 of the Owner's Manual to admonish you. :p

140742
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Seriously?
...

To judge a vehicles condition based on wether it has new set of Michelin tires or old Kumhos would just be ridiculous thinking. Stick to looking for neglect.
I included this one because it rang true for me.

There's inexpensive tires, and there's cheap tires. The guy last week that had a purchased-used Continental delaminate and chew up his wheel well was on cheap tires.

Something I realized when I started thinking about this is that there are very few absolutes. Even a failed rear-suspension subframe mount isn't a deal-killer for everyone. But all other things being equal, a first-gen Pilot on 4 cheap tires seems less likely to be well-maintained than one on something a little more mainstream.

This is a community effort. If consensus is that this is bad guidance, it should come out. Or maybe it should be reduced to a "Yellow" (Cause for Concern). You tell me, folks.

By the way, I really like the idea for a maintenance checklist. Not enough to start on it myself this week, but I definitely like it enough to contribute.
 
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