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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've have a 2004 EX that has provided us with 138k miles and 16+ years of great service. During that time it has transitioned from the family car, to a second car, to the third car that my teens drove. Sadly, it's time to move on even though it's still in pretty good shape.

What's the sale/trade in market like for the original Pilots? I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with. Is it even worth getting a quote from Carmax, or should I just trade it in to the dealership who offers me the lowest overall purchace/trade price? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

MA_Pilot
 

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I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with.
I'm consistently surprised at how strong the market is for clean first gen Pilots. Check Cars.com or similar to get a feel for your local market.

I think that this is really a matter of personal preference. With a private sale, you'll get more, but you have more headaches. If you have full maintenance records and its not rusty, price it high and see what happens. You can always change your mind.

Depending on your personal situation, donating it to your favorite local cause might be a good option. Another strategy is to pick the car you want to buy, then let two dealers bid against each other for out-the-door price with your trade.

Finally, I suspect that if you put it up here with lots of pictures and priced it 10% below blue book, it would be out of your driveway in a week.
 

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I've have a 2004 EX that has provided us with 138k miles and 16+ years of great service. During that time it has transitioned from the family car, to a second car, to the third car that my teens drove. Sadly, it's time to move on even though it's still in pretty good shape.

What's the sale/trade in market like for the original Pilots? I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with. Is it even worth getting a quote from Carmax, or should I just trade it in to the dealership who offers me the lowest overall purchace/trade price? Any advice would be appreciated.
If you're curious, see what CarMax will offer for your vehicle.
At least it gives you a baseline number.

It's unlikely that a new car dealer would keep a trade-in vehicle of that age and with that mileage on their lot to resell.
So, their trade-in offer will be based upon whatever value the auto auction guidebooks show.

You can check Edmunds, for example, to get a ballpark estimate of the private sale price you might expect.
Then decide if it's worth the effort to advertise and show the vehicle to prospective buyers.
 

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2003-2005 are pretty worn out and had really bad transmission issues. Plus they just look much older than the 2006-2008. It’s amazing to me how much 2006-2008s sell for in my area while older ones don’t go for much. Plus it seems like people really don’t take car of these cars so it’s hard to find one in decent condition.

I certainly wouldn’t sell it to Carmax because I doubt you’ll get that much. Private sale will get you the most money for your car.
 

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138k is still a baby your Pilot is just getting started... some of us are 300k and still going strong ..sounds like it's more of a meh we want something newer :)
 

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The only way I'd consider a pre-facelift first gen is if I knew the transmission had been replaced. And I had years before the timing belt needed to be done. The transmission failure rate is way too high for my comfort level on cheaper vehicles and the timing belt is money and time I wouldn't want to spend on something I just picked up.

Of course, price changes everything.
 

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I've have a 2004 EX that has provided us with 138k miles and 16+ years of great service. During that time it has transitioned from the family car, to a second car, to the third car that my teens drove. Sadly, it's time to move on even though it's still in pretty good shape.

What's the sale/trade in market like for the original Pilots? I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with. Is it even worth getting a quote from Carmax, or should I just trade it in to the dealership who offers me the lowest overall purchace/trade price? Any advice would be appreciated.
CarMax provides a no obligation quote in 20 min or less. I've had good experience with CarMax unloading two vehicles there with zero pressure to purchase. After one transaction was completed with check in hand I was asked if I had more vehicles so I got rid of two vehicles that day. I needed a ride home LOL.

YMMV: One jeep dealer refused to increase the trade-in value of my vehicle (7K) and directed me to CarMax where got 10K check in twenty minutes. I went home and did an online purchase at another dealer with a better deal.
 

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I've have a 2004 EX that has provided us with 138k miles and 16+ years of great service. During that time it has transitioned from the family car, to a second car, to the third car that my teens drove. Sadly, it's time to move on even though it's still in pretty good shape.

What's the sale/trade in market like for the original Pilots? I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with. Is it even worth getting a quote from Carmax, or should I just trade it in to the dealership who offers me the lowest overall purchace/trade price? Any advice would be appreciated.
I think the trade-in value for your Pilot would max at 2-3K but retail at around 4-5K. I think if it was posted here (if it meets forum rules) the demand for clean first generation Pilots exists. IMO the styling was okay in 2004 but compared to the look-a-like jelly bean styling of current SUVs it starts to stand-out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all, even though the car is old maybe I should at least see what Carmax has to say so I have a baseline.

This is still a good, safe, and reliable car that has been well maintained. My son will be getting a new commuter car for college and work this summer, so keeping a 5th car on hand just isn't practical. We got our money's worth out of our Pilot and them some, so whatever value it has left is just the icing on the cake. :)
 

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Thanks all, even though the car is old maybe I should at least see what Carmax has to say so I have a baseline.

This is still a good, safe, and reliable car that has been well maintained. My son will be getting a new commuter car for college and work this summer, so keeping a 5th car on hand just isn't practical. We got our money's worth out of our Pilot and them some, so whatever value it has left is just the icing on the cake. :)
Carmax is definitely a good baseline.
 

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When I sell cars, the first 2 places I check are Craigslist and FB Marketplace. That will tell you 2 things - 1) the price range that your car is selling for in your immediate area, which can help determine price point, and 2) how many 'like vehicles' you're competing with to sell it.

If there are 20 Pilots listed on those sites and those comparable vehicles (age, mileage, condition and maintenance) have been listed on on there 3-4 months, then it may be a tough sell.

On the other hand, don't let a little competition stop you. I sold my wife's old car in 2 weeks when there were 50+ of the same make/model on Marketplace. Her car was babied, had relatively low mileage and had some new parts (exhaust, etc.). We asked a fair price in the middle of the private sale range listed on KBB and had multiple offers.

The question about demand? I feel that people are always on the lookout for cheap reliable cars, and 4WD/AWD tend to sell pretty quick in areas that see real winter. In my experience, it's never too difficult to sell well-maintained older vehicles in the $2500-3000 price range. Under that price point and people get wary, and over $3000 (even for older AWD) tends to reduce the number of prospective buyers.
 

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Something else to consider - let your friends and neighbors know you're selling it. Many of them also probably have kids that need a car, and if you're the only owner then they know the history and effort you take with your vehicle. I've sold cars to friends and bought my wife's current Impreza off neighbors.
 

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The only way I'd consider a pre-facelift first gen is if I knew the transmission had been replaced. And I had years before the timing belt needed to be done. The transmission failure rate is way too high for my comfort level on cheaper vehicles and the timing belt is money and time I wouldn't want to spend on something I just picked up.

Of course, price changes everything.
I disagree. If the OP lives in a no salt area, his Pilot could have a 100k miles or more left. My 2003 with 215k miles runs like a champ. Doesn't burn oil, good power, good gas mileage, smooth and quick shifts. Did a great job towing a camper trailer last year. Don't diss the early Pilots just because of whatever. My old girl is dying of the Minnesota rusties. Otherwise, she probably has another 100k in her. I just sprung for a 2018 EXL, and my son is getting the old girl.
 

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I've have a 2004 EX that has provided us with 138k miles and 16+ years of great service. During that time it has transitioned from the family car, to a second car, to the third car that my teens drove. Sadly, it's time to move on even though it's still in pretty good shape.

What's the sale/trade in market like for the original Pilots? I'm assuming it's not worth much, so I'm not sure that seeking a private sale is even worth bothering with. Is it even worth getting a quote from Carmax, or should I just trade it in to the dealership who offers me the lowest overall purchace/trade price? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

MA_Pilot
Perhaps you should have your mechanic put the car on the lift, and check for rust on the unit body. If the rear subframe/cross member connections are still solid, then your Pilot should have quite a few miles left. Don't be afraid to ask for a fair price. A good, reliable AWD Honda, even older, is a premium used car. Lots of families looking on Craigslist for a decent used SUV. Your Pilot is not a junker, somebody will snap it up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I live in New England, so there is some rust near the rear bumper. It has been under the care of a skilled independent mechanic who has a Honda Pilot himself, and he hasn't raised any concerns about the safety of the car. I've been very impressed with him and trust his shop to do the expensive repairs on my car any day of the week. They did my timing belt/water pump, adjusted the valves, do all of my brake work, etc.
 

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I live in New England, so there is some rust near the rear bumper.
Honda used metal for the rear inner impact bumper. At this stage of the game most if not all first gen Pilots in the rust belt will have rusty rear impact bumpers. Fortunately replacements are available on eBay. Mine leaves cookie crumb rust chips wherever I park LOL
 

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I live in New England, so there is some rust near the rear bumper. It has been under the care of a skilled independent mechanic who has a Honda Pilot himself, and he hasn't raised any concerns about the safety of the car. I've been very impressed with him and trust his shop to do the expensive repairs on my car any day of the week. They did my timing belt/water pump, adjusted the valves, do all of my brake work, etc.
I would not worry too much about the bumper. In my post above, I was referring to the rear subframe, and where it connects to the unit body. The rear subframe holds the differential, and also ties in the rear axles, rear springs and shocks, and the trailing arms and sway bar links. It is a very critical assembly. Old Pilots in salt states suffer from rusted out mounting bolts for this critical assembly. The rear driver side mount connection to the unit body seems to be the first one to go. If your Pilot is still good in this area, then there should be many miles left on the rear unit body. Ask your mech to look at this area. If it's solid, feel free to sell your Pilot for a fair price, because there is life left in it.
 

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Perhaps you should have your mechanic put the car on the lift, and check for rust on the unit body. If the rear subframe/cross member connections are still solid, then your Pilot should have quite a few miles left. Don't be afraid to ask for a fair price. A good, reliable AWD Honda, even older, is a premium used car. Lots of families looking on Craigslist for a decent used SUV. Your Pilot is not a junker, somebody will snap it up!
Your risk tolerance for the high failure rate of 2000-2005 Honda V6 5ATs is much higher than mine. This also speaks from experience since my mom had a '03 and the transmission went up at 90k, my buddy's mom had an '04 and the transmission went up just after 100k. Both maintained well, my mom's was that dark blue color that was gorgeous and had those stupid fixed headrests.
 

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Based on reading the original post, you are getting rid of the Pilot, just want to see what the demand is. There will be plenty demand for a reliable (generally) and low mileage SUV. No sense in keeping a car you don't want or need.
 

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I disagree. If the OP lives in a no salt area, his Pilot could have a 100k miles or more left. My 2003 with 215k miles runs like a champ. Doesn't burn oil, good power, good gas mileage, smooth and quick shifts. Did a great job towing a camper trailer last year. Don't diss the early Pilots just because of whatever. My old girl is dying of the Minnesota rusties. Otherwise, she probably has another 100k in her. I just sprung for a 2018 EXL, and my son is getting the old girl.
... and NO VCM!
 
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