7th Generation Civic In the years from 2001 to 2005 Honda released it's 7th Generation Civic. Chassis codes: EM2, ES1, EP3, EU1

Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Old 04-20-2015
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Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Hi everyone
I searched and wasn't able to find one, if it's out here. If so, a link would be appreciated.

Tomorrow, I'm inspecting / taking delivery of an '05 LX Coupe (5 spd) for my little girl. Has someone on this forum made a checklist to cover the essentials before buying a 7th gen Civic? The goal is that anyone who may not be an expert, has a list of things to check that might not jump-out at you, while kicking the tires.

Basic stuff that's generic, as well as Gen-7 specific issues to watch-out for.

Generic:
  • Tips from civicforums members to make anyone a smarter used-car shopper

Gen 7 - specific:
  • Any gen-7 PITA items that a forum noob would never think to check for

If forum old-timers could chime-in over time, I'd happily keep maintaining this first post to have the complete / agreed-on list, which might be a useful resource for noobs such as myself, in the future.


At first however, if you guys could give me a heads-up for any known things to check, I'd be infinitely grateful.

2005 LX Coupe 5 spd

Cheers

The checklist so far: (this is a work in progress - give it some time)
Generic
  1. Enter VIN to check for outstanding recalls here (If nothing shows-up, no news is good news)
  2. Enter VIN to confirm original trim / equipment here
  3. Test EVERYTHING: power windows, mirrors, locks, climate control, sound system... if it has a button, make sure you push it.
  4. Check the car's parking spot for stains that could indicate fluid leaks
  5. Take it to a mechanic you TRUST for a pre-purchase inspection, its money well spent
  6. Ask for records of required service, otherwise assume the worst
  7. If no proof of timing belt replacement can be provided, count on replacing that
  8. Check / replace the often-overlooked cabin air filter. These make a big difference... no-brainer.
  9. For cars in the rust belt, check brake lines and also general condition of metal under the car.

Gen-7 Tire-kicker-detectable issues
  1. Rocking chair issue: Check both front seats to see if they're solid or if they rock back & forth
  2. Squeaky clutch pedal issue: If it's a 5 speed, listen for squeaks when shifting
  3. I've read that gen-7s can be prone to chronic / annoying interior rattles. While test driving, run at different speeds / RPMs to see if the car will run quietly for you.
Gen-7 potential mechanical issues
For any points in this section, they require proper inspection and / or proof that the service has been performed

Please help prioritize. We don't want EVERY possible issue to be listed or this list will become unmanageable and will scare-away anyone thinking of buying a Civic!
  1. Head gasket failure is really common on 7th gen Civic. It would be handy to ask the previous owner if it failed already.
  2. Rear cam seals can be an issue to check / ask about for Civics in general
  3. Front control arm bushings may have needed replacement - based on advice from multiple civicforum members, have the entire steering system thoroughly checked.
  4. Gen 7 motor mounts may have needed replacement
  5. If you suspect the car may have been the plaything of a tuner or someone who may be attempting to hide issues, have an ODBII reader to check for recent ECU reset and / or to check for pending MIL codes. See post #7 for explanation.

Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-21-2015 at 09:49 AM. Reason: ongoing work in progress
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Old 04-20-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

take it to a mechanic you TRUST for a pre-purchase inspection, its money well spent,

ask when the timing belt was last changed, and PROOF of it, any other service records/receipts, etc etc
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Old 04-20-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by mikey1 View Post
take it to a mechanic you TRUST for a pre-purchase inspection, its money well spent,
Yep, my mechanic has agreed to squeeze us in tomorrow, even though every garage is in the midst of the the mad winter tire changing rush that we see every spring and fall (crazy Montreal winters).


Originally Posted by mikey1 View Post
ask when the timing belt was last changed, and PROOF of it, any other service records/receipts, etc etc
Excellent examples thanks. You're the checklist's first contributor.

In my case, I know the timing belt hasn't been done so I'm having it changed.
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Old 04-20-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

the rear cam seal always need replacing on all civics 7th gens usually need front control arm bushings and motor mounts.
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Old 04-20-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by Dorval Andre View Post
[*]Check oil for signs of coolant
Actually head gasket failure is really common on 7th gen Civic. It would be handy to ask the previous owner if it failed already.

Almost always though coolant doesn't go into the oil. Compression gases push out of the cylinders and into the coolant eventually causing the coolant reservoir to overflow. If you allow this car to overheat you'll be extremely lucky if the head gasket doesn't fail.
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Old 04-20-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by lowlife9 View Post
the rear cam seal always need replacing on all civics 7th gens usually need front control arm bushings and motor mounts.
Really? always / all? And control arm bushing and motor mounts? Are these so common defects that you can actually count on having these issues? I've had 3 Civics in my family including an '05 when it was new. I do everyone's basic maintenance / brakes and all have been jewels to work on. This isn't intended as a worst-case scenario thread. It's just supposed to be a list of things worth checking when buying a used Civic.


Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
Actually head gasket failure is really common on 7th gen Civic. It would be handy to ask the previous owner if it failed already.
If it's common enough that it's worth asking, then I've added it to the list.

Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
Almost always though coolant doesn't go into the oil.
The oil / coolant thing was just an example of basic used car checking, If it's irrelevant or stupid, it was just my thinking out loud... not an observation on the car we're looking at. (I've edited it out of the original post)

Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-20-2015 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Have an OBDII reader to check for recent ECU reset and/or to check for pending MIL codes. If the ECU has been reset or battery disconnected recently the DTC's will not be in the ready state which could be hiding a pending code.

Lower front motor mount - Tear the rubber insulator apart
front lower ball joints - non serviceable, OEM's do not have retaining C-Clip
lower control arms - Torn cracked mounts, easier to just replace the LCA
Torsion Bar drop links - broken/seperated
5 Speed Manual Transmission - Input shaft bearing noise/failure. Will require transmission removal to repair.https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...t-bearing.html

Head gasket, if the vehicle has issues with no heat at idle in the winter or persistent low coolant in the radiator but does not actually over heat it is the beginning of the end for the head gasket. More extreme conditions will see overflow of the coolant overflow tank or just outright overheat on the temp gauge. As mentioned earlier, the cooling system will be getting pressurized by combustion gases from a failing MLS head gasket, coolant is typically not entering the oil or being burnt in the engine but is being pushed out of the system and air pockets will be present. On a cold engine if you remove the rad cap it should not be pressurized.

If you live in the "rust belt" inspect the brake lines crossing the firewall to the passenger side as well as on the drivers side inner fender as they drop down under the vehicle. Where the lines clip into the holders/retainers it will eventually wear off the protective coating and allow advanced rust to form requiring complete replacement.

Inspect/replace the Cabin air filters as they often are forgotten during routine maintenance.

These are great vehicles and relatively easy to work on. If the body is straight & clean, everything else can be taken care of with routine maintenance and a little elbow grease.

Last edited by Redneck_cdn; 04-21-2015 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Yours and lowlife 9's comments have been merged, summarized and added to the list. Good stuff, keep 'em coming....
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

I had to drive it a half hour of highway and traffic to get it to my mechanic for the full inspection. Not too bad.

Car drives great, straight, tight, no noises except a hum that made me suspect a bearing on its way out.

Indeed, 1 wheel bearing, all 4 lower control arm bushings and that's it. With the preventive timing & accessory belts, $720 for all parts & labor and the car will be 100%.

Just took delivery - Super clean, no rust, factory paint is still nice & shiny. I think my little girl should be a happy camper.





Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-21-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

good deal. Looks well taken care of.
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

yeah it does look good hope it treats you well.
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Old 04-21-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Looks good. I'd rock it. How many miles (rather, km) on the clock? I'd definitely look at fixing the headlight haze and follow it up with any sort of UV protective coat
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...ight-haze.html
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/3...lear-coat.html
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...protector.html
the following DIY has instructions on how to remove the headlights (steps 1-7)
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...r-removal.html

Also, if she runs into trouble down the road, feel free to post up a question on how to fix it or PM one of the mod/admin staff. We'd be more than happy to help you out and steer you in the right direction. We'll let you know right out if it's an easy DIY job or if we'd recommend taking it to a shop.

Last edited by xRiCeBoYx; 04-21-2015 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 04-22-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by xRiCeBoYx View Post
Looks good. I'd rock it. How many miles (rather, km) on the clock? I'd definitely look at fixing the headlight haze and follow it up with any sort of UV protective coat
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...ight-haze.html
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/3...lear-coat.html
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...protector.html
the following DIY has instructions on how to remove the headlights (steps 1-7)
https://www.civicforums.com/forums/1...r-removal.html
Amazing
I spent an hour searching the forum yesterday for 'resurface headlight', 'refinish headlight', 'UV headlight sealant' etc.... and didn't have too much luck. Thanks - you da' man!

My search ended prematurely though. I checked the air filter and this engine bay grime just couldn't remain. Buying a car from a little old lady is great, in that this car had never been abused but it also clearly had never been loved / pampered. Checking the air filter ended-up taking me 3 hours

Look at how corroded the battery terminals were.


Gah!



After applying a little elbow grease, it's still far from done but the worst of it is out of the way.



and also thanks for the help offer. I joined this forum before even buying this car for exactly that reason. I'll always search before I post (since many forum noobs can't seem to grasp that concept) but fear not! If I get stuck, you'll be hearing from me

Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-22-2015 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 04-22-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

they sell 3M headlight repair kits at wallmart and all other car parts stores but you can just use rubbing compound and a clean rag your going to need headlight sealent otherwise it will haze after a month. 3m has a diy on youtube.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by lowlife9 View Post
they sell 3M headlight repair kits at wallmart and all other car parts stores but you can just use rubbing compound and a clean rag your going to need headlight sealent otherwise it will haze after a month. 3m has a diy on youtube.
3M™ Headlight Lens Restoration System - YouTube

Yeah I've done them in the past with just toothpaste and a lot of elbow grease but as you mention, they haze-up pretty quick after. That's the main reason I searched the forum for DIYs, looking to see if anyone CONCLUSIVELY says that there's a UV sealer that LASTS (for at least a year).

I wouldn't mind at all spending an hour or two on this process as part of annual spring cleaning. That would be totally fine by me but every month or two would get old, fast.

My buddy wants me to to his Cadillac CTS-V and I keep telling him I won't touch it until I'm confident in a sealants durability.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by xRiCeBoYx View Post
Looks good. I'd rock it. How many miles (rather, km) on the clock?
Oops, sorry riceboy, didn't catch that first time: it has 111K kms, or 69K miles on it. Sounds and runs like brand new. Even over big speedbumps and terrible Montreal roads / potholes, no noises at all. I was quite (pleasantly) surprised.

Once the identified maintenance issues have been sorted-out and I've detailed it to my OCD standards, it should be a great car for my daughter.

Next: Tonight, I teach her how to drive a stick. It's either going to be or

TBD


BTW: For such an mundane thread (just buying a used, completely stock civic) it says a lot about the friendly / helpful character of civicforum members to have chimed in as much as you have.

A big thanks from me and my little girl!

Andre in Montral

Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-23-2015 at 08:54 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Nice looking vehicle, should last may years with a little TLC.

I may suggest looking into replacing/upgrading the ground straps that are nice green and fuzzy from the rad cradle to the block and head. Also check near the battery ground for the strap from the chassis/battery. I have read issues with ground loops on these cars with faulty grounds that may cause random electrical problems.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

I bet those threaded inserts for the airbox cover removal were a joy.

Bad design for sure.

Cleaned up nicely !!!
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by Redneck_cdn View Post
I may suggest looking into replacing/upgrading....
I'll replace and firmly re-attach both - excellent preventive tip. Come to think of it, you probably just solved a mystery on my sister's Accord


Originally Posted by CraigW View Post
I bet those threaded inserts for the airbox cover removal were a joy.

Bad design for sure.

Cleaned up nicely !!!
Honestly, the airbox stayed put. This was just the initial mop-down.

Next time, I'll be able to call it 'detailing'.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

May want to top up, or entirely flush that black gunk in the master cylinder reservoir.

Click image for larger version

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Probably hes never been done.... Trace water contaminants can cause the calipers to sieze up, so a good brake line flush never hurts.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Yep, once the garage has done all their stuff, I'll take-over for the backyard tasks

Garage stuff
  • 4 lower control arm bushings (lowlife9)
  • 1 wheel bearing
  • Timing / serpentine belts
  • my mechanic said water pump will be fine until 2nd timing belt
  • oil / filter (save me the mess)

DIY shopping list so far
  • Ground straps (Redneck CDN)
  • 4 bleed screws (Reverb2005)
  • Brake flush (Reverb2005)
  • pads / shoes (they're all OK til at least the fall but while I'm in there....)
  • power steering flush
  • cabin air filter (Redneck CDN)
  • Headlight UV / sealant... (WHAT BRAND LASTS?)
  • Transmission fluid (Stock 99)
  • New crush washers
  • HONDA coolant (thanks GolNat - I would have bought the wrong stuff)
Air filter's clean (one thing I don't have to buy!)
Any other observations or preventive maintenance suggestions, I'm all ears and grateful

Thanks again

Last edited by Dorval Andre; 04-23-2015 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by Reverb2005 View Post
May want to top up, or entirely flush that black gunk in the master cylinder reservoir.



Probably hes never been done.... Trace water contaminants can cause the calipers to sieze up, so a good brake line flush never hurts.
Wow, good eye! When I first saw the engine pictures I was just like 'eeewwww' in my head. Funny how such a clean car can have such a dirty secret under the hood. You did clean it up nicely though.


This is what my brake fluid looked like last summer when I changed it....(eewww again)



Might want to consider changing the transmission and coolant as well. Coolant is every 5 years, transmission every 2 years.
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
... Funny how such a clean car can have such a dirty secret under the hood.....
The little old lady turned the key and drove it, clearly with the "if it aint broke, don't fix it" attitude.

Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
Might want to consider changing the transmission and coolant as well. Coolant is every 5 years, transmission every 2 years.
Dammit! This thing's turning into a money pit. Anyone wanna buy it?

Adding coolant and tranny fluid / filter to the shopping list, although I think I'll tackle just the ground straps / cabin filter and and brakes on saturday.

Within 2-3 weekends, this will be one heckuva' well-maintained little car.

It's my daughter's first car.... she better not crash it after all this.

She'll be here in an hour for her first lesson driving a stick. She moved out of home this January and is so busy with school, work etc... that I did all this so far and she still hasn't even seen the car yet


editing list now - thanks again
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Old 04-23-2015
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by Dorval Andre View Post
[*]Prestone (Stock 99)
Honda Coolant, not Prestone.

Maybe distilled water and make sure all battery cells are topped-off? Do you still do that these days?
Nope. Just buy a new battery when that one is bad. Check the date code it might be getting close.
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Old 07-22-2017
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

I know this will offend the purists but I have more mechanical experience with Civics than any sane person should have and I can tell you that you don't NEED Honda brand fluids. I'm a certified automotive tech btw and also a 3-time Civic owner.

I know I'm kinda bein a dick but how do you know that Honda fluids outperform aftermarket? It's not exactly the Coca-Cola recipe. The one exception I'd make is for Honda Bond and the OEM oil filters just because they're blue and sexy.

For example I could explain why Honda Bond is necessary based on simple principles that can be demonstrated. OK rant over. Just a ticked off mechanic who needs a reason to buy on brand name. All this anecdotal stuff is great but backup is required. Please.
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Old 07-23-2017
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Re: Gen-7 pre-purchase checklist?

Originally Posted by riggonald View Post
I know this will offend the purists but I have more mechanical experience with Civics than any sane person should have and I can tell you that you don't NEED Honda brand fluids. I'm a certified automotive tech btw and also a 3-time Civic owner.

I know I'm kinda bein a dick but how do you know that Honda fluids outperform aftermarket? It's not exactly the Coca-Cola recipe. The one exception I'd make is for Honda Bond and the OEM oil filters just because they're blue and sexy.

For example I could explain why Honda Bond is necessary based on simple principles that can be demonstrated. OK rant over. Just a ticked off mechanic who needs a reason to buy on brand name. All this anecdotal stuff is great but backup is required. Please.


im not sure wether to

or

or

or just continue to
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