What To Look For When Buying A Used Honda Accord Model Years 92 To 95

This article explains what to look at and for when you're planning to buy a used 92 to 95 Honda Accord.

Buying a used car can be quite tricky if you don't know what you're looking at. Used cars of any make or model will have their little quirks, squeaks, rattles and clunks. Hopefully, through the years of previous ownership, most of those problems common to a variety of cars have already been taken care of.

In this article we will be looking at the 1992 to 1995 model year Honda Accords, specifically. What to look at in the dealers lot or private persons' yard before you even start the engine. What to listen for after you have started it and during the test-drive. And what is that green puddle coming from under the hood all about?

You've searched all around and finally found the perfect little beauty sitting in the dealers' lot a few miles away from home. It's the perfect color. The body looks fairly clean and rust free. You can see your reflection in the paint from across the street and the price tag in the window is $100.00 less than you were planning on spending.

Wrap it up and take it home before anyone else sees it, right? Not so fast!

Just because all of these things make the car look like the diamond in the rough, it would be a shame to see it hooked to the back of a tow-truck because of a mechanical or electrical failure. You'll need to know all about the underside and interior before signing on the dotted line. So let's get in there and take a look.

When you first approach the car look at the ground below it. There shouldn't be any puddles of oil or coolant underneath it. If there are, make a mental note and keep an eye out for the source once you get under the hood.

This trick doesn't always work, however, as the dealer may have spotted the leak first and moved the car over a few spots before anyone else saw it.

Walk around the perimeter of the car and look for misaligned body panels, slightly mismatched paint colors between these body panels, runs in the paint and so forth. These would all indicate a replaced body section - possibly from an accident.

I'm not saying that just because a car was in an accident it means that it's a bad car, but you never know what condition the car is actually in. Did any wires get pinched between sheet metal and are a few weeks away from corroding and shorting out? You really don't want to be bothered by such a mess with your new purchase so quickly.



Press your bodyweight down on each corner of the car to check the shocks. A good shock absorber will go down with your weight, then come back up when you let go and settle in the middle. Worn shocks will oscillate several times before settling.

Now open the hood and take a look around. Most likely, the dealer would have detailed the car - including washing the engine compartment. Yes it makes the car look good, but is also washes away any signs of leaks or animal infestations. So you will have to be extra vigilant.

Even with the engine washed it's still possible to pick up on larger leaks. Dirt will cake to oil leaking areas and won't come off easily during a washing. Antifreeze usually stains the area around its leak and peels the paint off any surface, which might be painted.

Look over things like the radiator, belts and hoses. Belts and hoses are 'wear items' and can be expected to wear in time with use, but finding them and talking with the dealer may nab you a better deal. The radiator, however, can rot out between the fins and actually do the opposite of what they're supposed to do, release heat. If this happens, an engine can overheat and need to be replaced.

Now it's time to start the engine.

Turn the key and notice the length of time it takes to actually start.

Also, listen to how it turns over. It should have a smooth, rhythmic crank.

Once it starts, how does the engine sound in the few seconds right after starting? A few seconds of ticking would be ok if the car has sat for a while, but extended ticking or knocking would mean that the oil isn't getting to the critical parts like it should.

Look under the hood while the engine is running and listen for any peculiar sounds such as; grinding, growling, or light hissing. Grinding and growling would usually indicate a bearing, perhaps in the alternator, that's about to fail. Hissing is usually the sound of a vacuum leak from a disconnected or broken hose.

Test-drive the vehicle over a variety of surfaces. First on smooth roads to check for quieter sounds, then move onto rougher roads and even pull into parking lots with higher elevation entrances. Most dealers don't appreciate test drives down dirt roads because they spend a lot of time cleaning the cars and also don't want stones to chip the paint.

During the rougher surface test drive note any loud clunks or rattles. Any particularly loud noise should be brought to the attention of the dealer.Find a large area like an empty parking lot and turn the car around in as tight a circle, as the steering will allow. Do this in both directions, left and right. Do it in reverse, also.

Honda is semi-known for wearing out front axle joints, though it's not exclusively a Honda problem.If there is ever any doubt you could always take the car to your local independent repair shop and have a trained technician look over the car. The technician will do exactly the same things as listed above, but will know ahead of time what everything is supposed to look like and what the common problems are.

If everything passes the tests you should enjoy many wonderful years driving your 'new-to-you' Honda.

© High Speed Ventures 2011