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Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? #5330126 01/23/20 09:04 AM
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Triplicate Offline OP
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I currently own a reliable, paid for, economical car. I bought my 2010 Sentra new and have maintained it myself, with a few trips to the dealer for things I didn't want to do myself or to maintain its 10 year/100k mile CVT warranty. The car has no issues other than some undercarriage rust on the joint between the cat and the muffler. No codes, no lights, no problems at all.

My wife and I had our first child in September 2019. The Sentra is very cramped with a rear facing child seat. More troubling, with the winter sun low in the sky, the sun can shine right in my son's eyes though the back windshield. Now I know why so many parents end up in SUVs. The long roof largely prevents this from happening.

My Father in Law is about to buy a new vehicle. He was lowballed on trade by a couple dealers who offered him 2000-2500 dollars for his 2008 Pilot EX-L. His Pilot has 170k miles but has been maintained by a local independent since new. It received a replacement transmission in 2018 at 155k miles. It needs new TPMS sensors and is throwing a code for its vehicle stability system. It also may need a new catalytic converter to pass state emissions inspection (due in 2022).

Should I keep my Sentra and squeeze another 3-4 years of reliable daily driving use from it? My FIL feels he'd be doing us a big favor by selling us his Pilot, which he thinks is an upgrade in terms of safety and comfort. Will this Pilot be reliable to 220k miles and beyond with routine maintenance?

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330132 01/23/20 09:10 AM
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supton Offline
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How much on the Pilot do you need to fix vs would want to fix? It sounds like it is in the nickle and dime phase--lots of little things are going to just keep breaking. If you don't mind spending the money, and it would work as a second car, not a bad idea. Selling your car and only driving this, I would only do that if these problems don't bother you. It's a bigger vehicle, more in gas and harder to park, if those are concerns for you.

Me, I wouldn't take it, I'd tell dad to trade it in. I think it might go the distance, but not without problems. As it is, just what code is it tossing for the VSC? will that be cheap to repair?


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 203k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 158k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 223k, his
Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330141 01/23/20 09:22 AM
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Miller88 Offline
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How many miles are on the Sentra? If you've been changing the fluid somewhat regurlarly, I don't see why you would be able to get 150K out of it with the CVT. You know everything that is or may be wrong with it.

The Honda needing a cat to pass a sniff test is going to be a fun one. What if the cat isn't bad .... what if something else is causing the high levels? Now you've sunk a lot of money into an OE cat just to start looking at things internal to the engine. It has a new transmission, but other things are going to be going out soon .It will need a timing belt soon (which isn't terrible in the grand scheme of things).

Is the pilot AWD? If so that's more maintenance you'll have . And now matched tires are a requirement. Parts, tires, brakes for the Sentra are cheap, I'd stick with that. Maybe some sort of windshield banner to keep the sun out of your baby's eyes.


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
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Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330142 01/23/20 09:23 AM
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hallstevenson Offline
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Originally Posted by Triplicate
More troubling, with the winter sun low in the sky, the sun can shine right in my son's eyes though the back windshield. Now I know why so many parents end up in SUVs. The long roof largely prevents this from happening.

First time I've ever heard that reason or excuse against a car in favor of an SUV. People add those retractable sun shades, use the 'cover' on the car seat (the one that folds open/close), throw a light blanket over the seat, or even put sunglasses on the child.

Keep your Sentra. Plenty of families manage just fine with a non-SUV.

What about adding the Pilot along with the Sentra ? TPMS sensors are a $200 (or less) repair. Buy 'em yourself and have a tire shop install/program them or let them supply and install them (for a bit more $$). The VSA fault could be simple .... or not. Why do you think it needs a cat ?

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330147 01/23/20 09:30 AM
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Bud Offline
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I would keep the Sentra myself, and just install a sunshade on the rear window.


2016 Honda Pilot EX-L with NAVI.....Mobil 1 0w20 AFE and Honda OEM Filter
Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330148 01/23/20 09:30 AM
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Duffyjr Offline
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One of my rules is not to buy things from relatives, like vehicles. If this thing starts costing an arm and leg to keep running you may end up resenting it. I learned this the hard way with my FIL.

Last edited by Duffyjr; 01/23/20 09:31 AM.

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Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330154 01/23/20 09:35 AM
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ad244 Offline
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If you can get the Pilot for 2-3K I think its a no brainer. Sounds like its been looked after and they seem to last forever.

Cruise around the Pilot forums to see the typical problems and if the VSC is anything to worry about. Why not have the vehicle inspected?

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330158 01/23/20 09:41 AM
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JMJNet Offline
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There are a lot of Youtube on how to deal with VSA/VSC light. You can search it.


  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel


Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330160 01/23/20 09:43 AM
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Triplicate Offline OP
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Sentra has 98k miles and had dealer CVT flushes at 30k and 60k. Next one I'll do myself. I wanted to keep the warranty since 2010 was the last model year for 10 year/100k (that CVT warranty expired 12/19/19, 10 years from the day I bought it).

Honestly the CVT horror stories both online and first hand from co-workers and friends bother me more than they probably should. My car has been dead reliable. It even had the good manners to have its factory battery die on a Saturday morning when I didn't have to drive to work.

It has the original headlight, brakelight, and turn signal bulbs, so I've never had to change out a bulb. I did the front pads myself at 55k miles and the rear drums at 65k. Bled the brakes myself last summer and replaced all the brake fluids. I had the dealer do spark plugs because the intake manifold has to be removed to get to the plugs and if I dropped something into the head I'd lose my car, more or less. Did my own accessory belt replacement last year as well. 9 bucks to do it myself (cost of part) versus 200 at a shop. If you can't tell I'm cheap.

The Sentra's book value is laughably low. I'd sooner gift it than sell it. I only drive 10k miles a year so if the Nissan can make it to 150k that means I will get 15 years of daily driving use from a car that was 15 grand brand new and costs about 60 bucks a month between gas and insurance combined.

You guys have convinced me to keep my car. I think I'll pass on the Pilot.

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330165 01/23/20 09:50 AM
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brages Offline
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The answer depends a lot on your situation IMO...

is this your only car?
is the FIL going to sell you the Pilot cheap ($2500?) ?
do you need the space/comfort for long trips?
do you need the extra space for other reasons?
any plans to have more kids?
will the loss in fuel economy be a significant expense with your typical driving habits?
how is the body+interior on the Pilot?
are you concerned about the effect on your relationship with FIL?
can you work on the Pilot yourself, or will you be taking it to the dealer as problems mount?

You don't need to answer these questions for my sake, but IMO they are relevant questions in determining whether you should buy this car.

Last edited by brages; 01/23/20 09:51 AM.
Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: brages] #5330183 01/23/20 10:12 AM
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Triplicate Offline OP
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Originally Posted by brages
The answer depends a lot on your situation IMO...

is this your only car?
is the FIL going to sell you the Pilot cheap ($2500?) ?
do you need the space/comfort for long trips?
do you need the extra space for other reasons?
any plans to have more kids?
will the loss in fuel economy be a significant expense with your typical driving habits?
how is the body+interior on the Pilot?
are you concerned about the effect on your relationship with FIL?
can you work on the Pilot yourself, or will you be taking it to the dealer as problems mount?

You don't need to answer these questions for my sake, but IMO they are relevant questions in determining whether you should buy this car.

Good questions to ask for sure!

I'd get it cheap and yes, we do plan on having a second child and maybe more. A 3 row vehicle is in the cards at some point, but this may not be the one for me.

A brief sweep of a Pilot forum showed that at about 12 years/150k miles, everything starts coming to a head. A reply above talked about being nickel and dimed to death. A guy posted in that Pilot forum of his mechanic's opinion of his 150k mile Pilot. Control arms and ball joints, stabilizer links, struts and mounts at all 4 corners, upper and lower control arms, timing belts including the timing cover, plugs, cats, O2 sensors, valve adjustments, etc.

I suppose the question is, would I rather do all this and sink 3-4 grand into a 2000 dollar Pilot and then have a vehicle worth 4 grand to an insurance company, or drive my Sentra into the dirt and then buy a new SUV and have a 800 dollar monthly car payment?

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330198 01/23/20 10:28 AM
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JLTD Offline
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Sure, that would be a good price on the Pilot even with repairs. Win-Win for both of you, he gets more you pay less.

Sell the Sentra....


Lates.
Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330202 01/23/20 10:34 AM
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nwjones18 Offline
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I've got a 15 mo old and I honestly don't see how anyone over 5'9 survives with a rear facing car seat in a small or even midsized car. I had a 2005 cadillac STS and with the rear facing seat behind the passenger my wife could barely fit in the front seat, and I absolutely couldn't sit down. Her CRV is better, because we could put the car seat in the middle of the rear, but its still tight. I ended up getting the Ram just to have something we could eventually travel in with 2 car seats. I have also had the car seat in my Mazda 3 some and surprisingly its about as good as the Cadillac was. I'd take him up on his offer for the Pilot myself.


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Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330211 01/23/20 10:43 AM
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Kira Offline
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A host of things to be done to a front suspension. The trick to lowering costs is to combine tasks.
Shocks& struts.....c'mon

How are the brakes & tires? Immediate need? FIL immediately lowers price!
Brake fluid flush and pin lube (part 'n parcel of detailed inspection) at least. FIL immediately lowers price!

Get it and begin really shopping for "YOUR car of the future". Lots of local trips? hybrid time looming? babies coming?
Don't get caught up paying payments on yesterday's tech.

This is an interim vehicle.

Re: Buy my father in law's Honda Pilot? [Re: Triplicate] #5330216 01/23/20 10:47 AM
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KrisZ Offline
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Originally Posted by Triplicate


I suppose the question is, would I rather do all this and sink 3-4 grand into a 2000 dollar Pilot and then have a vehicle worth 4 grand to an insurance company, or drive my Sentra into the dirt and then buy a new SUV and have a 800 dollar monthly car payment?



Why does it have to be either a beater or a brand new SUV?
There is middle ground. There are plenty of reliable SUVs and minivans for around $10k-15k. Especially minivans since SUVs are a hot commodity now.

Last edited by KrisZ; 01/23/20 10:47 AM.

2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
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