If anyone wants to add a Common problem feel free. Emphasis on the word "Common".
There are a few things to check BEFORE a test drive to make sure you won't have any problems.
First thing to look for is the Service Book.
- On the inside cover it will have the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Check that the number in the book matchs the number at the bottom of the windscreen so you know the details in the book relate to the car you're looking at.
- In the same book it will have the service record. This is very important!! A full Honda service history for any car gives piece of mind but having this gives you confidence that you won't have any problems should you need to make a warranty claim.
Also check the milage. Honda allow 1000 miles or 1 month either side of the 12,500 mile or annual service interval, so again if you have this then you know the warranty is intact.
- You need to check for rusting on the doors, this is a common problem that if left un-checked can be a serious problem. If there is only a small amount of rust it can be treated easily but if the rust is bad, i'd walk away.
- One of the most important things to look for is the engine oil, it's a good indicator of how much the previous owner has looked after the car. The oil should be just under the top hole on the dip stick, if it's low or very close to the bottom hole then, while it won't cause engine damage, it shows that there's a good chance it has been run too dry at some point and may have caused some damage.
- The paint on the FN2 is thin and chips easily so the bonnet will be badly chipped. So this isn't necessarily a sign of abuse. A pot of touch up paint from Honda only costs £4, so with a good artists brush and a little patience you could make good most of the damage yourself.
- The alarm not working on the car is a common fault and can be fixed under warranty. To check if it works, open the windows and lock the car then wave your hands inside. If the alarm goes off then you don't have a problem.
- There was a recall on the hand brake. This will get done by Honda without a problem but you should ask if the work has been done.
-----Now for the Test Drive-----
- Sometimes when you press the "engine start" button the engine doesn't start. Not sure what causes it but it's nothing to worry about, mine has been doing it (though rarely) since new.
- DON"T go above 5400 rpm when the engine is cold, I try to stay below 4000 rpm. If the owner doesn't have a problem with you going upto full revs when the engine is cold WALK AWAY as it's likely he does it and that does damage the engine.
- Some cars (mine included) has a groan noise from the clutch when setting off in first gear. While this problem is rare it's to do with a worn clutch release bearing and should be replaced.
- Listen carefully to the clutch pedal when you change gear, some cars (again mine included) have a clicking noise and you feel a small TAP from the pedal (similar to the tap you get when the ABS works). I had the clutch cylinder head replaced and the clutch box assembly replaced, both done under warranty and has now lasted 50,000 miles without problem.
- Third gear can be problem. It can feel like there's two notches and it's difficult to push it in often resulting in it popping out into neutral.
There's a big thread on it in the faults & fixes section Clicky