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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at an 06 MDX, with ~196K miles.

Trying to seek some advice from experienced members. Anything particular I should be paying special attention to? While taking a test drive, should I be testing or hearing for anything which can be problematic?

Understand transmission is the weakest point, is there anything else current owners would advise I should be paying attention too?

Price is in $3K range, is it a reasonable price? Thanks for help.
 

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Mods, my apologies if I posted in the wrong forum, please move it to an appropriate forum. Thank you :)
 

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Personally I would pass on any car at that mileage that I couldn't get comfortable with the transmission situation. By 2006 Honda had implemented a fix to the worst issue with the original 5 speed, but with the recommended fluid service being a single drain/fill every 30K miles that only replaces about 3.3 qts of an ~8.5 qt system if it wasn't done at least twice by now the fluid is likely black, full of clutch material, and about to fail. And you can't change the fluid at that point because it will fail almost immediately once that clutch material isn't there to add grip for the worn out components. On the plus side, there is a good chance it may have already failed and been rebuilt as my '07 was at 155K. Since a rebuilt trans is about $3,500 you can see the dilemma. Next, is the issue of the timing belt service that costs $700-2,000 depending on where you get it done. If it was done at 105K as scheduled you are right on top of that again. Maybe you are lucky and someone didn't do it until 150K and you have another 50K before it's due again, but again, if you can't get comfortable that it has ever been done I would drive it anywhere other than the repair shop before I got it done. If the belt fails it's a ruined motor, again a repair that hardly makes sense given the car's current value. Of course all of this depends on your goals for the car. $3,000 cars are often just fine one day and have a major failure the next, but the same can be said of $5,000 or even $10,000 cars. The key is finding one that has been maintained enough to not have an imminent major failure. If you aren't capable of determining that on your own paying $50-100 to have a professional check it over is money well spent, though you are still your own best advocate, so doing due diligence can save you from a major mistake. Paying for a CarFax report is also a good idea and can provide service records if the car was serviced at a reporting shop. As for the accident reporting feature, that can be hit and miss as not all shops report and not all accidents involve a police report, so a professional inspection can catch something in that area as well. Good luck!

P.S. Regular trans fluid services every 30-50K, no hitch on the car to indicate towing, along with the current fluid in a healthy condition is nothing to be scared of IMO
 

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Yep - the tranny is the biggest possible glitch - if the fluid is dark and dirty-looking (yellow dipstick hidden down on the transmission housing in front of the driver's footwell), you might want to walk away.

The timing belt and the valve adjustment (due every 100,000 miles) are maintenance items that need to be considered, as adding the costs of one or both make the car more expensive (percentage-wise, particularly).

Otherwise, the MDX is one of the most reliable vehicles out there. Mine has had very few problems over the last 80,000 miles (coming up on 250,000 now). Maintenance IS your friend, particularly doing those transmission fluid drain-and-fills, as well as oil changes, differential and transfer case changes (none are expensive or difficult if you DIY).

I can't think of a better value for those needing a 7-passenger luxury SUV. I've enjoyed owning mine very much, though am moving on to something smaller and more efficient since I no longer really need a 7-passenger vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your help and advise. Is small leak on oil pump/ps/main seal, problematic and I should pass on it?
 

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Value depends on the model of MDX such as if it has navi, Bose, etc and region. Suggesting trying kbb.com.

My 2 cents: With 196K, I would check if it had any maint history and walk away if it didn’t. If it didn’t have any history, a DIYer might spend $500-$1K doing all the maint and replacement mentioned ($350 timing belt/bearings/tensioner, water pump; $80 on 3x3 trans fluid change; $180 lower control arms; $50 plugs; $40 air and cabin filters; $40 on oil/filter, hrs on valve adjustment). More if it needs tires and shocks. Then your’re still left with if the trans was well maintained.

Also if it was not already maintained or repaired, you could be at a point where O2 sensors, EGR, radiator (depending on climate where you live), fuel pump could likely have problems - not bad for DIY but costly to diagnose and fix by a shop or dealer.

We had the 06 since new and definitely a nice SUV but for buying a used one, confirm it’s been well taken care of.

Good luck!
 

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Front main oil seal requires lower timing sprocket and probably the crank position sensor to be taken off. If the timing belt wasn’t done in last 7 yrs or 105K, you could do that at the same time. If not a bad leak you probably could get by. However, if oil is getting on the timing belt, that could cause problems. Guessing it’s a $700-$1200 repair (including the seal, belt and parts) depending on where you go. You might want to call some shops in your area to check costs on just the seal and seal plus timing belt.

These costs that are over and above usual maintenance are why you might want to find a newer, reputable brand car or at least one with less miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for your input and advise. It does drive nice and seem to be in good condition.


Except wear and tear on the leather and some other dings and scratches. No information on timing belt and for some reason, one of the pulley on the top(12'o clock) was making some slight noise.


Not sure if belt needed a replacement or something else was up? No noise or anything while driving though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have read some having catalytic convertor issues, can anyone please confirm if they are common on 05-06 MDX?
 

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I have read some having catalytic convertor issues, can anyone please confirm if they are common on 05-06 MDX?
Not any more than any other 10+ year old car approaching 200K miles. Most cat issues can be avoided with regular fuel system treatment to keep everything clean, but most people don't do it and just like transmission service cannot be "caught up" later. By the time the failure occurs it's too late. Another case for buying your car new and then servicing it properly for a long life, but most new car buyers trade every 3-5 years so why bother? Of course you can use that strategy and be thwarted by bad luck. Last new car I bought, a 2006 Honda Odyssey that still looked like new at 7.5 years and 166K miles got totaled in an accident. Besides maintenance items that car cost a total of $250 in repairs. The replacement '07 bought at 113K hasn't been quite as trouble free, but still very low cost to own as I got all service records with it and know exactly every penny ever spent on it. Of course it's nearly impossible to find $3,000 cars with that info, so you have to be a detective to figure it out.
 
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