Home » I Thought I Was Buying A Safe Used Car. I Found A Secret Modification That Could Have Killed Me

I Thought I Was Buying A Safe Used Car. I Found A Secret Modification That Could Have Killed Me

Time Bomb Crz
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Like every other automotive journalist, I have eyes bigger than my car-shaped stomach. To us, cars are tasty little morsels that we can’t help but overindulge on until we metaphorically throw up. Well, folks – I’m throwing up. I’ve tried to chew and chew, and keep things down, but I’ve overeaten, and the Honda-shaped bile has risen. Or, was I poisoned?

Ignoring my probably overwrought and too-gross-for-publication metaphor, I’ve learned some really terrible things about my 2011 Honda CR-Z, and thus, the world at large. I recently learned that my car didn’t have working airbags. And I’m not sure the previous owner knew, either.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I fully admit that I had no business buying the CR-Z, but its low price and rarity caught my eye. The owner, a college kid studying far from home, had enlisted the help of his mom to sell the broken car. The seller’s mom was charming – she was a woman about the same age as my mom, just looking to help her college-aged kid get through school. In her words, the CR-Z was a flawless car that her kid got a good deal on, only for it to never start again after a long drive from Atlanta to Cleveland. It all checked out; she (nor her son) seemed like they had nothing to hide, and I had already convinced myself that I needed that car. So I gave her cash and transferred the title in my name before looking too closely at the car. It was a clean title Honda with less than 150,000 miles – how bad could it be?

Honda Cr Z

It was very bad. Both door handles had broken off — very common for the CR-Z. Neither handle is cheap R about $200 for OEM replacements. The previous owner had sort of tied the seatbelt around the driver’s door to keep it from flying open but also jammed a Swisher Sweets cigar-pack wrapper to keep the door from latching closed so he could get in and out of it if he needed to. The car had been smoked in, thus the interior’s grey fabric was now a horrible shade of brown. It was littered with half-drunk bottles of grocery store 42-proof tequila and Peak Iced tea, now both frozen and molding from the six months the car sat in his grandmother’s driveway. The deleted rear seat turned storage cubbies had Tupperware with half-eaten months old food, the dust of looseleaf tobacco, brand new brake pads, and a bottle of Valu Time brand Italian seasoning. The dashboard plastic was just as gross, sticky, and smelly as the seats and headliner.

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Aside from the horrible physical shape, it had been subject to the previous owner’s really tacky modifications. There was a color-changing fiber optic cable that went across the dashboard at some point. The cable was gone, but I still had the remote for it. The windows had been tinted, but they didn’t use the same brand of tint, because the rear windshield is brown and peeling, but the side windows are black. The stock wheels had been spray painted black, but they didn’t do a good job or use the right paint. And there was a weird Mugen jelly phone holder stuck to the middle of the dashboard. Any sane person would have passed.

Honda Crz Exploded

But, I’m not sane. I towed the car 150 miles to my house and proceeded to dump it in a field next to my trusted mechanic friend’s shop. A year of employment changes and a lack of motivation saw my mechanic and I abandon the CR-Z while we both tried in vain to figure out why neither of us could program a new OEM key, and start the vehicle.

Until, one day I finally got it started. The car was still gross inside, the tires were bald, the brake rotors were toast – but the important parts were working well. The car’s engine, hybrid battery, and CVT transmission were strong. The rest was all cosmetic. I fixed the brakes, got a set of new tires, changed the oil and transmission fluid, and the CR-Z was running like new.

I had been driving the CR-Z for about two weeks, holding my breath and ignoring the musty smells as much as I could, and figuring out a plan of action as to what exactly was worth fixing on the car. I wasn’t going to get any profit at this point, but I didn’t want to give up on the thing – it was running nicely, even if it wasn’t very pretty. I figured I could detail the interior and sell it cheaply just to get my money back.

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Life had other plans, though. The CR-Z had baked in the sun for the better part of a year. Our star’s rays had done a number on the tacked-on aftermarket stuff. The crappy tint had started to bubble, and the Mugen jelly cellphone pad had raised up from the dashboard. 

Jelly Disguise2

I ripped off the ugly dash pad only to learn a terrible, terrible truth. The passenger-side airbag had deployed at some point earlier in the CR-Z’s life, and the ugly jelly pad was covering a big hole in the dashboard.

No Airbag2

I looked at the car closer. The seatbelt on the passenger side was locked, but the driver’s one couldn’t retract. I initially chalked it up to gunk being stuck in the retractor mechanism, that happened to me once with a Hyundai Tiburon; a busted rear windshield had flung glass shards over the interior. The previous owner vacuumed up most of them, but some shards had jammed the retractor module (and trunk latch). Those were easy fixes. The Tiburon also had corrosion in the seatbelt latch sensor, nothing a bit of scrubbing and reinstalling couldn’t fix.

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Img 2210

The CR-Z was far more serious. Scanning the CR-Z revealed a hard crash code in the SRS module, in which the driver’s airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioners explosive charges had been deployed. When an accident happens, these codes are unclearable. Only an SRS computer replacement will make the codes go away.

I knew the car had been in a minor accident, the CarFax had said so. The gap on the front fascia is clearly not stock, but the clean title told me it was likely just a low-quality body guy. Someone who was not skilled, but not malicious.

Img 1414

But, the more investigation I did, the more disturbed I got. Whoever tried to repair the CR-Z didn’t just cut corners by not correctly rehanging a front bumper. They had taken spare airbag connectors and wired in resistors. They had done this for both front seatbelt retractors, the passenger airbag, and the driver’s airbag in what I assume was an attempt to get the airbag light to stay off. The driver’s airbag had been replaced, (but not hooked up), and the missing passenger airbag was disguised with that ugly Mugen jelly pad.Dashboard

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The CR-Z transaction was done via Facebook. We were strangers, but I still had somewhat of a relationship with the previous owner, he really was a nice guy. He had confessed that he didn’t really want to sell the CR-Z, but he needed money for school, and he couldn’t afford to fix the car. Over the year or so that I’ve had the car, he’s occasionally messaged me, asking if I had got it running yet, and talking about how much he missed the car. I had enough rapport to ask him if he knew about the lack of airbags or working seatbelts.

Dashboard Wires

He said he knew the airbag light was on, but I could tell from the candor of our conversation he didn’t understand why these things were important. My heart sank. This kid had been scammed.

Luckily, whoever did the wiring job on the CR-Z, was a complete dumbass. The SRS computer had a hard crash code that can’t be reset with a scanner, so the airbag light will always be on, no matter what cheap tricks you try to get it to stay off. The resistors were wired pretty badly, likely hastily cold-soldered since there were cracked soldering joints. It would have never worked.

But, what if it did? If the shady repair guy had been successful, the CR-Z’s airbag light would have stayed off. Meaning, if the naive and young previous owner had ever gotten into even a minor accident, he could have been seriously hurt. The seatbelts won’t do anything, and neither will the airbags. At the very least, the appearance of a driver’s airbag (that isn’t hooked up) and the awkward cover of the blown passenger airbag would have been enough to fool a buyer who doesn’t know any better. I mean, it fooled me.Img 1407

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Repairs like those done on the CR-Z were clearly the work of someone who isn’t a good person. They wanted to hide the car’s problems, and cheat someone out of a dollar, at the expense of someone’s life. The kid who thought he was getting a deal was putting his life in danger every time he got behind the wheel of that car and didn’t even know it. That stuff burns me up.

I am hard-headed and crazy, and I’m not giving up on the CR-Z even though I am incredibly over budget. I can’t be the guy to let an unsafe car go back on the road, under my name. I know better, I know what the car needs. So, I’m fixing it.

Today Crz

I’ve replaced the passenger airbag and dashboard, installed new seatbelts that work, and I’ve pulled out all the junky resistors from the seatbelts and airbags to make sure the interface with the SRS computer. The SRS computer has been replaced, and it appears that the CRZ’s safety systems are now fully functional.

My CR-Z will live to see another day, but I am angry at what it took to get here.

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ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
1 year ago

Although I would buy a salvage title car, I wouldn’t buy a car where the airbags had popped unless I personally saw the airbag ordered, delivered, and installed, in other words never.

Marc Miller
Marc Miller
1 year ago

Great article. There’s simply no telling the lengths that someone will go to hide wreck damage. Good luck getting the CR-Z back to fighting shape!

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
1 year ago

Can’t get shrapneled by your airbag if no airbag! Checkmate Takata!

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
1 year ago

Beat me to it! I had a 2005 Civic I sold for almost nothing because a Takata airbag exploded and killed a teenage girl in my city while I was waiting for a replacement. Same make, same model, same year.

Chris Wright
Chris Wright
1 year ago

No matter how the CR-Z got there, you’re doing a good thing by getting it on the road in the right way. Major kudos to you!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago

> before looking too closely at the car

Come on. You didn’t look “not too closely,” you didn’t look at all!

Bill Caswell
Bill Caswell
1 year ago

WOW! I’ve some weird stuff, but this is crazy. Odds are you’re never realize it, but get hit by and F350 at speed and you’ll find out quickly. Wow.

Noodles Gargamel
Noodles Gargamel
1 year ago

Was the previous owning living in that car?!!?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago

Also, I want to object to the title. No, crash safety systems being inoperable will not kill you. They will fail to stop the crash from killing you. Big difference. The difference I guess being that the airbags being nonfunctional will never ever be an issue except when you’re in a life threatening situation, which won’t happen if everybody is doing what they should.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

“It’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing.”

But actually, the title is fine. “Could have” implies that the killing is conditional. In this case, on condition of the crash. You can drive around with a Tulloch Spike sticking out of your steering wheel, and that will also not kill you…unless you crash. Would you object to saying a Tulloch Spike “could kill you”?

DadBod
DadBod
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Dude you took pedantic to a whole new level

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Fun Fact: this is quite literally criminal.

No, I’m not exaggerating. We would occasionally have people ask to have resistors put in to defeat their airbags because “OMG AIRBAGS ARE MORE DANGEROUS THAN NOT WEARING A SEATBELT!!” (1st gen airbag era, remember.) Or an airbag defeat switch (which we could legally install but that required they do some paperwork and install the manufacturer kit, which cost several hundred dollars before labor.) Occasionally because “I want to pocket $3k of my insurance check.”
Yeah, tough luck buddy.

Ohio RC 4549.20; improper replacement of motor vehicle air bag. (All 50 states have similar laws on the books.) All of them incorporate NHTSA 579.4 for defining what an airbag is, and what constitutes functional.
In Ohio, it’s a misdemeanor on the first offense – by airbag count – and immediately a felony on the second and above or if any injury results. If more than $5,000 (at dealer price) of airbags (including pre-tensioners) is tampered with, it’s a third degree felony. For each. Which means if I disable the entire SRS in your Miata, I could be facing up to 12 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
And of course, you get enhancement when such disabling is to perpetuate a fraud upon a consumer. Oh hey look what this meets to the letter.
At which point, you could be looking at 32 years for the hypothetical Miata. Or the very real CR-Z.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I was reading the story and thinking it should definitely be illegal to slap a car back together like this with non-functional airbags and seatbelt pretensioners, so I’m glad to hear that it is illegal.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago

So the seatbelts really won’t work if the computer has gone off? Not just the tensioners, but the actual latch?

I’m sorry, that’s not the fault of the person who patched it up. That’s Honda’s fault.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

No, there are explosive latches that go off to lock the belts in an accident. Those had fired, which means they physically can’t work anymore. They can only be replaced.
The shady owner tried to hotwire the warning light, and make it look like just the gear retractors were broken.

And the bypassed airbag, missing airbag, hidden airbag deployment, this is 100% shady repair.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago
Reply to  Jb996

I know it’s a shady repair, but if the seatbelts won’t work, well, ever, then they’re poorly designed. And the poor design is not the fault of the shady repairer.

Anchor
Anchor
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Why is it a poor design?

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

You’ve got this backwards: it’s a GOOD design. The retracting mechanisms, latches, and the belts themselves have been subjected to severe stress from large G-forces. We know the forces were large because they were enough to trigger the airbags. We can’t know how large through, and if they were large enough, some part of the restraint mechanism might fail easily in a second crash. They’d LOOK okay but let down when you need them most.

In such circumstances the correct design decision is to make the components one-time-use so that they MUST be replaced with new units that can definitely meet the same stress standards as the originals, giving the user the same safety level.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Lokki

I agree, this is a good design. But it’s not just an issue of not knowing if something broke. “and seatbelt pre-tensioners explosive charges had been deployed”. Seat belts have explosive charges and are one time use in an accident. So even if they could retract and latch, they will never again tension and lock in an accident. It is 100% certain that these belts are bad and need replaced, they will no longer protect anyone in a crash.
Not latching is a good design.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago
Reply to  Lokki

Yeah but when there’s no guarantee that said one time use parts will actually be replaced, wouldn’t it make sense to at least try to build them in such a way that they’re not completely worthless after a crash?

Yeah they were subjected to a large force, but you can build it to withstand a large force. More than once.

Imagine you had a hand railing on the edge of a large drop. If somebody falls against the railing too hard, explosives go off and lock it upright. After this, the railing kinda looks fine, and mostly feels like it works unless you really yank on it, but it in fact is totally worthless and will break off if you try to catch yourself on it. It’s single use because “we don’t know how big a person fell against it, it might be compromised.” Most people don’t know this, and it’s not apparent. Most people would go right on trusting it.

Or you could just make a good hand rail that won’t break off, ever. No matter how many times you fall against it.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

They won’t work because they self-destructed by design when the crash happened. They’re not badly designed. This design prevents you from using seat belts that have been compromised in a crash.

Well, unless your the buttface who did exactly that.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

You need to understand that seat belts are one time use. In order to protect the person, they have explosive charges to retract and lock.
So, you can either have multi-use belts that won’t actually do their job, or you have the current system that actually protects people, but which requires replacement after an accident. This is a good design.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

This isn’t Honda, it’s literally every car sold in the US (and Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, etc etc) – it’s an FMVSS requirement that cars have to have explosive charges to lock them in place in a crash, those charges are obviously one-time use, and are a part of the belt assembly, so, after a crash where they deploy, you replace the assembly. Yes, the latches still work (you can click the buckle closed) and yes, you might be able to manually adjust the belt to feel relatively tight, but they won’t work properly (if at all) in an accident and won’t retract unless/until you replace them with new. At first glance, they can just seem like belts with broken retractors, unless you look to see whether the charges were expended

Bobfish
Bobfish
1 year ago

Cars are not logical things, if so we’d all be in one of Toecutter’s MPG wonders (which I also like)! I’ve always loved the CR-X/CR-Z as well, so bonus. The “loose tobacco” and “italian seasonings” anointing the interior brought back some strong memories of my buddies ’91 Corolla SR5 Coupe.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago

Sounds very buy-here-pay-here-lot. CR-Zs are pretty cool and they’ve retained their value. The only one on CL in my area is 11 years old and just under $15k.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago

Classic case of the shadytree mechanic.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
1 year ago

People who do this crap should be made to drive the car they made a death trap out of in a trash car race without a helmet, clearly those two brain cells the meth hasn’t killed yet aren’t doing their job very well so the helmet wouldn’t be protecting anything.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

On the bright side, they wouldn’t miss their teeth after a crash.

Zach
Zach
1 year ago

You can have the hard crash data reset on most SRS modules. You just need to find a service and send the module out. It’s usually about $40-50. But you should only do this AFTER all the safety systems have been properly repaired, of course.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago
Reply to  Zach

No, you cannot ‘reset’ an SRS module; there are physical and electrical fuses that permanently blow when the igniters are triggered.

Honda deliberately uses an unprotected circuit in their SRS with ignition from module located capacitors. When the airbags deploy, it does physical damage to the SRS module. By design. Anyone claiming to ‘reset hard codes’ to ‘fix SRS modules’ should be arrested and imprisoned for life. You cannot ‘just reset’ an SRS module. Period. Those ‘fixed’ modules will not fire igniters correctly.

Kurt Hahn
Kurt Hahn
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

There’s definitely a way of making the SRS module functional again, I had it done myself. Obviously I won’t be able to proof that it’s working, but everything checks out (for instance, the SRS light lights up before you start the engine and goes off after a few seconds. For another check, I disconnected the (new) airbag and the light stayed on.
Even if there are damaged components (like the capacitors you mentioned) , those can be replaced, a capacitor isn’t an expensive part, and an experienced worker can remove a few of them and solder in new ones in a matter of minutes.
Then there’s the programming, which can also be done if you have the necessary equipment. There’s a company in the UK that specializes in SRS modules repairs, and they have done this for years. If their repairs didn’t work, they would have been sued into bankruptcy a while ago.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

I think i saw this on an old episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Barney buys a car from a sweet little old lady who only drove it on Sunday. Well she was a con woman. Barney trusted her and didn’t have Goober or Gomer check it out. So he lost money. But as a deputy he was able to arrest her.

KC Murphy
KC Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Wasn’t that the episode where Barney fired that single bullet he was given?

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 year ago
Reply to  KC Murphy

No, but it was one of only a few times Andy told him to load it.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Sawdust! Oldest trick in the book…

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 year ago

As an insurance agent, I can’t help but think about the legal nightmare if someone had gotten hurt.

Most people would just junk the car after such a discovery due to the costs, so props to Kevin for not abandoning the poor car.

Goof
Goof
1 year ago

In her words, the CR-Z was a flawless car that her kid got a good deal on, only for it to never start again after a long drive from Atlanta to Cleveland.

The previous owner had sort of tied the seatbelt around the driver’s door to keep it from flying open but also jammed a Swisher Sweets cigar-pack wrapper to keep the door from latching closed so he could get in and out of it if he needed to. The car had been smoked in, thus the interior’s grey fabric was now a horrible shade of brown. It was littered with half-drunk bottles of grocery store 42-proof tequila and Peak Iced tea, now both frozen and molding from the six months the car sat in his grandmother’s driveway. The deleted rear seat turned storage cubbies had Tupperware with half-eaten months old food, the dust of looseleaf tobacco, brand new brake pads, and a bottle of Valu Time brand Italian seasoning. The dashboard plastic was just as gross, sticky, and smelly as the seats and headliner.

Aside from the horrible physical shape, it had been subject to the previous owner’s really tacky modifications. There was a color-changing fiber optic cable that went across the dashboard at some point. The cable was gone, but I still had the remote for it. The windows had been tinted, but they didn’t use the same brand of tint, because the rear windshield is brown and peeling, but the side windows are black. The stock wheels had been spray painted black, but they didn’t do a good job or use the right paint. And there was a weird Mugen jelly phone holder stuck to the middle of the dashboard.

Any sane person would have passed.

— — — — —

So legit question: Why didn’t you?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 year ago
Reply to  Goof

Price, I’m guessing. 🙂

Bob
Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I think if someone was proud of the low price they had paid they wouldn’t be able to help themself from writing about the low price they paid. I see no such claim here.

This site has adopted an editorial voice that says “Look at us, we’re DUMBASSES!! HA HA!!!”

And you can have whatever site you like, of course. But it really damages the credibility of all of the other articles for me, so I just won’t be renewing.

GenericWhiteVan
GenericWhiteVan
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

I’m not a car flipper, but I’ve watched enough Scotty Kilmer videos that the first thing you ought to do is put a scanner on a used car you are considering buying–especially if you are a car flipper, because you probably ( or should) own a decent scan tool.

Seems like you can a learn a lot in a little time and either have a negotiating edge, or at least have some due diligence on which to base a purchase or pass . Admittedly, the current owner could have just cleared codes.

I remember going with my brother to check out a VW bug back in the day…. the owner wasn’t too happy we did a compression test on the engine, but we did it before the negotiations started.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 year ago

Oh, so you’re the one keeping kilmer in business.

Please, stop. That hack doesn’t need any more exposure, and there are better channels out there with similar (and better) content.

That said, yes, do as much poking around and diagnostics as you can before buying a vehicle, especially a used one. Or, really, anything, especially if it’s used.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

My first thought was that publicly posting the purchase price could easily lead to “You only paid X for this: I’m not paying 2.5X for it you profiteer!” at sale time.
Second thought was to wonder if you had ever read David & Jason’s stuff at the old site. They have both been clear that they considered cars to be emotional purchases, not logical. The shorthand for that is ‘dumbass’.

Bob
Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I read the old stuff, but I’ve also heard Cammisa quoting Chris Bangle to the effect that the cars we buy are our avatars – the faces we choose to present to the world. And the face being chosen by a number of writers here is “I’m a dumbass, ha ha!”

The best stories are always the ones that tell us more about the writer than the car. And I just don’t want to hang out with some of these writers. So I’ll be off now.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Double dipping! Fix and flip for profit, AND get paid to write about the experience.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 year ago
Reply to  Goof

I think you have to prove lack of sanity to be allowed to write for The Autopian.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago

It is technically a modification, but the title made it sound almost more innocent…not as outright negligent or ill-intentioned as it actually is, yikes.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

Judging by the garbage you found in the car, it was probably never meant to be driven anyway. It was somebody’s home.

Maybe a suitable homage would be to build it into a tiny, tiny camper.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 year ago

Weren’t these available with a 6-speed manual? Might be a sort-of fun commuter car.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
1 year ago

Yeah, in all trim levels, IIRC. You could also bolt on a Honda factory supercharger kit and bump them (and manual Fits, too) from 130 to 200HP, but it cost $5k to do so.

SolamenteDave
SolamenteDave
1 year ago

When we were looking for a car for my son, I test drove one with the 6 speed. It was really cool. He ended up wanting something he could take off-road, so we didn’t go with the CR-Z, but I really liked it.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
1 year ago
Reply to  SolamenteDave

What’s the obsession with off-roading? How often do people actually do it? Where does one legally offroad? Does your son realize how much more expensive it is to drive an offroad designed car for on toad trips?

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 year ago
Reply to  SlowCarFast

It depends on where you live. In or near large city it may be hard to find trails but in rural areas there’s plenty of off roading. My son took the high low beater mix. He has a 99 Suburban for doing stuff in the woods or fetching project car engines and a 2000 Corolla with a manual transmission for low cost daily driving. I live in what looks like suburb but have wilderness areas and OHV trails 30 minutes away.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
1 year ago

Yup. One of my buddies just bought one with a manual. It’s a bit quirky though. He has to use the brakes with the transmission engaged for a bit while slowing down or the regenerative braking system loses its mind. It isn’t helping matters that this is his first manual so he’s being forced to learn bad habits because of the hybrid system.

SarlaccRoadster
SarlaccRoadster
1 year ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

wait, so you think engine brake usage is “bad habits”??

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
1 year ago

Not remotely. It’s not engine braking he has to do, he has to physically step on the brake pedal, which is activating the brakes not just the regenerative system, nearly to the point that the engine stalls. I suggested he try just engine braking and the thing didn’t like it and started giving him regenerative raking system warning messages. Its a fluke of the design that the system is directly connected to the flywheel so when the transmission is disengaged by the clutch it’s not regenerating the way it wants, but his car also doesn’t slow down quickly enough without activating the brakes. I say his car because I have only a single data point.

When he drives his that way it works fine for that car, when I put him in my MINI he killed it 4 times in two blocks, that was when he explained to me what he was doing.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 year ago

As others have said, yes, they were available with a manual, but goodness are they strange to drive, and you have to relearn how to drive a bit to reap the benefits. Not sure if that’s better or worse than the automatics that hybrids usually come with. That said, I despise the CR-Z’s floor treatment, as – AFAIK with several anecdotal encounters – it has a hard rubber/plastic mat fixed in place below where the pedals are (just like an all-weather mat might be, but smaller), but it’s so smooth it makes the surface less grippy than carpet. So, yeah, it’s better for longevity than wearing a hole in the carpet and it probably saves weight, but it’s awful in practice unless you have sticky-heeled shoes.

Peter d
Peter d
1 year ago

Kevin, thanks for the great story. How do you read the SRS code – can it be read with a standard OBDII code reader? If so, I am surprised you didn’t check before you bought the car (although maybe the battery was dead). You buy enough old cars that I would expect you to bring a reader with you. This is a fun little car – although I saw, on the road today, an even more fun Honda – an old Prelude – not sure how it is being kept on the road – probably by someone with your stubbornness and skills. And yes, you could not sell this without fixing it first – thank you.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter d

Completely dead battery + owner lost the keys.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter d

Oops, and nope – you’ll need a code reader that can access body module codes. (I have access to one)

None None
None None
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Williams

What’s the difference, are there consumer options or is something like that expensive enough that it’s really just for shops?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago

There is but one way forward, son.
https://24hoursoflemons.com/

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

My thought, too. When life hands you a lemon, go race it.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago

Time to do some investigative journalism and find out who the asshole was that “repaired” the car and expose them to the world. Fuck them.

Tony D
Tony D
1 year ago

VIN is in the picture of the scanner – get on it. 🙂

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 year ago

Damn thats shady. I hate hearing these kinds of stories.

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