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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the spring of 2018 I purchased what may be the best maintained used black 2013 Ridgeline RTL w/nav-bluetooth ever (Included good condition BakFlip bed cover and Bridgestone Dueler LTH - ok quality tires, not great, with only 17 k on them). The original owner returned to the dealer for every maintenence item they recommended. I had a five page printout of every service they did. Most were very frequent fluid changes, brakes, filters, alignments, etc. At purchase, the mileage was approximately 79000. Dealer sold to me as certified used Honda with Honda certified warranty. I paid $24476 on the road (tax, title, license incl.). The vehicle was so good, I had no reason to return to the dealer for anything during the entire year and a half during the certified warranty time after the sale. It had everything I wanted in a Ridge, all the available equipment and was favorite color to boot. My first Ridge (2008 nimbus gray rtl) was totaled in my parking lot while I was at work. I hunted for my 2013 for one full year. Wifey was getting a little testy giving me rides after the first six months, of hunting, but I was determined to get a cream puff for my daily driver.

Since then, I have invested $1139 for TB service, $878 for plugs, valve adj, pcv, $95 battery, $417 front brakes, $410 one front engine mount (leaking hydraulic fluid). Of course plugs, battery, brakes are regular wear and tear typical for any vehicle. And I have probably another $870 on additional “normal“ maintenance for any vehicle i.e., oil changes at $30 ea., fluid replacing at top notch independent Honda mechanic, 6000 mile tire rotations at $20 ea, $5 wiper rubbers, air/cabin filters at $20 ea., one alignment. I change my own oil with Mobile1 full synthetic and Mobile1 best extended mileage filter every 3000 miles. I replace all my own filters, wiper rubbers. All other maint. done by same independent Honda mechanic. They are the best in this part of my state. I only return to dealer for recall work and occasional genuine Honda parts.

To summarize, I have owned my Ridge now for about 4 1/2 years and now have 107,000 miles (drove 28000 miles since purchase). Interior and exterior of Ridge is in great shape. I restored silver Honda step bars to new condition with new black powder coat). Paint job is in great shape. The reason I decided to quantify my cost of ownership expenses to date is that I’m looking at replacing the radiator on Monday (to prevent SMOD). I’m guessing that will run me $750 total for parts (new Honda brand radiator) and labor. I throw that in the category with timing belt service and valve adjustments ($1178/TB, approx $500/valve adj only, and now $750 radiator — total for these things - $2,428.00

So, in those 4 1/2 years and 28000 miles, I have approximately $2,170.00 in normal wear n tear maintenance typical for any vehicle. About the only way I could have saved additional money was too purchase impact wrench and rotate own tires, change own tranny, transfer case and rear diff. fluid. To date that may have saved me $180 in labor (less cost of new impact wrench). Between the non standard costs - tb, valves, radiator, and the normal upkeep costs, I will have approximately $4600 total invested since purchase. And especially after the radiator replacement, I have literally addressed everything that I can turn up on this forum or elsewhere related to preventive maintenance for Gen 1 Ridgelines. I do think my truck might still sell privately to a Ridge hunter in the $24000 range considering the great condition and relatively low mileage. So I am really only out my repair and maintenance costs to date, I think.

Do forum readers, mechanics, etc. think that my maintenance costs to date seem reasonable? Any comments based on my story? I am really curious to hear what other forum members think. As you can tell, I’m not a mechanic, but enjoy changing oil, filters, keeping a close eye on things, waxing (Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Wax!) and always looking for ways to not just maintain, but improve the condition.

Final Comment
The radiator replacement is a big Honda let down. The tranny line radiator connections are terrible. This is not characteristic of their past quality reputaton, and the same for their decision to not fix the calendar issue. These two items alone have done some serious harm to their once loyal customer base. Am looking forward to your comments and opinions on my story, Thank you.
 

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Sounds like you need a new mechanic, learn to do some of these things yourself, or stay with a warranted vehicle. I bought my certified sport with 40k miles and drive it 20k/yr. I do all routine maintenance save for timing belt. Nearing 170k, I've replaced 2 calipers and both sway bar links and that's it.
 

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Much of what you've listed is simply the cost of maintaining a 100K mile vehicle.
Though some of this seems like bad luck, as I'm surprised engine mounts and radiators need replacement.
If you want to save money, start by DIY'ing more tasks...all fluids, spark plugs, brake pads, tire rotations.

You are also WAY overdoing the oil changes...every 3K miles with expensive Mobile 1 is completely unnecessary.
Follow the MM system (every ~7K miles) and buy the cheapest 5 quart jugs of name brand oil you can find at Amazon or Walmart. I've put upwards of 190K miles on vehicles using this approach with zero issues.

The overarching issue is the fact that you bought used.
These costs are why used vehicles are often a poor value vs. buying new.
Buying new would have almost certainly been a better LONG TERM value (total cost / total years of ownership).
Your truck had all of the best & cheapest miles already used up. You bought it when the more expensive maintenance is coming due, without the privilege of using it during all of the earlier cheap/trouble free miles.
 

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IMO, it's all about the TB valve adjustments and spark plug hurdle. That's a 2-3k mandatory cost despite having a car with only 100k on the odometer. If you add this cost to the price of a used purchase will it be cheaper than an alternative? That's up to you but I don't see any way around this issue unless you do it yourself. These services have a lot of variance on price and seems to increase at a rate higher than root canals or college tuition. It's a headache to get it done correctly with the right parts which are a belt, tensioner and water pump seals and idlers and all at the right price.. This is where a chain engine shines takes all the headache and price gougers and risk of someone messing with your car out of it. With a chain engine you'd need spark plugs and coolant every 100k, much easier.

The coolant and trans fluid is a known risk but older cars will need attention sooner or later and that takes money.

That's the name of the game today, overcharge for low hanging fruit. If you can, do your own fluid changes and brake pads and rotors. Example, at Jiffy lube a Mobil 1 oil change is over $100. I can do it myself with a Honda filter for $30 or less by stocking up when on sale.
 

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Very reasonable. We have a 2014 Subaru since new and have learned to dread the 30k maintenances. Those always hit the 1-2 k mark at the dealer. The one that really caught us off guard was the failure of the start stop battery in the hybrid system. All it is is a heavier duty car battery that cost $300 plus and a little hard to get to. I was up for attempting it but it is my wife’s car. You can guess how it got fixed. Dealer charged $1600. But they told us to write to Subaru and Subaru eventually sent us a check for $1k.

I gave up working on my own cars when I hit my 40s (beyond batteries and radios on my cars) and could work some overtime to have a mechanic fix them properly. There was also the locking myself in the trunk incident that the wife reminds me about every few years. I have a couple weekend cars (VW Eos convertible, Jeep Liberty) that I bought well used and spent about the price of the car getting them back up to my standards. All lights work, decent tires and shocks, new water pumps, new radiator, etc. So I have lots experience in the past few years with dealer and independent mechanics.

It is not the time to buy a car right now and not the time to get one fixed either. The rates are higher, appointments scheduled way out, and a lot of new mechanics making mistakes. My last repair I had one highly rated shop do most of the work, took it back when they forgot to reconnect the E brake, and then had a second mechanic double check their work.
 

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The overarching issue is the fact that you bought used.
These costs are why used vehicles are often a poor value vs. buying new.
Buying new would have almost certainly been a better LONG TERM value (total cost / total years of ownership).
Expanding on Bluegrass' point. Nothing too 'scientific' about these numbers, but was curious ...

In the spring of 2018 I purchased what may be the best maintained used black 2013 Ridgeline RTL.
I paid $24476 on the road (tax, title, license incl.).
Between the non standard costs - tb, valves, radiator, and the normal upkeep costs, I will have approximately $4600 total invested since purchase.
Total spent ~$29,000.
KBB Private sale for 2013 RTL, 107,000 miles: $16,000
True cost (including depreciation): $13,000

I bought my 2019 RTL new for $33,000 on the road (TTL included). When I've owned it for 4 years, with your mileage (28,000 miles), maintenance would be something like ~4X oil/filter changes, 1X Rear Diff, Air filter, Cabin Filter. Approx $250 as I do my own maintenance.

Total spent ~$33,250
KBB Private sale for 2017* RTL, 28.000 miles: $31,300
(* used 2017 value to be more conservative, reflecting a 4-5 year old vehicle)
True cost (including depreciation): $2,000

So even these very rough figures show Bluegrass is right - cheaper in the long run buying a new car! Covid has skewed the benefit even further in favor of new, but even in normal times there is more value in new if you buy at the right price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Expanding on Bluegrass' point. Nothing too 'scientific' about these numbers, but was curious ...


Total spent ~$29,000.
KBB Private sale for 2013 RTL, 107,000 miles: $16,000
True cost (including depreciation): $13,000

I bought my 2019 RTL new for $33,000 on the road (TTL included). When I've owned it for 4 years, with your mileage (28,000 miles), maintenance would be something like ~4X oil/filter changes, 1X Rear Diff, Air filter, Cabin Filter. Approx $250 as I do my own maintenance.

Total spent ~$33,250
KBB Private sale for 2017* RTL, 28.000 miles: $31,300
(* used 2017 value to be more conservative, reflecting a 4-5 year old vehicle)
True cost (including depreciation): $2,000

So even these very rough figures show Bluegrass is right - cheaper in the long run buying a new car! Covid has skewed the benefit even further in favor of new, but even in normal times there is more value in new if you buy at the right price.
17BE
thanks for your insight.
Did your new 2019 RTL have sliding rear window, nav, Bluetooth, tow pkg, etc etc. in other words all the same options that new 2013 rtl fully loaded had? I checked my 2013 sticker (came with truck paperwork) and bottom line was $38110. I think I looked back in spring of 2018 and new comparable (with exact options as my 2013 fully loaded) was going to be much more than $33000 on the road. But maybe my memory is not right. How do your new 2019 options compare- am now wondering what I could have got for about $8k more back then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
17BE
thanks for your insight.
Did your new 2019 RTL have sliding rear window, nav, Bluetooth, tow pkg, etc etc. in other words all the same options that new 2013 rtl fully loaded had? I checked my 2013 sticker (came with truck paperwork) and bottom line was $38110. I think I looked back in spring of 2018 and new comparable (with exact options as my 2013 fully loaded) was going to be much more than $33000 on the road. But maybe my memory is not right. How do your new 2019 options compare- am now wondering what I could have got for about $8k more back then.
17BE. Was your new 2019 rtl AWD too?
 

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Did your new 2019 RTL have sliding rear window, nav, Bluetooth, tow pkg, etc etc.
Yes to Sliding window, Bluetooth and Tow Package, but no to Nav (although I added an aftermarket unit so it does now).
17BE. Was your new 2019 rtl AWD too?
Yes.

I was really only posting to re-enforce Bluegrass' point that buying used has a lower cost originally, but the costs catch up over time with maintenance and then resale.

Some of it comes down to timing - I usually buy my car/trucks as 'last of generation' new when a new model has launched and then keep for ~8-10 years. So, my 2011 Pilot (bought when the 2012 refresh had been released) and 2019 RTL (bought when the 2020 refresh had been released) were both heavily discounted and both cheap to maintain over ~100,000 miles.

There are though, advantages to buying used. The Gen 1 Ridgeline is far more 'unique' and seems to have a more spacious interior in the front.
 

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Did your new 2019 RTL have sliding rear window, nav, Bluetooth, tow pkg, etc etc.
I think I looked back in spring of 2018 and new comparable was going to be much more than $33000 on the road. But maybe my memory is not right.
I also had a 2019 RTL I bought in late 2019. I paid $31,250 including the dealer doc fee.
After sales tax and license fees, the total OTD came to $33,400.

It had everything you mentioned (sliding rear window, bluetooth, tow pkg, AWD) except navigation. I don't know why you'd care about in-vehicle nav when you have much better nav on your phone.

You get a brand new vehicle, with full factory warranty, that requires very little maintenance for the first ~75K miles.

As 17BE noted, this is why the new vehicle (when negotiated properly) is a considerably better value, over the long-term, than most used vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I also had a 2019 RTL I bought in late 2019. I paid $31,250 including the dealer doc fee.
After sales tax and license fees, the total OTD came to $33,400.

It had everything you mentioned (sliding rear window, bluetooth, tow pkg, AWD) except navigation. I don't know why you'd care about in-vehicle nav when you have much better nav on your phone.

You get a brand new vehicle, with full factory warranty, that requires very little maintenance for the first ~75K miles.

As 17BE noted, this is why the new vehicle (when negotiated properly) is a considerably better value, over the long-term, than most used vehicles.
Bluegrasss. Thank you for the info. What’s that old saying “Hindsight is 20-20”. I think I definitely would take a closer look at new if I had it to do all over again. I think I did not realize back then that the new model was such a good value with all those options included.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bluegrasss. Thank you for the info. What’s that old saying “Hindsight is 20-20”. I think I definitely would take a closer look at new if I had it to do all over again. I think I did not realize back then that the new model was such a good value with all those options included.
These are great, great comments and hopefully quite helpful for other forum members who dont have lots of skills to do most tech. maintenance ie brake jobs, spark plugs, tire rotations etc., and are weighing buying very good used VS end of model year brand new. In my case, it sounds like my out of pocket for the new model would have been just shy of $9000 more. I did get a very nice BakFlip bed cover with my 2013 (prob about $700 new back them). A bed cover was a must, but I probably would have opted for a lesser vinyl roll-up to keep snow out, had it not come with cover. And I would have probably offered about $500 less w/o BakFlip on board—getting me down to the $23800 range otr.
 

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In my case, it sounds like my out of pocket for the new model would have been just shy of $9000 more.
I purchase vehicles the same way @17BE described above and highly recommend it if you care about deriving the maximum value from your vehicles.

Given the numbers you mention, buying new would have been a much better value.
I've posted this calculation elsewhere, but it helps put the new vs. used decision in perspective.
Adjust the mileage assumptions to suit your use case.

Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight
 

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And buying new is not a guarantee of no headaches. Look at the reliability going in of the last few years. I am in a RL because it was my 2nd choice last year and I bought a brand new domestic full-size truck for 2022. Took it 6 months and a long road trip for some major things to go wrong. The truck worked perfectly as a commuter and had a hard time replicating the issues with the service department. So, I used my once in a lifetime trade in spike to get out of it only losing $800 in the process. Then went and picked up my second choice.

But yes, if you can find new for MSRP, I would definitely pick that over dealing with service departments on at least a yearly basis on a 100K plus rig. No matter how reliable it is rated.
 

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I am feeling pretty good about myself. 3 years ago I bought my 2012 RTL 90,000 miles with everything but navigation, Don't need it. I use my Phone in a mount & it is always updated & gets notifications from Waze. Anyway this truck is very very sweet, great condition. The guy new my brother & let me drive it for the weekend & take it to my mechanic. I had him check the truck over as with a few other mechanic friends of mine, they all said this thing was taken care of. Also had all service records. After talking with the owner I said I am going to need a new timing belt done & this & that so we agreed on a price. After looking for a Ridgeline & waiting for the perfect truck & deal for roughly a 1 & half - 2 years I finally found it. Talking with the guy he was good friends of my brother back in the day, he inherited a newer truck from someone & wasn't looking to take advantage of anyone. Long story short I got the ridgeline I have been looking for. $8,000.00. I had the TB done, serp belt. water pump, I think it was $750.00 & I did all the other fluid changes, plugs myself. Love my Ridgeline. On another not, be careful where you buy your plugs from. Lots of counterfeits out there. I like amazon but not for my spark plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I am feeling pretty good about myself. 3 years ago I bought my 2012 RTL 90,000 miles with everything but navigation, Don't need it. I use my Phone in a mount & it is always updated & gets notifications from Waze. Anyway this truck is very very sweet, great condition. The guy new my brother & let me drive it for the weekend & take it to my mechanic. I had him check the truck over as with a few other mechanic friends of mine, they all said this thing was taken care of. Also had all service records. After talking with the owner I said I am going to need a new timing belt done & this & that so we agreed on a price. After looking for a Ridgeline & waiting for the perfect truck & deal for roughly a 1 & half - 2 years I finally found it. Talking with the guy he was good friends of my brother back in the day, he inherited a newer truck from someone & wasn't looking to take advantage of anyone. Long story short I got the ridgeline I have been looking for. $8,000.00. I had the TB done, serp belt. water pump, I think it was $750.00 & I did all the other fluid changes, plugs myself. Love my Ridgeline. On another not, be careful where you buy your plugs from. Lots of counterfeits out there. I like amazon but not for my spark plugs.
BDtank. I think you got that ridge at least half the private party value if not a little less than that. Those windfalls don’t come along often, especially for a truck you really liked! Good for you. What color? I bought mg first ridge on a local estate online auction. I think I paid about 11k for it, 2008 RtL- about 90000 miles. The book was around 16k when bought in 2013. I was never crazy about the color (gray) but was a one owner who took great care of it. I would still be driving it, but a drunk totaled in my parking lot while I was at work a mile away.
 

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Ping, it is black. I am a believer that if you are patient enough the deal you are waiting on will come along. I didn't need another truck as I already owned a ford f-150. I just had a hankering for a 1st gen ridgeline. after looking & looking & looking I just stayed patient. I came home one day & my wife had some bags of bottles sitting in the driveway to return to the recyclable place up the road. The wonderful husband that I am I loaded them in my car & brought them back for her. On my way about 2 minutes from my home I saw the Ridge sitting there & said to myself, that's way to nice. He is going to want way more than I want to spend so I just kept going. on the way back home I decided to stop & take a look & got the #. I got home & called the guy & he tole me, you are the first to call, I just put the truck out an hour ago. So it just goes to show sometimes being patient pays off & good things will happen. P.S. Same thing just happened to me a few weeks ago. I been looking for a to good to pass up deal on a Triumph tiger 1050 motorcycle & after about 1.5 - 2 years I came across that deal.
 

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The costs seem reasonable to me. But I may be the exception rather than the rule. I'm the long time owner of a 2007 RL, only 75,000 miles. I had a long 1 1/2 hour (each way) commute when I first got the RL, but less than a year later left that awful job and worked either close to home, or worked from home, keeping mileage low.

Anyways, I always took it in to the Honda dealer for scheduled service and did whatever Honda recommend (as part of their standard service). I had even purchased the extended warranty, but since I never used it, got a refunded for the full cost of the warranty. The ONLY two things I had to have done, that might not be considered normal maintenance, was replacement of the front struts several years ago, and replaced the A/C compressor this year. That's it! Even had the gas tank rust recall successfully done this year, which worried me, since I live in Pennsylvania. Also when I bought the truck they offered "Free Tires for Life", so I've gotten all new tires twice so far over the past 15 years.

Furiously knocking on wood while typing this post...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The costs seem reasonable to me. But I may be the exception rather than the rule. I'm the long time owner of a 2007 RL, only 75,000 miles. I had a long 1 1/2 hour (each way) commute when I first got the RL, but less than a year later left that awful job and worked either close to home, or worked from home, keeping mileage low.

Anyways, I always took it in to the Honda dealer for scheduled service and did whatever Honda recommend (as part of their standard service). I had even purchased the extended warranty, but since I never used it, got a refunded for the full cost of the warranty. The ONLY two things I had to have done, that might not be considered normal maintenance, was replacement of the front struts several years ago, and replaced the A/C compressor this year. That's it! Even had the gas tank rust recall successfully done this year, which worried me, since I live in Pennsylvania. Also when I bought the truck they offered "Free Tires for Life", so I've gotten all new tires twice so far over the past 15 years.

Furiously knocking on wood while typing this post...
Frank
Tso much things pop out. 1. That free tires for life is a heck of a perk. How/who determines the brand and quality of the tires you can get? Also, I can’t believe Honda refunded your extended warrenty purchase price despite never using it. That must have been at least a thousand dollars? Are you thinking of replacing your radiator soon? And have you done the timing belt service?I think I would do that if you plan on driving a few more years. You have probably heard of SMOD. i Just purchased a genuine Honda OEM radiator from my dealer. I negotiated a very good discount with Honda and got the radiator for a very fair price. I have had misc. Honda dealers quoted me as high as $525 for an OEM radiator now, with the average being around $400). I then twisted the arm of the owner of one of the best transmission shops in my part of the state to replace the radiator (“good” transmission mechanics are like car brain surgeons and I wanted a meticulous job done, especially on the transmission fluid cooler/heater lines to and from radiator). Anyway, I brought the parts in, including two hoses and antifreeze. They did a fantastic job and was very inexpensive.

The timing belt is rubber, and after 15 years must be getting very brittle. I would get that done too if your keeping it any longer. It’s on borrowed time for sure. Thanks for commenting!
 

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Yes, free tires for life is a great perk, the dealer hasn't offered it in a while. They remind me of that fact when they have to give me free tires. The current tires are Hankook DynaPro HT's. They refunded the extended warranty specifically because I never used it. That's how those things work (or used to), if no claims are filed against the extended warranty then you can get your money back... but you have to take your original paperwork to the dealer, talk to management, and specifically ask for the refund, it was $1,600.
The timing belt was replaced at one of the service appointments (e.g. at x miles or y years replace ...). Not sure how long it's been though, I'll have to check.
Didn't consider changing the radiator, I wasn't aware that could be a problem.
SMOD... do you mean the band??
 
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