1992 Honda Civic VX all stock 43-51 MPG!

Price: - Item location: Portland, Oregon, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Honda
  • Model: Civic
  • Type: Hatchback
  • Trim: VX
  • Year: 1992
  • Mileage: 296,052
  • VIN: 2HGEH2360NH527230
  • Color: Red
  • Engine size: D15Z1 1.5 liter
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Power options: Air Conditioning
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: FWD
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Safety options: Driver Airbag
  • Options: CD Player
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1992 Honda Civic

For those unfamiliar, the Civic VX is pretty much the most fuel efficient gas-powered vehicle out there that will carry four people. It gets better mileage than a Prius on the highway, and not much worse in-city.
This is a totally-stock Canadian-made for the lower-48 VX. I bought this car in 2007 from the second owner, with 253k miles at the time. I live in the city and work from home, so my trips are infrequent and short. I had always looked forward to hitting 300,000, but as close as I am, I don't think I'll get there. We have a baby now and the 2-door hatch is too frustrating for in-and-out with the car seat in the back. We've already bought a newer (still Honda!) 4-door, and the VX is getting very little use.
Most of its miles were put on by the previous owner, who had a 45-mile highway commute each way. I gave them a call today and confirmed that they never replaced the transmission or clutch, and thanked them for passing on such a wonderful car.
The car, in just city driving, usually averages 42 (40-44) mpg. On a highway trip, depending mostly on speed, I've averaged 45-52 mpg, just driving mindfully, not hyper-miling or anything unusual. Over 43000 miles that I've owned it, I've never had any major problem. I don't think it's ever broken down on me, excepting a couple of occasions of leaving the lights on and killing the battery.
The car has only 3 mods--and I'm reluctant to call them that. One is that I fixed that lights-left-on problem-- the VX has a warning chime for door ajar, but not for lights. I added a buzzer for that, so it's never happened again. This amounts to less than an ounce in weight addition, and is a very simple fix, one that any VX owner should do in my opinion. The second change is an after-market stereo-head unit. It's nothing fancy but it plays CDs and has an AUX input, both nice upgrades with negligible weight gain. It's still just the front two speakers, but I replaced one of those that was blown out. The third change is that I added a passenger side mirror, for safety. In 1992 the VX did not have one--it wasn't legally required and not having it saves a bit of wind drag.
Other than than those two things, the car is remarkably original. It has the coveted VX original wheels and low rolling resistance Sumitomo tires. The fronts are in great shape with roughly 5000 miles on them. The back tires are pretty worn. I wouldn't hesitate to go anywhere on them now, but I wouldn't trust them in snow.
The engine is strong, with consistently good mileage. It starts up quickly, every time. I've changed the oil always between 3-5k miles, and at least once a year. When I've stretched it to the longer interval I've put about a half-quart in at around 4k. The engine is usually running at about 2000 rpm, so a 5000 mile interval is equivalent to the revolutions of 3500 miles in an average car. This is a big part of why these cars get such good mileage, as well as how they last for so many miles. The engine compartment in the photo has not been degreased by me, ever. I'm not saying it's perfect, only that it's pretty darned clean and leak-and-rust-free, and what you see is what you get.
So, the good, summing up: all-original, clean-titled Civic VX with fantastic mileage and strong D15Z1 engine and tranny. If you're still reading this, you've probably been looking for this car. It has less than 600 miles since I last changed the oil/filter, plugs, and wires. It has just 1600 miles since I had the water-pump and all belts (timing, alternator, A/C) replaced (have receipt at 294,390). I did that because I came upon a retired Honda mechanic who did it pretty inexpensively and because I didn't have any record of when it had last been done. The entire tailpipe, catalytic converter, and muffler were replaced in July last year. It's also got new wipers this past winter.
And now to the bad: amazingly, I believe it is still the original clutch. It's not slipping at all, but a new clutch is probably due. Regardless, it still has the common issue of a noisy input shaft bearing. It's been doing that for a while, though not that much in miles, just time-- keep in mind I've averaged under 5000 miles/year on this car, over 9 years. That same mechanic diagnosed the ISB where I'd been thinking it was the throwout bearing. After reading up a bit on it I agree with him. He quoted me $425-475 for that clutch and bearings job, depending on his parts price, and said it's not going to get me stuck any time soon. (He talked me into doing the pump and belts first.)
The other main bad thing is the paint. This car has lived all its life in the Pacific Northwest and most of it on the hot, dry side of the mountains in Oregon. It has very little rust, but the sun has definitely taken its toll on the red paint, especially the roof and hood. I was planning until recently to keep this car (I do love the "Lil Red Wagon"!) and put a Maaco paint job on it. I think now though that her new owner should decide what quality of paint job (and color) she deserves.
The driver's seat has the tear that every Civic of this vintage I've found has, in the left side about where your lower left ribs would rub as you step out of the car. I've looked for a good replacement many times at my local U-Pull it, but they all seem to have that tear. Similarly common, the carpet is worn on the sides, outside the mats, at both driver's and passenger's feet.
I'm assuming there is an accident report on the Carfax report, but I've not seen it. My understanding is that the first owner had a minor parking lot accident when the car was pretty new (the title is definitely clean, not branded). The driver door was either repaired or replaced and re-painted under insurance. Many years later, it's only noticeable because the paint on that door has held up a little better than elsewhere. There was another minor accident with the second owner happened when a truck with a high bumper kissed the back left side at a traffic light. The damage was a cracked taillight lens (I replaced), a small dimple in the tail gate and a few inches of broken paint. These should be visible in a couple of the photos.
Added: The VX is even harder to find with A/C (at least in the NW). This one has it, stock, but it's not cooling. I've just tested it going over the car to list it, and discovered this. I haven't probably turned on the A/C for 3 years in this car, because it's so rarely necessary here in Portland, and it noticeably sucks away your driving power in this gas sipper. It definitely used to work. I imagine it has a very slow leak and just needs a re-charge, but I don't know for sure.
I've tried hard to lay out everything I know about the car. I'm happy to answer questions for interested parties, and I'll try to do so within 24 hours. For you on the east coast and in the mid-west concerned about rust, tell me where you want the camera pointed and I'll try my best to find it. We do get snow here a little, but salt is outlawed on the roads in Oregon. I grew up in the Southeast, and it's amazing to me how little rust develops on cars here.
I'm willing to hold car off-street beyond 10 days if pickup or shipping within that time is prohibitive. We'd have to work out payment though. I reserve the right to cancel bids from buyers with no feedback or history.