Most dealers laugh at blue book values nowadays. It is all about auctions and wholesale values. The best way to unload a used car is to sell it outright. Most of the time the tax difference isn't going to cover the price difference between selling outright and trading. I have had deals where the dealer didn't go out and look at my trades too, but the last one paid for it big since the car needed a ton of work on it. Another time they didn't bother looking at it, so I switched out the stereo for the old broken factory one. If they don't care, then why should I?
As far as cleaning the vehicle up and waxing and all. Yeah, it can make a difference, but one shouldn't be offended by any initial offer. I have been over $4K apart on deals on the first offer, and they have come down that much to get me to buy. It is a game. You can't take it personally, but sometimes you have to deal hard and long to get to your price. It all depends on what you are buying, and how badly they want to sell it. It is always easier if you sell outright and go in with no trade though. The trades are where the money is.
Sometimes knowing the original owner isn't enough. You should have the car checked by a good body shop. Many cars are damaged in transit when new, and unsuspecting people actually buy them as new cars when they have been compromised. This happened to my mother on a Cadillac. If the car had been dropped or wrecked, how would even the original owner know about it?
I have known plenty of Civic owners over the years, and I haven't really heard of any complaints about handling or excessive tire wear, and definitely never anything about not aligning the car properly. It sound like there is more to the story here. Trust me, your "new" car is handled pretty poorly in transit and during its first drives at the dealer. I used to sell cars, and there was much heavy abuse of the cars going on behind the scenes. When it isn't yours, most people tend to not care much about it.
Original poster here again. Great responses by the way. I want to be clear I am not bashing all Hondas, only mine.
I have family members that have the same car and they are completely happy. I put on 5-10000 klm per month. So whereas another owner who drives less may not replace rear tires for a long time, I am wearing them out and ruining them in 30-90 days on average. The car has been checked out thoroughly. The only thing Honda can suggest is after-market parts to repair what I believe is a poorly engineered rear suspension set up.
Other than this one problem, this is a great car.
BTW I have owned all the brands, Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Plymouth, Mercury, Datsun, Hyundai and several of each. Most have been good, none have had this particular problem.
Final comment from the original poster here.
In December 2011, four new tires installed. Wheel alignment rechecked.
Still squirmy on ice. It required that I drove 10-20 Klm per hour slower than other vehicles.
February 2012, 5th wheel alignment done plus a thorough inspection of the undercarriage, steering and suspension components. Everything was like new.
Hit a straight smooth icy road at 50 Klm per hour, rear end weaved back and forth. Took it on the highway later, and was reduced to 30 Klm/h less than all other traffic.
After 2000.00 for 12 tires, five alignments and numerous inspections, and a lot of baffled mechanics over a 23 month period, I gave up.
This car baffles me. Traded it off on a Camry. My third Camry, and for sure my very last Honda!
I'm glad you made the distinction between disliking your particular car, but not every other Civic ever built. Every car line ever made has problems, some more than others. Car companies, along with their quality and reputations, rise and fall. Some people are determined to judge a particular car brand (especially to contrast imports versus domestics) based on a few second-hand anecdotal experiences. I think for myself, and judge each car based on its merits, rather than a twenty year-old reputation. Domestic brands have surely produced some stinkers over the last 30 years, but so have the imports. Both have also produced excellent cars.
It is a shame some people never progress beyond black-and-white thinking.
After all the attempts at resolving your suspension and tire problems, I don't blame you for disliking the car. Sometimes a car just never works out for a particular person... probably whatever you buy next will not have such problems.
Your friends / neighbors sound like my mother... buy american, even if you get screwed by it. Her philosophy is the Pearl Harbor thing, along with shoddy japanese products in the FIFTIES (she was born in 1944). Now let's go over her cars.
1990-99, 1985 Chevy Celebrity. Engine blew at 135K, got an engine / trans rebuild in 95, by 99 with 168K... EVERY OTHER SYSTEM BROKEN / repaired somehow. Dumped the deathtrap, with the notorious GM A Body army truck steering due to the failed rack.
1999-2006, 1993 Mercury Cougar. Trans blew in 2004 at 115K. Dumped it in 06 after being sick of putting a quart of ATF in every 50 miles.
2006-now, 2000 Lincoln Continental. Pretty sound mechanically, but every suspension component replaced or broken, $750 rack in 2010, (right now needs rear air springs to the tune of $1200). A freaking BELT / HOSE / TRANS FLUID change on this car cost me $800. WTF. I think the only thing that cost less than $500 to repair on this is the BATTERY.
ALL my friends / neighbors / co-workers with Hondas / Toyotas; "oh, I got 150-200K+ on mine with oil changes, belts, tires etc... NO new engines / trans / radiators / steering racks for THEM.
Since I'm taking care of her financially... the next car will be a HONDA or TOYOTA... fight WW2 with your american crap cars on someone else.
Speak for yourself. Some of us like myself are proud to drive american cars and support our economy and autoworkers. Some of us actually care about the working class autoworkers, and have pride in owning domestic made products. Maybe it's more of a middle/working class thing, but where I live in Eastern Canada you see about 90% american cars on the road. A lot of people bought the earlier japanese cars, and they rusted out prematurely so they never really gave them a second chance. Around here where the roads are salted heavily, the engines always outlast the cars anyways.
I owned a few used foreign cars when I couldn't afford anything better; I didn't find them to be problem free or any more reliable than my american cars. I challenge any company to make a more reliable engine than the carburated 5.0 305 in my Vandura work van. It has 456000 kms on it and counting, barely burns any oil, never left me stranded, and starts in any weather.
You can't just say all American cars are crap as a blanket statement; my experience has proven otherwise. I also had an 80's Crown Vic that had 420000 kms when I sold it, and an 80's Pontiac Parisienne with over 350000 kms, and it still worked like new when I sold it. My family also has a 98 Ford Ranger with 273000 on it, excellent little truck. Even the 2002 Taurus we have, which has a bad reputation, is still running great at 252000 kms. Not bad for a "junk" american car...