I've been dipping my toes in the forum for a bit now, so I figured I'd better introduce myself. Hello, my name is Drew and I live in WI. I work in IT but in my spare time I like to wrench on my cars. Until this January I had been driving a 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis which was both a pleasure and a pain. After four years with that tank, road salt finally did it in (as usually seems to happen to my cars). So I went looking for something simple and cheap, common, smaller than the Merc, with better gas mileage, comfortable on the highway, more reliable than my wife's Saturn (and it is a hard car to beat), with a manual transmission. (A bonus would have been a wagon, but those seem hard to find with a manual.) I was especially looking at third- and fourth-generation Camrys, having greatly enjoyed a 1990 Camry for my first car, but couldn't find one near me with a manual trans. I remembered working as an oil-change tech while I was in school, I used to see Accords in the 360K-400K mileage range, and the way the owners talked about them kind of made me want one. So I found myself a 2001 Accord EX, 4-cylinder 5-speed. 216K miles on it when I bought it, now 217K. It's blue, and so was the Mercury, leading to coworkers joking that my car shrunk in the wash. It actually reminds me a lot of my mom's old '97 Civic, but with everything enlarged to 125%. I had it inspected by a mechanic I trust before I bought it, which revealed a few things the test drive did not: - The timing belt has been done fairly recently. An unknown timing belt on an interference engine made me very very nervous. - The left rear wheel bearing was going bad. Apparently I never got it over 35 on the test drive, or I would've heard the howl! - The front and rear sway bar bushings were worn out and allowing the sway bars to rattle. - The left front upper ball joint is starting to wear out. So far I've replaced the front sway bar bushings and the rear wheel bearing. The rear sway bushings aren't as bad, I have the part and I'll put it in when the garage floor dries out a bit. The ball joint just arrived as well, so I'm making it a priority to get that into the car within the next few weeks. I learned from my last car that it's worth it to buy quality parts. The cheapest thing at the chain store is probably good enough to get you back on the road for a year or two, but I don't want to be putting in a new pittman arm every year or two. Not that I would cheap out on a pittman arm or anything. So now you know a little about me and my car, and my dearly departed former car. So far I'm enjoying my first Honda!