Honda Civic Type R FN2/FD2 Buying and Importing Guide

Like the EK9 and the EP3 before it, the third gen Honda Civic Type R was an excellent everyday performance car. For this generation Honda produced two different models, one for the Japanese market and one for the UK/International markets.

This buying guide contains all the information you need to know about purchasing either of these two Type R models. Carry on reading to find out more!

How to Use This Type R Buyer’s Guide

This guide is broken up into a number of different sections. To start with we will be looking at the history of the third gen Type R Civic and then we will go into the buyer’s guide section of the article. Use the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read.

At the end of this article we will be covering more general car buying advice for the FD2/FN2 Civic Type R models. Additionally, we have information on how to import them from Japan and where to find a third gen Type R for sale.

History of the FD2/FN2 Honda Civic Type R (2007 – 2012)

Based on the eighth generation Civic, the third gen Type R was once again offered in two distinct models: one for the Japanese Domestic Market and one for the UK/International markets.

The Japanese version of the Civic Type R (FD2) went on sale on March 30 2007. For the first time ever the Civic Type R was available as a four-door saloon rather than a four-door hatchback.

Compared to the previous generation, the FD2 was wider, bigger and heavier with a wheel base of 2,700 mm (2,570 mm for the EP3). This increase in size meant that the FD2 was much more stable during high speed cornering than the EP3 Type R.

European and International Type R Civic models (FN2) were only available as a three-door hatchback and they used a different chassis and internal layout.

The FD2’s 2.0-litre K20A engine produced 222 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 159 lb ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. European, FN2 models featured a 2.0-litre K20Z4 engine that produced 198 horsepower and 142 lb ft of torque at 5,600 rpm. Honda actually borrowed the FD2/FN2’s engine from the Accord Euro R and implemented new technology such as a drive-by-wire throttle.

Power was sent to the front wheels of the third gen Type R through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, and a helical limited-slip differential was fitted as standard.

Honda gave the third gen Type R 320 mm disc brakes with four piston Brembo calipers at the front, and 225/40 R18 Potenza RE070 tyres. European models were fitted with 225/40 R18 Y88 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres as standard, and buyers had the option of upgrading to 19-inch Rage alloys fitted with Yokohama Advan Sport 225/35 ZR19 88Y tyres.

Compared to the DC5 Integra Type R, Honda claimed that this Civic featured a chassis that was 25% more rigid, which improved cornering performance. The FD2 utilised an independent rear suspension set up, rather than the torsion beam configuration that was used on the FN2.

To save weight, Honda decided to use aluminium bonding with adhesive instead of more traditional welding. This meant, that while the chassis was more rigid and larger than the JDM Integra Type R, it was only 70 kg heavier in weight.

On the inside, the iconic Recaro seats were replaced by Honda designed ones. Additionally, the Momo steering wheel was also replaced for a Honda developed one. Buyers either had the option of a red and black interior or a black and black one.

Honda offered the third gen Civic Type R in a variety of paintjobs – Championship White, Super Platinum Metallic Silver, Vivid Blue Pearl (dropped from October 2008). From October 2008, the Type R was available in the following additional colours; Premium White Pearl, Premium Deep Violet Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl.

Fifth Gear discovered that the JDM Type R FD2 was around 3 seconds a lap quicker than the EDM FN2 model around Castle Combe in the United Kingdom. Additionally, it was found during other tests that the FD2 Type R was on average four seconds a lap quicker than the Integrale Type R DC5 at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

FN2 Trim Levels

Type R GT
  • Features the following:
  • Dual zone climate control
  • Rain sensing windscreen wipers
  • refrigerated glove box
  • automatic headlights with dusk sensors
  • front fog lights
  • power folding wing mirrors
  • cruise control
  • front and rear curtain airbags
Type R Heritage

Heritage trim replaced the GT in some markets and was fitted with many of the same features. It was also fitted with the following:

  • Xenon/HID lights
  • Bluetooth telephone system
  • voice recognition DVD satellite navigation
Type R Race

More radical car that was 40 kg lighter did not feature the following:

  • HID
  • Air conditioning
  • Fog lights
  • Audio system
  • Sound proofing
  • Some air bags
Type R (Aust)

Much the same as the Type R GT. Models from 1 March 2010 were fitted with a limited-slip differential.

Civic Mugen RR

Mugen produced 300 special edition RR versions of the Type R Civic that were available exclusively in Milano Red. The Civic Mugen RR was only available in the Japan and the car received a number of updates/modifications over the standard Type R.

Power was increased to 237 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 218 lb-ft at 7.000 rpm of torque via the use of Mugen parts such as a new exhaust system, camshafts, and ECU. Around 5 kg (Mugen RR weighed 1,255 kg) was saved through the use of carbon fibre bumpers and an aluminium bonnet.

Other features on the RR included Recaro SP-X racing bucket seats and other Mugen items on the interior, and special 18 inch Mugen 7-spoke wheels

The following year, at the 2008 Tokyo Motor Show, Mugen revealed the Civic Type RR Experimental Spec Concept car. This was fitted with a larger 2,157 cc K20A engine that produced 256 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 237 lb-ft of torque. Weight was reduced even more and there was a new titanium exhaust system. More carbon fibre was used on the inside of the car and it also feature’s Mugen’s Intelligent-Tire Condition Monitoring System (i-TCMS).

An updated version of this concept Type R was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show the next year and was heavily based on the face-lifted FD2. It featured larger brakes and a weight of 1,095 kg.

Honda Civic Type R FD2/FN2 Buying Guide

The third generation Honda Civic Type R is another great performance car and below you can find everything you need to know about buying one.

Vin Location

We always recommend that you check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of any Type R as it can give you some useful information on the car. There are a few different places you may find the vin number including in the engine bay, on various parts of the chassis and more.

The different numbers and letters in the vin number mean different things. If it is a genuine Type R Civic you should notice FD2 or FN2 in the vin number depending on which model you are looking at.

Remember to do an HPI check to see the history of the vehicle.

Condition

Like the previous generations of the Type R, the third gen is a reliable car and a good one should provide many more years of motoring enjoyment.

Engine

Start your inspection of the engine by lifting the bonnet and taking a good look at the engine bay – do you see any major warning signs, or does it look well maintained? Does everything look stock or can you see some aftermarket components?

Once you have taken a good general look at the engine, move onto checking the level of the fluids. Incorrect fluid levels are a sign of poor maintenance and can lead to accelerated engine/component wear.

If the oil warning light is illuminated due to low oil level, move onto another FN2/FD2 as engine damage has probably already occurred.

It is important to check that both the oil and oil filter have been changed at the recommended service intervals or before. Old oil that sits at the bottom of an engine’s crankcase will breakdown overtime and can become diluted in the presence of contaminates, leading to premature engine wear. Below we have listed the recommended service intervals for the oil and oil filter for a FN2/FD2 Civic Type R.

Engine oil – Honda states that oil should be changed every 20,000 km (12,500 miles) or every 12 months for normal conditions. Some enthusiastic owners like to do it every 10,000 km (6,000 miles) or every six months, but this is probably only recommended if the car is driven hard regularly. Somewhere in the middle, 14,000 km (9,000 miles), is probably a happy medium if you want to change it a bit sooner.

Replace with good quality synthetic 5W-30 or 5W-40 (30 better in cold climates, 40 better in warm and for hard/track use). Fuchs Titan Pro S 5W-40 is a good option for FN2/FD2 Civic Type Rs. If the Type R you are looking at burns oil, find out what oil the owner runs the car on. If it is 5W-30, switch to 5W-40 if you purchase the vehicle. You may also come across some owners which run their FN2/FD2 Type Rs on 0W-30 or 0W-40 oil.

Oil filter – The filter should be changed every 20,000 km (12,500 miles), but some owners will do it with an early oil change. Hamp or OEM oil filters are the most recommended filters for EP3 Type R Civics.

Move onto another Type R Civic if you notice any metallic particles or contaminates in the oil. Additionally, oil that smells of coolant is a sign that the head gasket has failed or is failing. If the oil smells of fuel it may be caused by worn piston rings. Black oil is fine and just indicates it may be time for an oil change in the near future.

The air filter should be replaced every 40,000 km (25,000 miles). The stock one is perfectly fine, but you may find some owners have replaced the filters in their Type Rs with K&N or Spoon ones.

Timing Chain and 75K Service

The K20A and K20Z4 engines used in third generation Civic Type R use a timing chain instead of a belt. The timing chain should not need to be replaced, but here are some reasons it may have been.

  1. The owners is lying and thinks it sounds better.
  2. The owner is cautious and likes preventitive maintenance
  3. The timing chain has stretched or there may have been other issues
  4. They don’t know what they are talking about

The service every 120,000 km (75,000 miles) or every 6 years is very important, so make sure it has been done. If this work has not been carried out at the recommended intervals be very cautious of the vehicle. All the following should have been done during the service:

  • Oil
  • Oil filter
  • Air filter
  • Pollen filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Spark Plugs (NGK Iridium) (every 25,000 miels for standard plugs)
  • Gearbox oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Valve clearance Adjustment (check every 25,000 miles)
  • Chain tensionor check/replace
Exhaust System of an FN2/FD2 Type R

Always make sure you take a look at the exhaust system on a Type R for any leaks, corrosion or repairs. Black sooty stains indicate a leak and watch out for any corrosion on the weld points. If you find excessive amounts of rust on the exhaust system, either move onto another Type R or get a discount on the vehicle and get it replaced.

If you notice any cracks or dodgy repair jobs on the exhaust system, the car may not be worth your time.

Aftermarket exhausts from the likes of HKS and Toda can improve performance but can hurt the originality of the vehicle (if you care about that). If you are looking at an FN2/FD2 with an aftermarket exhaust make sure it has been installed properly and the workmanship is to a high standard.

Oil Leaks on Third Gen Type R Civics

Oil leaks can be caused by anything from a loose or bad oil filter to much more serious engine issues. We wouldn’t worry too much if you find a tiny oil leak, but if there is a big puddle under the vehicle then you should walk away. Remember to check for oil leaks both before and after a test drive.

Engine Mounts and Gearbox Mounts  

Just like on EP3 Type Rs, the engine mounts on FN2 and FD2 Type Rs can fail if they are subjected to regular hard driving. If one or more of the mounts have failed you will probably hear a banging sound during gear changes, acceleration or under braking. The broken mounts need to be changed as soon as possible and you should use this as a bargaining point with the seller.

Starting Up and Driving a Third Gen Honda Civic Type R

We recommend that you get the owner/seller of the vehicle to start the Type R for you. The first reason for this is so that you can see if any smoke comes out of the exhaust upon start up. The second reason is if the owner thrashes the car when it is cold you know to move onto another Type R.

When the key is turned in the ignition, the vehicle should spring into life. Listen out for any strange noises such as banging or knocking and listen to the idle speed (it should be fairly consistent once the car has warmed up.

If the FD2/FN2 Type R you are inspecting runs rough, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It could be anything from valve clearance issues to failing coil packs, overfilled engine oil and more. Additionally, remember that cold weather will make the Type R run a bit rougher than usual on start up.

A Type R that feels like it wants to stall all the time may have an issue with the idle control valve. A quick adjustment should be able to fix this and any local garage or specialist should be able to do this for you.

A rattling sound can be caused by a loose heat shield. It either needs to be tightened or removed completely.

VTEC Engagement

It is important to test that the VTEC system engages properly when you test drive an FD2 or FN2 Civic Type R. Once the vehicle has warmed up, accelerate both hard and slow to test this. If VTEC does not engage it could be caused by anything from incorrect oil pressure to coolant temperature issues and more.

Noisy Tappets/Lifters

A tapping/ticking noise that is more prevalent when the vehicle is cold is probably caused by the tappets/lifters. These get adjusted as part of the 75K service, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this issue.

Smoke and Engine Vapour from a Third Gen Type R

It is important to check for any smoke or vapour from an FN2/FD2 Type R’s exhaust on start-up and while the engine is running. A little bit of vapour is perfectly fine and is usually caused by condensation. If the Type R you are looking at produces excessive amounts of vapour or smoke you should walk away. Here are what the different colours of smoke mean.

White smoke – Is typically caused by water that has made its way into the cylinders and indicates a blown head gasket. If the smoke smells sweet, it is probably coolant.

Blue smoke – Can be caused by wear to the pistons, piston rings, and/or worn valve seals. To check for blue smoke, get a friend to follow you as you drive the car or get the owner/seller to take the car through the rev range. Blue smoke on start-up and overrun is a sign that the car has been thrashed.

Black smoke – Usually occurs when the engine is running too rich (burning too much fuel). The first things you should check is the air-filter and other intake components.

Overheating and Blown Head Gaskets

Third generation Type R Civics are not known to blow their head gaskets, but it can happen. If the FD2/FN2 Type R you are looking at is overheating or has a blown head gasket move onto another car. Below we have listed some things to watch out for:

  • External Coolant leak from below the exhaust manifold
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
  • Bubbles in the radiator or coolant overflow tank
  • Overheating engine
  • Milky white oil
  • Fouled spark plugs
  • Low cooling system integrity
  • Engine oil that smells of coolant
  • Sweet smell from the exhaust

Transmission

The 6-speed transmission fitted to third generation Civic Type Rs is fairly robust and reliable, but it can take a beating with repeated hard driving.

During a test drive, shift through all the gears on a third gen Type R at both low and high engine speeds. Listen out for any strange noises and make sure the transmission shifts smooth. It is important to check that the gearbox does not pop out of third gear, especially on early models. The reason for this is a worn synchro and many Type Rs had the problem fixed under warranty.

The transmission fluid should be changed every 120,000 km (75,000 miles) and is part of the 75K service. Some owners change the oil more frequently, which shows they care for the car. You will need a couple of litres of Honda MTF to change the gearbox oil on a FN2 or FD2 Type R (you should see it flowing out when the transmission is full).

You will probably find that the transmission is a bit tight when it is cold, but it should loosen up as the vehicle warms up. If the gearbox feels loose or sloppy, the shifter bushings probably need to be replaced. Synchro wear and other transmission issues may be a sign that the vehicle has been thrashed.

Clutch

Here are some processes to go through to make sure the clutch is working as intended on a third gen Type R.

Clutch Engagement – Put the car on a level surface and get it into gear. Slowly let the clutch out, feeling for engagement at around 10 cm (4 inches) from the floor. If it engages immediately or near the end of the pedal’s travel there is a problem.

Clutch Slippage – Change into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going and then accelerate hard. If the engine speed jumps but there is no acceleration the clutch is slipping. Clutch slippage can be caused a number of different issues:

  • Worn clutch
  • Clutch covered in oil
  • Clutch cable is too tight and is not releasing properly

Clutch Drag – Put the Type R you are test driving on a level surface with the clutch pedal pressed to the floor (when you are stationary) and rev the car hard. If the vehicle moves then the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.

Juddering or a stiff pedal is a sign that the clutch needs to be replaced. The life of a clutch will depend on a number of factors including how the car has been driven (thrashed regularly, etc.). If the clutch on the Type R you are inspecting has only recently been replaced and has the problems listed above, the vehicle has probably been driven hard regularly.

Some cars third generation Type Rs had a squeaky clutch. Honda attempted to fix this with a recall, but the issue comes back. It’s not an issue and shouldn’t turn you off a Tyre R.

Body and Exterior

You shouldn’t find too many issues with the exterior of a FN2 or FD2 Type R, but there are some things to watch out for.

Rust

Rust is not a major issue on these cars but you may find it around the following areas:

  • Arches
  • Hinges (boot, door, bonnet)
  • Around the windows (especially the top of the windscreen)
  • Underbody
  • Sills
  • Areas that have been damaged (accident)

If you do find rust on a FN2 or FD2 Type R, the car has probably had a hard life or has been repaired poorly after an accident. There are lots of rust-free third generation Type Rs out there, so move onto another one if you find any serious rust issues.

Rust is more likely to occur if:

  1. The car has been stored outside for long periods of time
  2. The vehicle has lived in countries with salted roads
  3. It has lived by the sea
  4. If the car has suffered from flood damage (Avoid any Type R with this problem)

While you are inspecting a Type R for rust, keep an eye out for any signs of past rust repair. Look for any inconsistencies in the paint which may indicate a respray. Additionally, check the service history and receipts of the car, and also ask the owner about any past rust issues. The owner may be forthcoming with information or they may lie to you.

You can use a magnet on steel sections of the vehicle or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have suffered from rust in the past.

Accident Damage on FD2/FN2 Type Rs

The third generation Type R encourages spirited driving and because of this many of them have been in accidents. It is incredibly important to check for any accident damage on any FN2 or FD2 Civic Type R that you inspect.

Ask the owner about crash damage and gauge their reaction – do you think they are telling the truth or trying to pull a fast one on you? Remember to also do an HPI check, while it won’t tell you about minor accident damage you should be able to find out if the car was written off at any point.

When you are looking for accident damage on a FN2 or FD2 Type R, make sure you take a good look at the panel gaps of the vehicle – are they even or misaligned? Uneven panel gaps are a good sign that the vehicle has probably been in an accident.

You should also make sure that all the doors and windows open properly, along with the bonnet and the boot. If the doors drop it may simply be caused by worn hinges or it could indicate a more serious issue.

Remember to watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed (inconsistencies in the paint – waving, mismatched panels). If the car has been resprayed, try to find out why. Additionally, if you find rust in strange places it could also indicate that the vehicle has been in an accident.

Other Bodywork Issues

The paint on third generation Civic Type Rs is pretty thin, so except to find some paint chips, especially on the bonnet and around the front splitter. If the FN2 or FD2 you are looking at has spent a lot of time outside expect to find some paint fade or lacquer issues. Additionally, take a look at the seals around the windows to make sure they are in good condition.

Suspension and Steering

It is important to inspect as much of the suspension and steering system as possible, as problems here can be expensive to fix. Look at the components to see if they are worn, damaged or corroded. If you see any broken parts, the vehicle may have been in an accident.

There are a number of aftermarket suspension upgrades for the FN2 and FD2 Type R Civics, just make sure the ones fitted to the vehicle are from a good brand such as Bilstein or Eibach. If the car does feature aftermarket suspension it is important to make sure it has been setup correctly. If you are not too sure about the suspension setup, take the car to a specialist to get it checked out.

Third generation Civic Type Rs that are setup for track use will have a harsher ride on normal roads, so be mindful of this when looking for a car to purchase. Additionally, cars that are too low can be a nightmare to drive on public roads.

Suspension components won’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced. Factor worn parts into the overall cost of a vehicle and try to get a discount on any Type R that needs suspension work. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration
  • Tipping during turns
  • Instability at high speeds
  • Excessive vibration coming through the steering wheel
  • Delayed or longer stopping distances
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive tyre bounce after hitting a bump
  • Leaking fluid on the exterior of the shock/strut
  • A car that doesn’t sit level on its suspension (indicates worn bushes and ball joints)

It is important to check that the Type R you are driving drives straight without wheel corrections on a flat road. If the car does not drive straight, the wheel alignment is probably out. Incorrect wheel alignment can increase tyre wear and can be a sign of bigger issues (accident damage, etc.). Remember to check when the wheel alignment was last done as this can give you a good idea of how the vehicle has been treated.

While test driving a FD2 or FN2 Type R, drive in a figure eight and listen for any strange knocking or clicking from the CV joints. Additionally, get down and take a look at the boots to see if they are torn and check the joints for leaks. You should also be inspecting the other suspension components for leaks or cracks as well.

Brakes

While you are inspecting the suspension and steering components on a third generation Type R, make sure you have a good look at the brakes. Check that they are in good condition and are not corroded. The pads should have some life left in them (they will squeak if they don’t) and check that the discs are not grooved or pitted.

Ferodo’s DS2500 pads come highly recommend for third generation Honda Civic Type Rs. However, the standard pads are perfectly fine for everyday use.

Don’t forget to check the brake lines for any leaks. If possible, get a helper to press the brakes while you inspect the brake lines. Some owners like to replace the original brake lines with aftermarket braided ones to improve the pedal’s feel.

During a Test Drive

Make sure you abuse the brakes heavily during a test drive. The brakes on third generation Civic Type Rs should easily stop the car, so there is a problem if they don’t.

If you feel a judder through the steering wheel during braking, it is a sign that the discs are warped and need to be replaced. This usually first becomes apparent under high speed braking, but can become noticeable at low speeds as well.

A Type R that pulls to one side under braking may have a sticking/seized caliper. Seized brake calipers usually occur when a vehicle has been left sitting for a period of time, especially if brakes have got wet. If the car you are inspecting has a seized brake caliper, you may notice a loud thud when you pull away for the first time.

Any other strange noises under braking should be investigated further as you don’t want to be left with a problem down the track.

Aftermarket brakes

As we wrote above, some owners like to use aftermarket pads such as Ferodo DS2500 pads. Both the discs and calipers are more than adequate for most situations, so it is unlikely that you will come across a third generation Type R with different ones.

Wheels and Tyres

It is important to check the wheels to see if they are curbed or damaged. If the wheels fitted to the car are aftermarket ones, check to see if the owner still has the originals. The tyres should also be inspected for the following:

  • Enough tread
  • Uneven wear (Can be a sign of alignment or suspension issues)
  • Brand (make sure it is a good one)

Third Generation Type Rs were fitted with 225/40/R18 tyres.

Interior and Electronics

When you are inspecting the interior, keep an eye out for any rips, stains, scuffs or broken pieces of trim. The seats should slide on their runners correctly and should not move during acceleration, braking or cornering (very important).

Remember to check the steering wheel, gear shifter, pedals and carpets/mats for wear as they can indicate how far a vehicle has travelled. If the trim pieces look overly worn for the distance the car has travelled, the odometer may have been wound back.

Make sure the windows go up and down properly and that they do not get stuck. Additionally, look for any leaks or dampness as these can be annoying to fix.

Take your time going through all the electronics on a FN2 or FD2 Type R, making sure they work correctly. A whirring when the ignition is one could be caused by the front headlights (adjustment noise). Also check the dashboard for any warning lights and make sure they come on during start up. If they don’t the owner may have disconnected them to hide an issue.

Aftermarket components should be inspected closely to make sure they work as intended. Any signs of poor workmanship such as bad wiring should be taken as a warning sign.

Check that the keys open all the doors/locks and that they start the vehicle. Make sure the owner has the original keys (expensive to replace).

General Car Buying Advice for the third gen Civic Type Rs

How to Get Yourself the Best Deal on a Type R

This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.

  1. Do your research. Before you start your search for a FD2 or FN2 Type R make sure you know what model and condition you are happy with. Are you okay with a highly modified Type R or do you want something that is completely stock? Do you want a low mileage example or are you happy with a car that has travelled far?
  2. Shop around. Don’t limit yourself to just one dealer, seller or location. Check out various different dealers and sellers to find the best car and get the right price. Limiting yourself to just one area will make it more difficult to find your dream Civic Type R.
  3. Test drive multiple cars. Don’t just take one Type R out for a test drive and then buy it. Drive as many Type Rs as you can get your hands on. This will give you a good idea of what makes a good and what makes a bad Civic Type R.
  4. Adjust your attitude. Don’t rush into purchasing any old third gen Type R. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time looking through all the different vehicles available and then go inspect the ones you think look promising.
  5. Use any issues with the car to your advantage. Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.
  6. Don’t trust the owner. While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say, but check out the vehicle thoroughly and inspect all the car’s documentation.
  7. Bounce between sellers/dealers. If you are looking at multiple Type Rs, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.
  8. Be prepared to walk away. If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.

Mileage vs Condition 

Mileage vs condition is always a big debate, but we recommend that you should always buy on condition and then on the mileage. There are lots of third gen Honda Civic Type Rs out there with low mileage but in poor condition, while some high mileage examples may be perfectly fine.

Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good. Short distance trips are not kind to a Type R’s engine as they do not have enough time to warm up and get lubricated properly.

Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.

Mileage will never decrease with age, so go out and drive your car!

Service History and Other Documentation

It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. The service history will give you a good idea of how the Civic Type R you are looking at has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.

If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any Type R and will make it easier to sell the vehicle in the future.

Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them.

Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner 

  • How often do you drive the car?
  • When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
  • How much oil does it use?
  • What oil do you use in the car?
  • When was the timing belt replaced (if it has one)?
  • What parts have been replaced?
  • What modifications have been made to the vehicle?
  • Has the vehicle overheated at any point?
  • Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made?
  • Is there any money owing on the car?
  • Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle?
  • Is there any rust?
  • Has rust been removed at any point?
  • Has the car been used for track use at any point?
  • When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time?
  • Where do you store/park the car usually?

There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.

Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from a Honda Civic Type R

Sometimes, the best option is to simply walk away from a vehicle. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.

  • Overheating problems
  • Significant Crash Damage
  • Money owing on the car
  • Stanced
  • Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner
  • Excessive amounts of power (too much power can lead to reliability problems down the track)
  • Bad compression
  • Bad resprays
  • Significant rust problems
  • Engine swaps with non-standard engines
  • Significant track use
  • Major engine or transmission issues
  • Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something)

Notes on the Owner 

The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting any third gen Civic Type R, but don’t trust their answers completely. Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying a lemon. Below we have listed some things to consider about the owner.

  • How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well.
  • Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away.
  • Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer.
  • Do they let the turbo warm up and cool down properly (if it has one)?
  • What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump?
  • How do they respond when you ask them simple questions?
  • Do they know anything about the Type R and the model they are selling?
  • What can they tell you about previous owners?
  • Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer.
  • What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond.
  • What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?
  • How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car?

If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another Civic Type R. There are plenty out there and you don’t want to wind up with a dog of a car.

Where to Find a Honda Civic Type R for Sale? 

Auction/Classifieds Websites

Websites such as Craigslist, Kijiji, TradeMe, Piston Heads and GumTree are excellent places to start your hunt for a Type R. You will find a range of Type Rs for sale at different prices and in different conditions. You can easily compare the price, specs and condition of different Type Rs and you will be able to select the ones that look promising.

Dealers and Importers

Most dealers and importers will have an online presence, so make sure you check out their website for any Civic Type Rs for sale. Dealers tend to be a bit more expensive than private sellers, but sometimes you can get some extras thrown in or better protection.

Social Media

Websites such as Reddit, Facebook and even Instagram can be excellent places to find Civic Type Rs for sale. Check out some of the many enthusiast groups or subreddits and let other users know you are interested in buying a Honda Civic Type R. Additionally, social media groups are often great places to find spare parts or get advice from other owners.

Owners’ Clubs

This sort of ties in with the above, but many owners’ clubs have their own website or they may not even have a website at all. Look to see if there are any Honda or Civic Type R clubs in your area as these are often great places to find cars for sale or ask for advice.

Importing a Third Generation Honda Civic Type R from Japan 

If you are struggling to find a suitable Type R in your country, you may want to look at importing one from Japan. While the Type R was/is sold in a number of different countries, the best place to import a FD2 model is from Japan.

Exporting vehicles from Japan is a big business as it keeps the country’s motor industry moving and older vehicles become more expensive to run. Below we have outlined everything you need to know about importing a Honda Civic Type R from Japan.

How to Import a FD2 Civic Type R from Japan 

While importing a Type R from Japan may seem a bit daunting, it is actually quite easy. The first thing we recommend you do is to Google search “import Civic Type R FD2” or “Import Honda Civic”. You will be greeted with loads of different websites to choose from. These websites will let you search for Type Rs based on their age, generation, condition, price and more.

Most of the websites/companies you encounter should be based in Japan, but you may find some other ones that are located in different parts of the world.

Make sure you check reviews/feedback of any website or auction house you want to use. While you are unlikely to get scammed, it can happen, so be prepared. We have listed a few examples of Japanese importers/exporters below:

Goo net Exchange – Is one of the biggest vehicle exporters in Japan and they have head offices in Tokyo and Nagoya. They have quite a good selection of Type Rs ready for export.

JDM Expo – Is an independent subsidiary of Nikko Auto Co., which is recognized as on the most reliable exporters of Japanese cars in the country.

Car From Japan – is another large portal for connecting overseas buyers with Japanese second hand cars. They have a number of Civics available for export.

Japan Partner – Is one of the fastest growing exporters of used Japanese vehicles and they have a range of Honda Civic Type Rs available for export.

Note: many of these sorts of websites do not provide a grade or auction check sheet. The grade, auction check sheet, and car map are vital to picking a good car. Buyer beware!

Why You Should Use a Private Importer

While the websites above are handy to give you a general idea of what to expect when importing a FD2 Civic Type R, we recommend that you go with a private importer. A trusted private importer will be able to find the perfect third gen Civic Type R for you and import it, saving you the hassle. While it may cost you a bit more (sometimes it is cheaper) you are more likely to get a better vehicle.

You can get a full explanation of why we recommend using a private importer here.

How Does the Japanese Car Grading System Work? 

The auction houses and car exporters in Japan all get their vehicles in roughly the same way. The difference between them is how much support they are willing to provide, how honest they are, and how they grade their vehicles

They will provide what is known as an ‘auction check sheet’ – a document that contains most of what you need to know about the vehicle. As you can’t see the vehicle personally, you will have to rely on the check sheet and other information on the listing to make a decision. If the seller/website is not willing to provide you with an auction check sheet or additional information on the car, don’t proceed any further.

Before you make a purchase you need to learn how to read an auction check sheet. The sheet contains information on the make, model, condition, specifications and any other notes. There will be a grade on the sheet that denotes the overall grade of the vehicle.

While the grade on a check sheet is important, you should not rely on it to make a final decision. Different companies have different methods for grading their vehicles, so a grade 4 for one company may be a grade 3.5 for another.

Some websites may use a different grading system and if you can’t view the auction check sheet, you should contact the seller/exporter.

Use the grade to whittle down the number of Type Rs you are looking at and then use the check sheet and additionally information to make a decision. We also recommend you pay a third party to check out the car for you.

The Auction Check Sheet 

Below you can see an example of an auction check sheet. The grade is located in the top right corner of the check sheet. You will notice that there is both a letter and a number grade. The number indicates the overall condition of the vehicle, while the letter shows you the interior grade. At the bottom right of the check sheet is the ‘car map’. The car map tells you information about the exterior of the Type R and where any problems are located.

Additionally, the sheet contains information about the specs of the vehicle and any modifications (major or minor). The inspector may also write some additional notes about the car.

What Does the Number Grade Mean? 
  • Grade 7 to 9 or S– New car with delivery miles.
  • Grade 6– Same as above but with a few more miles.
  • Grade 5– Vehicle is in excellent condition with low miles.
  • Grade 4.5– Overall condition is great, but may have up to 100,000 miles on the clock.
  • Grade 4– Overall condition is good, but can have low or high miles.
  • Grade 3.5– Similar to grade 4, but some work may be needed and they usually have more miles.
  • Grade 3– Can be the same condition as grade 3.5, but with more miles. Alternatively, the car may have lower miles but require more work.
  • Grade 2– Very poor condition car and may have significant mechanical or exterior issues. Not necessarily a right off, but you would have to be a brave buyer to purchase one of these.
  • Grade 1– Is modified in some way (can be extensive or something simple).
  • Grade 0, A, R, RA– Some repair history that can be major or minor.
The Letter Grade

As we wrote earlier, the number grade is usually accompanied by a letter that indicates the interior grade. An ‘A’ indicates that the interior is in exceptional or good condition. A ‘B’ indicates that the car is in average condition, while a ‘C’ displays that it is in poor condition. Grades below C show that the car’s interior is in very poor condition.

The Car Map 

The check sheet will also contain what is called a “car map”, which tells you all the information you need to know about the exterior condition of the car. It will show the location of any problems or damage to the vehicle. Any problems are indicated by a letter and a number. The letter tells you what the issue is and the number indicates the severity. You can read more about the car map in our “How to Import a Car from Japan” guide.

Our Guidelines for Importing a FD 2 Civic Type R from Japan 

  • Always demand to see and have the auction check sheet before making a purchase
  • If you can’t read Japanese or the company won’t provide a translated check sheet, get help from somebody who speaks/reads Japanese.
  • Check that the chassis number on the check sheet matches the one on the frame
  • Cross reference the check sheet with other websites
  • Don’t rely on the grade (always check the auction sheet thoroughly)
  • Investigate each website/service thoroughly (reviews, feedback, etc.)
  • Be careful of heavily modified vehicles
  • Get someone to inspect the car for you if possible. Ask for photos and get a good run down of the condition.
  • Avoid cars with unknown mileages
  • Stay away from bargains that seem to be too good to be true
  • Stay away from grade 0, A, RA, R vehicles that have been involved in accidents
Know Your Country’s Importation Laws 

Always make sure you check your country’s importation laws as you may find you can’t bring the vehicle you want in. For example, some countries have certain restrictions on importing cars under a certain age.

Summary of this Honda Civic Type R FD2/FN2 Buyer’s Guide 

This guide should cover most of what you need to know about buying a third generation Civic Type R. The third gen Type R is becoming somewhat of a classic and good examples are getting harder and harder to find. With the information in this guide you should be able to purchase your dream FD2/FN2 Type R and not get left with a lemon.

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