Honda Fit/Jazz Third Gen (GK) Buyer’s Guide

If you are looking for a small, practical and cheap-to-run vehicle, you really can’t go far wrong with a third generation Honda Fit or Jazz. The Mk3 model has a sportier, more sophisticated look than prior generations but still retains all the great benefits of past models while adding more.  

In this buyer’s guide we are going to give you all the information you need to know before purchasing one of these fantastic little cars, from common problems, specifications, how to get the best deal and more.

How to Use This Honda Jazz/Fit Buyer’s Guide

While the Fit is a reliable car, this guide is still quite long so we recommend that you use the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read. To begin with we will look at the history and specifications of the third generation Honda Fit/Jazz. Following that we will dive into the buyer’s guide section of this article where we will cover any common problems to watch out for and tips during an inspection. We will then look at more general car purchasing advice and then finish up with some basic info on importing a Honda Jazz or Fit from Japan.

History of the Mk3 Honda Fit/Jazz (GK)

The original Honda Fit proved to be popular with Japanese buyers when it launched in June 2001. The car would then come to Europe and Australia in 2002 under the “Jazz” name before eventually launching in North America in 2006 as a 2007 model (The Fit name was used for North America).

A second-generation version of the Fit/Jazz would be revealed in October 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it would also win the Car of the Year Japan award for the second time. The new Jazz was a more refined version of the Mk1 model, with a longer and wider body that offered more space.

Honda Introduces the Third Gen Honda Fit in Japan

By 2013 Honda was ready to introduce a new version of the Honda Fit. The car was now overall shorter in length, but the wheelbase grew by 30 mm (1.2 inches) along with the passenger rear legroom which increased by 122 mm (4.8 inches). Additionally, the volume of the passenger area increased by 135.9-litres (4.9 cubic feet), making the Mk3 Fit much more spacious than previous generations.

Along with the updated body and platform, Honda also equipped the new Fit with upgraded, lighter suspension components. MacPherson struts were used at the front while an H-type torsion beam arrangement was implemented at the rear.

New damper systems were also introduced to give occupants a more comfortable, refined ride. However, this didn’t come at the cost of handling as the new geometry at the front provided more agile and accurate handling thanks to its lower centre of gravity. At the back end of the car, the roll centre was actually increased and new dampers fitted to help better isolate the cabin from road vibrations.

New electric power steering with a ratio of 18.2:1 was another addition that helped make the Mk3 Fit feel more agile over the outgoing model.

Stopping on the Mk3 Fit is handled by 262 mm ventilated discs at the front, while the rear received 239 mm solid discs. These disc upgrades were combined with enhanced front brake calipers and brake booster, which helped improve the initial brake response and pedal feel. The updated brakes are assisted by a multitude of assistive features including: Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stablity Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).

The transmission of choice for most Fit buyers was a newly developed CVT unit that provided better fuel economy and drivability than the old model’s one. However, a six-speed manual was also available in Japan and select other markets such as Europe. The new manual provided better acceleration, fuel efficiency and high-speed cruising in top gear than the old 5-speed fitted to the previous generation. However, the 5-speed was still available on select models in some markets.

All New Interior

Arguably the biggest update in the cabin came in the form of a new touchscreen infotainment system on mid to upper grade versions of the Fit and Jazz. It came new with a number of preinstalled apps, and it can display vehicle information such as fuel economy, journey time, etc.

Other features of the Honda Connect infotainment system include WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, and MirrorLink – which ‘mirrors’ the screen of a connected compatible device, allowing it to be operated through the in-dash touchscreen.

On top end models in some markets the Fit/Jazz was offered with a navigation system and a rear-view safety camera which offers three different modes: Normal view, Wide view and Top down view. The camera system also features ‘dynamic guidelines’ that indicates the path that the car will take with the current steering angle.

The Fit/Jazz’s much loved ‘Magic Seats’ also made a return for the third generation, largely thanks to the new lower-profile fuel tank that was mounted under the front seats.

Enhanced Safety

Safety was much improved on the third gen Fit/Jazz with the addition of Honda’s City-Brake Active system (CTBA). Depending on the market, CTBA was either fitted as standard or came as an optional extra (It was standard on all European models for example). The CTBA system is designed specifically to help avoid or mitigate low speed accidents under 32km/h (20 mph), via the use of laser radar technology that scans the road ahead.

Another important safety system that was available was the ‘Advanced Driver Assist System’. The system came as standard on some models (mid and upper grades in Europe) and as an optional upgrade on others (depending on the market). The Advanced Driver Assist System included the following:

  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Traffic Sign Recognition System
  • Intelligent Speed Limiter
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • High-beam Support System

Japanese Models

When the Fit launched, Japanese buyers could opt for a range of different models, including the 13G, 15X, RS and Hybrid, the latter of which would only be available in Japan and Malaysia. The 13G was equipped with a 1.3-litre Earth Dreams engine, while both the 15X and RS were given a slightly larger, more powerful 1.5-litre Earth Dreams power unit.

To separate the RS from the 15X, the former was given a sporty body-kit, 16-inch wheels, sport pedals and some other minor trim changes. However, despite the RS badge there were no performance upgrades to the car.

Hybrid Fit

The Hybrid model was the first production Fit to be equipped with Honda’s “Sport Hybrid” Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD) system. This Hybrid drivetrain was better suited for smaller, more compact vehicles than the company’s old Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system.

The new Sport Hybrid drivetrain combined an Earth Dreams 1.5-liter i-VTEC direct injection engine with a Honda H1 electric motor rated at 30 bhp (30 PS/22kW). A major benefit of the new hybrid system was that it could now run solely on the electric motor during some circumstances. This helped boost fuel economy by 35 percent to 2.75-litres per 100 km (86 mpg).

The Third Gen Jazz Launches in Europe

The previous two generations of the Jazz were a massive hit in Europe and for the third gen Jazz, Honda introduced a total of three different equipment grades. However, initially the European Jazz was only available with a 100 bhp (102 PS/75 kW) 1.3-litre power unit, but a 1.5-litre model would follow soon after.

European buyers were also treated to a Jazz that was tailor made to the conditions of the region. The bodyshell was stiffened over the Japanese Fit and the car also received revised suspension settings that provided better comfort and driving characteristics on European roads.  

Another change for European cars was how the CVT system operated. It was designed to be more direct and linear, and Honda claimed it gave the transmission a more ‘manual-like feeling’.

The Mk3 Fit Launches in North America

North American buyers would get the opportunity to see their version of the Mk3 car at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. Unlike European and Japanese models, the base car in the United States would start with the larger 130 bhp (132 PS/97 kW) 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine. Buyers then got the opportunity to select from either the CVT or the six-speed manual, and from three different trim levels (listed below):

  • LX – base model
  • EX – middle trim level
  • EX-L – top of the line

Third Gen Fit/Jazz Gets a Facelift

Honda Japan would reveal a facelifted version of the Mk3 Fit/Jazz in May 2017. The most noticeably change was around the front, with a new grille and front bumper with larger “side intakes” and a lip making their way onto the updated car. City facelift-style LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights were also a new feature on the new Fit/Jazz, bringing the vehicle more in line with the rest of Honda’s lineup. The rear of the new Fit also received some minor alterations to the lights and bumper.

Japanese Fits also got the option of black and brown leather trim for the interior, with brown hide on the seats door cars and steering wheel. Other markets also received some minor interior changes as well.

Honda Fit/Jazz Mk3 Specifications

ModelJazz/Fit
Country/Location of ProductionJapan, China, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan
Model Years2014 – 2020 (2021 in Brazil)
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine/Engines1.3-litre L13A Inline 4
1.3-litre L13B Earth Dreams Inline 4
1.5-litre L15A Inline 4
1.5-litre L15B Earth Dreams Inline 4
1.5-litre L15Z Inline 4
1.5-litre LEB Inline 4 Hybrid
1.5-litre N15 Inline 4 Turbo (India)
PowerL13A – 83 PS (82 bhp/61 kW) @ 5,700 rpm
L13B Earth Dreams – 99 PS (98 bhp/73 kW) @ 6,000 rpm
L15A – 111 PS (109 bhp/82 kW) @ 5,800 rpm
L15B Earth Dreams – 132 PS (130 bhp/97 kW) @ 6,600
L15Z – 120 PS (118 bhp/88 kW) @ 6,600
LEB Hybrid – 139 PS (137 bhp/102 kW) – electric motor 29.5 PS (29 bhp/22kW) and petrol engine 110 PS (108 bhp/81 kW)
TorqueL13A – 119 Nm (88 lb-ft) @ 2,800 rpm
L13B Earth Dreams – 119 Nm (88 lb-ft) @ 5,000 rpm
L15A – 143 Nm (105 lb-ft) @ 4,000 rpm
L15B Earth Dreams – 155 Nm (114 lb-ft) @ 4,600 rpm
L15Z – 145 Nm (107 lb-ft) @ 4,600 rpm
LEB Hybrid -160 Nm (118 lb-ft) @ 1,300 rpm
Transmission5-speed manual 6-speed manual 7-speed CVT
Brakes Front262 mm (10.3 inch) ventilated discs
Brakes Rear239 mm (9.4) solid discs
Tyres Front185/60 R15
185/55 R16
Tyres Rear185/60 R15
185/55 R16
Suspension FrontMacPherson struts
Suspension RearH-type torsion beam arrangement
Towing Capacity998 – 1090 kg (2200 – 2403 lbs)
Weight1,837– 2,015 kg (4,050–4,442 lb)
Top speed180 km/h (112 mph) – limited
0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)1.5 CVT – 10.6 seconds
1.5 Manual – 9.9 seconds

Honda Fit/Jazz 2014 – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have covered all that, let’s take a look at what you need to know before inspecting and purchasing a third generation Honda Fit or Jazz. While the Fit is known to be supremely reliable, poor maintenance can always lead to complications down the line, so don’t just buy the first Fit or Jazz you come across.

A lot of third generation Jazz/Fits are still covered by Honda’s warranty at the time of writing this guide, but over the coming years this will change, and you will be on your own if there is a problem (unless you get a third party/extended warranty from a dealer of course).

Before you start inspecting a Mk3 Honda Jazz or Fit we recommend that you buy yourself an OBDII scanner such as this one. An OBDII scanner is an invaluable tool when inspecting any modern used car as you can use it to read the codes of the vehicle and find out what is wrong if you notice a warning light.

Setting Up an Inspection of a Third Gen Honda Fit/Jazz

Below we have listed some things to keep in mind when setting up an inspection of a Mk3 Fit:

Look at the Fit or Jazz in person or get a reliable friend or third party to do so for you – Buying used cars sight unseen has become a lot more popular, but it is always best to physically inspect a vehicle yourself if possible. Sellers can lie in the listing or on a phone call and the pictures will never truly tell the full story. Additionally, you may discover an issue that the seller themselves was never aware of. If you can’t inspect the Honda Fit or Jazz yourself, try to find a reliable friend or third party to do so for you. If you can’t make that happen we would try to stick with buying from a trusted seller like a Honda dealership.

Take somebody with you when you inspect a Mk3 Jazz or Fit – This is a good idea as a friend or helper may be able to spot something you missed, and they can help you test the Honda Jazz/Fit. Additionally, they can give you their thoughts on whether or not they think it is a good buy.  

If possible, inspect the Fit/Jazz at the seller’s house or place of business – We recommend this as it will give you an idea of how and where it is regularly stored. A vehicle that is always kept under cover is generally going to have a body in better condition than one that is parked out on the street in the elements. By looking at the car at the seller’s house or place of business you can also get a chance to see what sort of roads it is regularly driven on. Rough roads with lots of potholes can damage the suspension and steering components, wheels, and tyres.

Try look at the Honda Fit/Jazz in the morning – This isn’t a must do and it does depend on you and the seller’s schedule, but by looking at a used car in the morning it gives the seller less time to clean up any potential issues such as a big oil leak.

Tell the seller not to drive or pre-warm their Mk3 Fit or Jazz prior to your arrival – A warm engine can hide multiple issues, so check that the motor is cold when you begin the inspection. If the seller has to drive the car to the inspection this isn’t obviously going to be possible.

For Jazz or Fits being sold at a dealer, don’t let them know you are coming to see it – While this is not always possible depending on how the dealer operates, it can be a good idea. If the dealer knows you are coming it gives them more of a chance to clean up any potential issues and pre-warm the engine than if you turn up out of the blue.

Be cautious if inspecting a used Honda Fit/Jazz in the rain – Water on the bodywork can cover up numerous different issues such as mismatched paint, areas that have been repaired, etc. If it does happen to be raining when you inspect/test drive a third gen Honda Fit, try to go back for a second viewing before making a decision on the car (if you are still interested of course).

Be cautious if the seller has just washed the car – This is largely for the same reason as above, but some sellers will also wash the engine bay and underside of a vehicle to hide an issue (or anywhere a leak/issue may occur).

Ask the seller to move their Honda Jazz or Fit outside if it is in a garage or showroom – Garage and especially showroom lighting can make a car appear better than it really is. Ask the seller to move the car out into direct sunlight as it may reveal some hidden bodywork issues.

Buying a Used Mk3 Honda Fit/Jazz with Serious Problems

It is generally recommended that you buy a used car with no or minimal problems and the information in this guide tries to steer you in that direction as well. However, there really isn’t anything wrong with buying a third gen Jazz or Fit with more serious issues as long as you know what you are getting yourself into and you are happy with the cost to fix it.

However, even if you are happy with buying a Fit/Jazz with more serious problems, some examples out there are simply a lost cause and won’t be worth your time no matter how cheap they are. Additionally, it is almost certainly going to be more financially sensible to buy a Fit in good condition than one with serious issues as the cost of repairs may be more than the purchase price of a better condition one.

When looking at any third generation Honda Fit or Jazz, try to find as many problems as possible (this guide should help you with that). Note them down and try to work out how much they will cost to fix before purchasing the car.

When you do find any issues, try to use them to get a discount, especially if they are more serious. Be mindful of the fact that the problems you find could be more extensive and expensive to repair than first envisioned, so it can be a good idea to add a bit more to any quote you receive.

Where to Buy a 2014 to 2020 Honda Fit or Jazz

Your best bet is to look on your local auction/classifieds websites such as AutoTraderCraigsListeBay, and TradeMe (these sites will depend on your location of course). Local dealers are definitely worth checking out as well, both Honda and third party. Dealers will often list there vehicles on auction/classifieds websites as well, so keep that in mind. The benefit of buying from a dealer over a private seller is that you may be able to swing a warranty, especially as these cars are still relatively new.

Clubs and online forums are other places to check, but the selection is going to much more limited than dealers or normal listing-type sites. However, owners clubs and forums are generally populated with more enthusiastic owners who tend to know more about their cars and look after them better. Below we have listed a few examples of some online Honda Fit/Jazz clubs that are worth checking out for not only sales, but maintenance and other advice as well:

Checking the VIN/Chassis Number

We always recommend that you have a look at the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) if possible. The VIN is a series of 17 characters and numbers that manufacturers such as Toyota assign to a vehicle at production.

It can be used to find out information about a particular car, such as where it was manufactured, the model, year of manufacturer and more.

Honda can use the VIN to tell you information about a particular car’s history (they may have rules around this depending on the dealer). Third party VIN checkers can also be used as well. These sorts of websites and services may be able to tell you whether or not there is any money owing on the vehicle or if it has been written off at any point.

Where is the VIN Located on a Honda Fit/Jazz Mk3?

  • On the bottom side of the hood
  • Bottom corner of the windscreen
  • Next to the rear passenger’s seat on the floor

It is a good idea to make sure the VINs you find match. If they don’t it could indicate that the vehicle has been in an accident and had some sort of repair work. Alternatively, it may indicate that the vehicle was stolen at some point or it may not be a problem at all.  

Engine

All of the power units fitted to the third generation Honda Fit/Jazz are known to be pretty robust if maintained well (with maintained well being the key point here as with any car). However, there are some specific things to watch out for which we will discuss below.

Starting Your Engine Inspection

Move to the front of the vehicle and lift the bonnet/hood. Check that it opens smoothly and that there are no problems with the catch or hinges. If there is a problem, or these parts look new when compared to the rest of the car it could be a sign of past accident repairs or some other sort of repair. Once you have done that, do a general check for the following:

  • Cleanliness – A super dirty engine bay with lots of leaves, dirt, etc. in it is never a good sign. However, on the other hand do not be fooled by a spotless looking engine bay as that could be a sign of a seller trying to cover something up (like an oil leak for example).
  • Obvious Issues – Do a quick general check for any immediately noticeable issues such as leaks, broken or missing components and more.
  • Modifications – Engine modifications aren’t generally too popular on these cars given who buys them and what they are intended for. However, there are some out there (albeit limited), so keep an eye out as unsuitable mods or poorly done tunes can cause nightmares on cars (Once again, we really wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about this on a Mk3 Fit or Jazz, but it is always something worth keeping in the back of your mind).

Inspecting the Fluids

It is always a good idea to inspect the engine oil and other vital fluids of a used car prior to purchase. If they are in poor condition and have not been changed in a while it can lead to reduced reliability and possibly even total engine/component failure.

Make sure you check the dipstick and it can be a good idea to open up the filler cap and use a torch/flashlight to look inside. The engine oil should be almost honey-like in colour, but if it is a bit darker it isn’t usually a problem. However, if the oil is completely black it could be a sign that the Jazz/Fit has gone a long time between changes, and/or it has some sort of problem (oil burning/carbon contamination for example).

Metallic particles are also something to watch out for. Tiny metal shavings are quite normal on new cars when the engine is still being broken and after an engine rebuild. However, metal particles/shavings can also be a sign of very serious issues such as bearing failure, so be cautious.

Make sure you also check for any foam, froth or milky looking oil. If you notice any of these issues it could be a sign of a number of different problems with the Toyota FJ Cruiser’s engine. These issues could range from an engine that has been overfilled with oil, condensation in the oil, or possibly even a blown head gasket.

Some buyers like to get the oil analysed prior to a potential purchase, however, this probably isn’t necessary when it comes to a Mk3 Jazz or Fit (we would recommend it if you are looking for a really good example of a sought after classic though).

It is also important to make sure that the engine oil and filter have been replaced at or before the recommended service interval of around 10,000 – 15,000 km (6,000 – 9,000 miles) – changes depending on the country of sale. For example, in our local market of New Zealand, Honda recommends changes every 15,000 km. If the Mk3 Jazz or Fit hasn’t been driven that much servicing should have been every 12 months.

The recommended oil is located on the filler cap on the left side of the engine when looking from the front (normally 0W-20).

Engine Oil Leaks from a Third Generation (GK) Honda Fit or Jazz

Given that the Mk3 Fit is still quite a new car, and they are famously robust and reliable, we really wouldn’t expect to find too many of these cars with leaking issues. However, it may become more of a problem as these cars age and as more of them get into the hands of people who don’t maintain them properly. Below we have listed some leaks to watch out for:

Timing chain tensioner cover – A leak can occur around the timing chain tensioner access plate (has two bolts on it. What usually happens is the gasket material around the cover/plate is applied wrong, leading to oil seepage. Not a major problem, but something to be aware of, especially if the engine has been run low on oil because of it.

Timing/valve cover – Not a known problem on third generation Jazz/Fits, but is always something to check (may become more of an issue as these cars age).

If you notice any puddles of oil underneath the Mk3 Fit or Jazz walk away as the car probably isn’t worth your time and there are plenty of these cars out there in good condition.

Does the Third Gen Honda Fit/Jazz Have a Timing Chain or Belt?

All the engines fitted to the Mk3 Honda Fit/Jazz feature a timing chain and not a belt, so there is no need to worry about changing it at a specified interval. The timing chain should be good for the life of the engine, however, stretch can occur (this generally happens due to poor maintenance as the timing chain is lubricated by the engine oil).

If there is a problem with the timing chain you may hear a strange rattle (sometimes at certain rpms). In more serious cases a stretched timing chain can lead to repeated engine misfires, warning lights, codes, and possibly even metal shavings in the oil.

Most of the time problems with the timing chain are actually caused by a bad tensioner. If there are any problems it is best to move onto another Jazz or Fit (we haven’t actually heard of any owners having any issues, but it is something you should be aware of as replacing the timing components can be quite expensive).

Carbon Build-Up & Injector Issues

This is by far the most talked about issue/concern with GK-series Honda Jazz/Fit owners. Direct injection engines are known to be more susceptible to carbon build-up, which can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Rough running and misfires
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Loss of power and reduced performance (especially at higher speeds)
  • Hesitation during acceleration
  • Check Engine Light (CEL) illuminated – other warning lights may come on as well
  • Juddering at idle

Fits produced from the start of the generation to early 2016 were fitted with poorly designed injectors that resulted in more problems with carbon build-up. There was a technical service bulletin by Honda to fix this (Honda TSB A18-027) and models produced from mid-2016 onwards are far less susceptible to the problem. However, the issue can still occur, so it is important to be mindful of the symptoms above (you can read one owner’s experience here with their 2018 Fit).

While Honda issued a TSB, they did not do a full recall. They simply waited for owners to come in with the problem and did it under warranty (although Honda did extend the warranty on affected cars in some markets). This means that there may still be some 2014 – 2016 Jazz/Fits out there with the problematic injectors

Filling up with top quality fuel helps to reduce carbon-build up, along with frequent oil changes with fully synthetic oil. Another thing that is recommended is to install a good quality oil catch can. This is because oil-laden crankcase vapours can bake onto the intake valves causing the carbon build-up. While a catch can won’t eliminate the issue, it can reduce it.

Owners of Mk3s have been quoted anywhere from around US$1,000 to upwards of $2,500 to fix the injector/carbon build-up issue, so you don’t want to purchase a Jazz or Fit with this issue. However, for all the concern that many owners have for this problem, the vast majority of owners don’t seem to have an issue.

Premature Starter Motor Failure

A number of third gen Fit/Jazz owners have had issues with the starter motor on their cars, so remember to test that the vehicle turns on and off multiple times. If you notice that the engine won’t turn over it is a sign of this issue. Even if the car fires up after a couple of attempts it is probably a sign of this problem, so be mindful as Honda dealers like to charge handsomely to fix it. You can read more about some owners’ experiences with starter motor issues on GK Fits and Jazzs here.

Cooling System

It is important to make sure the cooling system is functioning as intended, so check for the following things:

Coolant Condition

The coolant expansion/reservoir tank is located just behind and below the bonnet catch (should be a white tank with a coolant line coming off of it). When the engine is cold (emphasis on the cold!), remove the lid and check the condition of the coolant (do not do it when the engine is warm). If the coolant is brown or muddy in colour it is a sign of poor maintenance and it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Coolant Leaks & Level

We recommend that you check the coolant level before a test drive and then recheck after. If the coolant level drops noticeably it could be indicative of a leak. You should also check the coolant lines, tank, radiator, etc. for any coolant leaks before a test drive as well. When you come back from a test drive of a Mk3 Fit or Jazz, let the car sit for around 10 to 15 minutes with the engine off and then recheck for any leaks. If you don’t see any coolant but notice a sweet aroma, the Jazz or Fit is probably leaking from somewhere but it just isn’t visible.

Bad Water Pump

We wouldn’t be too concerned about water pump failure, but it is always something to be aware of as if it has failed and fluid isn’t flowing properly around the system it can lead to some pretty catastrophic damage. Additionally, if the car is getting up there in terms of mileage we would probably check to see if the water pump has ever been replaced as well. If the water pump is failing or has failed you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Coolant leaks & low coolant level – the water pump, coolant lines or expansion tank are probably going to be your most likely cause of a leak. As mentioned above a very small bit of seepage around the drain holes is considered normal according to Toyota.
  • Slight knocking noise at idle
  • Whining and/or chuffing sounds
  • Overheating – It is a good idea to go for a reasonably long test drive as you may not notice the GK Honda Jazz or Fit overheating during a short test drive. Note: Overheating could also be a sign of something like a bad thermostat, radiator issues and much more, so keep that in mind.
  • Steam or smoke – Be on the lookout for any steam or smoke from the front of the car. If you notice this problem, it is best to walk away.

Overall, the water pumps tend to be robust and reliable on these cars and we haven’t heard of any specific issues with them. They are also quite cheap to source, but depending on who you take the vehicle to they may charge quite a bit to replace it.

No Heat from Heater and Failed Water Pump

Turn on the heater as high as possible to check that hot air comes out. The heater core requires proper function of the water pump for it to work correctly. If the pump isn’t working, fluid won’t be forced through the system.

When you switch on the heater you should feel a blast of hot air. This hot air should continue to come out of the vents if the Jazz or Fit’s water pump is functioning correctly. If the warm air stops/gradually reduces it is a sign that hot fluid is not being cycled through the system, which could indicate a malfunctioning pump.

Note: No heat from the heater can also be caused by other issues as well such as low coolant, a stuck/bad thermostat, extremely low ambient temperatures combined with low engine load, an incorrectly bled cooling system that has too much air in it, some sort of restriction in the heater core or engine block water passages, and more.

Thermostat Failure

Once again this is something to watch out for on any used car and isn’t specific to this generation Fit/Jazz (we wouldn’t expect any issues to be honest, but it is always something you should be aware of). Thermostat issues tend to lead to anerratically behaving temperature gauge/indicator. When the thermostat fails or sticks it often leads to issues such as the temperature gauge reading too cold or taking a long time to get up to temperature. If the temperature gauge is on the hotter end, it is probably due to some other sort of issue such as a failed water pump, low coolant, etc.

Head Gasket/Cooling System Failure

We have heard of a couple of instances of head gasket failure on third generation Jazz/Fits, but it overall it seems to be an extremely uncommon problem on these cars (wouldn’t expect it to be a problem at all on well-maintained GK Fits). However, it is still important to know the signs of the problem and walk away if you do notice them:

  • Overheating
  • Bubbles in the radiator or coolant expansion tank
  • White and milky oil
  • Loss of power
  • Spark plugs that are fouled (if you or a mechanic can get a look at them)
  • Low cooling system integrity
  • Low coolant level and/or coolant level drops during a test drive
  • Smell of coolant from the oil
  • Sweet smelling exhaust
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
  • Steam from the front of the Honda Jazz or Fit

Exhaust System

We wouldn’t expect any major problems here, but it is always a good idea to give the exhaust system a bit of a onceover to make sure it is in good condition. If there is a leak you may notice tapping or ticking sounds that change with the engine speed. Additionally, listen out for any rumbling, scraping or rattling noises that could indicate that something is loose or damaged.

Rust can be an issue, but it is usually just surface corrosion. If you live in a country like the UK or areas of the USA like the upper Midwest and parts of the Northeast, rust/corrosion is going to be more of an issue.

Rust problems on exhausts usually occur due to corrosive unburnt fuel or exhaust gases mixed with water vapour in the system. This is why cars that are driven on shorter trips tend to suffer from rusted exhausts more than those that do a lot of highway miles. The moisture and corrosive substances remain in the muffler as they are not burnt off during a short trip, leading to rust formation from the inside out.

Catalytic Converter (CAT)

Catalytic converters tend to last a long time, but some owners have reported failure quite early (you can read more here). Some believe that the catalytic converter failures are due to injectors failing (as mentioned earlier there were problems with the injectors on earlier Fits). If CAT failure has occurred you may notice the following:

  • CEL (Check Engine Light) – get the codes read if you notice this and watch out for P0420 (low CAT efficiency code)
  • Smell of sulphur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
  • Reduced acceleration and sluggish engine performance
  • Excessive heat under the Jazz/Fit
  • Dark smoke from the car’s exhaust
  • Emission test failure – if this has happened the car may not be road legal (depends on your country/state’s laws)
  • Louder sounding exhaust (probably won’t be able to notice this during a test drive)

A lot of the time an emissions test failure or a CEL for the CAT doesn’t necessarily mean it is the CAT. It may simply be a sensor that needs replacing. However, we would still be cautious as replacing a CAT can be quite expensive.

What Should the Idle Speed be on a Mk3 Honda Jazz/Fit?

Once the Fit or Jazz’s engine is up to temperature you should find that it sits around the 800 – 900 rpm mark. Don’t worry if the idle is higher when the engine is first started and cold, but it should drop was the engine warms.

Misfiring, Hesitation and Stalling

This sort of symptoms can be the result of a number of different problems, which we have listed below:

  • Bad spark plugs
  • Coils
  • Injectors
  • Carbon build-up
  • Fuel pump

These are just a few of the things that can cause misfiring, hesitation or stalling. During a short test drive and inspection you are probably not going to be able to determine the exact cause, so we would probably walk away. While the problem may be a simple fix, it may also be something much more serious that requires expensive repairs to put right.

Bad/Failed Engine Mounts on a GK Fit/Jazz

Engine mounts should last a very long time, but if the third gen Fit or Jazz you are looking at is getting up there in terms of mileage it may require new ones at some point. Here are some of the common signs of bad engine mounts:

  • Engine movement – As you rev the engine, check to see how much it moves. If it shakes or rocks excessively there is probably a problem with the mounts. Rev the engine and see if it moves excessively. Also check how the engine is at idle and check for any movement while looking from underneath the car.
  • Excessive vibrations/shaking – This is typically more noticeable at idle and in really bad cases you may notice that the whole car shakes. Note: vibrations/shaking could also be caused by some other sort of issue as well (spark plugs, timing issues and more).
  • Clunking, banging or other impact sounds – Watch out for these sorts of sounds as they could indicate that the engine is moving slightly due to a bad mount.
  • Issues with shifting – If you notice that there is a lot of motion with the shifter (manual) and that it moves during acceleration it could be down to the mounts.

Air Conditioning/Climate Control

Make sure the air conditioning is working as intended and plenty of cold air comes out the vents. If you don’t feel any cold air, it could be caused by a range of different factors from a refrigerant leak, a bad A/C compressor and more. If its something like the compressor it will be expensive to fix, so don’t let the seller convince you that it just needs a re-gas (might be all that it needs, but you won’t know unless you get it checked out).

Smoke from a Mk3 Honda Jazz/Fit

It is probably best to walk away from any third generation Fit or Jazz that is producing smoke from its exhaust (or anywhere else for that matter). Don’t be too concerned by a small amount of vapour when the engine is first started as this is just condensation in the exhaust and will be more noticeable during colder weather.

We recommend that you get the seller to start their Fit or Jazz for you for the first time. Position yourself at the rear of the vehicle and check what comes out the back. Additionally, if the seller revs the car hard you know they probably haven’t treated it well. Here are what the different colours of smoke can indicate:

White smoke

As we have already mentioned above, a small amount of white vapour on engine start is usually just condensation in the exhaust.

If you notice lots of white/greyish smoke it is usually a sign that water/coolant has made its way into the cylinders due to a blown or leaking head gasket. Give the exhaust a good whiff and if it smells sweet, it is probably coolant. If the smoke is very thick and doesn’t dissipate quickly it could be sign that the block or cylinder head is cracked/broken.

Blue/Grey smoke

This colour smoke could be caused by a whole range of things including warn pistons rings, valve seals, and more. To test for this colour smoke during a drive, get somebody to follow you while you are driving the Jazz/Fit. Take the engine through its rev range and see what comes out the back. If you don’t have a helper, get the owner to drive for a bit while you look out the back (good chance to see how they drive as well).

Black smoke

This sort of smoke is usually a sign that the engine is running too rich and burning too much fuel. There are quite a few things that could be causing this issue from something like dirty intake components to incorrect spark timing, problems with the injectors, and more. If the exhaust smells of fuel, the engine is almost certainly running too rich. Unburnt fuel being sent through the exhaust system can also lead to premature catalytic converter failure as well, so keep that in mind.

Buying an FJ Cruiser with a Rebuilt or Replaced Engine

We really wouldn’t expect to find many (if any) third generation Honda Fits running around with a rebuilt or replaced engine. However, if you do come across one make sure that the work was done by a competent Honda specialist or mechanic who has experience with the Fit/Jazz and the particular engine in question. It can be a good idea to try and find out who did the rebuild or replacement and check up on any reviews.

Home rebuild jobs are okay, but be extra cautious as many home mechanics have more ambition than skill(however, there are some very good ones out there who put professionals to shame).

Another thing to try and find out is why did the rebuild or replacement occur. Was it simply due to extreme mileage or was it because of poor maintenance that led to some sort of issue? If it was due to poor maintenance you should be asking yourself if the rest of the car has been looked after properly.  

We generally prefer rebuilds over replacements as there is a higher chance of knowing the history of the engine. A swapped engine could have come from any Jazz or Fit and you probably won’t be able to find its history (unless it was a new engine).

We tend to recommend that you avoid fresh rebuilds or engine swaps with only a couple of hundred miles on them. This is because a Mk3 Jazz/Fit that has travelled 10,000 km (6,200 miles) on a rebuild or swap is more of a known than one that has only travelled a short distance since the work was carried out.

Transmission

The third generation Fit and Jazz was fitted with either a manual transmission or a CVT. Let’s look at the CVT first:

CVT Jazz/Fits

The main thing to watch out for here is any weird behaviour with the transmission such as slipping, hesitation, etc. Make sure you test that the transmission works in all the positions and see if the paddle shifters work. Don’t forget to see how the car performs at both higher and lower speeds.

If there is a problem a fluid change may sort the issue, but we wouldn’t count on it. More serious problems can be expensive to fix, so we would probably walk away from the car if you notice any funny business with the transmission.

The service intervals for the CVT on a third generation Jazz/Fit are determined by the car itself (it will indicate when it thinks it needs a change). However, it is generally recommended that you don’t go further than 100,000 km (60,000 miles) without a change. In fact, many owners and Honda service centres recommend doing changes around the 60,000 km (30,000 mile) mark, with some doing it even earlier as it is a very simple job to do on these cars(you can read more about replacing it here)

Manual Jazz/Fits

There are no known specific problems with the manual transmissions fitted to the third generation Fit/Jazz, apart from the usually wear related issues that pop up. Test the transmission at both low and high engine speeds. Make sure that none of the gears pop out under moderate to hard acceleration. If you do notice a problem, it could be caused by something relatively simple like low fluid or a more serious issue like a worn shift fork or slider, or possibly even a problem with the transmission/engine mounts.

While we wouldn’t expect this to be a problem, watch out for any grinding/notchiness when changing up and down gears as this is probably caused by worn synchros. This is more likely to be a problem on Mk3 Jazz/Fits that have seen a lot of mileage and/or have been owned by particularly heavy-footed drivers. 

It is a good idea to see how the clutch and transmission performs during a hill start. Additionally, lift off after accelerating hard in second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. If you notice any strange rattling noises it could be a sign that the gearbox bearings are in a bad way.

The manual transmission fluid needs to be changed periodically, but once again, the interval is based on what the car determines. However, it is generally recommended doing it between 60,000 to 100,000 km (30,000 to 60,000 miles).

Clutch

The clutch is a wear item, and it will eventually need to be replaced, so check for the following:

Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Honda Jazz or Fit you are inspecting into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is early or too late indicates a problem.

Clutch Slippage – The best way to test for this problem is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. You should notice that the engine bogs down a bit (don’t do this on a regular basis). The next thing to do is to accelerate. If you notice that the tachometer goes up out of relation to the speedometer and/or you notice jerkiness it suggests that the clutch is slipping.

Clutch Drag – Get the Mk3 Jazz or Fit on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the car hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.

Clutch Shudder – This is usually noticeable when you accelerate from a stop. A small amount is perfectly normal, but an excessive amount is a sign that the release bearings need to be lubricated.

Replacing the clutch on one of these cars isn’t too expensive compared to some other cars, but it is still a good chunk of money, so if the car is getting up there in terms of mileage we would check to see when the clutch was last replaced.

Body and Exterior

Bodywork issues are probably going to be one of, if not your biggest concern when purchasing a third generation Honda Fit or Jazz, so check for the following:

Accident Damage

Repairing accident damage can be eye wateringly expensive, especially on modern vehicles. Here are some things that could indicate the Jazz or Fit you are looking at has been in an accident:

Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – Inspect around the bonnet/hood and make sure everything lines up correctly. Check the door, bumper and boot/trunk panel gaps. If the panel gaps on one side look quite different to the other side, it could be a sign that the Toyota FJ Cruiser has been in an accident. Toyota’s build quality is excellent, so uneven or large panel gaps are always a good sign of accident damage/repairs.

  • Doors that drop or don’t close properly – If the doors drop or don’t open/close properly the Jazz/Fit you are looking at may have been in an accident or there may be some other sort of other issue with the door hinges.
  • Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust. Honda’s build quality is excellent, so this is highly unlikely to be a factory issue.
  • If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – This may indicate that the Jazz/Fit you are inspecting has been crashed into something (even a light knock can cause this problem).
  • Damage to the mounting supports for the headlights or surrounds of the taillights – This can be very difficult to fix on any car and is a good place to check for any accident damage.
  • Bent or broken parts underneath the car – While inspecting the underside, check to make sure everything is straight. Look at the suspension and steering components as well. If the parts are different on one side compared to the other or much newer, it may be a sign that the Jazz/Fit has been in an accident.
  • Rust in strange locations – Can be a sign of accident damage.
  • Paint runs or overspray – Very unlikely to be a factory issue on GK Honda Jazz/Fits and is far more likely to be due to a respray job. Keep in mind that a lot of dealers will do a respray on the front of the car due to stone chips, so this doesn’t always necessary the damage was serious. Check the seller’s shoes as well as we went to look at a used car once and the terrible respray job matched the specks of paint on the owner’s boots (more of a joke, but this happened to us one time).
  • Missing badges or trim – Could be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).

A lot of sellers will try to cover up accident damage and repairs, so ask plenty of questions and take your time inspecting the vehicle.

If there has been some accident damage and/or repairs, try to get an idea of the severity of the incident. Light to moderate damage that has been repaired by a skilled body shop/panel beater is usually fine. However, if the Mk3 Honda Jazz or Fit has been in a serious incident and received major damage it is probably best to walk away.

If the owner can’t tell you much about the accident/damage it may have happened when a previous person owned the vehicle.

Rust

While new vehicles don’t suffer from rust issues nearly as bad as ones produced before the turn of the millennium, it is still something you need to watch out for. The main area to check on a third gen Fit or Jazz is the frame and undercarriage (you can see one owners experience here and another in the video below). If this rusts badly enough it can weaken the structure of the frame and lead to safety issues. Most of the time it is just surface rust, but some owners have reported more serious issues.

The rest of the body doesn’t seem to have any issues on these cars, but we would still check thoroughly. Look at the wheel arches, around the sills, and inspect the boot/hatch door closely as some people have complained that that the bottom of it has started rusting on their Jazz/Fit.

Rust can often be more serious than it first appears on the surface. If you notice any rust issues and are still keen on the car it is a good idea to get the vehicle properly checked out prior to purchase. Additionally, try to find a quote on how much it will cost to repair the problem (be mindful that the cost could easily expand over the course of the repair).  

Another thing to keep in mind is that if the fasteners (nuts, bolts, etc.) have rusted it may make it extremely difficult to remove them when it comes time for routine maintenance or repairs. This may lead to increased maintenance or repair costs.

Factors That Can Make Rust More Likely on a Mk3 Honda Fit or Jazz

  • The Fit/Jazz has spent time in countries or areas with salted roads (Upper Midwest, Northeast, UK, Canada, etc.)
  • The Fit/Jazz has spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters (often linked with the above)
  • Fit/Jazz is often driven, parked or stored by the sea for significant periods of time. If the car has been driven on the beach and not cleaned down it can be a problem.
  • Always kept outside (never garaged)
  • The Fit/Jazz is regularly driven in winter (garaging the car and not driving it in the winter will reduce the likelihood of rust issues)
  • Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage)
  • Rubbing body parts
  • Old or no underseal

We recommend that you check to see if the owner (or a previous owner) has ever had rust protection applied to the car, especially if it is located in an area that is particular prone to rust issues. Honda’s underseal (just like most manufacturers) isn’t that great. While it will do for most areas, it isn’t going to be good enough for those really rust prone countries or states.

Watch out for Mk3 Jazz or Fits with black rubber undercoating as rust can form underneath it. Additionally, some more dishonest owners get it applied prior to sale to cover up existing rust. Oily/wax-based undercoating is much better and you can still see what the original condition of the frame is like underneath.

We also recommend that you ask the seller/owner if they regularly clean the underbody of their Jazz/Fit in the winter if you live in a country with salted roads. Cleaning the underside of the car can go a long way to prevent rust formation on the frame/undercarriage and if they have done it, it shows that they probably care quite a bit about preventative maintenance.

Looking for Rust Repairs

It is not only important to look for present rust, but you should also keep an eye out for signs of past rust repair (mismatched paint, paint overspray etc.). Watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed or cut out and replaced. You should also check the service history and with the owner (however, don’t trust what the owner says completely as they may be trying to hide something from you).

Use a magnet on steel sections of the car (cover it with a cloth so you don’t damage the paintwork) or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.

Other Bodywork & Exterior Issues

Quite a few owners have had issues with the engine splash shield/guard under the car coming loose. What usually happens is that the inserts/screws fail or are not properly secured. Not a major issue but something to be aware of.

Brakes

You shouldn’t have any problems here apart from the usual wear related issues. Try to see how much life is still left in the pads and check the condition of the calipers and discs. If the standard brakes feel weak or spongy it is a sign of an issue as they should be perfectly adequate for regular road driving and off-roading.

Seized calipers can happen, so keep an eye out for the following signs of the problem:

  • Car pulls to one side (may even happen when the brakes are not in use)
  • Car feels low on power as if the parking/handbrake is on
  • Brakes get extremely hot and produce a distinctive acrid smell and in some cases smoke
  • You find that the Mk3 Jazz/Fit doesn’t want to move at all
  • Loud thud-like noise when pulling away for the first time

There are a number of things that can cause a frozen/seized caliper. Sometimes a rebuild will get them back to normal, but if the calipers are in a really bad way new ones will be required. Replacing all of the calipers is quite expensive, so make sure you check for this problem (it would be very unlikely to find that all four calipers have gone bad on a third gen Fit/Jazz, but you never know).

A shuddering or shaking feeling through the Jazz/Fit’s steering wheel while the brakes are in use could indicate that one or more of the discs are warped. This often most noticeable under high-speed braking.

Suspension & Steering

Just like the brakes, we are not aware of any specific issues with the third generation Fit/Jazz’s suspension and steering components. Conduct a visual inspection to make sure everything is in good condition and that there are no leaks, excessive corrosion (surface is fine), broken or damaged components, etc. During a test drive, keep an eye out for the following that may indicate a problem:

  • Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration and rear end wobble over bumps
  • Tipping during cornering
  • High speed instability or floaty/nervous feeling through the steering wheel
  • Delayed or longer stopping distances
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive bounce after hitting a bump or when pushing down on the suspension
  • Sagging or uneven suspension
  • Knocking, clunking or creaking sounds during a test drive – as mentioned above this is usually the shocks, top mounts and or drop links
  • Rattles – drive over some bumps – there should be no noise from the suspension components (however, you may hear some rattles from something in the cabin).
  • Clicking sounds (especially at full lock)

Check the Wheel Alignment

Remember to check that the wheel alignment is good on the third gen Honda Jazz or Fit you are looing at. You can do this by finding a nice flat and straight section of road. If the Fit/Jazz pulls to one side there is an issue. Poor wheel alignment can lead to excessive tyre wear and more frequent tyre changes. Additionally, it can make a Honda Jazz/Fit’s driving experience less enjoyable and even less safe.

Very poor wheel alignment could be a sign of an owner who doesn’t care much for their Mk3 Fit or Jazz as they probably should have got it sorted before putting the car on the market.

Most of the time a simple realignment is all that is needed, however, in some cases bad wheel alignment can be a sign of serious suspension/steering issues or even accident damage.

Wheels

Check the wheels for any curb damage as a lot of it suggests that the Jazz/Fit has been owned by a fairly careless driver. However, a small amount is quite normal unless the car is very new and/or has hardly been driven. Most of the time light damage can be repaired, but if it is quite bad the rim may need to be replaced.

While you are checking for curb damage, be on the lookout for any dents, cracking or buckling as these sorts of problems often require a new wheel.

If you notice that the Jazz or Fit is fitted with aftermarket wheels, ask the owner if they have the originals. While the third generation Fit or Jazz is probably never going to be a classic, you can use this as a bit of a bargaining point. If the car is fitted with very large aftermarket rims, be mindful of the fact there may be an impact on ride quality and bigger wheels are usually more susceptible to damage (all things being equal).

Tyres

Good tyres can be expensive, so check for the following issues:

  • Amount of tread – If there is minimal tread left try to get a discount as you will need to get the tyres replaced in the near future.
  • Uneven wear – Wear should be even between the right and left tyres of the Mk3 Jazz/Fit. Additionally, make sure wear is even across the tyre itself.
  • Brand – They should be from a good or well-reviewed brand – if they are from a poorly reviewed brand it suggests that the owner has cheaped out on maintenance. Lots of Jazz/Fits are fitted with cheaper, poor quality tyres as they are a less expensive car and owners typically won’t to save on running costs.
  • Same tyre – In terms of tyre make, type and tread pattern on each axle – mismatched tyres can lead to poor handling performance, increased wear, reliability issues and may even be dangerous.
  • Pressure – It can be a good idea to check tyre pressures when conducting an inspection. If the tyre pressures are wrong it can cause the car to pull to the left or right during acceleration. Incorrect tyre pressures can also lead to increased wear and fuel consumption as well.

Interior

The third generation Jazz/Fit’s interior seems to be pretty hard wearing, but check for the usual things. Inspect the seats for any rips, tears or stains, especially around the bolsters. If the seats move during acceleration or braking it is incredibly dangerous and will be an MOT/WOF failure.

One thing we have noticed on the Jazz photographed for this guide is that the door wears quite badly on the bottom where the speaker is. This is probably from shoes rubbing on the door when people get in and out. Not a major problem, but something to check for.

Make sure you check the carpets and rest of the cabin for any dampness or signs of a leak. Water can play havoc with the electronics if it gets in the wrong place and can lead to a nasty smell as well. Feel around the carpets and turn over the floor mats. If you see water residue on the bottom of the floor mats it could be a sign of a past of present leak. Leaks from strange places could be indicative of accident damage, so keep that in mind.

Make sure you have a look at the headlining above the driver’s seat. If it is a slightly different colour it may be a sign that the Honda Jazz/Fit you are inspecting has been owned by a smoker. A smell test will also help you determine whether or not this is the case as well.

Try to find some faster roads to check for any creaks or rattles as these can be a bit of a nightmare to find and fix.

Electronics, Locks and Other Things

The big one here is to make sure that the infotainment system/screen is working as intended. We haven’t heard of any issues with the system or screen, but we imagine it would be quite expensive to fix if there were a problem.  

Some owners have complained about issues with the key fob. What usually happens is that the unlocking and locking buttons get stuck or don’t work as intended (unlock won’t work, lock button unlocks, etc.). These issues tend to be a result of the buttons going pad and if you have some skill with a soldering iron you should be able to fix them. A trip to the dealer will also sort this issue out, but of course they will probably charge you handsomely for it. Make sure you also check that the owner has two key fobs as replacing them is quite expensive.

If no warning lights appear during start-up it may be a sign of an issue or that they have been disconnected. Alternatively, if they stay on you need to investigate the issue further and possibly take the car to a Honda specialist to find out what is causing the warning light before purchase. You can also use an OBD2 scanner to read the codes as well if you have one on hand.

Apart from the above do a general check to make sure all of the other electrics work as intended. Check the lights work, cruise control, door unlock, etc.

General Car Buying Advice for a Honda Jazz or Fit GK

How to Get the Best Deal on a Mk3 Fit/Jazz

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. Research heavily –  Prior to starting your search for a third gen Fit or Jazz, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage, late model RS or EX-L or do you not mind an older 2015 base model that has travelled a bit further.

2. Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. Honda sold tons of these cars, so don’t limit yourself to one seller, dealer, area or auction platform.

3. Go look at and test drive multiple Jazz/Fits– It is a good idea to test drive a many cars as possible, so you know what makes a good and what makes a bad third gen Honda Fit/Jazz.

4. Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a Honda Jazz/Fit for sale and only go for promising looking cars.

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 back it up with a thorough inspection.

7. Go between sellers/dealers –  If you are looking at multiple Honda Fits, 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 hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. 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 do not allow the engine to warm up properly, which can lead to increased component wear and reduced engine life.

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.  

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. While the servicing doesn’t need to be done at a dealer, it should be carried out by a competent Honda specialist or mechanic (especially for major repair work). Home mechanic work is okay, but it is much harder to gauge the competence of a home mechanic than checking reviews for established businesses.

The service history will give you a good idea of how the Honda Jazz or Fit GK you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications (if the car has any) 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 vehicle your purchase and will make it easier to sell the car 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? 
  • What parts have been replaced?
  • When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
  • What’s the compression like?
  • What modifications have been made to the vehicle? 
  • Has the vehicle overheated at any point or has the head gasket failed? 
  • 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? 
  • 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 Mk3 Jazz or Fit

Here are some things that would make as walk away from one of these cars. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.  

  • Overheating problems or significant past overheating problems
  • Poor compression
  • Significant Crash Damage or poorly repaired roof 
  • Money owing on the car  
  • Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner  
  • Excessive amounts of power
  • 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 their Honda Fit or Jazz (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.  

  • 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. 
  • 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 Fit/Jazz and the model they are selling (LX, EX, EX-L, RS, etc.)
  • 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 react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
  • 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 Mk3 Honda Fit or Jazz.

Importing a Honda Fit Mk3 from Japan

Japan was the first country to get the Mk3 Fit and they also were one of only two countries to receive the hybrid version of the car (Malaysia being the other). While going out of your way to import a Mk3 Fit yourself isn’t probably worth your time, we have included this information for your interest.

How to Import a Honda Fit from Japan

While importing a Honda Fit from Japan may seem a bit daunting, it is actually relatively simple. The first thing we recommend you do is to Google search something like “import Honda Fit”. You will be greeted with loads of different websites to choose from. These websites will let you search for one of these cars 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 completely scammed, many of these websites will be economical with the truth about a vehicle. We have listed a few examples of Japanese importers/exporters below:  

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.

Japan Partner – Is one of the fastest growing exporters of used Japanese vehicles.

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!

Use a Private Importer

While the websites above are a handy way to give you a general idea of what to expect when importing a Honda Fit, we recommend that you go with a private importer. A trusted private importer will be able to find a suitable Mk3 Fit 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 reduce the number of Mk3 Honda Fits 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 if possible (hence the recommendation for a private importer).

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 a Honda Fit 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 Third Gen Fit 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.  
  • Try to go through a private importer
  • 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 
  • Keep in mind that Japan drives on the left-side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right of the car 
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 Buying a Third Gen (GK) Honda Fit or Jazz

Overall the Mk3 Honda Fit/Jazz is a fantastic car. It is incredibly reliable if maintained well and a good one should provide plenty of miles of good motoring. In fact, we have heard Honda technicians say that the Fit/Jazz is the most trouble-free car that comes into their workshops/service centres.

The only real specific problem with these cars is the carbon build-up/injector issue, but the vast majority of owners have no issues.  

We hope this guide has covered most of what you need to know and if you have anything to add, leave a comment below.

References

Honda European Media Newsroom – Honda Jazz Prototype (2014) Overview – Honda Jazz Prototype (2014) Overview (hondanews.eu)

Mihnea Radu (17/09/2014) – All-New Honda Jazz Revealed in European Spec – All-New Honda Jazz Revealed in European Spec – autoevolution

Honda European Media Newsroom – 2015 Honda Jazz – 2015 Honda Jazz (hondanews.eu)

Honda Auto News (09/04/2014) – 2015 Honda Fit Press Kit – 2015 Honda Fit Press Kit (hondanews.com)

Honda Media Newsroom (18/08/2016)Versatile and Fun 2017 Honda Fit Goes On Sale – Marks its 10th Year in America as it Continues to Rack Up Awards and Recognition – Versatile and Fun 2017 Honda Fit Goes On Sale – Marks its 10th Year in America as it Continues to Rack Up Awards and Recognition (hondanews.com)

Danny Tan (11/05/2017) – Honda reveals Fit/Jazz facelift in Japan – June launch – Honda reveals Fit/Jazz facelift in Japan – June launch – paultan.org

FitNFreaky (19/08/2020) – New Head, 4 cylinders, 4 fuel injectors due to Carbon Buildup – New Head, 4 cylinders, 4 fuel injectors due to Carbon Buildup – Unofficial Honda FIT Forums (fitfreak.net)

Oldgeezer (06/01/2018) – 2015 Fit wont start – 2015 Fit wont start – Unofficial Honda FIT Forums (fitfreak.net)

Silkenfit (05/07/2015) – Anyone else get a loose engine splash shield under their car? – Anyone else get a loose engine splash shield under their car? – Unofficial Honda FIT Forums (fitfreak.net)

Jazu (02/01/2020) – 2017 EX Transmission Oil Change? – 2017 EX Transmission Oil Change? – Unofficial Honda FIT Forums (fitfreak.net)

2015honda (22/02/2018) – Warning: 2016 Honda Fit Catalytic Converter Failure – Warning: 2016 Honda Fit Catalytic Converter Failure – Page 2 – Unofficial Honda FIT Forums (fitfreak.net)

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