Got in a car accident last night (in Philadelphia... a block from my house). (Both drivers alone and ok.) Haven't gotten the final adjuster report yet but it looks like it's going to come back mostly my fault (no matter how much I disagree). The car was towed to someplace really annoying to get to because I was suggestible to vulture tow truck operator. Trying to decide between trying to repair and salvage, but it's hard when the car is an hour+ away. [more inside]
There is too much advice online. What's the best way to remove a small dent from my car? [more inside]
Some friends of mine are visiting the USA from Guyana. In Guyana they drive a 2006 Toyota Voxy. This car is not sold in the US. They want to buy brighter-than-stock headlights for it while they're here in the US, to take back to Guyana with them. But because the car isn't sold here, they can't find any information on which headlights might be compatible. [more inside]
I've always bought new cars and driven them for 15+ years. Need a car for my teen and have no intentions to buy new. I've never bought a used car. What tips/tricks do you have for the buying process regardless of whether it's from a private party, used car lot, or from a dealership?
My mother lives in Olympia, WA, drives a Honda Fit, and says she needs to get her brakes checked (among whatever else). She also thinks every mechanic is out to scam her. Please give me some recommendations that I can pass on to her. [more inside]
Suggestions, please, for a smallish hybrid vehicle to replace a worn-out Civic. We're in Ontario, Canada, so choices are limited (and dealers entirely apathetic). Likely to keep the car for 10 years or so, and looking for low total cost of ownership. [more inside]
We're taking my 2013 Jetta on a 2000 mile drive this spring and while it's a blast to drive and great on gas mileage, the seats are not butt friendly at all. [more inside]
I can get somewhat cheaper auto insurance from Allied, but have not heard of this company. Googling for reviews get mixed results. Has anyone had experience with them - customer service, paying claims, etc.?
I need to buy a sun shade for my car. I’m in New Mexico and am looking for a high quality sun shade that is well fitted to the windshield that blocks heat extremely well. [more inside]
I'm feeling frustrated with my automobile situation and don't really know where to start. The gist of it is that I can't really afford the payments and maintenance on my car, and I think I want out, but I don't know how. [more inside]
I have a 2011 Toyota Camry SE (4 cylinders). I need to replace the tires. What kind of tires should I get? I'm a bit uncertain because of the rims. [more inside]
Hi MeFi, I was on the receiving end of a car accident which occurred last week during rush-hour. I was traveling home from work on a very busy Charlestown Ave when I got had another car smash into mine. I had a bad case of whiplash and went sorta blank for a second but after I came out of the car I noticed a busted BMW behind with a driver still sitting there. The girl from the second car fled the scene. My suspicion was that she didn't have a license or didn't own the car or both. So in short, BMW (Car A) > smashes into grey vehicle with (Car B) which in turn smashes into me (Car C). My insurance adjustor is saying this is a complicated case because of how 'many impacts' I felt or heard. What the hell does this even mean? It felt like someone hit me with a hammer. He said the first party which caused the scene hasn't yet accepted responsibility and they have 30 days to do it or not. I'm sorta left broken and had two trips to ER and two MRIs taken which showed I have an upper disc injury in neck and shoulders. The back side of my car is completely damaged with me being unable to shut my trunk. It is still drivable but it looks like hell. I don't want to dish out $500 for a rental since I'm already drowning in bills. Insurance is telling me that I can't get reimbursed for the rental until someone accepts responsibility. Is this how it usually goes with insurance companies in USA? I'm flabbergasted. Should I get an attorney?
Car Talkers of MeFi, help me solve a mystery! My 2001 Subaru Forester had a cylinder misfiring: car shook, check engine light flashed. Then it healed itself and the mechanic couldn't tell what was wrong, or that anything was wrong at all, so I brought it home. Then it started misfiring again tonight. Then it healed itself partway, but the check engine light is still on. What should I think and what should I do? Details below the fold. [more inside]
I'm in the market for a new Mazda. Invoice prices, holdbacks, dealer cash, special financing deals, and the like are all out there on the Internet. But I can't find is what bonuses Mazda offers to car dealers for hitting various monthly and yearly sales goals. How do I find out about this? [more inside]
I have a 2006 Honda Pilot with 150,000 miles. I have a problem with the headlights. [more inside]
I know very little about cars. But now I find myself needing to buy a car to replace my decrepit 1999 Chevy Prizm. I can pay cash up to a maximum of $6,000 (including all surcharges, taxes, etc.). I'd rather not get financing, as we're still paying-off my wife's car. [more inside]
Wondering if you could help with a risk-benefit analysis of lowering the amount of insurance on my car. I still owe money on it, but I could potentially pay it off and then save money on my insurance. BUT is the insurance good to have anyway? [more inside]
I need to know how to completely disconnect a factory-installed panic alarm on a 2002 Hyundai Sonata to keep it from drawing power on the battery. [more inside]
One of the power windows in my car has stopped rolling up. The windows are controlled by a dual switch in the center console. The driver's side works, and the passenger "down" works, but the passenger "up" switch does not. I tried replacing it with a new switch I ordered online, and was able to get the window 90% up, but then that new switch abruptly stopped working. Is this likely to be a case of a bad part, or is there something wrong with my electrical system? More details below. [more inside]
Is a trickle charger the same as a 2 amp charger? [more inside]
As a result of a series of events, it looks like I will be driving my boyfriend's older Bronco as a daily vehicle for a while. Before I start doing this, the Bronco should be tuned up and given a once-over and determined to be mechanically sound. I don't have an existing relationship with an auto mechanic. Can you recommend one in Portland, Oregon? [more inside]
My unmarried partner and I live in Queens. He had a car when we moved in together, and the title, registration, and insurance have always been entirely in his name - I didn't even drive it. The car died this summer and we are looking to buy a used car free and clear from a friend, so car payments are thankfully not an issue. I have been thinking that maybe I should consider being more involved with the car, but I am utterly clueless about the most basic details, and don't know where to start. [more inside]
I inherited my mom's car three years ago, and since then my (old) car has been sitting in my driveway. I would like to get it out of my driveway, and if possible make a little money on it, but want to do it in the least time- or effort-intensive way. [more inside]
I'm trying to decide between leasing or buying a car. It would be anywhere from 50-100% business use. Does this make a difference? [more inside]
If all goes well, I'll have the pre-purchase inspection on this used car tomorrow, and see if I can close a deal to buy it. Then what? I need help with the order of all the paperwork and steps. Complication: I'm in MA, the owner is in CA, and the car is registered and located with the seller's relative in NH. [more inside]
I'm in the market for a used car, and I know that it's bad news when a car isn't driven regularly. I've found one that's otherwise good for me. I don't know how little driving is too little, whether the kinds of problems that result could be checked by a mechanic's pre-purchase inspection, and whether my own tough driving patterns make any difference. [more inside]
We've been paying insurance for a car we traded in to a dealer three years ago. At the time, the dealer gave us the plates for our new car and contacted our insurance agent for us. How do we get this refund? [more inside]
I am debating getting a spare key lockbox for my car so I can stop carrying the spare keys in my wallet, as is currently my custom. Is this uniformly stupid, and I shouldn't do it? Any particular errors to avoid, or a lockbox you can recommend? [more inside]
What is the proper air conditioning refrigerant pressure for a 2004 Scion xB? Should the pressure reading be made at a specific RPM? My A/C has been slowly loosing cooling over the last couple of years, now it really only cools well when traveling above 35~ mph, not so well at all in stop-and-go situations. Does it sound like I am on the right track to recharge the system? Works pretty well at steady-state speeds...
We started having trouble with our car almost a year ago. We paid $1500 for a repair that failed, and the mechanic tried twice more without additional charges. Now, it’s failed again, but the mechanic had heart surgery and closed down the shop, and I haven’t been able to reach him. Is there anything left to do, or do we just have to accept that we’re out the money without a fix, and start over with someone new? [more inside]
I'm trying to lower my car insurance rates and the rep with my insurance company suggested I drop stacked uninsured motorist coverage because I already have health insurance. I understand how the stacked coverage works but it seems redundant to carry it if I have heath insurance coverage. Am I misunderstanding how UIM coverage works?
Couldn't Google this successfully - a recent car commercial in the US, guy is driving on a highway at night maybe. It sounds like NASA or other mission control and space noises are coming out of his radio giving the effect that he is driving a space ship. [more inside]
I've been going to a repair shop here in LA for a while that I found through the Car Talk fora, but have been increasingly unhappy with them. I took my girlfriend's 2002 Ford Focus in to get an estimate on replacing the mirror, and got back a quote of $175ish, $100 for the part and $75 for the labor (meaning, an hour and a quarter for them at $60 per hour). The thing is, there are third-party mirrors for about $30, and from doing the same thing on a car years ago, I remember it taking about 20 minutes with the right tools. Are they trying to rip me off? Is this a reasonable ballpark for what seems like pretty minor work (the whole assembly pops on and off)? I don't have the tools to do this now (I'd need a deeper socket), so should I buy the part and take it to them? Are dealer mirrors really that superior? (It's out of warranty by now, obviously.) Should I take it to someone else? [more inside]
On march 11, about two and a half weeks ago, I bought my dad's van. 2008 town and country. Thursday morning, it wouldn't start. It might be dead. The mechanic is still working on diagnosing the problem, but he's not getting compression on two cylinders. Anyway, the van had a lifetime non-transferable power train warranty, so if had broken on march 10th, Chrysler would have covered it. Is there any way to void the sale and get the warranty back? [more inside]
I recently got some very small scratches on my car. What is the best thing to do about them?? [more inside]
In a few months I will be moving across the country from Delaware to California for a year to maybe indefinitely. In which state should I buy a car and how should it be paid for? (Snowflake details below the cut.) [more inside]
I have a relative who attends USC and lives around the St. Andrews area in Columbia, SC. He has a Toyota that's having some issues. Are there any auto repair places either near the university or around St. Andrews that you could recommend?
I have a sudden need for a car for the next several months. An awesome friend has offered to lend me his. What could go wrong? [more inside]
In November I purchased a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon. Two days ago it was hit in the middle of the night. They drove off at the time, but came back the next morning and gave their insurance information. [more inside]
My credit is good. My loan on my new-last-year Toyota Yaris is awful; the interest rate is absurdly high. My credit union, who issued the loan, doesn't want to help. How do I find the best rate I can get on a refinance? [more inside]
Our car was stolen. Police here seem to shrug it off. Is there anything else I should or could be doing, or just take it as a rather abrupt lesson in the transience of possessions? [more inside]
I temporarily swapped cars with my parents. While my mother was driving it alone, another driver sideswiped her and damaged the vehicle. How does the insurance get handled? Obviously, the driver-at-fault's insurance should pay for the repairs. But do we contact my insurance company, my parent's insurance company, or only the other driver's insurance company? [more inside]
I'm considering selling my car and transitioning from using my car for most tasks (groceries, commuting to work, seeing friends, etc) to using mostly my bicycle for these same things. I plan to also get an "occasional" Zip car membership as well. Has anyone out there gone through this process? How was that transition for you and do you have any concrete advice for someone like me who is thinking about this pretty big shift in changing modes of transportation? [more inside]
YANAL/YANML and you are not a clerk working at my DMV. What reason should I put on a bill of sale for buying a car for less than market value? [more inside]
There is a mechanic in a city nearby who restores and sells (and maintains) first-generation Honda Insights. Most of the cars his shop produces have a salvage title. He offers exclusive repair and maintenance service to purchasers. I've done a lot of reading and talking to people about this car—a trusted coworker owns one of his restorations—and I'm pretty much convinced that I want what seems to be one of the most over-engineered, fuel-efficient, cool little cars ever made. So what am I missing? [more inside]
I'm looking for hip-hop that's engineered for car systems. Heavy bass, melodic bass, brutal bass--what artists, albums or tracks sound amazing in a car with an amplified subwoofer setup? [more inside]
There is a good chance that I will be the owner of a new car sometime soon (like the next few months or so). Looking for a good balance between fuel efficiency and inexpensive to repair (something I have not really thought about until recently, regrettably). You are not a car expert, likely, but what would you advise from what you know? Details, including what this car replaces, inside. [more inside]
Every now and then, there will be a few weeks when I get electric shocks as I'm getting out of my cars. Normally they're just a little surprising, but the last few weeks I've been getting steadily stronger shocks that actually hurt / tingle for a while afterwards. What's going on? [more inside]
I'm evaluating my insurance coverage, and I'm confused a bit on auto insurance liability. It seems like a typical liability policy is $100k per person for bodily injury. From the tales of medical bills I've heard, it seems like a bad accident could pretty easily cause bills far exceeding that. Even if I increase it to $300k or $500k, if the actual costs are higher than that, it could pretty easily wipe out all my assets. What really happens in accident cases like that? Do they generally just settle for the insurance limits? [more inside]
A few weeks ago I asked this question. Consider this a follow-up question. I have a 1993 Honda del Sol 5-speed Si that has a "mystery" problem of sometimes starting and sometimes not starting. It's always a cold-start problem. I put the key in the ignition, switch it to ON until the check engine light goes on, the fuel pump pressurizes, and the main relay clicks, and then crank it. Sometimes it will fire up right away. Other times the engine will turn over but not ignite. Once it is started, it will start up fine for the rest of the day. It only gives me trouble when the engine has gone completely cold and has been left untouched for upwards of four hours. A new issue has developed since I first posted my question. Even after getting the car started, sometimes just a few minutes later during a sharp acceleration (approaching 4000rpms or more) the engine stalls out. I have to pull the car over and start it up again. It always starts up fine after that and will usually not stall out again. I had this issue looked at by several mechanics, most of whom hadn't the slightest clue what it was or willingness to investigate. The last mechanic I took it to said it was a faulty ignition switch and replaced it . . . but that has done no good whatsoever. Also, just FYI, the spark plugs are relatively new. Any thoughts are appreciated!