I've taken my car to the mechanic what seems like an unreasonable number of times to fix an issue. Mostly, the car keeps overheating. First, they replaced the entire radiator. The next time it broke down, it was the water pump, which also necessitated a new timing belt. It's been overheating again, and came close to breaking down. I talked with a guy who knows cars, but is not a mechanic. He says if it's still having problems, it's likely the thermostat. Am I overreacting to not want this same shop to fix it? [more inside]
My front license plate was stolen. The police officer who took the report said to go to the station on Monday and get a copy of the report, then go to the RMV for further instructions. The lease is in my name, but the registration is in the name of the lien holder, Nissan Finance. And since it's a lease, I don't have the title to the car. So, what do I need to bring to the RMV to deal with this?
It's finally time for me to part ways with my 16-year-old car. I've picked out a new car, and had my existing car appraised for a trade-in. Unfortunately, the dealer's appraisal came in way lower than the Blue Book value, allegedly because of two warning lights (ABS and Airbag) that would affect the car's ability to be sold legally in Virginia. Is it worth investigating other options for selling my clunker, or should I just take the dealer's offer? [Details inside] [more inside]
One of the rear lights on my car has gone out. I believe it's just a burnt out bulb. The problem is that I can't figure out how to change the bulb. I've inclued a few pictures to show which light I'm referring to and the backside "access" to that light. How do I fix it? [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]
About two weeks ago my 2002 PT Cruiser Limited suffered a head gasket failure. This is the second time it's happened on this car in recent years and I'm not having it repaired it again. About a week ago my wife and I bought a nice 2011 Toyota Corolla LE to replace that car. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the Cruiser and how to keep its nice new tires for the Corolla. [more inside]
The car my son drives (97 Mazda 626 with the 6 cylinder engine) is throwing a P1195 OBDII code. That is a error reading from the EGR sensor, but there are a variety of things that could cause that, and Google didn't turn up any advice about whether or not that is really a critical issue to deal with. [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]
Force Required To Deploy Airbags: Mercedes -- Don't know if any of you have since this video making it's way around the net. I'm sure people here know the technical specifications involved. Would this even be possible? Would imagine the woman would need a bag full of bricks haha
Near where I live in Boston, there is a dangerous road, and a particularly dangerous intersection. I'd like to take action to have someone take steps to remediate it. Can you recommend specific resources and data to use to make the most compelling call to action? [more inside]
I have somehow managed to live in SF for several years without a parking permit, but I am going to need one shortly. Can I get an annual parking permit without changing my car's registration information? [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]
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!
My partner and I want to get a car window tint job. We're more concerned about quality (materials, won't bubble, etc.) than price, so what do we need to look for? One well reputed company in town is offering "basic color stable film," "high performance stable film" and "CTX ceramic," in ascending order of cost, but we don't know one from the other. One company offers LLumar and another offers 3M--how do we choose? Is quality more or less proportional to cost? Look for a lifetime warranty? Is ceramic the preferred material? Any advice would be appreciated.
Fuel efficient car for dog and future baby? [more inside]
After a bunch of trips to mechanics, my car engine is hesitating/missing intermittently, and I would love a second opinion.
My 1998 Nissan Sentra GXE (1.6L) has been acting up for the past few weeks, in decreasing degrees of severity. After a varied set of problems and repairs, the engine now hesitates at random, more often when idling than when driving. It sounds like it's about to die completely and then returns to normal in a second. What the heck is going on? [more inside]
We need to buy a used car in Phoenix, Arizona. We know roughly what we want, but we don't have time to shop for it, and we're currently in another state anyway. Can we hire some kind of agent in the Phoenix area to car-shop for us? [more inside]
Should I file a claim with my auto insurance? [more inside]
I recently moved from California to Colorado, then acquired a new car. Meanwhile, my California registration on the old car expired. I want to sell the old car in Colorado, but it has no current registration and was never registered in this state. How can I take people on test drives? Just risk it? Is signing over the California title sufficient, then it's their job to get the car registered? Headache city, any advice is much appreciated.
Car De-froster/De-icer? [more inside]
Toyota Yaris 2012 or an alternative compact bubble car? [more inside]
What are the mysterious, apparently non-sensical, religious-sounding words that are appearing as small white text on white background on Craigslist car+truck ads across several cities? [more inside]
Yesterday I sold a car and today I think the buyer is trying to scam me! [more inside]
Met with a minor accident (lady hit my parked car). Should I call insurance or take care of this myself?
A lady hit my car when it was parked at a mall. I have her insurance details and she is willing to take responsibility. My dilemma is this: - Even though this is a minor accident (scrath on the side) its going to show up on carfax as a accident - Correct??? [more inside]
How can I get the best deal on a car? Based on my previous question, I haven't decided if I am going to buy or lease. For either path, what techniques and tactics should I employ to get the best deal. Where can I find reliable information on prices? Do I play dealers off of one another? This question is not about buying vs. leasing. Let's just assume I am going to buy one car and lease another. How do I get the best deal on both?
Help me decide how to finance my vehicle purchases. I need to get two cars for my family. Could be new, could be used. I want both of these cars to have very high safety ratings. Everything else doesn't really matter. I could pay cash for two new cars, but that just seems stupid to do on a depreciating asset. Is the best course of action to find two used, yet reasonably new cars and pay cash? What if we like having new cars? Should we just lease two new vehicles? I have read that the best course of action is to buy a used car and drive it into the ground. That's great, but what if I leave the country again in 5 years. And do I really want to be driving around in a Hooptie in ten years. How do I approach the whole buy new / used, lease issue.
Selling my car (in California); am I getting screwed? [more inside]
Repair or replace 1992 Camry? (with some interesting caveats) [more inside]
How much will it cost to get my car painted? [more inside]
Why do these skeezy guys solicit me in public to do body work on my car? [more inside]
I'm looking to change my car tyre size, and I've got some questions (more maths related than automotive related, I'd guess). [more inside]
How should I clean my EGR port? The check engine code says "inadequate flow through the EGR valve." [more inside]
Lots of sites have listings of locally available used cars. Aside from Craigslist (which is spotty where I live), what site do you feel is most widely used and provides the best variety of listings, especially of cars being sold by a dealer (of any size)?
If my 2001 Honda Accord's blower motor resistor goes out, should I expect the air conditioner not to come on at all, or is there something more seriously wrong with the car than just the resistor? [more inside]
I have a 1999 Toyota Avalon. I noticed the small plastic grille below my left headlight missing and there's a dangling plug inside. I can't figure out what used to be in there. The car still runs fine. Inside the passenger-side grille is a grey plastic box, probably connected to a similar plug.
Yesterday my car started fine, but today the engine wouldn't crank even once. What caused my car battery to fail so suddenly and without warning? [more inside]
What's the best 1975 car a guy can get? [more inside]
My car's getting older, and I have recently moved to a new place with no garage. I'm worried about it starting in cold weather. More details inside! [more inside]
I own a 1997 VW Golf that threw a rod in 2004 and has been sitting (inside a garage) ever since. Donating it to charity has no tax benefit for me. It needs to go. Does it have any cash value at all? If so, how much? [more inside]
It's that time in my life where my family is outgrowing our vehicles, and we are looking for something larger. I'll be the main driver and I am pretty big (6'3" 230 lbs). So we want something both economical and comfortable. I looked at the Mazda5, but it is too tiny for carseats and me... So... Which 2009/2010 minivan/crossover should I choose? [more inside]
I am looking to buy a used car for cash from a local (CA) private party, not a dealer. What do I need to know? [more inside]
I'm looking for a new car mechanic in Melbourne, Australia and/or tips for finding a reliable one in general... [more inside]
My car died far from home. What's the best way to get rid of it? [more inside]
Somebody loaned me their car for a week. I managed to ding the bumper. Help me figure out if this is something I can fix myself or if I need to take it to a body shop. Pictures inside. [more inside]
Where can I find a database of American cars? [more inside]
Asking for Mr. Oflinkey: Where can he find reliable statistics about how many Americans are employed by various auto manufacturers (Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc.). This should not be limited to manufacturing jobs. He is seeking this information to answer a larger question: Does buying American-made cars really make much of a difference anymore?
I'm looking to replace the fuel filter on my 2003 Chevrolet Tracker. It's a relatively easy process, but I'm having some difficulty locating the exact position of the filter. Does anyone happen to have a diagram or link to where can I get this information?
Changing sparkplugs: I have a 2003 Chevrolet Tracker, with an unusual ignition coil setup, and I want to learn how to remove the coils and access my plugs. (Pictures inside) [more inside]
Is there any difference in performance between pre-gapped sparkplugs (such as these) and ones that you have to gap yourself? [more inside]
Cars! I don't want to go to the mechanic as a female and say, "I have no idea what's wrong with my car! Please replace half my engine and overcharge me ridiculous amounts!!" I'm hoping to get some ideas on what might be wrong before I go... [more inside]
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