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]
Scenario: Car was hit from the back by an insured driver who took responsibility for the incident. This is noted in the police report. This incident happened 2.5 months ago. No claim was made on the insured driver. The repair is minor (re-paint). Question: Can a claim still be made since the incident happened approx 2.5months ago or is it too late? I wonder if it becomes harder to prove that the damage is because of the incident and not something that happened later (during the 2.5months). Thoughts?
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]
I'm gearing up to sell my car in Toronto and I'd like to get a fresh paint job. Or, at least, touch up the spots that are showing wear due to rust near the rear wheels and some white paint (on a red car) from bumping into the pillar in my parking space a couple of times. Note: I don't actually want to do body repair, just paint (I'm not trying to conceal the dings in the body, just to freshen up the look). Have any GTA Mefites had work like this done at a place they would recommend? I live downtown, but don't mind traveling to the 905 for good, affordable work. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
My new Moto X droid has been auto dialing people on my contacts list without my help or permission. Please make it stop. Verizon has been unable to diagnose this. [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
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]
2002 saab with 100,000 miles in generally good condition has a frayed driver's seat belt. To prevent further degradation, I covered the edge of the belt with duct tape. Frayed section conforms roughly in size to the concavity visible on the duct tape. Trusty mechanic quotes $175 + around $75 to install a junk yard replacement. This includes the entire assembly; trusty mechanic says they generally don't work well if you just replace the belt. A new belt and assembly is $475+ installation. I will have the opportunity to inspect the junk yard part before giving the go-ahead. Here's the question: assuming that it looks ok, am I better off from a safety stand-point with the used one of unknown history that in theory could be almost twenty years old or should I stick with my slightly frayed belt of known history (I bought the car new)? I know you are not my safety engineer! Thanks
I am interested in adding an roof-mounted video system to my 2005 Toyota Sienna. I have three kids and when we visit family it's a boring 9-hour drive. But I know nothing at all about car video systems. [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]
There is a 1989 Chinook for sale in Sacramento, CA. I live a few hours away, cannot make the drive up unless I'm going to purchase, and do not have the knowledge necessary to actually understand whether the vehicle bits or the RV bits are in acceptable condition. [more inside]
In the state of Michigan, USA, can your auto insurance [liability+collision+comprehensive] premium be increased as a result of a collision claim for which the driver/policyholder is judged 'not at fault' by the police or court? I thought that it could, but I have a friend who is sure it cannot. Can any of you provide a definitive answer?
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]
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]
is is there anyone who made a claim with Esurance? Do they actually pay, when you make a claim? More info inside. [more inside]
Several years ago, I went through a foreclosure, but now I'm 100% debt-free and making great money. Who offers auto loans to someone with a credit score in the low 600s?
We have a car that can't be started following a serious oil leak. The mechanic in the family has requested me to find someone who will steam-clean the engine on a mobile basis. I called a bunch of places, but none of them makes house calls, except for a guy who does pressure-washing, which our mechanic says won't work—the pressure will damage the electrical components of our elderly VW Vanagon. Do you know of anyone in the Portland OR area who does mobile steam-cleaning? Or another way to degrease the engine besides towing the car to the steam-cleaning place and back?
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 just broke my point and shoot camera and want to replace it with something more modern. I have a 4GB eye-if SD card that I configured to auto-upload to my online photo storage for me, but I'd like to find a camera that has this feature built in. A quick google (an 4 hours later), it doesn't seem like I can find such a camera -- is my google searching rusty, or is the camera market missing "automatic, easy picture upload" as a built in feature? I don't want to use my eye-if anymore. Any suggestions for a camera that does it all?
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]
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 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]
Four new tires were installed last June; i.e., june of 2012. A month later mechanic noticed that the front control arms were rusted; they were replaced with new ones. Today brought in for miscellaneous work. Mechanic observed that each front tire was badly worn and in need of replacement. The tires had about 12,000 miles on them; the rear ones were normal. Problem was toe-in misalignment of about .1 deg left side and .075 deg right. [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!
Seeking insurance broker recommendations for a new family in NYC. Co-op, Auto, and now with progeny, Life. Obviously want a person/office that we can trust, and will look out for our interests in the long haul. We live in Queens, and work in Manhattan. Bonus question: are any brokers fee-based, or do all work on commission-type arrangements?
I am a Rhode Island resident. I'm in San Francisco, CA for several months, working. I've decided to buy a car from a friend here, and today I'm going over to give him the money (I've been driving it for a week or two, since he already bought a new car and we trust each other). [more inside]
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.
I'm approaching the dreaded moment that I need to buy a new (used) car. I hate the idea of negotiating with a salesperson. I love the idea of no-haggle. But I also hate the idea of getting a lemon. I've read loads of reviews of Carmax online, but they're so mixed, I don't know what to think. Can you offer insight? [more inside]
It's time for me to get a new car. I'm leaning towards a smaller car. What should I get? [more inside]
I'm looking for a good mechanic around Mount Pleasant or East Vancouver. I have a 1999 toyota corolla and honestly, it's getting to the point where I know something important is going to go. [more inside]
Is there a current production Garmin GPS unit that is equivalent to the discontinued nuvi 265WT in terms of price and features?
Person bumped into me in parking lot, wants to give me check instead of filing insurance, is this kosher? [more inside]
What should I do to prepare for driving from SF to NY this January? [more inside]
After a theft, how much DIY car repair is too much? [more inside]
Where to get a replacement end-piece for an Apple MagSafe airline adapter? [more inside]
Am I getting a fair price on 100K maintenance for my 1999 Avalon? [more inside]
What could be causing my car's brake switch to break down? [more inside]
Fuel efficient car for dog and future baby? [more inside]
how much is it normal for my auto insurance premium to rise after an accident? [more inside]
Tips and advice for first time selling a used car? I am trying to figure out if I should fix up some cosmetic damage before selling my 2005 Honda Civic EX, as well as looking for general advice on selling on the private market. [more inside]
I know very little about cars. So why won't mine start? [more inside]