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Tent for the liftgate of my minivan

I want to make a tent that goes over the opened lift gate (hatchback?) of my minivan. The ones I've seen are expensive, and I have an old tent, plus a couple of old tent flies and some mesh screen. The tent acts as an extension of the van and allows in air. Could also be used as privacy space for the camping potty. So, ideas and suggestions for making it as good as possible? Have you ever made your own tent? [more inside]
posted by theora55 on Aug 20, 2014 - 2 answers

A town-owned tree fell on my car - town says they're not responsible

A large tree across the street fell on my car while I was sleeping and did a fair amount of damage. After getting two repair estimates as requested, the town's insurance company decided they have no responsibility as they didn't have prior knowledge of any problems with the tree. Is this the end of the story? [more inside]
posted by FlyByDay on Aug 10, 2014 - 11 answers

Reliable, Fuel-efficient, Low-cost

I am looking for a used car. [more inside]
posted by Scattercat on Aug 8, 2014 - 15 answers

Steps for purchasing a used car?

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]
posted by daisyace on Aug 4, 2014 - 4 answers

Can I register a car in NY and drive it into Canada right away? How?

I'm leaving NYC on Friday and driving to Canada for 12 days. I have a rental booked, but also just bought a car out of state and had it delivered to a mechanic. They did a safety inspection and some minor work that will not be completed until Friday, the same day I need to leave. The car does not have temporary out of state tags or license plates but I have an appointment with the DMV on Thursday. If possible, I'd like to drive this vehicle to Canada but am very skeptical of the timeline. [more inside]
posted by nathancaswell on Jul 30, 2014 - 6 answers

Should I buy a car with 170,000 miles on it?

Good maintenance/car history/reliability/price versus everything else [more inside]
posted by mermily on Jul 29, 2014 - 19 answers

Help a Newbie Figure Out How to Buy A Car

I'm an inexperienced driver in LA who is starting researching how to buy a car (I'm considering both new and used at this point but probably the latter is more likely; I'll definitely be going to some dealer showrooms) for the first time. I don't know much about cars and I am feeling a bit lost. [more inside]
posted by zresearch on Jul 29, 2014 - 13 answers

What kind of car is in this political advertisement?

What is the car in this political advertisement? I believe it says Chevrolet on the front, but I'm not sure. Please limit discussion to identifying the car and not the people or politics in the ad - thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2hSvyNHJN8
posted by Seeking Direction on Jul 27, 2014 - 7 answers

Run away from a used car that's barely been driven in years?

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]
posted by daisyace on Jul 26, 2014 - 8 answers

Oh, the problems of not opening one's mail - auto insurance edition

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]
posted by heigh-hothederryo on Jul 25, 2014 - 7 answers

What kind of car insurance do I really need?

What kind of car insurance do I really need? I feel like I'm spending too much and possibly overdoing it. I'm with Progressive now but don't have any particular loyalty. This is in Wisconsin. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Jul 24, 2014 - 11 answers

Why did my cat die?

I found my cat dead under my car and I am trying to find out why. [more inside]
posted by mermily on Jul 22, 2014 - 19 answers

Cheapest way to drive an 8x4x1' package from LA to Burningman?

I'm planning on building a Hexayurt and driving it to Burningman and back. I'm told that Hexayurts fold up into a package that's approximately 8x4x1' large. Unfortunately, my car is a 2002 Toyota Camry LE without a roof rack (and without rain gutters, so roof racks are challenging/expensive to install). What's my cheapest option that's still safe for a 1300 mile car trip? [more inside]
posted by sdis on Jul 16, 2014 - 17 answers

Very basic car battery question

The internet says positive should be reconnected first, but that's not as easy as it should be. What's the best option? [more inside]
posted by notquitemaryann on Jul 16, 2014 - 13 answers

Car safety ratings, other than crash tests?

It's time to shop for a replacement car, and I'm interested in sizing up safety. I'm aware of IIHS for crash safety stats. I'd like to evaluate from other angles, especially safety stats from actual accident reports, but possibly other points of view I haven't though of. [more inside]
posted by mattu on Jul 14, 2014 - 13 answers

I'd like to convert a car to cash with minimal hassle.

I have a car I don't use that much, and a looming home repair that needs some money thrown at it. I'd like to convert the car to cash to be thrown at the home repair. But, in the face of the home repair vortex, I'd like to avoid getting bogged down in car-sale hassles. Is it a giant hassle to sell the car privately, or am I best off selling straight to a dealership? [more inside]
posted by COBRA! on Jul 14, 2014 - 10 answers

What are some guidelines for haggling at a used car dealership?

Tomorrow I begin my very first tour of local used car dealerships, ISO a reasonably-priced Suburu wagon. I've bought and sold several vehicles via Craigslist, and done my share of haggling and getting haggled (haggled at? behaggled?), but only with individuals, not corporations. Do the same rules of etiquette apply? [more inside]
posted by t(h)om(as) on Jul 13, 2014 - 25 answers

Weary travellers seek entertainment!

Seven hours to kill in Los Angeles - how to occupy our time? Special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by liquorice on Jul 13, 2014 - 18 answers

Buying a used European car for $5k or less after a car-less decade: y/n?

Used car filter: after a decade without owning a car, I'd like to get back into the game. I'd prefer to spend $5k or less. I understand this means older cars/higher miles. I find myself drawn to early 2000s VW Golfs/GTIs, late-90s BMW 300 series, '90s Saabs, early '00s Volvos. Are any of these types going to be substantially more reliable or cheaper to maintain than others? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Jul 12, 2014 - 38 answers

Boston Logan Rental Car Taxes!!

We go see my mom in Welfleet, Cape Cod once a year and usually spend the night in Boston after the flight, in which case we pick up a rental in Cambridge where it is hundreds of dollars cheaper a week due to airport taxes (or so I am told by the rental car agencies) [more inside]
posted by silsurf on Jul 10, 2014 - 17 answers

Neighbors, drunk driving, and car damage - what to do?

How to get our unemployed and non-insured neighbors to pay for car damage? Our downstairs neighbors (we split a house) are borrowing an (uninsured) car from their friend over the summer. After getting super drunk early Mon, they somehow barrelled out of the garage, hitting our car and (we think) another car parked in the street. They didn't confess to hitting our car until we approached them with evidence and long after I had already filed a hit-and-run report.... [more inside]
posted by ch3ch2oh on Jul 9, 2014 - 34 answers

How to make driving more comfortable/fun?

My boyfriend drives a lot for work, maybe a couple of hours a day, a few days a week. I'm looking for things that will make his drive more comfortable. [more inside]
posted by brynna on Jul 9, 2014 - 26 answers

No power to car stereo or starter

While installing a new car stereo in my 1999 Saturn SW2, I screwed something up, as I no longer get voltage to the orange "constant power" wire (well, sometimes a mere hundredth of a volt!) to my car stereo, and my engine won't crank either! Yet all of my other electronics (headlights, air conditioner, etc.) work fine. Is there a blown fuse preventing power from getting to the starter and the car stereo? If so, where might the fuse be? The fuses in the fuse box are all fine.
posted by Eiwalker on Jul 9, 2014 - 2 answers

are there secret ways to find a hard-to-find car part?

We need a center link for our 1994 G20 van. Our mechanic called around and couldn't find one, but said we might find one on the internet. No luck so far. Are there any secret places or techniques to find a part like this?
posted by lgyre on Jul 3, 2014 - 7 answers

Rusting Car Roof - What Are My Options?

My car roof is rusting extensively along the windshield edge. I don't know if I can get it fixed anymore as it has gotten bad rather quickly. What are my options? More inside [more inside]
posted by christiehawk on Jul 2, 2014 - 8 answers

Former epileptic getting her license back in Ontario; insurance?

My wife, clean from seizures for about two years, is getting her license back soon and I need to know if there's any pitfalls regarding insurance. [more inside]
posted by the dief on Jul 2, 2014 - 3 answers

Can I drive to a mechanic for repairs with no tax or MOT?

My car failed its MOT yesterday and, as a result of my bad time management, the tax disc has expired today. I can't tax it without it being covered by a valid MOT certificate, but I need to get it to a garage for repairs so that it can pass the MOT. Is it legal for me to drive it to the mechanic? [more inside]
posted by knapah on Jul 1, 2014 - 4 answers

Help me avoid getting ripped off buying a used Volvo wagon

I'm temporarily stranded in a pleasant but completely unfamiliar city on the east coast. Partly because used car prices seem to be much lower here than my native Seattle, I want to buy a used car while I'm here, and use it to travel west. I'm on the lookout for an early '00s Volvo wagon. Ordinarily, I'd pay to have a mechanic look over a prospective purchase, but that's just not a practical undertaking in my specific situation. So: should I just not do this? Or are there a few simple things to look for before buying a car that I could do in under, say, ten minutes, as a relative novice to car-buying and -servicing?
posted by t(h)om(as) on Jun 30, 2014 - 20 answers

How do you buy a used car?

How have you successfully bought a used car from a private owner? The last time I bought a used car was 14 years ago. Not sure how it's done anymore. [more inside]
posted by blueyellow on Jun 27, 2014 - 19 answers

Hauling stuff on a car with no roof rack

Is it possible to haul a portable dishwasher strapped on top of a Ford Taurus? [more inside]
posted by rossination on Jun 25, 2014 - 17 answers

What is this bolt that fell off the bottom of my '99 Honda Civic?

Driving home from work, my '99 Honda Civic suddenly got louder and, in addition, stared making a tinkling noise. I parked to look underneath and saw that there was a bolt dangling from the middle of the car. It's about 9 inches long, still has a nut on it, and was attached at the other end to a rubbery, possibly oval-shaped gasket sort of thing. Any ideas on a) what this is and b) how much I can reasonably expect to pay to get it fixed? [more inside]
posted by HeroZero on Jun 25, 2014 - 5 answers

Dead Ford Van Question (wont turn over but electric is good?)

We have a low mileage 2000 Ford Econoline van which has been running well but now will not turn over. It was just running, turned it off, now it wont turn back on. We had to towed to a mechanic and they said it stated right up and could find nothing wrong, drove it home and same thing. All the electric is fine. Nothing happens when we turn the key, lights don't dim, nothing, but again, all the electric works great. A looses fuse or loose cable is what I would expect but where do we start with something like this? Thanks so much for any ideas.
posted by 1inabillionmistake on Jun 24, 2014 - 5 answers

Nannies/Caregivers/Families: how do you handle car insurance?

I'm currently applying for nannying jobs and have been informed by my car insurance company that my policy does not cover me if I am transporting a client in my car, and that they do not offer coverage for business purposes. They gave me contact information for their parent company, who might be able to help, but the parent company is not available until Monday. I'm in California, if that matters. [more inside]
posted by corey flood on Jun 21, 2014 - 1 answer

Please navigate me to a good car GPS for the USA!

I am an inexperienced driver, and I am about to be taking a number of long road-trips alone across the US this year. To aid me, I am looking for the best GPS that is reasonably priced. Can you recommend one for me? [more inside]
posted by ClaireBear on Jun 20, 2014 - 48 answers

Will my GPS cigarette lighter adapter work overseas?

I am going to Ireland. Yay! We forgot to request a GPS with our car rental so I'm bringing mine from home (USA) in case they don't have any when we get there. Unfortunately, my GPS no longer holds a charge and has to be plugged in to work. Will my US cigarette lighter adapter work in an Irish car?
posted by elizeh on Jun 15, 2014 - 6 answers

Car insurance for someone who doesn't drive

My mother wants to give me her car so I can insure it for her - is this insurance fraud? [more inside]
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup on Jun 10, 2014 - 17 answers

Please help me buy my first car! Snowflakey details inside.

I am, unfortunately, in the market for a (used) car. I know nothing about cars. I need a car for upcoming PhD research travel to inaccessible places, but, being a PhD student, have very little money. I need help figuring out: a cheap but reliable car model, a price bracket to spend that will have me driving something that won't literally fall apart on the road, what my deal-breakers should be, and a game plan on where and how to actually purchase a used car. Help? [more inside]
posted by ClaireBear on Jun 9, 2014 - 29 answers

Accidentally drove 20,000 miles without changing the oil... Now what?

I bought a new Kia Sorento in July of 2012. I then stupidly put 20,000 miles on the car without a single oil change. The car is now burning oil at a rate of roughly 1 quart every 300 miles, so I know I broke something (my dad's theory is a damaged ring; roughly a $5k repair for engine rebuild). The car came with a great warranty: 3 yr/36k mile bumper-to-bumper, and 10 yr/100k mile power-train. Unfortunately, I have voided that warranty by not preforming the most basic maintenance. So, I'm not sure what to do now. Options I see are: -Take it to the dealer for repair and hope they don't ask/notice/care what I've done. -Take it to the dealer and confess my complete ineptitude. -Go to a random auto shop for repair (another act that will void my warranty). [more inside]
posted by lmpatte2 on Jun 8, 2014 - 23 answers

Car trouble of an electrical variety

I have a 1998 Oldsmobile 88 LS. She's got around 130K miles on her. She is old and has had a fair share of trouble. On the way home today it started giving random "misses" and I lost power to the car. Many Details inside. (Bonus question:credit approval) [more inside]
posted by Twain Device on Jun 6, 2014 - 10 answers

Toot toot beep beep

We will soon be owning and insuring a car in NJ, but are confused about how much coverage we should be getting. How much coverage do we need? [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jun 6, 2014 - 8 answers

Two-party check from insurance co: When do I give it to the repair shop?

I got into an accident last week, and my insurance company is mailing me a two-party claim payment check (for ~$6000) to give to the repair shop. I'm wondering when exactly I hand over the check. [more inside]
posted by Maladroid on Jun 5, 2014 - 10 answers

How can I replace a lost 1989 VW vanagon key?

Totally embarrassing, but I lost the sole remaining key to my family's 1989 VW Vanagon (on my way to make a copy, natch) ... I'll be calling locksmiths and my mechanic today, but if anyone has any experience and/or knowledge of fixes for such a SNAFU, I would appreciate tips. (No, I don't have a picture of it. Yes, very stupid. Trust me; I've heard it.)
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 3, 2014 - 11 answers

Magnetic combo spare key lockbox on your car: bad idea?

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]
posted by jsturgill on Jun 2, 2014 - 9 answers

How to tell a carless friend I don't want to give him a ride

Friend sold his car. He now wants me to play chauffeur when we hang out. I don't want to. Is there a gentle way to tell him this? [more inside]
posted by Laura Macbeth on Jun 2, 2014 - 73 answers

Reduced highway mpg in a 1-year-old car. What gives?

2013 Subaru Crosstrek XV got 32-33 highway mpg last year. Now it gets 28. [more inside]
posted by nicodine on Jun 2, 2014 - 20 answers

Office with a view: prospects for using your car as a home office?

It recently occurred to me that in a temperate climate, my car could be a nice place to work from, offering freedom to select the locale and the view and to change them at will. Has anyone tried this? How did you set it up? What worked and what didn't?
posted by Baeria on Jun 1, 2014 - 8 answers

What is the correct A/C refrigerant pressure for '04 Scion xB?

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...
posted by Exchequer on May 31, 2014 - 6 answers

Do all replacement side view mirrors shake?

My 2001 Honda Accord was sideswiped and I had to replace the driver's side mirror. The first replacement shook and was an aftermarket part, so I paid an extra $150 out of pocket (the other driver's insurance covered the first one) to have a Honda mirror attached today. I just took it for a test drive, and I think it shakes less... but it still shakes. Like it barely noticeably shifts at 30mph and distinctly vibrates at 60+mph. What do I do now? [more inside]
posted by vegartanipla on May 28, 2014 - 12 answers

Paid for a car repair that failed, but mechanic is gone after surgery

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]
posted by daisyace on May 28, 2014 - 10 answers

Dear Neighbour: Fix your car. Now.

A neighbour living in the cul-de-sac behind me has a squeaky fan belt. This neighbour also goes to work at 5:30 in the morning, meaning I'm woken up every morning at 5:30am to the most excruciating squealing noise. I normally don't need to get up until 7:30, so this is extremely disruptive to my sleeping patterns. I've had a squeaky fan-belt before, so I understand that car problems can sometimes take a while to fix. But it has been going on for months, and my good will towards this individual is fading. [more inside]
posted by roshy on May 27, 2014 - 21 answers

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