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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

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

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

Car went crunch. Help me find a new one quick!

Was in awful car accident yesterday. Good news - walked away without a scratch. Bad news - car is now a paperweight. Help me find a new vehicle? Details within. [more inside]
posted by terrierhead on Mar 24, 2014 - 30 answers

Car not included in recall that affects the transmission. What can I do?

I drive a Mobilio Spike (2005) in Japan. That model year was recalled en masse due to transmission design problems that cause shudder on acceleration. I have complained about this problem to the dealership a few times, but never got any information about the recall. It turns out that my car's production date is outside of the range of the recall by just a couple months, even though it suffers from the same problem. What can I do? I don't need any country-specific information, just general ideas if anyone knows how the recall system works. Oh, the extended warranty period to deal with the transmission issue is past, although I did raise the issue with the dealer during the warranty period--and those conversations are part of my official service record.
posted by biwa-shu on Feb 25, 2014 - 1 answer

How do I choose an inspector for a used car I'd like to buy?

I'm looking to buy a car in southwest michigan. I trust "my" mechanic in my town, but there's few cars here. Other towns, eg Grand Rapids and Lansing, have great cars, but I don't know any mechanics in those towns. By what logical process should I choose a mechanic to take potential cars to? [more inside]
posted by rebent on Feb 18, 2014 - 10 answers

Will the Prius C "fit" my needs?

I've driven a 2008 Honda Fit Sport for the last 5 years, right up until it got totaled in a collision last week. One of my top choices on paper is the 2013 Toyota Prius C 2, and another is the 2013 Fit Sport. I'll be test driving a Prius C tomorrow, but in the meantime I want to hear from anyone who has experience with both cars. One specific question is: How roomy is the back seat in the Prius C as compared to the fit? [more inside]
posted by jepler on Dec 30, 2013 - 14 answers

How do I sell my car?

I'm selling my car, a 2002 Honda Civic with about 80,000 miles. It's my first time selling a car, and I don't really know what I'm doing - how do I go about this? Can I minimize hassle without getting screwed? [more inside]
posted by naoko on Aug 11, 2013 - 12 answers

Compact Car for a Floppy Family

Do you have a Honda Fit or another compact car that you can recommend for a family of four? [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Jul 9, 2013 - 30 answers

Talk me out of buying a salvage title Honda Insight

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]
posted by carsonb on Apr 28, 2013 - 19 answers

Safe to drive with front suspension noises?

I suspect that my driver-side upper ball joint is the culprit. There have been groaning noises when going over bumps, and a sort of clattering noise when hitting potholes. This has been going on for several years, and has gotten worse in the past month. I took it to four different mechanics, two for this specifically, and two for general inspection purposes (the most recent, non-specific inspection took place about 5 months ago.) None of the mechanics found anything they considered to be a real problem (i.e. hazardous to my/others' safety/the car's safe operation.) The noise has intensified in volume and frequency in the past week or so, along with (new) weird vibration when traveling at certain speeds (usually over 40 mph), but only sometimes, and it continues as I slow to a stop, slowing along with the car (but doesn't start showing up until I reach a higher speed.) Today I noticed that the boot on the upper ball joint is cracked and the grease is leaking out. The passenger side ball joint is similarly worn, but no grease is in evidence yet. [more inside]
posted by i. shishkin on Apr 17, 2013 - 5 answers

Help with thoughts on a new car, and stuff

I am thinking about buying a new car in a few months, wondering about model, when to buy, and planning around a trip in June. Advice/Tips/Opinions/Tales/Fact or Fiction Appreciated! (Much more inside) [more inside]
posted by token-ring on Mar 1, 2013 - 15 answers

Mechanical Filter: Follow-up question: '93 del Sol won't start

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!
posted by fignewton on Feb 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Mechanic filter: 1993 Honda del Sol sometimes starting and sometime not

About six weeks I purchased a 5-speed 1993 Honda del Sol Si. Overall, I'm very pleased with the transaction. It's in great shape and runs very nicely. However, ever since a few days after I bought it, I've had a very frustrating recurring problem. [more inside]
posted by fignewton on Feb 5, 2013 - 26 answers

help me pick a car

"Snowflake" car purchasing question: Ford Focus vs Mazda 3 vs Honda Fit vs Hyundai Elantra. [more inside]
posted by annie o on Oct 8, 2012 - 55 answers

Help me identify/fine a specific Honda Commercial

Help me find a specific Honda Commercial [more inside]
posted by robverb on Sep 28, 2012 - 6 answers

How much will fixing my car cost? Is it safe to drive?

My relative backed into my '09 Civic in the driveway. The front emblem and fender are bent; it appears that the radiator is bent as well. The car starts without problems. What am I looking at? Should I drive it into the shop, or have it towed? Relative doesn't have the wherewithal to fix this; should I make a claim against my own insurance?
posted by sonic meat machine on Aug 14, 2012 - 22 answers

Civic making Beetle noises - is it safe?

Our car – a 2003 Honda Civic DX stick-shift – has started to make a rattling/ticking/whirring noise when it accelerates. Can we still safely drive it? [more inside]
posted by scruss on Jun 19, 2012 - 13 answers

Beyond Consumer Reports

I'm going to be buying a used car soon, for around $3000. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports doesn't have a reliability chart for beaters. [more inside]
posted by freshwater on Sep 3, 2011 - 20 answers

Car squeals at higher speeds

Why does my car squeal only at higher speeds? [more inside]
posted by sputgop on Aug 29, 2011 - 9 answers

Help me help my Honda.

Just had to replace the rotors on my Honda Accord. Again. Help. [more inside]
posted by googly on Jul 28, 2011 - 15 answers

Ridin' Dirty

The lock on the rear, passenger-side door on my 99 Honda Civic is broken. Can I fix it myself? [more inside]
posted by HeroZero on Jul 5, 2011 - 5 answers

my honda civic has trouble going into reverse. why?

our 2006 honda civic EX sedan (automatic) is having occasional problems shifting into reverse. we're taking it in to be fixed, but i want to try and read up on this beforehand. fascinating details inside. [more inside]
posted by patricking on Apr 16, 2011 - 5 answers

Dealing with damage to a leased vehicle

How to deal with minor cosmetic damage to a leased vehicle? [more inside]
posted by Ryvar on Apr 2, 2011 - 4 answers

Car makes noise when releasing gas pedal

Whenever I release my gas pedal, I can hear a low pitched groan from the vehicle. The sound immediately stops immediately when I press the gas pedal again. The groan is louder if I release the gas at higher RPMs, even when I am in neutral. Any idea what this could be? The car is a 2002 Civic.
posted by ajackson on Mar 16, 2011 - 8 answers

Is now a good time to buy a Honda?

First of all, I am deeply sympathetic to the disaster in Japan, so I am sorry if this is tacky. But I was already looking to buy a new Honda within the next few months and want to know if because of the circumstances I should jump on it now. [more inside]
posted by hellameangirl on Mar 14, 2011 - 7 answers

Keeping my car in good shape over the winter

What's the best way to keep my 1991 Honda Accord in good shape this winter? It'll be parked on the NYC street, and only needs to be moved once a week. [more inside]
posted by ranunculus on Nov 1, 2010 - 7 answers

What is up with my car?

What's wrong with my car, and what's my best option for fixing it? [more inside]
posted by pemberkins on Jul 25, 2010 - 15 answers

Which Whip should I Wish for? (Help me choose my next car)

My car was totaled, (totally not my fault) and I'm in the market for a newer car (yipee!). I was in a 2003 Mercury Sable and found it was too much car for me, now I'm leaning towards a coupe or smaller hatchback. Help me decide! [more inside]
posted by Advocate, I on May 12, 2010 - 24 answers

Honda Element Good or Bad?

Honda Element for bicycle hauling, car camping, road tripping, and general use? [more inside]
posted by LastOfHisKind on Apr 15, 2010 - 17 answers

Info about used hybrid cars and their hybrid-battery life

Used hybrid cars and their batteries. I want to buy a used hybrid in the US, looking at '04-'07 Toyota Priuses and Honda Civic Hybrids. Looking for your experiences with these cars, things to look out for, driving in winter conditions, and especially any solid info about the service life (yrs/mileage) of the hybrid battery. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Jan 22, 2010 - 19 answers

Looking to add more kick (bass) to my Honda Civic 2008 EX but don't know where to look.

Looking to add more kick (bass) to my Honda Civic 2008 EX but don't know where to look. [more inside]
posted by bostonhill on Jan 1, 2010 - 5 answers

2006 Honda Pilot Headlight Replacement

I have a 2006 Honda Pilot, and noticed that my right headlight went out. Each headlight is comprised of two headlights, a top and bottom one. The top one seems to be working, but the bottom one is out. The top bulb is easy to replace, but the bottom one is a little bit more tricky, as there doesn't seem to be an easy way to remove it. Can anyone point me to a schematic or something? I think the replacement bulb size is H11, I just don' t understand how to replace the lower bulb.
posted by GatorFan2000 on Dec 27, 2009 - 6 answers

Low Mileage on a New Honda Civic?

Unexpectedly low MPG for a brand new Honda Civic? [more inside]
posted by entropicamericana on Dec 1, 2009 - 32 answers

in cars

I am disappointed in my relationship with my 97 Honda Civic. Maybe you can give me some advice. YANMM. [more inside]
posted by bunny hugger on Sep 14, 2009 - 5 answers

what is wrong with my car?

Why is my car overheating in traffic jams? [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Jun 19, 2009 - 29 answers

Hondas and recommended service maintenance schedules, do you believe in them?

Hondas and recommended service maintenance schedules, do you believe in them? I've got a 1991 standard Hatchback, 169,000 miles. and i've done every single schedule maintenance. never had a problem with anything unexpected happening (which is why i do it). Now i'm wondering if there's a better (read: cheaper) way to do this, without sacrificing quality? I don't know any mechanics, don't want to it myself, but am curious if there's an alternative. Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl on Jun 17, 2009 - 14 answers

How to fit a bicycle in my Civic?

Is it possible to fit an ordinary, adult-sized street bicycle into a 2007 Honda Civic? If so, how?
posted by ninotchka on Jun 9, 2009 - 13 answers

What is causing the whining sound in my car engine?

What is causing the whining sound in my car engine? [more inside]
posted by markblasco on Apr 27, 2009 - 12 answers

Honda parts

Can anyone recommend a good source for Honda automotive parts (online or near Boston)? [more inside]
posted by Krrrlson on Apr 9, 2009 - 4 answers

Insight, the big brother, or bigger brother?

BuyingCarFilter: Should I get Honda Insight, Prius, or Prius 3.0? [more inside]
posted by 7life on Apr 1, 2009 - 14 answers

LCD display on the fritz

The digital odometer on my 2000 Honda Accord is not displaying numbers fully. Any way to fix this? [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 18, 2008 - 1 answer

How do I get rid of the obnoxious tapping noise my car makes when I hit a bump?

My car clicks when I drive over bumps or potholes. The noise is driving me crazy. How do I silence it? [more inside]
posted by valadil on Nov 5, 2008 - 12 answers

How accurate is this dashboard light?

The "battery not charging" light on my dash went on; the mechanic told me I need a new alternator. Now the "battery not charging" light has turned itself off again. Does this mean my battery is, in fact, charging? [more inside]
posted by fermion on Sep 26, 2008 - 6 answers

I know you aren't my mechanic but help us choose between two cars!

CarFilter: We're replacing our lemon S40 with something bigger in either a sedan or "small" SUV, but we're totally stymied between our choices! Looking for any anecdotal or experience advice. [more inside]
posted by damiano99 on Sep 15, 2008 - 7 answers

Trusted collision repair shop in Arlington, VA?

Arlington, VA filter: My wife had a parking lot mishap when a lamp post jumped out in front of her car; now we need to find a good collision repair place. [more inside]
posted by UrbanEconomist on Sep 5, 2008 - 4 answers

Troubleshoot my Honda's Check Engine light.

My wife's '98 Honda Accord's engine light is on. Help me troubleshoot it to cross-check the mechanic's diagnosis. [more inside]
posted by blastrid on Jul 26, 2008 - 17 answers

What car should I buy for poorly maintained roads?

Not driving for work, only for fun. Have been hitting a lot of poorly maintained roads... which car to buy? [more inside]
posted by ceberon on Jun 20, 2008 - 14 answers

Car advice, please.

How important is that I get these repairs done to my 2001 Honda Civic now, or can I wait a bit longer? [more inside]
posted by Four-Eyed Girl on Jun 13, 2008 - 6 answers

At $4.40/gallon, OUCH!

Why is my cars gas mileage so low? [more inside]
posted by LoopyG on Jun 4, 2008 - 35 answers

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