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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

How to get the best rate on a used car loan?

Looking for more options than just dealership financing [more inside]
posted by Ryogen on May 24, 2014 - 8 answers

How can I take over a car loan after the death of a relative?

It's okay with the estate, but now I need to deal with the car company. How do I make sure that I can take over the car loan of a dead relative in order to keep the (sentimental) car, keeping in mind bad credit and not enough money to pay it off entirely? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 20, 2014 - 10 answers

Filling out an insurance form given a lot of flux

What do I put on a car insurance quote form? I am moving (NJ/NY/CA), changing jobs, and going through at least 3 unique stages of driving frequency/behavior over the next few months. And it really feels like most of this isn't the insurance company's business. But clearly I need to put *something* in each field. :) Help? Here are my facts, what parts of this should be put into the form? Work 1) I've worked full time in NY for just over a year now 2) I am unemployed between now and the end of June and for most of August 3) I have a full time, residential job in NY during July 3) I'm interviewing for jobs in CA that will begin in late August/early September and have already gotten at least one offer. But I haven't made the choice yet and won't for at least another month. Location 1) I've lived in NJ for just over a year now 2) I'm buying a used car from a friend in NC (my home state) next week 3) But I'm moving to CA and the car will be parked in CA starting in July 4) I myself will be in NY for the duration of July 5) I will begin renting and driving in CA in August Driving Behavior 1) Between June 1st and June 30th, I'm doing quite a bit of inter-state driving, although not all at once. 2) I'm parking the car and not driving it at all in July 3) I'm using the car to commute in CA in August and beyond [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on May 20, 2014 - 4 answers

How do I know if the car dealer "really" cancelled my buyer's agreement?

Made a few mistakes in signing under pressure on a car purchase. Never had possession of the vehicle and was due to finalize payment the following day. In the meantime, I realized that the dealer did not give me my copy of the purchasing agreement and began to worry that the verbal assurances they gave me about the car's certification and warranty were not on the contract. The next morning (today), I return to the dealer, request my copy and confirm my fears. I demanded that they cancel the contract, which they did, but now I am wondering if it is "really" cancelled. [more inside]
posted by Gray Skies on May 19, 2014 - 8 answers

Moving violation ticket - shady, but isn't it just easier to just pay?

So, this is frustrating, but do we just have to suck it up? Partner was driving car at night about 15 miles an hour down a poorly lit and deserted intersection in San Francisco and got photographed by a police camera before the reached the crosswalk. They were so surprised, they did not come to a full stop as they made a rolling right turn at that 10-15 mph speed. They then got photographed again and a ticket for $500 for not stopping in the intersection. I do think that the first flash of the photograph is probably a shady trick to do exactly what happened - startle the driver into committing an error, but I'm tempted to just have them pay. They feel like they were ambushed by the bright flash and are scheduled to contest in court. What say you, hive mind - what would you do? [more inside]
posted by It's a Parasox on May 16, 2014 - 16 answers

Do I need stacked uninsured motorist coverage?

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?
posted by photoslob on May 16, 2014 - 4 answers

Can I let my 2 year-old sleep in the back during a 10 hour long drive?

My wife and I want to go on a trip to Luxembourg. Its a 10 hour drive, and we want to do it during nighttime. However we have a 2,5 year old and we're wondering if we can let her sleep in the back in the car-seat for the entire ride? Will we do permanent damage to her body if we let her sleep in the carseat? Usually we just take a break if we go on long rides, and we've never considered her sleeping during a really long ride.
posted by madcow20 on May 15, 2014 - 16 answers

Did I get ripped off by the mechanic?

Had a flat tire, ordered two new tires, picked up car and drove it 0.5 miles (2 minutes) and parked it. Hours later went to drive it and the same original flat tire is flat again. The mechanic says there was a nail in the new tire. Did I get ripped off? [more inside]
posted by kmr on May 14, 2014 - 17 answers

classic cars in the West Midlands for hire?

The older boy wants a classic car for prom in Staffordshire near Wolverhampton. I found Kitt for £250 for five hours, but it didn't have back seats. The only car available from one classic car website I found is a 1979 Austin Allegro for £300 for the day. Hugely wrong on so many levels. How can I find a classic car in the West Midlands for a middle of the week prom in June?
posted by parmanparman on May 13, 2014 - 6 answers

Best portable sucker windshield phone holding thing

I travel a fair amount for work and have discovered that most car-based GPS are crap compared to Google Maps and Waze. So I end up using my cell phone frequently for navigation. I'm looking for the best portable way to attach a phone holder to a rental car. Characteristics I'm looking for: * It needs to be something (like a sucker) that doesn't require installation to a car I don't own. * Should be portable and light - fold up or otherwise easily packable * Should fit Galazy phone, ideally fit multiple phones (I'm due for an upgrade and might change carriers.
posted by canine epigram on May 13, 2014 - 15 answers

Ok, I need a car, but should I buy it before or after I move

I live in DC. Sometime soon after Labor Day, I'll be relocating to Charlotte, NC. I'm sure I'll have plenty of wailing detailed questions about this as the time approaches [and after!], but it's happening [and it's very good for my career. I'm calling it a new adventure]. Should I buy a car here in DC or once I'm in Charlotte? [more inside]
posted by atomicstone on May 12, 2014 - 14 answers

What's the best way to stick something to my car without damaging it?

I have a very old political bumper sticker I'd like to affix to my car. (I think the idea of a Prius driving around with a "NIXON/AGNEW" sticker on it is pretty funny.) Unfortunately, the original adhesive has long since lost its stick, and I'd like to affix it in a way that is a) semi-permanent, and b) won't hurt the finish. Any suggestions?
posted by tweebiscuit on May 9, 2014 - 15 answers

Extra nice car, no garage

I'm getting a Maserati that's a few years old. I've never owned a similar car and I'm planning to enjoy driving it for a year or two, then sell it. It has very low mileage now and I won't be putting many miles on it. Is there any reason I can't park it on the street like every other car I've ever owned? We live in a low crime area of Southern California with a lot of nice cars, but true luxury cars seem to go into garages. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 9, 2014 - 21 answers

Help me sell a car

I have a car with damage that was returned to me as part of a divorce settlement. My lawyer says the damage is not worth pursuing in court, so I need your help to sell it and maximize my money. [more inside]
posted by entropicamericana on May 9, 2014 - 9 answers

How to quickly get rid of some old gas?

I have one of those cherry red gasoline jugs that I use to store gas for my lawnmower. Usually I just re-use the gas from year to year, but I know that's bad (OLD GAS!), and I'm trying to take better care of my mower and do things like use new gas and change the oil and, you know, stuff, so I'd like to get rid of it and get some new gas... [more inside]
posted by kbanas on May 9, 2014 - 12 answers

Didn't apply for salvage certificate. Easiest way to get rid of car?

My car has been registered in California with a salvage title since 2009. In February 2014 my car was once again declared a total loss, and I retained it but I failed to apply for a salvage certificate within 10 days as I believe is required. (Brake & Light inspection failed and will cost too much to repair.) 1.) What is the easiest and/or cheapest legal way for me to sell/donate/scrap it? (Minimum paperwork for me would be great!) 2.) What exactly do I need to disclose? 3.) Will there be a penalty for not applying for a salvage certificate?
posted by kidbritish on May 7, 2014 - 8 answers

Is there such a thing as a short-term lease on a car?

I got a new gig! Hooray! It takes 2 hours to get to via bus! Boo! It takes 30 minutes if I had a car. Hmm! Here's the Q: Is there such a thing as a 'short term' car lease (i.e., 3-4 months) or a long-term rental? Is there a cost effective option? I'd be saving around 3 hours a day, so it really, really makes sense. What're my options?
posted by GilloD on May 1, 2014 - 12 answers

What agency in Portland has a shield logo on their police cars?

Lately I've been noticing an increase in police vehicles in my neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. There is one in particular I see a lot but never get close enough to to read that has a shield with--I want to say--a blue, gold, and some green picture inside. It looks like there are some trees in it, maybe a river. Last night I saw one that said "Field Operations" on the back parked across the street. What agency has this car? [more inside]
posted by dargerpartridge on Apr 30, 2014 - 22 answers

Can and/or should I make a car insurance claim — or not?

Our relatively young car (~1 yr) has collected a bit of damage over the past year. One bit of damage is a dent which is starting to rust, so it needs to be dealt with in a body shop. The dent was not our fault, but the result of a parking gate that closed early. We also scratched the car elsewhere in a few places. Those scratches are substantial and our fault, and they also require professional work. We would like to know if making an insurance claim is an option or if we must (or should) pay on our own. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 29, 2014 - 5 answers

What should I be doing to extend the life of my car to the year 2056?

What should I be doing to extend the life of my car to the year 2056? Seriously, I was gifted a 15 year old car with 110k on it. It is in great shape and I drive less than 5k a year (I work at home). What I am looking for are pointers to keep the car in good shape for a long time given the infrequent use. [more inside]
posted by lampshade on Apr 24, 2014 - 18 answers

California driver contesting a speeding ticket in West Virginia

A person with a California driver's license gets a speeding ticket while driving through West Virginia. The speed alleged on the ticket was 15 miles over the posted limit. What would be the insurance consequences if the driver simply paid off the ticket without contesting it? How could the driver find out more information about whether s/he should contest the ticket, or plead guilty to a lower speed? In what state should the person be looking for a lawyer to best answer her/his questions? What should be this person's next step? Also, would the answers be different if the alleged speed was 10 (or 9, or 5, or whatever) miles over the posted limit?
posted by mediareport on Apr 23, 2014 - 4 answers

Auto accident insurance question and diminished value

Auto accident insurance question and diminished value [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Car sweat. How do I minimize that?

Help me figure out how not to sweat in the car, so that teens can get good, comprehensive sex education! [more inside]
posted by Stewriffic on Apr 23, 2014 - 21 answers

Neighbor's bass is slowly rendering my innards to gelatin - advice?

After searching, I see this has come up on Ask MeFi before in regards to apartment situations. The difference here is that we own, as do our neighbors. We live in Chicago, and naturally the police are less than responsive about these sorts of matters. I have spoken to the vibrating bass vehicle owner himself, twice, which helps for a week or so at most. I am a quiet person and a homebody - also a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and impending baby. There is literally nowhere in the house I can go to escape it when it's at max volume. [more inside]
posted by sixtyten on Apr 21, 2014 - 13 answers

Moving a Step-van Pt. 2

I need recommendations for a vehicle shipping company, with some snowflakes. [more inside]
posted by furnace.heart on Apr 21, 2014 - 6 answers

No time to breathe, let alone check Blue Book value

According to my trusted mechanic, the transmission on my aged buggy is shot (I haven't had 3rd gear for a while, and now the car has begun to have trouble getting into 2nd and 4th) and the car is not worth the cost of fixing it. Fair enough--except that I literally don't have time to buy another (used) one right now. Things will calm down slightly in the second week of May, but not until then. And while I'm aware of other options (the bus, taxi/car services), I don't have the time and money to rely exclusively on those until my schedule eases up. Nor can I afford to rent a car until then. So I'm wondering if anyone can suggest a short-term option that I might be overlooking, up to and including a Magic Car Fairy. Alternatively, if anyone has experience driving a car with this kind of issue and can tell me how safe (or un-) it is, I'd appreciate that input.
posted by chicainthecity on Apr 15, 2014 - 16 answers

Recent car commercial - guy driving hears NASA or other space talk?

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]
posted by cda on Apr 14, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me buy a car the right way, this time.

I just moved to Charlottesville, Va from California. Bought a car here quickly after getting here through Carmax which I am realizing now is way too nice, my car payments are too much ($247/month) and I worry too much about when parking, driving etc. (a 2010 Toyota Prius, 6 year loan that I owe 15k on). [more inside]
posted by ethel on Apr 12, 2014 - 11 answers

What do we need to know before buying our first used car?

My gal and are buying a used Jeep Cherokee. We live in Brooklyn and want to put our minds at ease that this is a decent buy for what we're looking for. Plenty of details within; the short version is: what do we ask the mechanic to check before we commit to buying, and what are the next steps with insurance, DMV, etc.? [more inside]
posted by andromache on Apr 11, 2014 - 12 answers

What, besides scheduled maintenance, should I do to maintain my car?

We recent got a new-to-us used car. Other than following the manufacturer's scheduled maintenance, what should we do to maintain and maximize the life of the car? Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Apr 10, 2014 - 17 answers

Old car + too much auto insurance.

I'm a dummy. I have a 17-year-old beloved Honda CRV that I cluelessly have been paying too much car insurance on. [more inside]
posted by HeyAllie on Apr 9, 2014 - 17 answers

$175 to replace a driver's side rear-view mirror?

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]
posted by klangklangston on Apr 1, 2014 - 19 answers

Apartment-hunting in San Francisco: Impossible?

My partner and I are moving to San Francisco (preferably Inner Sunset) from New York. We need to be settled in by mid-June, and we’d like to sign a lease for June 1st. We've read a lot about the crazy SF housing market right now, but still have a few questions about when we should go out there to apartment hunt, living with a car in SF, and general apartment hunting strategies. [more inside]
posted by reren on Mar 30, 2014 - 15 answers

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