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Car Buying 101

I need a car. I'm poor. I've never bought a car before, and it's been a long time since anyone in my family has bought one. Need guidance. How do you buy a car? [more inside]
posted by royalsong on Feb 28, 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

Can I buy a car out of state (CA) without changing my driver's license?

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]
posted by betsbillabong on Feb 26, 2013 - 6 answers

Car is shaking

My car (or car engine) shakes. [more inside]
posted by lewedswiver on Feb 25, 2013 - 22 answers

Help me diagnose my automatic garage door opener weirdness

I have a two-car garage with a LiftMaster automatic garage door opener that is misbehaving and it's driving me crazy. It seems to be randomly just opening the door long after it is closed and I can't figure out why. I've seen the other questions about garage door openers but was hoping for some advice specific to my situation. [more inside]
posted by misskaz on Feb 22, 2013 - 15 answers

Troubles with the DMV after lapse of ins coverage. Advice sought.

Hi all, longtime reader here, new poster. While dealing with multiple personal hardships (more inside), I had a lapse in insurance coverage for 10 days. This has snowballed into a major issue for me, and I may lose my driving privileges for 3 months, which means losing my job. Any and all advice/anecdata appreciated. [more inside]
posted by cardinality on Feb 20, 2013 - 7 answers

Buying a car right before buying a house

How much of a bad idea is buying a car a month or so before buying a house? [more inside]
posted by glenngulia on Feb 18, 2013 - 21 answers

Free parking on or near Stanford campus?

I will need to park a car on or near Stanford campus this week this evening through Friday evening. I would prefer to park the car as close to Campus & Bowdoin as possible, preferably within a mile. Worst comes to worst I can use visitor parking ($12 a day), but I would prefer something cheaper or ideally free. Are there are any streets in Palo Alto without parking restrictions near the eastern side of campus, for example?
posted by dd42 on Feb 18, 2013 - 6 answers

How can I be more zen about driving, when everyone wants to kill me?

I've had a particularly awful experience on Friday that made me pull over and cry for a few minutes. LA freeways are a nightmare, and I really need ideas on how to internally deal with assholes on the road, and repeated incidents of dangerous aggression. I don't know how everyone else does it! [more inside]
posted by Tequila Mockingbird on Feb 16, 2013 - 47 answers

Sell, Donate, or Junk My Car?

I've got a '98 Subaru Legacy Outback with 138k miles that I need to get rid of. It runs, but would need a fair amount of work done to continue running for long. It is safe to drive, but I wouldn't want to take it on a long trip. Trying to determine the best option: Selling, donating, or junking. In Philadelphia. [more inside]
posted by SpiffyRob on Feb 15, 2013 - 15 answers

Can I keep a plant in my car?

I would like to keep a plant (alive) in my car, possibly in a cup holder. Is there a plant that could handle my car's interior environment, isn't too fussy about watering, and is not covered in needles? [more inside]
posted by mnemonic on Feb 13, 2013 - 12 answers

Why do ABS systems work so much better than traction control systems?

Why do anti-lock brake systems [seem to] work so much better than traction control systems on modern sedans? [more inside]
posted by Juffo-Wup on Feb 8, 2013 - 15 answers

Help with minor accident.

My car slid into a pole on a slippery street. What now? [more inside]
posted by futureisunwritten on Feb 6, 2013 - 9 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

Do I need to replace the whole radio in my car?

I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla Conquest who's factory standard radio has just died (I think). It made a slight noise last night and cut out, and is now just flashing 01:00 on the clock with no buttons responding at all. I thought maybe the fuse had blown so I checked the radio fuse, but it doesn't look to have blown (something I suspected as a time keeps flashing on the display and I thought a blown fuse wouldn't allow any electronics to work). Also the cigarette lighter still works and that is connected/part of the radio fuse. [more inside]
posted by sunshine arakhan on Jan 31, 2013 - 9 answers

How do you take the driving test in Maryland if you don't have a car?

I want to get my driver's licence but I don't have a car. What are my options in Maryland? Are their provisions for this?
posted by josher71 on Jan 31, 2013 - 17 answers

Car-Buying Negotiations

I love my car. It is reliable, trustworthy, and it has carried me safely through at least one rather hairy situation. Best of all, it was cheap. When I touch the dashboard, I remember the thrill of the negotiation process, and even the salesman's sweaty palm as we shook hands on a price thousands of dollars lower than what my friend paid for the exact same model. [more inside]
posted by wolfdreams01 on Jan 30, 2013 - 21 answers

Can you please help me to free my car?

Hello Everyone, So my car is currently impounded at a private tow lot in New York City as it has been for the past 5 weeks. I only received notification from the police department by mail in the past few days. When I called up to the tow lot this morning and spoke with the general manager, he informed me that my car has already racked up almost $1400 (!) in storage fees at $27/day. (The police document said only $17/day). He also said that he had sent a package to me on 1/26, but I still haven't received it yet. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 29, 2013 - 24 answers

New battery, no power?

Please help me think through this car battery problem. I have a new battery, but no car power. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by griseus on Jan 24, 2013 - 14 answers

Is it madness to get a dog without owning a car first?

We do not own a car. We're thinking about getting a dog. Is this doable? [more inside]
posted by catch as catch can on Jan 24, 2013 - 17 answers

Will Carmax save my sanity or make it worse?

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]
posted by Ms. Toad on Jan 23, 2013 - 19 answers

One Too Many Cars...Most Hassle Free Way of Consolidating?

I've got 2 Mini Coopers that I love: 2006 automatic with 35k miles and sunroof that I own outright, 2011 manual with 17k miles and a Thule kayak rack that I owe about $7k on. My older teens have moved out and I don't need to have both cars anymore, so I'm trying to figure out the quickest, most hassle-free way of having only one car. Because I work full-time and live with just my son, I really don't want to have people coming to my house as I try to sell a car on my own and I'm willing to lose a little cash if I can make some type of deal on the spot with a dealer. Again, I really do NOT want to do Craigslist and sell the car on my own. I have a good relationship with the Mini dealer where I bought both cars. A friend suggested I bring in both cars, explain the situation, and see what they come up with. Any other ideas about the easiest way to get me into one Mini? Ideas to make the cars more desirable to the dealer? What angles have I not considered?
posted by kinetic on Jan 23, 2013 - 20 answers

My couch got hit by a car. Now what?

I bought a new couch. It got delivered yesterday. The couch is damaged (though it's very minor). I'm going to call "the guy" today and "work something out." Please help me choose the best option. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee on Jan 22, 2013 - 25 answers

Should I make my car a smart car?

We talked about smart houses before on AskMeFi, now what about smart cars? I'd like to smarten up my car a little, especially for parking. [more inside]
posted by Rosie M. Banks on Jan 21, 2013 - 8 answers

A smaller car with great gas mileage?

It's time for me to get a new car. I'm leaning towards a smaller car. What should I get? [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 21, 2013 - 55 answers

Finding helpful car reviews that don't assume I'm a racer

What resources are available to accurately assess a car or truck's performance in specific situations? I'm interested in knowing how different makes and models stack up in stop-and-go traffic or poorly-maintained roads, and it seems every review site ignores or spends little time on situations like these. [more inside]
posted by CancerMan on Jan 18, 2013 - 7 answers

Hey! I'm walkin' here!

What should a pedestrian do if hit by a car? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jan 16, 2013 - 25 answers

How can I make $800 within the week?

My car broke down on me. Needs a new alternator, battery and wiring. It costs $800 to fix. How can I come up with the money? I have $0 to my name, 1 maxed out credit card, and no way to take out a payday loan because I just started a job 4 days ago after a lengthy unemployment. I can't borrow the money or bum rides from friends/family. I'm required to drive for my job and I'm in danger of losing it. I've also just started making new friends after years without them and now I can't drive to meet anyone anywhere. I'm worried my life is going to fall apart. I have one thing that I can sell for maybe $150. Are there ways to come up with the money I'm missing? I'm freaking out. Thank you.
posted by Pericardium on Jan 16, 2013 - 38 answers

Is Bali drivable?

We're planning a trip next year and will be staying (for free!) near Lovina on the North-central coast. We'd like to rent a car for the week and day-trip to see the other parts of the island. Is this realistic and/or advisable? How are the roads in reality? [more inside]
posted by scottatdrake on Jan 16, 2013 - 8 answers

Recommend me a mechanic in Vancouver East?

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]
posted by concreteforest on Jan 11, 2013 - 3 answers

Crashed my car, should I fix or just get a new one?

I've been on a cross country road trip for over 35 days, originally departing from Los Angeles. While driving back home, I got caught in a rain/thunderstorm in Louisiana and rear-ended the car in front of me. I only have liability insurance, so the other party is taken care of but I have to take care of my own busted car. I'm wondering if it's worth getting it fixed up or just getting a new car once I get back home. [more inside]
posted by xtine on Jan 11, 2013 - 14 answers

How can I fix/prevent damp car interior?

It's a 1999 Honda Civic Hatchback. Apparently cars of this type and age have a tendency to develop a leak around the tail lights. This leak was fixed recently but the car either hasn't dried out from that yet or is damp *again.* The windows are perpetually fogged up and often need towelling and the seats (fabric) are suspiciously cool. How to dry it out and keep it that way? Thank you!
posted by srs airbag on Jan 8, 2013 - 16 answers

How to trade a vehicle, for a vehicle, for trade in.

Should I trade my rebuilt title vehicle for any other vehicle, just to get an increased trade in value? [more inside]
posted by NotSoSimple on Dec 31, 2012 - 10 answers

Subaru shakes

What could be causing the sudden steering wheel vibration/shake and sudden pulling to the right with my 96' AWD Subaru Legacy? [more inside]
posted by pilibeen on Dec 29, 2012 - 16 answers

Cheapest possible automobile

The cheapest car, period. Don't care about safety, looks, frills, country of origin, or anything else except as to how it relates to cost. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Dec 27, 2012 - 20 answers

a car for a pie - sounds fair, right?

Non-monetary thank you gift in exchange for a free used car? [more inside]
posted by wintersonata9 on Dec 26, 2012 - 7 answers

Dynamic / adaptive headlights: do they help me see where I am going and not what I'm missing?

Car-filter: how useful are dynamic / adaptive headlights (the ones that swivel when you turn)? Why do they appear to be going out of fashion? [more inside]
posted by meowzilla on Dec 23, 2012 - 5 answers

Small budget, big car?

How should I go about buying a car with a $2500-3000 budget? [more inside]
posted by geegollygosh on Dec 22, 2012 - 19 answers

I don't think duct tape is going to cut it this time.

After a theft, how much DIY car repair is too much? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 21, 2012 - 11 answers

not even a spark

My 1991 Nissan 240sx won't start - it won't even try to turn over. This one is a real mystery; I think it must be the starting circuit, so I'm trying to go through the service manual carefully and check everything. However, I still can't find the issue. Does anyone have any ideas? Details inside on what I've tried so far. [more inside]
posted by koeselitz on Dec 21, 2012 - 26 answers

I need snow chains for my 2006 Volvo S40

Asking on behalf of someone else: I need snow chains for my 2006 Volvo S40. Official Volvo chains sell for at least $310, which is more than I'm willing to spend. Are there cheaper alternatives? [more inside]
posted by nanook on Dec 20, 2012 - 4 answers

Estimate my car repair cost (TPMS sensor-related)

I broke a part of my car's tire valve (the TPMS sensor, maybe?), dropped my car off at the tire shop and realized I have no idea how much this will set me back. Does anyone have an idea what these repairs might run me? [more inside]
posted by JannaK on Dec 19, 2012 - 11 answers

Is $600 for this car repair within the range of plausibility?

My mechanic says the leak from my car looks like it is because a wash plug between the gear box and engine block needs replacing. He says it's not a simple job because he'll have to remove the gearbox. He is quoting me "at least" $600. (Bearing in mind that in this city mechanic labour alone is around $80-100 an hour) does that sound reasonable? [more inside]
posted by lollusc on Dec 19, 2012 - 17 answers

Please advise on car insurance issues after an accident.

A guy hit my car parked on the street in Cambridge, MA, causing some damage (to the car only, I wasn't around). He left a note. I called him and he wanted to bypass our insurance providers. Please advise. [more inside]
posted by A dead Quaker on Dec 16, 2012 - 35 answers

How do I move my mattress across state lines?

Is it prohibitively dangerous to try to move a full-size mattress from Ohio to Florida on the roof of a Honda Accord? [more inside]
posted by grokfest on Dec 16, 2012 - 27 answers

What. The hell. Did I do.

Driving home this afternoon, I spun my car 360 degrees. I have no idea what happened. Please help me figure out what it was so that it never, ever, dear god ever happens again. [more inside]
posted by AthenaPolias on Dec 15, 2012 - 24 answers

Car dock for a Nexus 4?

Please suggest a good car dock for the Google Nexus 4. [more inside]
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron on Dec 14, 2012 - 6 answers

Auto repair question

Am I getting a fair price on 100K maintenance for my 1999 Avalon? [more inside]
posted by boognish on Dec 12, 2012 - 8 answers

We don't need rust proofing, we just need a state inspection

Car inspection time in Philadelphia! Help us not get screwed over. [more inside]
posted by Diskeater on Dec 11, 2012 - 6 answers

Getting around Jackson, MS

I have a friend who will be taking care of her mom in Jackson, MS, next week while the latter undergoes surgery. Because said friend survived an accident a few years ago and consequently prefers not to drive, can you recommend a solution for getting them both to the hospital and back? She seems to think Jackson does not have cabs, but I suspect there is a better solution. I do not know which hospital they will be visiting.
posted by billtron on Dec 9, 2012 - 8 answers

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